I heard about the elimination diet from my grandmother Karen who has several food allergies/insensitivities. The elimination diet is when you exclude pretty much every type of food (except for veggies, fruits, rice, sweet potatoes, millet, quinoa, spices, herbal teas, and unprocessed meats [replace with beans if vegetarian]) for three weeks, then add these food types one by one slowly to see if any symptoms (headaches, skin rashes, digestion problems). She mentioned it in the summer of 2013 and I’d been thinking of doing it ever since.

I don’t really know why. I think it stems back to an experience I had in elementary school. I was at a birthday sleepover party and in the morning my friends were laughing at how much I farted in the middle of the night. One of them mentioned I might be lactose intolerant. I guess ever since that time I’ve wondered, do I have a sensitivity to something? Is that why I seem to have more gas than my peers? So with the month I’m spending with my sister in Iowa City, I thought I’d do the diet and see what changes result.

I went to the Hy-Vee, bought a huge bag of Jasmine rice, fresh veggies, fresh fruit, raw meat, and rice cakes. For the first time in my life, I didn’t step into the snack aisle or the pre-made meals section. I’ve cooked every meal I’ve eaten in the past week because nothing sold in any restaurants (except for raw fruit or vegetables) is acceptable for me to eat.

Dinner salad with mixed baby greens, carrots, shredded chicken with avocado, and balsamic vinegar.
Breakfast rice cakes with avocado and bacon.

So far, I believe this is the only advantage to this diet. I’m still gassy post-meals so I guess that’s just my gut. But at least I’m gaining confidence in cooking quick, simple meals and snacks as an alternative to going out and being something.

Not picture, but a snack I particularly enjoy is the sweet potato baked chips I’ve been making. Simple as anything: slice sweet potato in as thin pieces as you can make, rub a little olive oil on them, place on a baking tin, sprinkle with a little salt. Bake 20 minutes on 400 degrees.

I’m hoping when I start adding back the excluded foods, I’ll maintain a somewhat commitment to healthier eating, by cooking my own snacks and dinners more often than not.