one thing i continue to learn on my digestive journey is that practicing self-care takes commitment. taking care of our bodies takes time and energy–time and energy that at times i think i will never run out of and at other times i think i’ll never have enough of.
my attempt to add things back into my diet two weeks ago went really really bad. instead of attempting to fix the problem by adjusting my diet, i shut down. i was a month into an extremely busy semester and stopped trying to find things to eat. i developed the habit of walking to the fridge, opening it, looking in, closing it, walking away. most days, all i had to eat before 3 or 4 p.m. was tea or coffee and a few almonds. the results: i had two anxiety attacks, no energy, and was a shaky mess.
so much for self-care.
when your diet is already so limited, it can feel exhausting to have to keep up with it. to have think about every thing that goes in your mouth can start to feel like a chore. there are no “fast” meals when you’re limited to cooked veggies, a limited amount of fruit, meat, a few eggs, and nuts. in order for me to have “smooth” weeks, i have to prep everything i eat days in advance: hard boil eggs, soups and stews, nuts to go. i used to stay on top of this really well. but i think 12 weeks of the detox on top of school starting threw me out of the loop.
yesterday, i was reading an essay by Alice Waters, founder of the Slow Food movement. she reminded me of what i haven’t let myself accept in the last few week: that preparing food and taking care of our selves is pleasurable. She writes:
We treat preparation as drudgery. Besides, other people are better at it than we are. Cleaning up is drudgery, too. There are more important things to do. We have been told that work is here and pleasure is there. But in fact real pleasure comes from doing. Work can feed our imaginations and educate our senses. If somebody else does it all for us, we miss out on the real juice of life.
last sunday, i spent the afternoon cooking and working with my friend michael. i made curried lentil sweet potato soup. he made roasted veggies and pumpkin quinoa. it took time. we broke from our school work multiple times to prep, stir, and watch pots of veggies morph into stews. it helped me get back on track: eating regularly, searching for new recipes, scheduling time to cook this week. it made me realize how much i need other people in my life supporting me during times of food-exhuastion. cooking with a close friend reminded me how i understand food as relational and loving. C has reminded me of this, too: making me dinner 3 times over the last week at times when i felt like i’d rather go to bed or keep working that make myself something.
accepting that my body will not allow me to eat what most people can is challenging. emotional. there are good weeks and bad weeks, good days and bad days, good meals and bad meals. what you’re not told when you are diagnosed with food allergies and intolerances is that part of the process is grieving: grieving the loss of foods that hold very important spaces in your memory in relation to family and childhood that you will never eat again; grieving the loss of not being able to share in eating and drinking socially with people you love unless special accommodations are made in advance; grieving the loss of not being able to enjoy meals at restaurants or at other people’s homes when there’s nothing served that hasn’t touched gluten or butter. 10 months into my official diagnosis and i think i’m still grieving the losses, even without realizing it.
but this is the body i live in, and it’s the only one i’m ever going to have. taking care of it might be the most important thing i ever do. even if it takes a lot of time.
my friend michael made me breakfast yesterday morning: a variation of this recipe.
here’s what he did different:
*instead of rolled oats, he used brown rice (i’m not eating gluten-free oats. yet. i am trying to eat a little millet, brown rice & quinoa.)
*instead of soy milk, he used unsweetened vanilla almond milk
*left out the maple syrup but added in golden raisins and crasins
*no soy whipped topping but it didn’t need it anyway
it was almost like a pumpkin risotto with the rice. it was yummy.
*here’s a not-so-fun fact: i’ve been sick for 2 full weeks now. every morning. aaaaaand i’m over it.
*here’s a not-so-ironic fun fact: 2 weeks ago is when i started adding things back into my restore diet.
*this means 1 thing: the things i’ve added back have got to come back out.
*what i’m most sad about, in this order: tomatoes, coffee, red wine, honey.
*today is day one without these things.
*in a moment of i-can’t-take-this-ridiculous-diet-anymore-weakness, i made chocolate chip almond cookies and ate 3 of them for lunch on tuesday. the only thing in there i couldn’t technically have was the chocolate chips (sugar). they were awesome.
