Last night was a rough night for me. I was up all night with GI issues and I’m feeling the effects even this morning. I’m not sure what did me in. Is it a stomach bug? Was I a victim of gluten cross-contamination at the pizza place I went to yesterday? Did I ingest something new that doesn’t agree with my body? Who knows?!!
Those of you who know me or have been following me for a while are aware that I’ve gone through some pretty drastic dietary changes within the last year. I’ve gone from a vegetarian diet, to a gluten-free vegetarian diet, to a gluten-free vegan diet. To make things even more complicated, I’ve had to eliminate corn, capsaicin, lectins, coffee, and soy! To be honest, I’ll cheat and allow myself soy, beans, or peppers occasionally. Sometimes it works out… sometimes it doesn’t.
I often get the question, “So, what do you eat?”
Let me assure you, although my diet may be restrictive, I am not starving. There is still a lot of food that I can eat. Unfortunately, it’s just not very convenient. It has taken quite an adjustment… and I’m still making adjustments. And I’ll admit, I miss a lot of different types of food–especially bread and pizza crust with gluten in it!
What I Can Still Eat
This list is taken from the Autoimmune Diet:
- Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, avocado, beets, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chives, cucumbers, garlic, green beans, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, parsley, peas, radishes, rhubarb, shallots, squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, turnips, watercress, water chestnuts, yams, zucchini.
- Fermented foods: sauerkraut, kimchi, pickled ginger, mixed pickle, coconut milk yogurt, kombucha tea, etc.
- Low glycemic fruits: apricots, plums, apples, peaches, pears, cherries, berries, banana, grapes, grapefruit, lemons, limes and kiwi. Dried fruits (with no preservatives) are acceptable and must be eaten with proteins.
- Coconut: including coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut flour, coconut milk, coconut cream, and unsweetened coconut flakes. Almonds, almond butter, almond flour/almond meal, and almond milk.
- Cooking: Olive oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar. Condiments: Mustard.
- Other: Herbal or green tea, olives, white beans/chickpeas, dark chocolate, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds.
- Sweeteners: stevia, coconut palm sugar
- Brown Shirataki noodles (yam noodles).
- Spices: fresh herbs, natural organic spices (i.e. black pepper, sea salt, pink himalyan salt, basil, ginger, fresh garlic, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme). Avoid from modified food starch.
It can be difficult and stressful when eating away from home. At parties and other social gatherings, I try to eat ahead of time, bring my own food, or opt out of the event altogether. I have noticed that we’re not getting invited to go out to eat by folks as much anymore. Please understand, I’m not trying to be rude or antisocial… I’m just trying to avoid from getting sick.
In restaurants, I’m that guy. But, I try to do my research ahead of time, either reading through the restaurant’s website or calling ahead. Actually, most servers and chefs have been very gracious and accommodating… or at least try to be. Occasionally, we’ll go to a place where the staff isn’t as careful or just doesn’t understand. And, I’ll likely end up getting sick. Thankfully, my family and I have some “go to” places that we can be fairly certain that I’ll be okay.
Although this lifestyle change has been difficult, I’ve found that overall, I am feeling better. I’ll still have crazy autoimmune issues flare up occasionally but I am still experiencing improvement. I’ve also enjoyed looking up recipes and modifying them in my kitchen to meet my needs. It’s getting easier and I am hopeful that I will experience even more healing.
Do you have any special dietary needs? What lifestyle adjustments did you have to make?