Last week I shared a bit about the new eating plan I'm adopting, in hopes of improving my health. I'm now several days into this new lifestyle (today is Day 5, if you're interested), and honestly it's going better than I expected. It seems the anticipation and dread leading up to it were far worse than the actual diet itself. Who knew?
I do desperately miss fruit. I processed three flats of summer berries this week, and it was very difficult to not eat a few. Plus, I'm harvesting them regularly from my own backyard, as well as serving them to my family. We were invited to pick plums from a friend's tree also, which the kids have been enjoying hugely. I'm glad, but I can honestly say that I miss fruit far more than I miss sweets, bread, or even cheese.
But the point of this post is to share not about what I can't eat, but what I can. So in a nutshell (so to speak), here are the nuts and bolts of it.
1) Raw and Cooked Vegetables. Lots and lots of vegetables. I can eat essentially any true vegetable (not tomatoes, much to my deep regret), even starchy ones. But the only potatoes I am allowed are red potatoes. And I understand that I should not be eating those very often. There are some strict rules about what I can combine starchy vegetables with (they must not be eaten with animal protein or grains, for example), but they are allowed under certain circumstances. The book instructs those following this diet to fill our plates 80% with vegetables, and 20% with either protein or a diet-approved grain dish. While pregnant, I am not comfortable with that ratio, so I'm just doing my best to eat lots of protein and lots of vegetables. I've never been one to eat much veg at the breakfast table, but I'm learning!
|garlic carrot sticks|
2) Fermented/Cultured Foods. This eating plan focuses heavily on fermented foods, primarily vegetables. Thankfully, I've been learning to culture vegetables at home during this past year, so this is not a difficult step for me. I love Garlic Carrot Sticks (you can find the recipe and many more in this delightful books: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Fermenting Foods.) and I'm coming around to dill pickles. I've fermented beets, green beans, and made garlic sauerkraut, among other things. At this very moment I have five jars in my "fermenting corner," nearly ready to roll. I'm to eat fermented vegetables at every. single. meal., which is a bit of a stretch for me...but again, I'm learning.
Two fermented items I cannot have at this time are kombucha (*sob*) and milk kefir. Pretty much all dairy is off-limits (more on that in a minute), although the plan does highly, highly encourage coconut water kefir. I am planning to try that soon, hopefully my taste buds won't rebel at the sour beverage too much!
3) Butter. Okay, so I've been saying "no dairy, no dairy, woe is me!" but actually I can have butter. That's the one exception, and I'll admit that it is a huge one. Cultured, pastured butter is preferred (thankfully that's what I already buy!), raw is ideal. I do not have a way to purchase raw butter at this time, and I would rather not make it if I can avoid it. It's not a hard process, but I find it tedious...and besides, I hate pouring all that precious cream off of my family's milk! So for now I'm comfortable with that compromise.
4) Unrefined, organic oils. Coconut oil, olive oil, and a few others. Thankfully I haven't had to change that part of my routine. These oils are huge in my house!
5) Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. This is the only vinegar allowed on the diet, which means I need to be very careful about label-reading (no yellow mustard for me!). Thankfully, ACV was already a staple in my kitchen, and the salad dressing I use most often is comprised mainly of olive oil and ACV, which is a very happy thing.
6) Organic meats and Eggs. Clean animal proteins seem to be pretty much allowed across the board, although as I've said, there are rules about not coming them with grains or starchy foods. I very much enjoy eggs, and they are a major part of our family's diet. So although I need to be careful about how I dress these foods, I can still enjoy our grass-fed beef, the pastured chickens we just acquired, pastured eggs and other meaty goodness. Not ketchup on my burger, though!
7) Grain-like Seeds. Quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat. I am fairly familiar with quinoa and millet, not so much the others. So I'll figure it out. Again, no grains with meat or starches, but I can mix them with vegetables and dress them up with an approved sauce, or even fry up a slab of leftover millet in butter! The flours made from these seeds should be used very sparingly, and probably not until a few months down the road, but still I'm very grateful for my options.
8) Seeds. Certain seeds are allowed, and the main one I'll be eating is sunflower seeds. This is particularly wonderful because of this sunbutter recipe, which I believe may just save my sanity. I like to lick it off of a spoon, dip my carrot sticks in it, and I'm sure there will be much more as time goes on. Instead of sugar/honey, I add a few drops of alcohol-free stevia for a little sweetness. It is delicious!
9) Lemons and limes. As I've mentioned before, fruits are extremely limited on this diet. However, the happy fact is that I can have lemons and limes (cranberries too, but I dislike cranberries, so they don't count, do they?) galore. I do love lemons and limes, and one of my favorite summer beverages is The Nourishing Gourrmet's Lemonade. And this brings me to my last happy "It's allowed, wheeee!"...
10) Stevia. Yep, I can have stevia to sweeten my foods. Only alcohol-free stevia, mind you. As it happens I've had a love/hate relationship with stevia for years. I love how it's been used for hundreds of years, how you only have to use a bit, how it's completely and totally sugar-free. But it can be tricky to use, especially for baked items. Just before I started this thing, I tried substituting a bit of stevia for honey in a gluten-free waffle recipe. We love the recipe in its original state, but with stevia it was definitely lacking, on several levels. Plus, my gluten-free toddler isn't interested in the leftovers. Not good! So once again, I'm learning. And I see stevia, for all its challenges, as something of a gift. A way to add a little sweetness to certain foods (like coconut kefir) without feeding the condition I'm battling? Wonderful.
Bonus! I came across these Virgin Mojitos a month or two ago. After enjoying them at a party, I was absolutely thrilled to learn that the recipe calls for liquid stevia, and not sugar! I did a little digging and found that club soda seems to be allowed on my eating plan. And so, there was much rejoicing! It's incredibly nice to be able to have a little treat now and then...especially a summery one!
I'm hopeful that in a few months I'll be able to start incorporating a few more things into my diet. Blueberries and kiwi. Raw milk kefir. I may even be able to have corn (and blue corn chips!) before that time. It's my prayer that my situation will be much improved by the time my baby arrives. Will you join me in praying for this? It would be such an incredible blessing.
P.S. For more detailed information on this subject, click HERE.