*onward and upward.
1. chocolate tastes better when it’s homemade. it tastes even better when it’s cut into pieces and put into gluten-free/dairy-free pumpkin coconut muffins. i regret not taking a picture of the ones i ate at my sister’s house sunday.
2. i love dill pickle snacks.
3. i need to stop eating so many almonds. they are giving me stomach aches. i’m taking kelly’s suggestion and soaking raw almonds instead of just buying the already roasted and salted ones.
4. in thinking about that i could add back into my diet, i realized i had not eaten a banana for 10 weeks. that’s crazy.
5. my acupuncturist has encouraged me to try two things: goats milk yogurt and a few gluten-free grains. i started with millet tonight. it wasn’t very exciting, but i only added salt and pepper, so i guess that would explain it.
6. having an anxiety attack in the middle of a grocery store is not the greatest location to have a melt-down. it snuck up on me and the next thing i knew, i was choking back tears near the prepared foods. i think it might be time figure out what to do when those moments happen.
7. writing about 2010 has proven more difficult than i expected. i want to post what i’ve written, but i’m not sure i’m ready to share it. lots of processing going on there. it’s a bit graphic.
8. our farm share arrives again tomorrow and i barely ate a third of last weeks. i can’t keep up.
restore diet: 10 weeks and counting. pretty excited i made it this far without loosing my mind. i’m finding that avoiding grains is getting very easy; however, avoiding sugar–not so much. i haven’t actually had any refined sugar. i’ve had some honey in my espresso here and there. not much, but enough. all together, i feel A-mazing. my only stomach aches have been from eating too many roasted almonds. as long as i plan ahead and eat at home, or at the 2-3 places i feel safe eating, i’m good to go.
adding in tomatoes and eggplant was the highlight of last week. i don’t know what i’m going to add this week…i’ve been eating sweet potatoes here and there, but not much. i’m definitely not adding grains or sugar. suggestions? maybe i just stick with things as they are for now and add in october…
yesterday, i located a match made in heaven: cilantro green olive salpica salsa. holy. moly. cilantro + tomatillos + green olives = are you kidding me? why didn’t i think of this before? i bought it yesterday and i’m almost done with the jar. today’s brunch: eggs, broccoli, salsa. wow, i’ve missed tomatillos.
sooooo i went against my doctor’s order on sunday. i honestly wasn’t really even thinking about it at the time because i was so excited to eat something different. SO excited. yes, this is the reality of my life with my digestive system. i get excited to eat veggies.
the restore diet requires that you add something new in every 2-3 days. that way, if something changes, you know where it’s coming from. well, i did that: with eggs and almond milk and nuts. it took me a week and a half, but i added all three, spacing them apart so i could read my body: did i have a stomach ache? what felt different? was the toilet my new bff after 9 weeks? turns out when i eat a lot of nuts i get a killer stomach ache. this is not necessarily news, as it’s true for most people with “normal” digestive tracks. but given my hesitancy with meat and inability to eat beans, nuts are a big protein source for me. so, some times i over-do it when i’m not paying attention.
sunday, i was so excited to eat out, i could hardly contain it. i went to the owl house with my friend michael for brunch: it was our break from 6 hours of writing our comprehensive exams and other PhD work. we were treating ourselves. i was giddy about having a bloody mary. and then we got there at 10 a.m. and we realized NY doesn’t let you drink before noon. seriously: dumbest law EVER because who doesn’t want to consume vodka and tomato juice at 10a.m. on a sunday morning? i thought so. so, instead of consuming tomatoes, i had one piece of toast. (this is after my food got sent back twice: once i had to change my order b/c the hash browns were not gluten free. then they sent my gluten-free toast up covered with butter. it was then i realized that i wasn’t paying enough attention to ordering off a gluten-free menu and needed to pay attention. glad i caught it before taking a bite. the waiter literally turned back and grabbed my plate of food out from under me seconds before i brought my fork to my mouth just because he didn’t want to risk it. good waiter.)
so, i ate my gluten-free toast. and now i’m realizing that it probably had soy butter on it. and i haven’t had soy in 9 weeks. or grains. and then later that day i got really into cooking with our farm share and made cabbage rolls and roasted eggplant tomato soup. and ate them for 2 days.
