Week One Progress Report

So, today starts week two of my elimination diet. Week one went fairly well I think. If anything, it’s forced me to research which plant foods have protein. I have to take my HCL pills with protein at every meal.

Instead of having my gluten-free rice krispy cereal with almond milk, I now have oats with hemp milk, a bit of cinnamon, and maple syrup. As I was looking for another plant-based milk to substitute for my almond milk, I was running into a brick wall. I can’t have any soy products, almonds, or brown rice. So, that’s basically all of my milk substitute choices. If you look, most of your choices are almond milk, soy milk, and rice milk. I don’t want to buy a carton of rice milk and have it be made from brown rice. Then, there’s cashew milk, which is becoming popular now. Cashews are another nut I can’t have on this six-week elimination. Oat milk is another substitute, but it’s hard to find here. But thankfully I ran across some hemp milk. There’s hardly any taste to it, so it’s perfect.

Hemp is packed with protein, as are oats, but a few other benefits hemp has is that they’re full of the nine essential amino acids:

  1. Leucine – stimulates muscle strength and growth, it helps regulate blood sugar, and can even help prevent or treat depression by the way it acts on the neurotransmitters in the brain.
  2. Isoleucine – it helps the body produce energy and hemoglobin.
  3. Lysine –  is important for proper growth, and it plays an essential role in the production of carnitine, a nutrient responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and helping to lower cholesterol. Lysine appears to help the body absorb calcium, and it plays an important role in the formation of collagen, a substance important for bones and connective tissues including skin, tendon, and cartilage.
  4. Methionine – helps form cartilage in the body through the use of sulfur. Sulfur is a mineral essential to the production of bone cartilage and no other amino acid contains sulfur aside from methionine.
  5. Phenalynaline – it turns into tyrosine once ingested, which is another amino acid that’s needed to make proteins, brain chemicals, and thyroid hormones. Not obtaining enough of this amino acid can result in brain fog, lack of energy, depression, lack of appetite, or memory problems.
  6. Threonine – supports a healthy immune system, heart, liver, and central nervous system health. It also helps maintain a balance of proteins within the body to assist in overall repair, energy, and growth. It also helps the body’s connective tissues and joints in good health by producing glycine and serine in the body, two essential amino acids needed for healthy bones, skin, hair, and nails. In the liver it helps with fatty acid digestion to prevent fatty acid build-up and liver failure.
  7. Trytophan – yeah, you know turkey has this, but as a vegan or vegetarian you can get it from other sources. It’s known as the relaxing amino acid, and is vital to a healthy nervous system and brain health, along with sleep, muscle growth and repair, and overall neurotransmitter function.
  8. Valine – also for muscle growth and repair.
  9. Histidine – it helps transport neurotransmitters to the brain and also helps overall muscle health within each muscle cells. It even helps detoxify the body by producing red and white blood cells needed for overall health and immunity.

So, my morning oatmeal hasn’t been too bad. The only thing is that it takes time to cook. So I need to look at finding some overnight oatmeal recipes. That way I can prepare them the night before and just heat it up or eat it the next morning.

For lunch, I’d have either leftovers or a salad with some sunflower seeds, walnuts, avocado, lemon juice, and olive oil. Dinners are usually interesting since just about all condiments are off the menu for me, and the usual spices and herbs are off the list. But they’re not bad. So far, we’ve had meatloaf (instead of the ketchup I used tomato paste with onion powder and garlic powder), sweet potato enchilada, jicama with shrimp, cauliflower sweet potato, quinoa salad, and spaghetti squash with spaghetti sauce.

Sometimes I get really frustrated when I find out something has a food I can’t have. Like last Monday we had a sweet potato enchilada with homemade enchilada sauce. Every time I’d eat it within an hour or so, my stomach would get bubbly. There were black beans in it, but black beans never start to work on me like that. It wasn’t until yesterday when I bought Cook’s Wisdom from the bookstore that I realized what the problem was. You’d think that chili powder is just ground up chili, right? At least that’s what I thought. I read the entry under chili powder and saw that it contains oregano, cumin, garlic, cloves, and coriander. Oregano is a herb I can’t have during my elimination. I never even realized all of that was in chili powder! And I’ve been having this enchilada mix with salads for a few days too! I felt SO unbelievably stupid when I found out yesterday.

Also, if you look at canned tomatoes (whether it be diced, crushed, or whatever), sometimes you’ll see “herbs and spices” along with citric acid. I don’t know what those “herbs and spices” are, and I talk about citric acid in an earlier post. So, I think instead of using canned diced tomatoes, I’m just going to get a bunch of tomatoes and chop them up. I might even try to grow some tomatoes myself this summer and can them.

I miss Asian dishes, so I found coconut aminos as a soy sauce substitute. I was SO happy I saw it even though the small bottle was a bit pricey. Buckwheat noodles are a great alternative to rice noodles. Buckwheat is gluten-free and it’s full of nutrients. Plus, I can get them pretty cheap at the Korean store.

Another frustrating thing is sometimes I crave potato chips or something bad to snack on. Whenever I look at the ingredients of something I think I can have, something that I can’t have that sneaks in. UGH! It’s frustrating. It really is, but then again it forces me to snack healthy. So now, I’ll have an apple, pistachios, brazil nuts, or a banana. I had to throw out me beloved medjool dates. I can’t have any dried fruit because of the mold or yeast that might grow on them.

As frustrating as it is, I’m learning things in the process: I’m learning which foods have protein and I’m learning what’s in the foods we buy. It’s forcing me to eat more healthily. I run 7km every other day and it’s making me take better care of my body by what I put in it. Another added bonus is that I’ve lost two pounds and I’m not so bloated. You know that little pooch us women have? Well, that’s gone down. I thought it would never go down after I had a child, but it’s shrinking…a bit but it is shrinking. The Hubs is happy he’s losing weight. He was actually complaining that he could pull his jeans down with the belt on. I know. First world problems.

So in summary, I’d say that this first week has been good. This week I’m going to make my own vegetable broth because store-bought broth has citric acid in it and soy lecithin in it, which isn’t great for you and it’s a soy-based product. I can’t have anything soy. I’m also looking forward to making some new recipes from my new obsession My New Roots, and a few other sources like Green Kitchen Stories, Sprouted Kitchen, and Nutrition Stripped.

I will keep y’all posted on my progress once a week and will continue with the recipe reviews. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter!

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