Friday, February 24, 2012

food allergy update

well, I’m well past my 8 week elimination diet where I cut out all of the ‘red’ foods that had registered a reaction of some sort on my allergy test. I’ve been back to the doctor and reintroduced a lot of the foods that I had cut out. for the most part, I’m doing fine with it.

the first thing to go back in was chicken. that seems fine.

I also added back dates and green beans. no problem.

I think I’ve had white potatoes once or twice, and didn’t notice any major issues.

there are other things on the list that I cut out, but they either were not something I ate very often and still don’t (so therefore I haven’t really gone out of my way to go get them and eat them to try) or I have no intention of adding them back in because I feel great without them in my diet.

the two biggest things are wheat and dairy. the reason I had the test in the first place was because I was very suspicious of the wheat. I didn’t want the dairy to be a factor, but after cutting it out, I can now breathe through my nose for the first time EVER, and my asthma is gone. I can get through my workouts without mouth breathing, and hiking up hills in the cold, january air (a sure-fire asthma trigger) was no big deal.

so I don’t really miss those that much. (well, cheese a little bit, and I liked being able to throw a glop of yogurt into my smoothies for some extra protein.)

last friday, I decided to try some pizza. I missed the convenience of being able to eat pizza. and really, I like pizza. not being able to eat pizza made me feel kinda pouty. so I tried some, as a test. I ate two pieces. they were good, but not as good as I remember… interesting. and then I sat and waited to see how I would feel. I was almost hoping for a bad reaction, just so I wouldn’t have that dilemma in the future. as it turned out, I did get a stomachache soon after. it wasn’t terrible, and it didn’t last super-long, but it was obvious that it wasn’t agreeing with me 100%.

so, I guess that leaves me with 2 bits of information. 1) I will probably feel best if I admit that I should not eat pizza on friday nights, BUT 2) if I’m in a situation where I am starving, have no other food options but pizza (ie: party, family gathering, etc.), it won’t kill me to have a slice.

I guess that’s a good thing.

I will still continue to order my burgers wrapped in lettuce and without cheese and condiments.

the good thing about all of this is that I’ve learned some interesting things about foods.

  1. I LOVE sweet potatoes. especially sliced shoe-string style and baked in the oven. YUM!
  2. spaghetti squash is every bit as yummy under pasta sauce as regular noodles.
  3. diced and sautéed butternut squash is also a good pasta substitute.
  4. coconut milk in coffee is a great creamer.
  5. having a burger (or chicken sandwich) wrapped in lettuce is actually really yummy. you don’t need any condiments because it is not dry when you don’t have the bun acting like a sponge. you also don’t want any on there because they will squish out all over you and make it a very messy eating experience.
  6. it is so much easier to avoid treats and desserts. (there’s also the sugar addiction factor – if you don’t eat it, you won’t crave it. sugar works just like crack in your body, as far as the addiction goes.)
  7. the sesame-ginger salad dressing I discovered while searching for a non-dairy dressing that also has no balsamic vinegar in it is DELISH!
  8. dredging chicken in almond flour before browning/frying is every bit as good as wheat flour.
  9. you can make meatballs and meatloaf with almond flour, and, I would venture to assume, any other recipe that calls for bread crumbs.
  10. coconut flour/coconut milk pancakes are delicious. just get over the idea that they should taste like regular buttermilk pancakes.
  11. I actually like coconut flakes in stuff.

so, as far as diet goes now… I still consider my diet to be mainly paleo. but for the most part, I just say that I avoid wheat and dairy. if I make any baked goods, I use coconut or almond flour. but really, I don’t eat a lot of baked goods or desserts. even if you’re using ‘paleo approved’ sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, they’re still sweeteners and are best avoided in large or regular amounts. this is also because yeast was something that showed up on my test. in general, I will just avoid breads, cakes, cookies, etc. and I’m absolutely certain that I will be healthier because of it – allergy or not. that said, i refuse to completely write off all grains. this is mainly influenced by my love affair with popcorn and corn tortilla chips. actually, it’s not the chips, it’s that I love salsa (and guacamole too, I’ve discovered) and there isn’t really a suitable alternative. I don’t eat this stuff every day, but I do really like it. I also know that in the summer, I WILL eat corn on the cob. oh well. legumes are another thing I will not completely write off. legumes are not a huge part of my diet anyway. I eat something with beans or lentils in it MAYBE once a week, so I really don’t think that’s a big deal. I like a soup with beans in it. they have protein and other stuff… oh well.

basically, I don’t like a lot of hard and fast ‘rules’. I like logical guidelines, especially when it comes to diet. if you’re allergic to something, by all means, avoid it. but following rules for the sake of following rules drives me crazy.

here’s my biggest rule: if you want to be healthy and/or lose weight, avoid junk/processed food and sugar. that’s it. it’s not a terribly complex process. foods which can be eaten in the state in which they grow out of the ground are generally good for you. if something has to be ultra-processed, treated, or enriched in order to make it resemble food, then you should probably avoid it. COULD you make this yourself? ok. do you need to be a scientist in a lab to make it? don’t eat it! and don’t believe the low-fat hype. a processed product (salad dressing, packaged dinner, cracker, etc.) that is claiming to be low-fat is generally worse for you than it’s full-fat counterpart. why? because they have to put SOMETHING else into it to make it edible when they take all the fat out. this is usually sugar, excess salt, a highly processed oil, or something artificial… all of which do you way more harm than that fat you are trying to avoid. fat = not bad. sugar and artificial crap = very bad. the end. I’ll get off my soap box now.

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