After Almost A Year: New Elimination Diet

I have been on my current “automimmune diet” for over 11 months (essentially, no grains, no legumes, no dairy, no eggs, no tomatoes). I actually don’t feel like it made any difference to my life except taking away the joy of food and eliciting many meltdowns when meal times came around and I had nothing to eat. I know I would have had some fun with this diet if I had the energy/ability to research recipes, shop for ingredients and cook my own dishes ~ it would have been a fun challenge to come up with tasty, healthy meals and given me a bit of a hobby ~ but, when you are incapacitated by exhaustion, dysautonomia symptoms and muscle wasting… it’s too much. It’s also too much to think about changing things up after such a long time, which is why I’m not more excited about the switch to a DIFFERENT type of elimination diet. It was a difficult learning curve for my husband to figure out what I could and couldn’t have while shopping for us. Now, he’ll have to relearn, reread all labels.

The good news is, I get to have gluten-free grains again (which means rice) and legumes except for peanuts (which means hummus and fun soups!). The bad news is, I have to eliminate pork (oh god, no bacon), beef (no steak!), cold cuts (no salami, ham, turkey slices!), soy (no fake milk for my tea, no fake mayo), caffeine (oh, I don’t need fake milk because I can’t have my black tea. I’m starting to panic), salad dressings (are you kidding? This makes me want to cry), maple syrup, honey (what do I make my granola with?), chocolate (kill me now), and any type of sugar. There are other things I have to omit like oranges and shellfish and soft drinks, but I don’t really care. Oh, and I have to continue to avoid corn, dairy, eggs, and tomatoes.

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I have a few things in the house I want to use up before embarking on this change, so, after the Rice Chex, Almond Bites, bacon, chocolate and leftover filet are gone, I will commit to the new diet. 😀

I’m out of granola, so I am going to try a new recipe. For a long time I used olive oil and a mix of maple syrup and agave nectar. Then I changed to coconut oil and local honey. Now, since I can’t have honey, but I can have brown rice syrup and stevia, I’m experimenting with a new mixture… Stay tuned.

1 hour later: I actually might prefer this recipe to my previous versions. Score! Now I just have to win the lotto so I can afford the gluten-free oats and organic stevia and brown rice syrup. 🙂

Here’s what I did:

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E.M.’s New Granola (dairy-free, refined sugar-free)

4 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1/2-1 cup raw pumpkin seeds ((or mix in half sunflower seeds, but pumpkin seeds have a lot more magnesium and tryptophan)
1 cup chopped nuts (any kind: I like ones that are low in omega 6s: pecans, cashews, hazelnuts and walnuts)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup flaxmeal
1 tbs cinnamon
5 tbs coconut oil
3 tbs brown rice syrup
2 droppers-full of liquid stevia (which is really only about 1/2-3/4 of the dropper)
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
dried fruit (raisins)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine dry ingredients. Heat oil, honey and vanilla over low heat until it is runny but not boiling (or microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute). Pour over dry ingredients, mix thoroughly and spread over 2 baking trays lined with foil or parchment. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden. Let cool. Be cool. 🙂

Simple Pleasures (+ amazing gluten-free, dairy-free, seedy cracker recipe)

A few great things happened this week.

First, today, the sun came out.

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Second, birds finally found my feeder:

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Third, after all these months, my husband has given me back the joy of texture:

I was dying for some sort of crunch, some bite ~ but not like raw celery… Something heavier, something that could stand in for bread or a substantial cracker~ that could hold a piece of salami or almond butter. I have had it up to here with soft foods, fruit, raw vegetables and nuts. My husband, bless his helpful soul, has perfected a recipe.

First he tried this one (beware: if you make it, use half the salt or less), but I didn’t want to rely so heavily on oats since my doctor doesn’t even want me eating any and is only making an exception for my breakfast granola/porridge since I whined so much.

Then he tried this one, minus the garlic powder so it could go savoury or sweet. However, they were quite… pungent. That was the only way I could think to describe them. … Too earthy. I was afraid they would overpower a simple topping like jam.

Third time’s a charm! He melded the two to make his own recipe. He promises they are quick and easy if you own a food processor (I have to go to a different floor, close the door to whatever room I’m in and hold my hands over my ears ~ that’s how ridiculously loud ours is). I have them with almond butter and banana and a bit of honey in the morning or avocado and chicken and some olive tapenade for lunch… They’d even be delicious with Nutella, but I’m staying away.

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1 cup gluten-free oats
1 cup pumpkin seeds, raw and unsalted
1 cup sunflower seeds, raw and unsalted
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup raw almonds
2 tbs coconut flour
2 tbs flax seed meal
1 1/2 tsp salt (you might want a bit more, say 2 tsp)
1/2 tsp baking soda
8 oz water
5 tbs olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend all dry ingredients in food processor until mixture resembles flour. Add water and oil to “flour” and make dough. Roll out to 1/8″ thick on parchment paper on two baking trays. Score the dough into squares or rectangles or whatever and bake for 30-35 minutes.

The final simple pleasure is: I found heaven in a fatty jar. I bought this coconut oil based on the Amazon reviews. I didn’t think my husband had even seen it yet. One night, he made some chard and fish. I said, “Why is this chard so good?” I was worried that he had sauteed it in butter because it was far more flavourful than the food I’ve been eating lately. “I used that coconut oil,” he says. “Why is the fish so good? Did you use a different seasoning?” “Coconut oil, again.” The next night we (he) cooked chicken breast in it… freakin’ delicious! Now I’m going to go slather it all over my skin, too, like the reviewers on Amazon recommend. Not really. Well, maybe.

Gratitude for the little things. 🙂