Road trip success…

Despite temptation after temptation, Pat and I held up and persisted through our road trip with our food! It wasn’t easy, but we did it. So far, I have lost 5 lbs., Pat has lost 9.2. We are into our third week now and all is going well!

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My blogs collide…

So, I have a road trip blog called “Road Trip Memories,” which, as the name suggests, chronicles my road trips. Well, this weekend, that blog and this new elimination diet blog will have something in common…I am going on a road trip while in my second week of the elimination diet. Crazy? Yep. Feasible? It is my hope…so in a few minutes, I will be off to pack. Not only my typical items, but food too! I’ll be bringing a big cooler filled with acceptable foods, along with some cookware. I don’t have a specific plan at the moment, I’m going to throw a bunch of stuff together and hope it works. If I can get through this weekend, I’ll make it the remaining two and a half weeks with no problem!

At this point, I’m planning on bringing:

  • Fruits
  • Cooked chicken breast
  • Rice crackers
  • Hummus
  • Almonds, walnuts & cashews
  • Buckwheat pancakes
  • Herbal tea
  • Agave nectar
  • Rice
  • Glazed carrots
  • Chicken & tuna salad
  • Homemade chicken soup
  • Waldorf salad
  • Tossed salad w/ balsamic vinegar & olive oil
  • Stuff to make smoothies

Then there’s the George Foreman grill, single electric burner, skillet, blender…not sure what else, but not too much more! Sheesh! I had to trade my Toyota Corolla for my mom’s mini-van this weekend just to have room to bring all of this! I guess I’ll make it up as I go…wish me luck! Our typical road trips always consist of burgers, fries, and cokes. So this one will be quite different, indeed!!! Yes, I AM nuts…

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Mock Sour Cream (Dairy-free)

One of my allergy books has a recipe for mock sour cream. No dairy, no eggs! It is made from cashews…can you believe that? Well, it’s true. Below is a link to the same recipe as is in my book. It can be used in place of sour cream, or as a substitute mayonnaise. I found it worked well in my creamy cucumber-dill soup, and you could probably make a creamy salad dressing from it…the possibilities are endless!

Of course, being made from cashews, it’s not low-fat, but take heed: cashews have less fat than other nuts. Plus, the fat is monounsaturated fat, a “good fat,” that helps lower LDL cholesterol, raises HDL cholesterol, and lowers triglycerides. So enjoy this without guilt!

RecipeZaar: Mock Sour Cream (Dairy-free)

In the link, it calls for rice milk, which is just what I used. The original recipe used soy milk, but the elimination diet Lori and I are following excludes soy. Depending upon the consistency desired, for a thicker result, I would recommend either slightly more cashews than listed in the recipe, or a bit less on the liquids. Also, be sure to use canola oil, which is allowed on the diet; whereas vegetable oil is not.

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Roasted Carrots with Agave-Balsamic Glaze

Here’s an awesome recipe for glazed carrots that works with the elimination diet. It uses agave nectar, which is much lower on the glycemic index (Agave nectar: 15 g sugar per 1 tbsp. vs. Honey: 60 g sugar per tbsp).

Kaylyn’s Kitchen: Roasted Carrots with Agave-Balsamic Glaze

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Embarking on my elimination diet journey!

Well, I’m starting this elimination diet, inspired by my friend Lori. Hearing about her success in weight loss, as well as trying to identify food intolerance / sensitivities, and just eating healthy, whole foods, sounded appealing. I have always wanted to eat well, and competing issues with food always made me wonder what way to go when trying to eat a healthy diet. Do I eat to help lower cholesterol? Lose weight? Reduce acid reflux? By the time you try to combine all of these competing interests into one diet, there seems to be little left to eat!

The elimination diet eliminates the following groups of foods (which are typically the most popular allergens) for 30 days:

  • red meat (including beef, pork, and lamb)
  • gluten (barley, rye, oats, wheat, and spelt)
  • dairy
  • soy
  • sugar
  • caffeine (coffee, tea, and anything else containing caffeine)
  • eggs
  • corn
  • nightshades (all peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes)
  • peanuts
  • alcohol

While the elimination diet is pretty strict for the first 30 days, after that period, begins the reintroduction period, where you bring back each group methodically. You add back a single food group for the first two meals of the first day. You record any adverse reactions to that food group. If you have none, then on the 4th day, you can try the next group. If you do have a reaction, after any symptoms have resolved, you can move on to the next group.

