This post is the second in a series… please read part 1 so this will makes sense.
Week 1 & 2: Project Fix Leaky Gut
What goes around… comes around.
I have become the person who annoyed me my entire restaurant career: “The Substituter.” Imagine not being able to eat anything on a restaurant menu. You search, stare, analyze the ingredients the chef lovingly created for your eating bliss. The server returns five times but the compulsive research isn’t complete. Cursing ensues. Yep, this happened the first time I hit a resto after Project Fix Leaky Gut commenced — at a Spanish tapas place that’s fabulous, Bravas, in Healdsburg, CA. I had a salad (sauce on the side), and some meat without the sauce. Uh huh… how much fun is that? I empathize with vegans now. Kinda.
To cure my food allergies, studies have led me to the Auto Immune Protocol (AIP) regime, which I’ve followed quite religiously for the last two weeks. (PhD in medical biophysics Sarah Ballantyne has been a huge resource: ThePaleoMom.com). I can eat meat, fish (those that I can enjoy without an inflammation eye blow up), vegetables and minimal fruit. Plenty of probiotics are added in to help heal the intestines, including sauerkraut (made my own), kombucha (a new fave), and yogurt made with coconut milk (non-dairy and challenging to find, but possible). A friend called it Paleo on steroids. I found that ironic, yet true.
I will do this for 8 weeks. 60 days. 60 long, long days.
Out the window are: Grains of any sort (no wheat, quinoa, rice, barley, etc.), dairy (cheese… sigh), legumes (beans of any kind, including peas and green beans), sugar (this includes chocolate and natural sugars like stevia), nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant), nuts and seeds, soy products of any kind, corn, sesame and coffee. Green tea is allowed, but in moderate consumption (I’m more of a tea drinker so coffee luckily isn’t a biggie). Also included are eggs, but I just couldn’t relent. The science behind eliminating them isn’t strong enough to support an outright ban, but I’ve still limited myself to two eggs per week.
But the worst? No alcohol. The burgeoning wine rack stares at me while we sit on the couch, and from the kitchen where it’s in sight of me preparing new dishes that snake their way into our nightly repertoire (the oddest things so far: taro root, steamed green plantains, coconut flour). My husband, thankfully an adventurous eater, has been supportive and, by default, is eating what I eat. But he still has a drink every now and then. Only after asking if that day is a particularly egregious day to be drinking in front of me. He misses sharing a bottle of wine with me while I miss the wine… period. The sharing is nice too, but…
Besides eating out (which I swore off of after that first night), breakfast has been a challenge. Eggs are my normal go to in the AM (Crustless Mini Quiches are a staple), plus some fruit and tea or coffee. Since eggs are a treat during Project Fix Leaky Gut, I’ve made some pretty tasty Savory Garlic Coconut Muffins, a recipe generously altered from an AIP Paleo website (shout out to Healy Eats Real), attempted a hash made from green plantains (not a great success yet) and coconut yogurt with fruit. Kombucha and an amino acid capsule called L-Glutamine are also on the morning menu.
Did I mention after I stopped caffeine that I had a headache for 36 hours straight? Ouch. But since I kicked the habit, I feel fantastic every morning.
I admit I expected to feel something more profound after the first two weeks. Other than the caffeine free-ness, I feel pretty much the same. But my sleep patterns are so regular, I can literally set my clock by them. In bed by 11pm and eyes open at 6:38 am. Freakily, for the last two weeks. Can’t explain that one, but it’s new since Project Fix Leaky Gut started.
I didn’t eat much sugar before so that change hasn’t produced revelatory health epiphanies. Sugar cravings aren’t my issue but I imagine they would be for most people. At least, that’s what I’ve read on the website forums I frequent (list next week). If I need something sweet after dinner (when I used to have a couple squares of dark chocolate), I drink ½ glass of 100% coconut water. Scratches the itch. It tastes super sweet too – after you’ve eliminated all processed sugar from your diet, the intenseness of fruit sugar is remarkable.
I’m still keeping on it. More updates and even recipes in next week’s post.