What Am I Supposed to Eat?

Before I get into a bit of a text heavy post, congratulations to Mariah J. for winning the Simply Choices giveaway! Please check your email in order to claim your goodies :)

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Do you ever eat something that just doesn’t agree with your body? Well that was me and sugar, thus why I now mainly sweeten with honey. With my own experimentation I pretty much confirmed that sugar was a trigger for my tummy troubles. But my tummy still isn’t “just right” (let’s leave it at that… TMI) so I sought to learn more about why this is and fix whatever issues I’m having.

A few weeks ago I went to a naturopath to get my blood drawn for a food sensitivity test. They sent my blood to Colorado (or maybe Seattle I don’t remember) and on Saturday I went in for my follow up appointment in order to get the results.

Without getting too technical, the test examines how our bodies react to certain foods. The results show two reactions: how our bodies react while under stress (shown in white on the charts below) and how our bodies react under normal circumstances (shown in grey).

Now… I know naturopathic medicine is not everyone’s cup of tea but my experience so far has been positive, I agree with the philosophy and some natural remedies have been working for me. Read: magnesium oil has been amazing to soothe my running aches.

So what did I learn from this test? Well, my sensitivity to dairy is nearly off the charts…

Dairy

and almonds…

Almonds

and eggs…

Dairy copy

and even coconut…

Almonds copy

Great. Like all my favorite foods. On the bright side, banana and peanut butter didn’t show huge sensitivity — I really would have lost it then. But I still kinda freaked out.

As you know, I don’t eat meat (other than chicken) so greek yogurt, whey protein and eggs (all no-no’s) are huge sources of protein for me. I love almonds, almond milk and almond flour but that’s out too. And clearly no more fluffy coconut flour pancakes either…

WHAT AM I GOING TO EAT?!

Okay I know I may be sounding a bit dramatic but I clearly like my food. I’ve gotten so used to eating and loving these foods that it’s certainly difficult to learn that they are not loving me back. Well the naturopath explained that this might be part of the problem. All of my sensitivities are foods that I eat a lot of; she explained that our bodies evolve to sometimes develop slight intolerances. Oh goody.

So what to do? Ultimately the decision to listen to these results is mine. But, for now, I am going to listen: if I have the power to make my tummy feel better then I want to give it a shot. However, going cold turkey on all of these foods is just not realistic so I came up with an elimination plan of attack…

No collage1. First… eliminate dairy – specifically greek yogurt and whey protein

2. Next… get rid of almonds – raw, milk, butter, flour

3. Then… see ya later eggs

4. Finally… bye bye coconut – raw, dried, flour

I am not exactly sure how I’m phasing these things out — days, weeks, not sure… whatever method is least stressful. The end goal is to be dairy, almond, egg and coconut free for TWO MONTHS. Then re-introduce to see my reaction.

I am definitely nervous, scared, annoyed and frustrated but I am trying to look at the positives… like some alternatives.

  • Vegan protein powder (Vega, Sunwarrior) instead of whey
  • Cashews/pistachios/walnuts instead of almonds
  • Hemp and rice milk instead of almond milk
  • Hazelnut, cashew, pumpkin seed butter instead of almond butter
  • Flax/chia “eggs” instead of regular eggs
  • Chickpea, buckwheat, flaxseed meal/flour instead of coconut

Wow. It feels so much better to write it out. Yay I won’t starve!

I am nervous about the protein aspect. I am going to eat more tofu, lentils and beans. I can still eat the Simply Bars made with soy protein but I also need to be careful not to soy-overload. Guessing I’m going to be cooking a lot more chicken and fish too.

Well, that’s where I am at today. And I want to apologize in advance if my recipes are lacking in the next little while because I think it will take some time to get used to cooking and baking with new ingredients.

If you’ve made it to the end, thank you. Thank you for reading and listening. This was a good reminder that my journey to living well really never ends. We are never perfect, there are always little things to tweak so let’s work on being just right.