So far, I have not suffered on this diet. I posted three links under the “books” link section, which are helpful in guiding me. Lori has been through this for a couple months now, and is helping me immeasurably! Thanks so much, friend!

Lori mentioned wanting to start a blog, and since I already have one with WordPress (Road Trip Memories), I suggested the possibility of collaborating on one. Lori’s computer has sadly crashed, but hopefully she’ll be up and running by tomorrow.

Today is my 6th day and I have so far enjoyed making alot of satisfying, tasty food! So far…

  • Rice pasta with zucchini, onions & tossed in herbs, balsamic vinegar & olive oil
  • Chicken salad (made with mock sour cream)
  • Waldorf salad (again, with that terrific mock sour cream!)
  • Baby carrots glazed with balsamic vinegar and agave nectar
  • Banana bread (no eggs, gluten, dairy or sugar – but plenty of taste!!)
  • Grilled whitefish
  • Baked chicken
  • Roasted veggies
  • Cream of rice cereal with raisins, cinnamon & lightly sweetened with agave nectar
  • Sweet Potato Delight (sweet potatoes with bananas, toasted pecans & agave nectar)
  • Creamy cucumber-dill soup (yet again, there’s the mock sour cream!)
  • Chicken & rice soup
  • All the fresh fruits I can eat
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Dairy-free Creamy Cucumber-Dill Soup

This one may be hard to believe, but I did make a creamy cucumber dill soup that’s dairy-free. I used “Mock Sour Cream” from my book, The Complete Food Allergy Cookbook, by Marilyn Gioannini. I found that someone posted it online, and it can be found at the link above. The recipe in the book calls for soy milk, but since soy is one of our eliminated foods, I substituted rice milk (like the person who posted, they too, used rice milk).

I didn’t really have a recipe to follow, none seemed to be what I wanted. I wanted a hot soup, or that could be chilled, if desired. So I kind of made this up (not something I typically do!). It tasted great to me!

2 cucumbers, peeled, halved and seeded
4 tbsp. onions, finely chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp dill weed
salt, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
2 tbsp. brown rice flour
2 tbsp. arrowroot flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
3 c. chicken stock (if following the elimination diet, make the stock yourself, or find a brand free of allergens**)
1/4 c. mock sour cream

  • Peel cucumbers, slice lengthwise, and scoop out seeds. Slice thinly.
  • Heat olive oil in sauce pan. When hot, add onions, cook covered for 2 minutes over medium heat.
  • Add cucumbers and cook for 5-6 minutes. Add seasons, flours, xanthan gum, and stir.
  • Puree this mixture in a food processor or blender.¬† Return mixture to saucepan, add chicken stock, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.
  • Add 1/4 c. mock sour cream and stir. Serve hot or if desired, chill and serve cold.
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Welcome to our blog about healthy eating, primarily based upon the elimination diet. We’re not sure just what this blog will contain, but it will chronicle our (Lori & Jennifer) experiences with the¬†elimination diet, ideas for meals, recipes, shopping, reading labels, etc.

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Getting there…

After losing 10 pounds last year, I kind of lost my motivation to lose weight. I haven’t been grossly overweight, but I was pushing 50-60 pounds more than I should be. After again having the new year’s resolution motivation, I lost 25 pounds this time by simply walking. I still have 20-30 to go and it’s been challenging. My foot got infected back in May and I couldn’t walk (exercise-walk) for 4 or 5 weeks. Getting out of the habit is a bad thing, I need to get back walking. At the end of August, I was just about ready to do that…I actually got a jump start with a trip to New York City. Walking there is a no-brainer, when you spend a good day in NY, you have to walk. We took the subway alot as we usually do, but I still managed to get in more than 29,000 steps (11.74 miles)! Unfortunately, my right big toenail, which was already cracked from when I first started walking, couldn’t handle the intensity. It slowly started getting bruised underneath the nail, which worsened throughout the first week of September. By last weekend, it was so dark and painful, I knew it wasn’t going to get better. Bottom line, I lost the nail and it’s healing now. So, once it feels better I’ll be back walking. I enjoy walking around downtown Indianapolis, but when the weather doesn’t cooperate, I enjoy Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home DVD’s. They are awesome!

