I received some emails and text messages asking about my diet changes and a lot of questions about what I can eat since I had to eliminate so many foods. I realized how overwhelming that list can be for someone who is just starting an elimination diet, so I wanted to provide a simple list of what I was able to eat during the first 6-12 months of my new lifestyle. I have also created a menu of some of the foods that I ate so that you could get a visual in case you want to make some changes for yourself.
When I first started my elimination diet I used organic honey to sweeten everything. I even put it on my Rice Krispies’ cereal. Some of you may think it’s gross, but it tastes just like adding a tablespoon of sugar. I would also cook sweet potatoes and then sauté them in a pan with organic honey and cinnamon. It tastes amazing! Waffles and pancakes! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like waffles and pancakes. You can throw some blueberries, strawberries or bananas and add a drizzle of honey on top, delicious! There are so many things you can do with organic honey. Cancer thrives on sugar so a great way to starve those cancer cells is to eliminate it completely. Here are most of the foods I ate for 6-12 months. I have incorporated a few new things but not much.
With all the meals listed above there was no calorie counting or portion control. Since I eliminated so many items from my diet, I was able to eat any quantity I wanted. When the doctors asked me how much weight I lost I told them 20 pounds. The doctor asked how long it took and I explained about 3-4 months. Then I looked back at my medical records and found out that it only took about 4 weeks. That’s very fast and not usually recommended but my body was getting rid of all the inflammation which included the 20 pounds that I gained that the doctors just kept blaming on my age. I knew they couldn’t be right because I was gaining weight in my stomach which was not common for me. I had gained more weight than I did when I was pregnant with my daughter. I complained about this to the doctor and she just said, “It’s normal.”
Now I am back to the weight I have been since I was in high school. For me, this is my normal. Not everyone maintains their weight over the years but partially that’s because of diet choices and how much activity they do daily. For me, I have always been active. If I’m not talking on the phone and pacing a hole in the floor, then I’m cleaning my house. If I’m not cleaning my house, I’m doing laundry. If I’m not doing laundry, I’m playing with my dogs. If I’m not playing with my dogs, I’m grocery shopping. If I’m not grocery shopping, I’m cooking and doing dishes. If I’m not cooking and doing dishes, I’m in the pool for an hour or two swimming laps.
I have been active my whole life but the health issues I have were causing a detrimental effect on my ability to do these things. All these activities are more than enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to run to the gym to get results, you just have to stay active. I was forced to make the lifestyle changes to save my life.
There were many days that I cried because of the discipline I needed to have, and the healing process seemed like it was taking forever. For me it wasn’t just about the weight loss. It was waiting every single day to wake up the next morning, use the bathroom, and not see blood in my stool. When you are bleeding internally, there are only two ways for it to come out. You either vomit and you will see blood, or you go to the restroom and see blood. That’s a site that I don’t wish for anyone to have to see because it’s very scary.
I’ve spent the last 1 ½ years doing trial and error and for the most part, planning a dinner with me is not part of my life anymore. What I have found out is that I can generally enjoy going out for lunch if the place can accommodate my order. I try to eat as many organic foods as possible which is not served in the standard restaurants. Chicken or fish with a baked potato is my safe zone. Although the disease is still very unpredictable and even when you ask a restaurant not to cook the food with anything, they sometimes still add margarine or oil and then it triggers a negative reaction for me.
Just recently I tried to enjoy an early dinner with family which landed me in the car halfway through. I asked for the fish to be cooked plain, but they added something, it was probably margarine based on my reaction. I only eat butter, not margarine. I cook with coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil and that is what my system can handle in VERY small quantities.
Part of the other daily battle I face is hypoglycemic episodes (drop in blood sugar.) I can usually only go about 2 hours without eating before my blood sugar drops and it drops fast. I start becoming symptomatic and I only have about a 5-10 minute window to get the right food in me so I don’t pass out. It is very scary when it happens, so I always try to carry food with me. Just recently I went to a dinner party for my husband’s work. I literally had cooked a turkey burger and put it in my purse. The dinner was at a Mexican restaurant and I didn’t know if I would be able to eat anything and I also didn’t know how long I would have to wait for food. This is why I have mentioned before that my struggles are hour by hour.
Your body is a result of what you put in it and the activity that you do. It’s not always easy to make the right choices but what I have noticed about people over the years is that they go for that piece of chocolate cake or ice cream more days out of the week than not. Sugar is one of the worst things that you can eat. It leads to many health issues, including weight gain. So many people don’t know why they can’t lose weight, but I guarantee that if you cut sugar out of your diet alone, within 7 days you will see a difference. Not all sugar is bad for you but there are alternatives to adding the sweetness to your meals. Don’t let the sugar in your life become your poison.
Here is the menu I created. Very simply made with mainly adding only salt for the seasoning and sometimes some paprika. I don’t calorie count, I just eat as much as my body needs. For those of you with Ulcerative Colitis, you would want to eliminate any extras that I added like lettuce or green onion until you have things under control. Enjoy!
Until next time…