 

Questions of the day…

Have you ever gotten a food sensitivity test done? What are your thoughts? 

Do you have any substitution/alternative suggestions for me? Protein?! 

Was this totally boring to read about? 

83 thoughts on “What Am I Supposed to Eat?

  1. Oh wow, it’s crazy you’re sensitive to all these foods and didn’t really realize it! It seems like a lot to cut out, but you’re right that there are tons of good replacements. Tofu and beans are some of my favourite vegan protein sources – and tempeh too! Also edamame, soy milk, and hemp seeds.

    I hope this works out for you and your tummy starts feeling better!

  2. Peanut flour – it is packed with protein and it sounds like since peanut butter was ok for you this might be a winner. That and Nutritional Yeast is also packed with protein and is vegan great for making into a cheese sauce to drizzle on pizza or use in dressings. You should check out PowerCakes blog for recipes featuring both of these ingredients.

    Earlier this year I saw a naturopath and had to give up wheat, legumes, corn and quinoa and she wanted me to limit my intake of white rice. It was hard at first especially the wheat and legumes, but after I found some good substitutes, (which reminds me you should also try tempeh for protein too!) and had stopped having them my digestion felt A LOT better. I had gotten so used to having almost daily feelings of just not feeling right in my tummy to now feeling almost completely normal most of the time. It may be a bit painful in the short term but it is so worth it, you won’t know yourself, promise! :)

    1. I love reading Kasey’s blog! Thank you for all of your suggestions. Great ideas and I didn’t realize how much protein is in nutritional yeast… score!

  3. I couldn’t imagine being allergic to my favorite foods but I think the important part will be making sure you find foods that equally replace them nutritionally and calorically so you don’t accidentally short change yourself in other areas!

  4. I’ve had food allergy tests done before, so in a way they are pretty similar.

    For protein, tuna is a tasty one (especially with grapes on a salad… oh my are those good!). I used to eat brown rice protein powder by the bucket as well to get my protein in. Mixed with some mashed banana, stevia and sometimes a little water (plus baking powder at the end) and you have a fantastically awesome microwave banana protein bread!

    Tapioca starch, potato starch, and arrowroot are all good gluten-free flours that you should look into for replacing coconut flour and making your baked goods still light and fluffy!

    Flax eggs are fun to work with! Excited to see what you come up with :)

    1. Just had tuna for dinner :) ummm absolutely LOVE your idea for the microwave banana protein bread. Definitely need to pick up some brown rice protein powder. Thanks girl

    1. Yup! Beans and lentils are good. I have been having bean salads this week for lunch and planning on cooking a bunch of lentils over the weekend

  5. Wow Amy, that has be so tough to hear. It’s great that you’re being proactive and about it and seeking out new options. I can’t wait to see some of your recipe ideas! I’m sure they’ll be amazing as always.

  6. Oh my gosh, so sorry to hear about all those tummy issues ;( I don’t know what I would do for food either! That’s like ALL of my favorite things to eat. I’m excited to see what you concoct to get around these foods, your recipes are always so yum!!

  7. I’m sorry, Amy, thats a bit difficult to learn. Did you feel insensitivity to almonds initially? That one surprised me. I think the hardest part of those restrictions for me would be the elimination of eggs. I discovered when I was staying at the home of a vegan that the egg substitutions are really delicious when scrambled with nutritional yeast (which contains B-12). But with time you will discover a lot of new options available I’m sure. Tempeh is great and even extra enriched brown rice pasta for adden protein and niacin, riboflavin, etc.

  8. Welcome to the dairy free club! I can’t believe you’re sensitive to almonds and coconut! Good luck I know you will figure out fabulous and delicious substitutes that will become staples in no time!!

  9. Sorry to hear about all your tummy issues! Even with my vegan diet, I still get occasional stomach aches after certain foods. I have been meaning to go get it checked out.. but I’m afraid of what they will tell me! What if I have to be vegan AND cut out almonds, coconut, etc etc! I think I would cry! Haha!

