Monday, September 11, 2006

Friendly Inventions

Boy, am I hungry. Today was the first day of my elimination diet. Last Thursday my stomach freaked out on me (after what seemed to be a perfectly healthy dinner, but heavy on the wheat). It has been hurting ever since, especially when I eat pretty much anything.

So, I am cutting out any foods that could be bothering me for the next month, and then I will gradually add some things back and see how I react. The bad list is partially from Heal Your Headache by David Buchholz, M.D. Eliminating these foods is more for my migraines than my stomach, although I always get nauseous with migraines. The reviewers on swear that the book works miracles for people with chronic migraines, which would be me.

The rest of the bad food list is from Prescription for Nutritional Healing by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C. My friend Hannah gave me this book, which I love. It is a reference book of alternative treatments for a variety of ailments, including dyspepsia (indigestion), candidiasis (yeast overgrowth), and celiac disease (gluten intolerance). I have had stomach and migraine problems for a long time, and my many visits to various doctors have met with little success. The only thing that has worked for me is to modify my diet. I have already identified many problem foods, including beef and dairy (thanks to an inability to digest cow proteins). However, I am mystified by my recent problems, hence the crappy elimination diet.

For the next month, I will be limited to brown rice, millet (I do not even know what that is), vegetables (with some exceptions like tomatoes, corn, and peas), seeds, fish, and eggs. Rice crackers and pumpkin seeds got me through today. I think some people would rather suffer with stomach problems than give up some of the things on my bad list, like chocolate, coffee, cheese, and beer. There is something I cannot bear to give up, though, and that is spicy food. I cannot live without Indian and Thai food. It would be impossible. I cannot tell you how often I think back fondly on my two weeks in India, where I ate amazing vegetarian Indian food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (The picture is of me in India, drinking chai on the train to Agra.) Furthermore, if I could never have Thai curry vegetables again, my passion for this world would be seriously tested. And coconut milk Thai soup. Mmmm...

Surprisingly, I feel less hungry after just writing about food. I may have to write every day for the next month. I guess my imagination is good, almost as good as the real thing (although that may be stretching it). I should be able to go to bed without the hunger pains keeping me up. Maybe I will have a cup of rice milk first, just to be on the safe side.


Marianne said...

Wow you're really changing your diet! Kudos! I have a similar affection for Thai spicy food and Indian cuisine. I must say, the UK has some really great Indian -- I wasn't a big fan until I got here. It must have been great to have the real thing on your trip to India!

Tealrat said...

mmm, I've heard the UK has some great Indian food. the best thing about Indian food in India was the variety, especially for vegetarian food. here in Seattle the selection is a bit limited- you find pretty much the same dishes at all the restaurant.

unfortunately, I had Indian food last night and it did not treat me well. I don't know if it was the spiciness or the way it was prepared. I have been eating kitchari (homemade). it is Indian and is supposed to be good for digestion. it has rice, mung beans, spices, and vegis. it doesn't bother my stomach and it's yum yum! plus, I can adjust the spices to suit me :)