so, that’s 48 hours of 4 new things: soy, grain, eggplant, tomatoes.
and yesterday morning i woke up and realized that adding 4 things back in all at once after 9 weeks of eating only plants (night shade veggies excluded ) and animals (cringe) was a really really really dumb idea. that’s why my doctor told me not to rush.
we keep getting these beautiful purple cabbages in our farm share.
last night, i made these stuffed cabbage rolls (minus the rice). we loved this recipe. it was my first dive into tomatoes and i ate a lot of it. c topped his with fresh parm to add a sharp cheesy-kick.
i’m trying to be strategic about our share each week because it’s very hard for two people to keep up with that many fruits and veggies, even when i’m eating a diet of veggies, fruits, and meat. i always end up wasting something by not getting to it fast enough. i had about 8 large tomatoes and a massive eggplant we hadn’t touched yet, so i made this roasted eggplant soup for this week’s lunches. (skipped all the dairy and it still tastes amazing!)
*for the first time in 3 years, i started drinking coffee again. even i’m shocked by this. i’m on day 10 of an almond milk latte binge right now and i really need to let it go. i think the restore diet is making me craaaaave things i can’t have and coffee seems to be what i’m gravitating to. thankfully, it’s not making me sick. it is, however, making me loopy. one shot of espresso and i’m pretty much wired for 6-8 hours. i’m getting work done at a ridiculous pace, even over the weekends.
*our farm share was so big last week i could hardly carry it. i’m a little worried i won’t have enough room in the fridge for this week’s share, which we get tomorrow. if you get a text from me inviting you to share in the bounty, please take me up on it.
*my doctor sent me a “stern” email monday telling me that 1. i wasn’t eating enough and 2. i wasn’t eating enough veggies. guilty on both accounts. i’m trying to up my intake of all things green. broccoli has been my veggie of choice lately. i’m currently roasting brussels sprouts with bacon and apples.
*if you’re looking for a way to get through the cabbage and apples in your farm share, make this recipe. it’s a-mazing.
*my sister found this blog and i can’t wait to explore it.
*my sister and i are cookin’ up a fall gluten, dairy, soy-free party plan for october. details comin’ soon.
i’m really really good at complaining. i could be a professional whiner. some times i think my nick name should be miss-whines-a-lot. but i told myself 8 weeks ago that when i started this restore diet that i would not spend my time whining and complaining about everything i couldn’t eat, no matter how long i had to be on it.
i’m dangerously close to making this blog post full of complaints and whiney annoying statements. i’m on the verge of two months with absolutely no grains, no potatoes, no peppers, and darn-it, no tomatoes and it’s heirloom tomato-heaven in western ny right now. see, i want to complain about not eating rice and beans, or gluten-free breads and yummy potato chips, but really, all i want is to eat some tomatoes and eggplant. a potato here and there. veggies people. i’m complaining about not being able to eat veggies. there is something dreadfully wrong here. there is also something really odd to be giddy about being able to eat eggs and almond milk. it makes me feel like either my world is really small or i need some new hobbies.
one of the most frustrating parts is that i’m sick of eating the same things over and over. i keep trying to find new recipes, but everything i want to cook includes a veggie i can’t eat yet. last night i made a veggie frittata: eggs, coconut milk, asparagus, fennel, onion, garlic, herb. it’s yummy. but it’s no heirloom tomato. and all i’ve gotten out of it is constant remarks from C that my garlic breath could kill someone.
my sister just made up her own recipe and it looks killer: coconut mango bread. it’s gluten, casein, soy and cane sugar free and it looks amazing. AND there’s no grains in it, so technically, i could eat it if decided having honey was on the restore diet list. (which it isn’t.) if you try making it, let us know. my sister is curious how it will come out for other people.
i think it looks yummy:
since i added almond milk back into my daily diet, i’ve been consuming at least 3 cups a day. and since maine blueberries are so wee that i have to eat them with a spoon or risk squashing them between my fingers, i might as well dump some in a cup and pour more almond milk on them. right? right.