  10. oh wow i have so many questions! i’ve heard of food allergy tests but never food sensitivity tests- i’m so intrigued now. this was a fascinating read. im not quite sure how to read the charts- what exactly is it measuring? so the white is your reaction under stress? what sort of stress? i think its great you’re exploring this. i know you probably dont want to hear this, but maybe work more meat into your diet? ive heard of it doing amazing things for people with sensitive systems. but if you hate that idea, i love the tofu and seeds alternatives! :)

    1. I am going to try to answer your questions the best I can because I am not great with “science”. But basically the test measures how my digestive tract handles these foods. So yes, the white bars are under stress — when our stress levels are above “average.” Eek if it comes to adding more meat I might have to try but right now it is grossing me out (slash has been for like a year)

  11. I imagine it would definitely be difficult to hear you have food sensitivities to your favorite things – you’re not being dramatic, it’s a big change you have to make. It looks like you’re tackling it head-on, which I think is really admirable and overall it’s best for your body to figure this stuff out. You can do it! And no, you won’t starve!

  12. Wow. I applaud you for taking this so well, because I don’t think I could cut out my favorite foods. I do worry about you getting enough protein, but I suppose that you’ll kind of be taking on a vegan-ish diet (plus chicken)…just be careful! I don’t want you to not get enough of what you need!! Maybe consider what Charlotte said about meat? You could try introducing turkey into your diet – still poultry, close to chicken. Also, if you start eliminating foods and then feel better, maybe you can take that as a sign that you don’t necessarily HAVE to take them all out of your diet. Maybe dairy is the main culprit, and you won’t have to stop eating eggs or almonds. I totally support you! I just wonder if it has to be all or nothing.

    1. Exactly. I ultimately don’t think it is all or nothing either. Basically the elimination is like a test in and of itself: get rid of these things for 2 solid months then slowly bring some back and test the reaction. So far I have been okay with protein! Been eating lots of fish, legumes and lentils.

  13. Definitely impressed that you’re taking this so well hun, I can only imagine that it must have been frustrating for you! But, your slow-elimination plan is really sensible and I think you’ll see a lot of success with it, because trying to cut out all of those out at once would be overwhelming. As for other protein sources, chicken and turkey will probably be your best bet, plus there’s tofu, tempeh…and fish/shellfish if you’re open to introduce those to your diet. And no almonds will be frustrating, but at least there’s still cashews! (my favourite raw nut…although cashew butter is pretty fabulous too). Hopefully a little break is all you need in order to lose the sensitivity to these foods.

    I’ve never had a food sensitivities test done before, but it’s something that I’d be curious about. But at the same time, but stomach issues seem to be a thing of the past for now, so maybe it wouldn’t be necessary for me.

    1. Thanks Sam! I love cashews too and I am definitely a seafood fan… I’m getting better at cooking it too :) it definitely seems like you figured out your stomach troubles so I say: if it aint broke, don’t fix it!

  14. I am in the EXACT SAME boat! No eggs, almonds plus beans, legumes, gluten, and dairy.

    I totally know the feeling of what am I going to eat. I’ve cut them out since May completely so I am hoping to reintroduce them soon. I’m happy to help in any way I can – recipe ideas, etc.!

    To be honest it is a pain at times – I really miss going out for brunch (there’s not too much left other than fruit unless it is vegan or gluten free) – but the change it has made in cutting those out is enormous! Really I’ve never felt better! So if you can hang in there it usually is worth it to do so.

    1. Danielle! I was going to talk to you about this. I am very curious if you begin to re-introduce so please share if you are willing. Today I certainly felt the pain… I was out on location for work and I did not bring a lunch… bad idea! I will definitely consult you for some recipes. Thank you friend

  15. Wow girly! I have been looking into having some food tests done for my skin condition I was just diagnosed with about a month ago. I started eating somewhat paleo, cutting out grains and most dairy. A lot of the foods you are sensitive too are all foods they say to stay away from for auto immune issues. I have even cut out the almonds since I noticed they made me itchy everytime I ate them, super sad! I have not been able to give up my eggs yet, which at least I buy organic cage free eggs. If you are cutting out grains and come up with some good breakfast meals that also don’t include grains, I would love to hear them!! ; )

    Good luck on the change sweets!

