An empty plate. Scary image, right? Based on most people’s reaction when I tell them I can’t eat onion and garlic, I imagine that this is what pops up in their head. For many years I thought this was ridiculous. It is not the end of the world to omit these two flavour makers. And to prove the world wrong, I decided to share my allium-free recipes on this blog. But I have to admit that in the past six months the image of an empty plate has crossed my mind more than once. Since my first visit to an orthomolecular dietitian, we established a list of things that upset my body. That list consists of no less than 28 items. And that’s only the amount of things I have to steer clear of. Then there’s another list of things I only tolerate in small amounts. Among them gluten, sugar, dairy, and 32 more items. No wonder that empty plate kept popping up.
Working my way around so many foods is not the easiest thing to do. But enough with the pity party. Most of the items on my list, I already avoided because I didn’t like them anyway. However, I do suspect a correlation between the not liking and the upsetting my stomach. Right before I fell ill last year, I challenged myself to eat more things I didn’t like to eat. And now I don’t have to anymore, I feel so much better. The first three months of my elimination diet I followed the rules strictly. No dairy, no gluten, no FODMAPs. I wouldn’t eat anything on the avoid-list. Even if I knew for sure a fruit or vegetable wouldn’t upset my body. And it made me feel good. Better than I had felt in a long time. However, this way of eating is not very sustainable. Especially if almost all fruits and vegetables that are seasonal in winter are to be avoided. One cannot live from air and water alone. Or lettuce. So I slowly started to reintroduce certain items. A bit hesitant at first, but with some setbacks, I found that if I would keep most items on the list below fifty grams, I will be fine.
So how am I doing now? I am doing well. I hardly spent whole days on the couch anymore because I ate something I can’t tolerate. I have a lot more energy. My constant brain fog has lifted. And my joy for food and developing new recipes has returned. What a difference with a year, even six months, ago. So, for anyone who is struggling with tolerating food, I would highly recommend to see an orthomolecular dietitian. Take it from someone who has struggled a great deal with regular dietitians. Not that I want to discredit them, but if your issues are a bit out of the ordinary – hormonal imbalances, and all IBD’s have been ruled out – I found that’s not their specialty. I almost gave up, and thought I would have to spent the rest of my life without the energy to do anything and accompanied by constant recurring pains. But then I heard someone suggest this type of dietitian for hormonal imbalances in a vlog on YouTube – of all places – and I am forever grateful that this person mentioned this in a by-line.
Not that your life gets easier in a blink of an eye. Getting creative with so many restrictions is not an easy task. And let’s avoid the subject of getting asked for dinner at a friend’s house. Therefore, I decided to create an online cookbook that is friendly to all restrictions my elimination diet gave me. Even though that meant there no longer was a place for some of my favourite recipes. Someday, I will find a way to bring them back in a gut friendly way. Not all recipes follow all the guidelines, but many are easily adjusted. And even if you can eat everything this world has to offer, my recipes won’t be dull. I promise. However, if you make them for your friend that lives with dietary restrictions, make sure all the ingredients are compliant with their needs.
P.S. If you’re looking for an adaptation of a dish, feel free to send me an e-mail. I love to help you out.