I am feeling motivated now…my daughter, my mother and I attended the “Speaking of Women’s Health” conference in Indianapolis on Friday. It’s a wealth of information on women’s health issues, health screenings, informational seminars, and great giveaways!

Goal 1: Lose the rest of the weight by the end of the year. At 2 pounds a week, that’s do-able!

Goal 2: Improve my cholesterol numbers. They are abysmal!! I knew this from last year’s conference. Now I have to start working on it…I’m going to eat more oatmeal, reduce my sugar intake, take green tea, fish oil, turmeric and most important – walk! However, while I am hoping on an improvement, I am afraid that heredity will be fighting me. My whole family has high cholesterol, but everyone’s otherwise healthy: my grandmother’s total cholesterol is over 300, and she’s over 101. Go figure!

As far as endo, other than some occasional mild tenderness and occasional twinges, things are still going well since my surgery 4 years ago. :)

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A weighty problem

Part of the problems I had with endometriosis and adenomyosis prior to the surgery, were intense pain and cramping, and problems with eating certain foods. I have always had a marginal digestive system, but endo / adeno really made it worse. I was excited about feeling better after the surgery, and could have started exercising afterward, but I don’t really like to exercise. I have plenty of exercise tapes and DVDs I enjoy, but I have a real motivation problem! About 15 years ago, I’d exercise alot, but I wasn’t interested in many of the things I currently enjoy doing – cooking, Italian heritage, genealogy, Italian lessons, photography, computer graphics…the list goes on.

At the time of my surgery, my weight wasn’t too bad. I had done Weight Watchers and had gotten down to only 10 or so pounds above my ideal – by diet alone, because I really couldn’t exercise due to endo / adeno. So, weight loss wasn’t as much of an issue as recovery from surgery and focusing on that. As well as I have felt after my surgery at the Center for Endometriosis Care, the problem I experienced was that because I could “eat anything I wanted ” (see my entry of September 15, 2004), I did… and before you know it, weight gain creeped up on me while I wasn’t paying attention. I wish I had been paying attention, because 40 pounds later, I was feeling it!

I was having trouble breathing for the past year (2006) and just generally miserable about my shape. So, I went to the doctor at the beginning of January and she gave me an inhaler to help me breathe so I can exercise. I couldn’t do the Tae Bo tapes or DVDs I had, they were too intense for my non-existent level of fitness. The hope is that as I exercise and lose weight, breathing will be easier. So far, I have lost 10 pounds and I’m starting to feel a little better already. I’m looking forward to being my old self! At least now I can exercise and not deal with the endo and adeno, and the inhaler helps with breathing. The motivation part was my biggest issue….but I found a new activity that I enjoy and can do for a long time because it’s so fun.

I have a Playstation 2, and last Christmas (2005), I bought one of those DDR dance pads for my daughter…well, I ended up using it more than she does! The first game I bought, DDR Max2: Dance Dance Revolution, has pretty good dance moves, though it can be difficult to get the hang of. The only drawback to the better DDR games (at least if you aren’t in your teens or 20′s, ) is that the music is current dance club music. I like that to an extent, but after a while, it all starts sounding the same, so that’s the only thing that got me bored with it. I thought the game concept could be so much better if they had a wider variety of music….enter a game called Dance Factory. This Playstation 2 game works with your own music CDs, so you can dance to any music you like. Unfortunately, it’s not perfect by any means; the auto – generated dance patterns aren’t really like dancing, just synchronized foot stepping. I’m sure DDR aficionados would find it’s simplistic patterns to be too easy and clunky. Someday, I am sure they’ll come out with a better version of the game, but for the time being, it gets me moving to music I enjoy, and helps me lose weight. Dance Factory helps me achieve that goal, so I’m fine with it!

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A quick update

I haven’t updated this in a while, and with as many visitors as I get, I thought I’d make an update to be current. I’m still feeling very well, and so glad I had surgery at the CEC!!

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