    1. Apparently, this might help with my skin too! (still get annoying breakouts) so I am totally for checking it out. So far grains are still in and I have been mostly doing overnight oats with added vegan protein powder. I will definitely try and think of paleo breakfasts. Eggs I assume would be the best/easiest bet! Thank you so much for your support.

  16. I didn’t know food sensitivity blood tests existed, so thanks for sharing! For protein, I’d also suggest quinoa and bean. As a vegetarian, I use these foods a lot and they are pretty versatile, which prevents me from getting sick of them. Good luck and I’m excited to hear about your journey!

  17. So interesting to see the results! So sad about almonds though :(

    Try hazelnuts!! They are delicious, and relatively inexpensive; walnuts are yummy too! As for protein, maybe try some tofu? Yin Yang Soy Food (in St. Lawrence Market) makes the honest-to-goodness best tofu I have ever had (and organic and non-GMO to boot!!)

    As for an egg replacement, try making socca; it is made with chickpea flour and tastes ‘eggy’ (from what I remember an egg tasting like anyways!) Here is a great recipe: http://ohsheglows.com/2013/09/15/jumbo-chickpea-pancake-a-high-protein-filling-vegan-breakfast-or-lunch/

    Wow, that was a long comment. Good luck girl; take it on as an adventure :)

    1. I have been loving my hazelnut butter!! Thanks for the suggestion about St. Lawrence Market. You are reading my mind about Angela’s chickpea pancake. It is printed and in my kitchen :) I am going to try and make my own sweet version too.

  18. Sounds like you have a great attitude! I’m sure that if you keep going about it the with the mind set of adding new foods instead of focusing on what you have to take out you’ll keep your spirits up! Plus I’m sure you’ll find some great new recipes to love. Looking forward to hearing how it all goes- good luck!

  19. Oh my goodness – I would freak out if someone told me no more cheese or almonds or eggs! It looks like you came up with some pretty good substitutions though. You’ll LOVE Vega! It’s one of my favs :) I would also try beans for protein. They are a great vegetarian source!

  20. Oh I would’ve had no idea what to eat and started freaking. One of the nutritionists did something similar to me and cut out A LOT of my daily go-tos, specifically greek yogurt and dairy. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea, but I listened and tried it. Now I don’t even really miss it, since I’m eating so many other things all the time ha. Good luck!

  21. Ooooooh my goodness! I’m sorry this happening :( You are taking it really well, though so props to you!! I think you have a great plan of what you CAN eat instead of what you can’t- I think that will be the key to your sanity in the next few months…what you CAN eat and not everything you can’t. Lentils actually have more protein than you think- along with the fiber obviously. I noticed the goat milk was a little lower than all of the rest for your dairy- would you consider still eating goat cheese? Maybe a little wouldn’t be as harmful to you and it can be your backup if you’re really craving cheese/dairy at some point. I think you’ll have a lot of fun playing with new spices to flavor your food! Good luck, darling!! We’re all here for ya…luckily you know you will have no problem finding recipes like you need in the blogosphere!

    1. I actually love lentils! I think I will cook up big batches and have them on salads for lunch maybe. Like 1 cup has 16g of protein which is great. Goat cheese would be the first cheese I’d reintroduce but right now eliminating them all. And you are so right about finding recipes. Currently pinning away!

  22. That wasn’t boring at all–very interesting! I would love to go to a naturopath as I have a very sensitive stomach and just cant figure out whats wrong! Let me know how you like the flax eggs- I have never tried making one. Can you drink Lactaid? I think that has a lot more protein than almond,coconut or soy milk.

