Recently I have been trying out a very restrictive diet to help Shirley test for possible food intolerances. It started off very hard as the choice of foods was extremely limited…
For two weeks we stuck to lamb or turkey with carrots, broccoli, parsnips, sweet potato, courgettes or cauliflower. Luckily fresh herbs were allowed so at least there was a bit of variation of flavour.
Rice was allowed in pretty much any form so Rice Krispies for breakfast with rice milk, rice cakes for lunch with a slice of turkey and so on. Sunflower oil and spreads allowed for some frying and with the addition of some rice flour even gave the option of some baking.
Along with this we were allowed only a few types of fruit, I stuck mainly to pineapple, peaches and bananas. Drinks were also restricted to camomile or redbush tea, no coffee or ordinary tea, water and fruit juice, but only from the fruits allowed so cranberry juice and the occasional pineapple juice.
That seems like a decent list of ingredients to pick from but that was for every meal, breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snacks… Especially when you notice the missing items like beef, bread, milk, ham, eggs, potatoes, pasta, onions, alcohol etc.
After a few days you just run out of ideas of what to cook. Then we seemed to find a rhythm and the days started to fly past…
There was the added bonus that I started to lose a bit of weight without the option of any of the snacks that I didn’t used to be able to resist. This gave me a bit of extra energy which made me feel great and made it all worth while.
When the two weeks were up the idea is to try and introduce a small amount of a new ingredient for two days then have a day with just the basics again to see if you have any reaction to the new ingredient. If you do not have any reaction at all then you can reintroduce that ingredient back into your diet from then on. If you do have any kind of reaction then it stays out until you’re finished so as not to interfere with any of the other tests.
This sounded simple but the list of ingredients to add was quite extensive and with three days for each one the diet seemed to extend well into the future…
Deciding what order to add things back in was quite a challenge in itself. It was quite an eye opener to see which things I actually missed and which I just used to eat or drink for the sake of it.
On our recent trip to Dartmoor we decided to add alcohol after literally months without. The first pint was a very pleasant experience. I only had a couple and then tried a few glasses of wine the following night. It really gave me a new appreciation for it. I wasn’t drinking to get drunk, just a couple of great tasting beverages that happened to give a little lift at the same time. Wonderful…
I suppose this works with a lot of things in life. To get the full appreciation of something you have to live without it for a while. Only then do you realise how much it really means to you.
Surprisingly some things didn’t have the same affect, tea, for example. I used to drink a lot of tea and I always had to have a sugar in it. Looking back I guess I didn’t love the taste in the first place, hence the sugar. When I tried reintroducing tea I didn’t really enjoy it. In fact I rarely drink ordinary tea now I much prefer redbush or camomile just with hot water and nothing else.
I do still love the taste of coffee and I definitely appreciated my first cup. I try not to drink too much of it now though as I noticed a difference as soon as I reintroduced it. A few cups in a day, even early doors, and I struggle to get off to sleep. This can of course be a good thing if I am working late but I do not want to get back into drinking multiple cups a day. I would rather go without until I have a proper urge and then splash out and either make or buy a proper coffee rather than instant.
Something else I have missed is bread. I used to eat a lot of bread. Probably too much to be honest what with toast for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch pretty much every day. Pasta is another thing that I probably ate too much of in the past as it makes such a simple meal but living without it it’s not something that I miss too much.