Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Elimination Diet

I mentioned on Twitter a while ago that PhillyGuy has been prescribed a very restrictive diet.

He's been having some GI issues and, among other things, is now being tested for various food allergies. This requires a couple of things, including starting with a completely clean slate.

The doctor called it an "elimination diet." Because it basically has eliminated all major possible allergens from his diet. What does that include? Let's see. Gluten and lactose, for sure. All dairy products. Most sugars - refined AND naturally occurring. Acidic stuff. Any refined carbohydrates or other processed food. Nothing with nitrates. Artificial sweeteners. Artificial ANYTHING. And (I suspect) soy.

However, instead of going at this from a "don't eat X, Y and Z" angle, the doctor (very helpfully) prescribed it from an "only eat A, B, and C" angle, which makes it much easier to follow. What does that leave us?

Just about any type of meat, as long as it's not processed - that means pork, chicken, red meat and fish. No ham, no bacon, no processed or treated lunch meat. Eggs. Brown rice, quinoa and millet (which I actually thought was birdseed and did not realize was available for human consumption). Nuts. Specific types of green and generally non-fibrous vegetables - summer squash, spinach, asparagus, green beans. Cook and season your foods with olive oil, parsley, salt and black pepper. Drink water, mint tea (SO GOOD) or fennel tea (vom vom vom).

It's been a challenge, for sure. Our meals have been repetitive, but (honestly) delicious. On the weekends, for breakfast we almost always have eggs over-easy, on top of quinoa and spinach. I've been pan-frying thick-sliced turkey breast and pretending it's canadian bacon. Dinner has been some kind of meat, either pork chops, chicken breast or steak, simply grilled with just salt, pepper and parsley. On the side, I roast veggies - almost always asparagus or fresh green beans - with olive oil, salt and freshly-ground pepper.

It's a challenge because it eliminated SO MANY of the things we had made staples, like mushrooms and onions and garlic and brussels sprouts. And seasonings! I have a cabinet full of herbs and spices that I can't touch.

But it's also been good, and not only because PhillyGuy is feeling MARKEDLY better. It's been good because we don't go out to eat or order takeout as often. It's been good that I now appreciate how tasty simple things can be. The first night I made veggies with only salt and pepper, instead of our usual rosemary/parmesean cheese mix, we were both shocked at how GOOD it was.

I've been cheating, though. Brown rice with just salt and pepper isn't quite as tasty as, say, asparagus. So I use some Earth Balance, too. I figure it's dairy free, gluten free and vegan...how bad could it possibly be?? (Answer: soy. I bet soy is off-limits.)

Don't get me wrong - I'm looking forward to the next stages of this diet, when he gets to systematically introduce different allergens. Fruit would be nice, you know. Or cheese. In the meantime, the lack of tasty food groups and different spices has not stopped the dogs from assuming their usual begging positions.

It also hasn't stopped Sophie from having demon eyes in every freakin' picture.

And it hasn't stopped them from playing with their Martha Stewart screaming skeleton toy. That no longer screams (thank god) because Cosmo broke the screamer thing within the first ten minutes that the toy was in the house.

Still looking for anyone who wants to join a little pace group for the Philly half this weekend!


  1. I've quit taking pictures of my animals with the flash! It eliminates demon eyes and most of the time the pictures still turn out good :)

    Kudos to you on sticking with that diet...that would be a hell ride for me, honestly. Although most of the stuff you're cooking sounds great, I can't stand repetition, especially in dinners...

  2. there is soy free earth balance! i've never had it, but you could always try it out.

  3. I need to start making some quinoa. So yummy! And don't get me started on asparagus, I could eat it with every meal! I'm planning a blog post just about asparagus, haha!

    And I use Earth Balance too ;)

    P.S. I'm new! We have lots of the same blog-friends though :)