    1. I highly suggest it! I certainly learned a lot and it’s always good to know. I am not sure about the Lactaid but I will look into it and let you know about flax eggs too.

  23. Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear this! Good for you for having such an amazing attitude. If it’s any consolation, when I was a kid I LOVED eggs and ate a ton of them … and randomly developed a huge sensitivity. I cut them out for a year (longer than necessary, but my mom wanted to be sure), and now I’m 100% fine with eggs. So, hopefully, your body will react the same way! I really like the idea of going to a naturopath and having bloodwork done, because my stomach is “not quite right” either. Hang in there, girl! (And ps – this was TOTALLY interesting, would love to hear more about your journey!)

    1. Megan that’s so reassuring to hear. I have heard of that happening in the past too so maybe I will be able to eat eggs again soon. Thank you for your support and I will definitely let you know how things go.

  24. Awwr girl… Sorry to hear about all the sensitivities. I know it can suck to have to get rid of some of your favourite foods, but if you focus on the things you CAN eat and the fact that the elimination makes you feel so much better, it’s really not that bad — especially once you get the hang of it and come up with tasty recipes that you love.

    I’ve never had a sensitivity test done, but I’m super curious. I’ve been dealing with some of what I think are allergy related skin issues, but I can’t figure out what the heck is causing them. Ugh. So frustrating…

    1. Definitely frustrating! I’d certainly suggest getting one done if you can. I just triple-cross my fingers that it isn’t almonds (butter) for you :)

  25. Oh my gosh, that sucks! You’re totally allowed to be upset about it. Guess you’ll be eating a lot of beans?! I’m sure once you get into the groove of your new routine you won’t miss those foods as much. In the meantime, I didn’t see wine on your list so there’s always that…

  26. I’ve heard mixed things about those sensitivity tests, so I like your idea of giving it a shot and then seeing where you are in a few months. There’s nothing wrong with doing a little personal experiment — maybe you’ll find out you can tolerate a few of the things the test says you’re sensitive to! I’m sure it won’t be easy but it sounds like you’ve got a good plan. Good luck!

  27. Wow that’s crazy your stomach is so sensitive! I’m sorry about that. I would like to take one of those tests (but maybe not because I’d be scared) because I get bloated pretty easily. Anywayyyy, I’m glad you made a list of things you can eat instead :) When things like this happen I always think to myself….someone out there has it worse….and that usually puts things into perspective.

  28. Hey buddy, sorry I’m reading this so late, I blame bloggers who post when I’m asleep :p

    That must have been so frustrating to hear that and with all those restrictions. From personal experience, I had something similar happen however with Oats of all things- and we found out through the doctors and natropath that it was because I was eating it SO much (e.g. two meals a day would be oatmeal) I actually developed an intolerance from it! so maybe after resetting your body and stopping it for a while it may be beneficial- for me I reintroduced it in small doses and its been fine- just not as my main carb source!

    I was going to suggest peanut flour as a flour alternative- I use it often and its quite mild. Growing naturals make a well priced, good tasting protein powder! I know that Madison (Eating4Balance) has some experience with intolerance’s so maybe give her a shout? Hope it gets sorted soon!

    1. Hehe oops sorry! That is very interesting about oats, maybe I am in a bit of a similar boat. Jan also suggested peanut flour so I am going to order some online and Madison gave me a great idea about using brown rice protein powder (and making it into banana bread in the microwave… experiment!) thank you for your support friend!

  29. I can’t imagine having to give up all those good foods. I respect you so much Amy for following through with the elimination “diet” and seeing how you feel both physically and mentally. Of course it’ll be hard in the beginning (isn’t it always?), but the end result will be worth it. <3

  30. Ugh food intolerances and sensitivities are no fun at all, and I can definitely relate. The last few years have been one big experiment for me sinceI have never officially gotten the tests done, so I just have to try out foods to see what my body can and can’t handle. There are plenty of foods you can still have though so this will just encourage you to be creative with your meals. :-)

  31. I’ve had food allergy testing done before too and its a real eye opener! Some things I was surprised by were pineapple, watermelon, and milk as well. I still eat pineapple and watermelon in the summer, I just make sure not to eat a ton of it. Even though some of your protein sources have been eliminated from your life I’m glad you’re not hopping on the soy train! It’s ok in small amounts, I usually only get soy milk when I go to starbucks because that’s the only non-dairy milk they have, but the key is to stay away from processed soy in large amounts. Very informative post Amy!

