I’m not going to lie, the first month of my elimination diet wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. While the list of foods I can’t eat isn’t exceptionally long, it has been a bit of a puzzle trying to figure out what to eat every day. The first two weeks, in particular, were a big learning curve.
If you’ve read my “Nutrition Journal: What is an Elimination Diet? + Why I’m Committing to One” post then you know that the list of foods I’m sensitive too isn’t too daunting (at least that what I thought when I first saw it), but upon closer inspection and emersion into the diet, I realized that this combo of foods was going to be far more challenging to eliminate than I expected.
I LOVE potatoes and corn, so when I saw these two veggies on my list there was a moment of panic, but then I gathered my self together and focused on all the great fruits and veggies I can eat… Except, corn and potato are in a lot of really great dishes, ones I each on a regular basis (creamy potato and corn-based soups, homemade fries, Mexican inspired dishes, roasted potatoes… the list goes on), and they’re often in dishes that are offered at restaurants, and are included in many pre-made and packaged foods.
The elimination of these two veggies also affected my snack game. I’m a sucker for chips and popcorn! I love whipping up my own mini-sized dips (artichoke, guac, salsa) and munching away with some organic sea salt tortilla chips. This is my serious go-to when I’m super han-gery after work or a day of running errands. I also love my evening organic popcorn topped with nutritional yeast (also off limits, NOOOO not the nooch!).
After mourning the loss of potato and corn, I began to realize that my initial intention of going gluten-free (wheat and barley are off limits) wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought either. Many gluten-free products substitute with corn, potato, or rice (another sensitivity) in the form of flours, starches and/or meals. Add a sensitivity to eggs into the mix and it makes cooking and finding food like bread, baked goods, pasta, many ethnic dishes, most pre-made foods (even the organic healthy ones), and most traditional breakfast dishes really tricky. Needless to say, I’ve become an intense label reader over the past month, because almost everything that I don’t make myself contains at least one of these ingredients.
At first, I was pretty excited that I could eat gluten-containing ancient grains that are less processed, like Durham, spelt, oat and rye. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to find products that contain ONLY these grains and are not combined with other flours like wheat, rice, corn or almond (also on the no, no list). I really had no idea it would be so tricky! Fortunately, I live in a kick-ass town where healthy food is a top priority. I was able to find whole spelt bread from one of the amazing bakeries in town (big shout out to The Kootenay Bakery Café on this one!), they even have 110% spelt flour pizza crusts, which made my day… or should I say my next three months, haha.
It’s also been an adventure trying out new non-dairy milks. I’m an almond milk girl, so finding out I’m sensitive to almonds forced me to be more adventurous. I’m not a fan of soy milk (it bothers my tummy), but I do enjoy cashew, coconut, oat, hazelnut and hemp milk. Oat and hemp milk work great for cooking and baking as they have a light clean taste that won’t overpower your dish. Coconut, cashew and hazelnut have been super tasty in my morning latté. I usually pair coconut with matcha, and cashew or hazelnut with cacao/mocha based drinks.
In terms of health (the whole reason for starting my elimination diet), I’ve felt much lighter, have had less brain fog (yay!), almost no digestive issues, and my most recent migraine was much less intense than it usually is. My migraine this month seemed to take a bit longer to come on, but once it did it the headache part was somewhat manageable. I still had aura, light and sound sensitivity, but the overall experience was much less debilitating, which I’m counting as a win! I’m optimistic that in the months to follow they’ll become less and less problematic. Fingers crossed!