The new diet is still going extremely well! I'm finding that I've been cutting down on my protein significantly. I've been doing this for two reasons. First, it's expensive (especially when you're buying high-quality meat). The second reason is just that I realized I didn't need as much as I was eating. As I've said before on this blog, we maintain a 'protein pool' in our body that serves as a reservoir of amino acids....meaning that each meal doesn't have to have a complete protein source.
I am, however, noticing that I have a weakness for frying and baking things. I'm working on that...
Breakfast - Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Yup, roasted veggies for breakfast. Don't knock it until you've tried it!
I just opened up a package of frozen Brussels sprouts, put them in a pyrex lasagna pan, and mixed them with about a tablespoon of avocado oil. I put them in a 375 degree oven until they were slightly browned. Sometime I turn them once during the time they're in the oven, sometime I don't get around to it (and they still turn out fine).
Lunch - Roasted Zucchini
I made this recipe up myself, and it is delicious! I slice green zucchini, and mix them with a bit of olive oil, sliced red onion, olives and Italian seasoning. I put them in this ceramic pan and roast at about 350 degrees until the veggies are soft and slightly caramelized.
(Some people suggest limiting zucchini on an auto-immune paleo style diet, I have decided not to worry about that particular restriction.)
Dinner - Cabbage and Chicken
I roasted chicken in the oven. I cut up a green cabbage, and combined it with minced ginger, chopped red onion, and a few golden raisins. I put the veggies in my cast-iron dutch oven with about a cm of water at the bottom, and boiled the water down at a medium-high heat while stirring them fairly regularly, until they were cooked through.
I learned a lesson making the sauce. There's a reason you don't find cilantro pesto very often....it's super bitter! I blended a bunch of cilantro, half of a zucchini, a quarter of a red onion, two cloves of garlic, olive oil, and about a tablespoon of maple syrup together. After I added the maple syrup, it tasted fine (though I probably won't make this again).
Snack - Kale Chips
To make kale chips, rinse and thoroughly dry a large bunch of kale, and then rip it into pieces. Dump the pieces on a baking sheet (I usually bake it in two separate batches), pour about a tablespoon of olive oil on top, and then mix it with the kale by hand. Put into a 375 degree oven and bake, stirring about four times, until the pieces start to become crispy (this won't take long).
Top with a bit of sea salt and enjoy!
Big changes in my kitchen! Unfortunately, over the last few months, I have been experiencing a flare in my autoimmune symptoms. It hasn't been fun, in fact it's been extremely frustrating. I had also expanded my diet considerably in the same time period. It wasn't that I had been 'cheating,' it was that generous friends had been cooking me meals that contained more grains, in particular. I had also started eating more processed food treats, including a lot more chocolate.
Well, it all came to a head and, as a result, I've embarked on a new diet experiment. I have significant reservations about this diet because it includes a lot of meat and, as you all know, I already eat a very restricted diet! However, my health struggles have pushed me to this point. I have naturopathic doctor colleagues who have seen autoimmune lab values improve on this diet, and my nurse practitioner has been kind enough to run some baseline tests for me. I'll keep you all in the loop as I go on this food voyage.
So, the diet I am following is commonly referred to as The Autoimmune Paleo Diet. Here are some links about it, if you would like to learn more.
www.thepaleomom.com/autoimmunity/the-autoimmune-protocol (my favourite)
The short description of the diet is that grains, nuts, beans, and seeds (with the exception of cucumber seeds, strawberry seeds, etc.) do not benefit from being chewed and eaten by animals (including humans). In order to prevent this, they contain chemicals that are harmful to our digestive tracts. The damage to the digestive tract eventually leads to serious inflammation and auto-immune disease, in those of use who are susceptible.
A note on where I am getting my meat. I get my beef from Dalew Farms. I'm eating a lot of Canadian sardines and wild-caught canned salmon. I purchase frozen, wild-caught fish. I'm currently buying Blue Goose chicken from Sobey's (which comes with a certification of humane farming practices), but I'm excited to report that I've placed the first order with a brand new chicken farmer in the area! I want to be abundantly clear with my readers that I endorse eating a primarily vegan diet. Obvious there are many nuances to that statement, but I feel it best summarizes my personal and professional stance.
The second thing I want to emphasize is that I'm very much hoping I come out of this healing experience with a better ability to tolerate nuts, beans, seeds, and grains! I do wonder if I may need to soak and sprout in order to eat them and be well.
I've saved the best for last! I've been on the diet for two weeks now and my symptoms have almost disappeared!!!
I have tailored my restrictions specifically to my health history and previous food intolerance test results, so I won't share them publicly. I would also prefer if existing, or new, patients pay me a visit before they embark on a diet like this, so we can tailor it to their needs properly, and ensure it works out the first time. It's a lot of work to do a diet like this, and I'm a big fan of only doing it once!
Breakfast - Baked Rutabaga and Avocado
To be perfectly honest with you guys, I still haven't figured out what the difference is between a rutabaga and a turnip. Either way, I think they're both delicious baked! I peel it, cut it up, coat it in avocado oil and a bit of turmeric, and bake it until it is browned, turning once (at around 375 degrees).
Lunch - Salmon Salad
-canned, wild-caught salmon
-minced, fresh ginger
-strips of dried, roasted seaweed (nori)
-apple cider vinegar
You'll want to make this salad at least a few hours before you eat it, so that the nori softens.
Dinner - Perch and Roasted Veggies
Generous friends shared some of the perch they caught ice fishing! I coated the fillets in arrowroot powder and pan fried them in avocado oil. They were amazing!
I cut up the cauliflower, and roasted it in a pyrex lasagna pan coated with avocado oil. I cut a kabocha squash in half, removed the seeds, and roasted it cut side down.
Last but not least, I figured out how to make a pesto! I combined the following ingredients in my Magic Bullet and blended them together. It has a very strong flavour, but I think it is delicious!
-one half of a medium zucchini
-one quarter of a red onion
-two cloves of garlic
-enough olive oil for everything to mix together
-two of the small plastic packages of fresh sage (could also be basil)
-sea salt, to taste
Dessert - Baked Apples
I guess this dessert doesn't look super appetizing, but it was absolutely delicious! I put about a teaspoon of coconut oil in the bottom of a small, covered baking dish. I put two organic apples, sliced into wedges, at the bottom of the pan. I added a fairly ridiculous amount of cinnamon (at least a tablespoon) and a few tablespoons of golden raisins. About halfway through the baking process, I added about 3/4 of a cup of fresh raspberries. I didn't stir the dish until it was time to eat it. Oh, and I baked it until everything was soft, maybe about 40 minutes?
Snack - Sweet Potato 'Chips'
I was very sad to discover that I couldn't purchase any commercial sweet potato chips because they are all made with oils that aren't allowed on my restricted diet. I decided to try and make my own at home. I thinly sliced sweet potato and fried it in avocado oil. My friend that I served them to wasn't a big fan of them because they weren't 'crispy' enough. Perhaps if I'd put fewer in the pan at a time, and left them to dry first, they would have been crispier. Personally, I didn't care. They tasted better than the chips out of the bag, and they satisfied my craving!
What I Eat
I want to give you an idea of how to eat healthfully on a restricted diet, without a lot of work, by showing you how I eat! I eat strictly gluten-free. You'll find A LOT of veggies in this blog! I eat both fish and meat a few times a week (local and/or humane, whenever possible), and dairy when I'm visiting family and friends, or eating out. I hope you find this blog inspiring and interesting!