    1. Thank you Kathryn! Yes soy does seem like a touchy subject but, as you said, in moderation it is okay. I think organic, non-GMO tofu should be a safe bet once or twice a week too. I’d love for you to do a post on it if you want :)

  32. I went through the exact same situation when I became a vegetarian in the beginning of the year. I pretty much lived off tofu, greek yogurt, whey protein, feta cheese and eggs as my protein sources. Well, turns out this made me EXTREMELY lactose intolerant because I was eating so much dairy. I’m no longer a vegetarian but I’m still pretty dairy sensitive… I can handle things like frozen yogurt but still get bloated when I eat pizza, ice cream, etc. I had to completely stop consuming whey protein because it puffs up my stomach like a blowfish. I switched over to SunWarrior (chocolate and vanilla are both absolutely delicious, so don’t worry!) and absolutely LOVED it! Also, be so, so careful with eating tofu (even organic)/soy in general. Since I was eating so much tofu and soy for my protein, my thyroid gland became enlarged. Luckily, we closely monitored it and nothing happened but the doctor said it messed with my hormones and that I needed to stop consuming soy if I wanted to have kids some day (scary, right?!) Good luck!!! You’re really not in that bad of shape since you can still have PB & bananas ;-)

    1. Thank you so much for sharing girly and yes that is pretty scary… very glad you monitored it closely and took care of yourself. I am LOVING Sunwarrior protein powder. I had it in my overnight oats this morning and am sold. Going to buy a bag of vanilla later today. Do you use the vegan or the vegetarian version? I haven’t tried the vegan yet

  33. Ah, I’m so far behind on blog reading! As you know, I TOTALLY hear you on the food sensitivity front, since I have a whole chart of things that I can’t eat. I think your plan is perfect though. Once you cut everything out, you’ll be able to test things out to see just how much you can handle of which things without it bothering you. AND as an added bonus, you will feel much better. Whenever I’m missing apples or bread or something I just remind myself how terrible I used to feel every day.

  34. That is a big, immediate annoyance to deal with, but I know it will make you a better and more versatile chef in the long run to learn to cook without these ingredients. I hope you are able to reintroduce some or all of those foods. For me, I have never been able to tolerate oranges or peanuts my whole life, so it’s not something I found out about as an adult and had to adapt to. And the results of eating those are bad enough for me that I’m not tempted. There are other things, though, that I feel aren’t the best for me but have no dramatic bad effects (like dairy) and I haven’t eliminated them, just cut them down to small and occasional servings.

    1. Thank you Mary – I certainly I hope I will be able to reintroduce some of these foods in the future. Interesting about oranges and peanuts! Life is about adapting right? Seems like you are doing a good job of listening to your body :)

  35. Wowza. I’ve always wanted to do a food sensitivity test. I know there are certain things my body doesn’t agree with like, certain veggies, sweeteners etc…

    Have you considered taking a lactate for dairy?

    I’m interested to learn how your body will react to the phasing out/in and how you will feel overall!

  36. just curious…did your naturopath say anything about eating these foods when you feel like you are not experience stress and how the body’s reaction might be different? just trying to understand the difference in the white/gray bars

    1. Great question! At this point, I am steering clear of my “red flag” foods (eggs, almonds, dairy, whey, coconut) in both situations (stressed and not stressed). I did not post all the charts but some fruits (blueberries and cranberries) showed much more reaction when under stress so I am trying to limit those. I hope this makes sense but feel free to email me :) it’s nearly been a month so I am going to write a post on how I’m feeling soon.

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