23 April 2007

Modified Elimination Diet: Week 2

The business of having been issued a body is deeply confusing -- it's another thing I'd like to bring up with God. Bodies are so messy, and disappointing. Every time I see the bumper sticker that says, 'We think we're humans having spiritual experiences, but we're really spirits, having human experiences,' (a) I think it's true, and (b) I want to ram the car.
- Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

I had my annual check-up with my primary care physician last week; this was the first time I’ve seen her since I was referred to the gastroenterologist. I gave her a rundown of the revelations of the endoscopy (which was already part of my chart anyway), how I felt rushed out of the office, and that I was being treated by a naturopath for my condition.

She is concerned not only about my weight loss (now up to a total of 25 lbs), but my mental health as well; she wants me to be on the lookout for signs of depression, but understands my reluctance to pop anymore pills.

I will go back to see her once I know the outcome of the naturopathic treatment and see if my issue stems from an evil culprit in my normal (pre-elimination) diet. It was great to see her again, as she is a physician who has a great patient focus, is a fantastic listener, and asks thoughtful questions.

Elimination Diet Dinner of the Week
Flexible, winging it cooking is my style. No recipe, no measuring, going by sight and taste. This dish was born out of me missing pasta sauce (one of my favorite things to do for dinner is brown ground turkey, add pasta sauce, and serve it over oven-roasted green beans). I made a mental note of the main ingredients in pasta sauce (tomato, onion, garlic, basil) and decided to try those ingredients from a garden instead of a jar. This was the result.

This is a little something I’ve come to call “Turkey Pow”, because the flavor goes POW in your mouth! :o)

  • Olive oil (1 good pour)
  • Ground turkey (1 ¼ lbs)
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 large chopped tomatoes
  • Chopped fresh basil (a generous amount)
  • Sea salt (to taste)

In a large saucepan, pour olive oil. On med-high heat, sauté onions and garlic until onions are translucent (about 4-5 mins). Remove onions and garlic from pan.

In the same pan, brown ground turkey. Drain fat and place back on heat. Add onion and garlic mixture back to saucepan with turkey.

To this mixture, add chopped tomatoes & basil. Stir frequently. Lower heat and cover. Allow to simmer 10-12 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft. Add sea salt to taste.

I’ve served it for myself over oven-roasted green beans (I simply don’t care for starch as a part of my evening meal), and even tried it with rice. Mmm!

OTHER SERVING IDEAS (even some for non-elimination diet bellies): try serving with herbed oven-roasted potatoes, pasta, or topping with your favorite shredded cheese (Jordan was a big fan of this addition); I am eager to try it again, substituting mashed tofu for a vegetarian dish.

Adventures in Eating Out
It is hardly surprising that (as far as I can tell) there is no elimination diet-friendly item to be found on any menu in any restaurant. Honestly – who would willingly order it? Following the tulip festival we went to a local brewery for lunch. I braced myself for the warm and savory scents of brewery food and walked through the door.

I made a preemptive apology to our waitress, explaining that there was much I could not eat at present, so I was going to be a difficult customer. I ordered the fish tacos without the taco, without sauce, without a side, but they were willing to compensate for my manifold omissions by adding extra black beans. I advised everything should be as plain as possible.

When the meal arrived, I tasted the black beans (a favorite food of mine) which were accompanied by roasted onions and tomato; something wasn’t quite right. Another bite confirmed my suspicion that the black beans were served in lime juice (and citrus a no-no on the diet). Bummer.

So I had my plain cod and a few bites of cabbage while Jordan hungrily devoured his bleu cheese burger and potato salad. It was just a day earlier that I eyed his raspberry scone with a lustful eye; now the potato salad was the object of my desire (but honestly, I would have settled for being able to eat the black beans). The diet only becomes difficult when I am face to face with something forbidden to me: just like life, isn’t it?

Luckily, I had prepared a lunch (stowed safely away in the car), so I went and gobbled up some of the steamed brown rice once we were safely beyond the enticing scents of the brewery.

Wrapping it Up …
I am feeling fantastic! My stomach feels better every day, further confirming for me that seeking the assistance of a naturopath was the best route for my returned health. Whether from the diet, or the intestinal repair formula (most likely it is a combination of the two), it is working.

There are things I thought I’d miss that I really don’t (breads, oatmeal, cold cereal), but there are things that I miss sorely when I know I cannot have them (like cheese, a glass of wine with dinner, or the occasional indulgent bit of chocolate). But these sacrifices are a minor trade for a body that is getting healthier and stronger.

I thank God, the Great Physician, daily for how I good feel. Good health is a tremendous blessing which I cannot take lightly.

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
His greatness no one can fathom.

Psalm 145:3

I’m in the home stretch now! Stay tuned for Week 3 …


  1. Whoop whoop -- beautiful girl, you ROCK!! This was an awesome update on all fronts (doctor visit, meal recommendations, eating out woes, and body update). So, so glad you are feeling BETTER.

    Kirk and I are headed into a raw foods fast at the end of this week. We're starting it on Thursday so that any low in energy I might feel at the beginning can be cared for over the weekend. So, only fruits and vegetables for us, coming up!

    By the way, have you ever heard of Kombucha? It's a raw, living foods drink that does all kinds of lovely things to your system, like help with digestion, metabolism, immune sstem, liver function, antiaging, cell integrity, etc. You can pick it up at Whole Foods (if you have those up near you). Yumm!

  2. Thank, you Christianne! Feeling GOOD is not lost on me in any way. I feel tremendously blessed, and I feel my old energy returning. Hallelujah!

    WOW, that is awesome about going into a raw foods fast!! How long are you going to be doing that? I'm sure there may be a lag in energy at first, but you will make it over that hump, I am sure.

    I have not heard of Kombucha (and sadly we have no Whole Foods in my area), but I'm sure I could find it somewhere around here (this is a very health-oriented region of the country). Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. I think it could also be interesting for you to take a wild-edibles class with a local naturalist. Wild foods are free, good deal. But they're also SO nutritious. I still worry about all that weight loss. Are you gaining anything back?

  4. That is a terrific idea, LL. I am sure there is a bounty of things to eat within walking distance of my home that I am not even aware of.

    I'm concerned about the weight loss too (5 lbs just last week - a scary amount). I'm going to weigh in today to see where I am compared to a few days ago. It is my hope my weight will reach a state of equilibrium very soon. Thank you for your concern.

  5. Five pounds. Wow. Has anyone considered any of the ailments that prevent nutrient absorption? Sounds like the colon may be letting good things go by without taking them in. (You are doing gluten-free at this point, yes?)

  6. That is a lot, I know. And I am gluten free at this point, yes. My aunt (an RN) is concerned about nutrient absorption, as am I. I go back to the naturopath on Monday and I imagine that if that is the case, it will show up on my blood test. It would make sense with the fatigue & whatnot.

    I'm very curious to see what he'll have to say & what the test will reveal.

  7. kirsten- i'm enjoying the vicarious benefits of this diet....the yummy-sounding and healthy recipes you are posting! :) this one sounds great, too....i, also, like using ground turkey instead of hamburger when i can.

    i love the anne lamott quote.....so true! i'm interested in hearing the blood test results, also, to see if they discovered anything. again, much love, prayer, and continued strength to you......