Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Complex Diet

As I have alluded to before on this little blog I have a somewhat difficult diet. My doctor thinks I have a food allergy of some sort. In August she had me take wheat, dairy, sugar, coffee, caffeine and hydrogenated oils out of my diet. But that wasn’t quite doing the trick so in early December I had a food sensitivity test. This is a crazy test when measures how your body responds to 90 different food substances. It is NOT an allergy test. However, according to my doctor, if you have had an undetected food allergy for a long time you system will weaken and it will become intolerant to more and more foods. The food sensitivity test can tell you what foods you have become intolerant too. Then you take all those foods out of your diet for 6 weeks to set you system heal. At that time you start testing the foods one at a time. The idea is that one or more of the foods you’ve tested sensitive too are the root allergy and they others you may be able to have again.

The results of my food sensitivity test were not so great. I showed sensitivity to over 20 foods. Among them are: all dairy (except butter), wheat, gluten, eggs, corn, potatoes, onions, citrus, honey, sugar, molasses, red wine, and shrimp. This is particularly bad because ever since I had to take wheat and dairy out my diet I have been living on corn tortillas, potatoes, eggs and oatmeal, all things I can no longer eat. You are probably thinking right now, “what can you eat?”. I get this question a lot. But luckily there are a lot of good foods I can eat. Sometimes it just requires a little bit of creativity. I can eat meat, all vegetables (except potatoes and onions), sweet potatoes, squash, lentils, beans, rice, fruit and nuts. However, it does make eating and cooking a lot more challenging.

Since my new diet restrictions have been in place I haven’t really been able to follow recipes. I can start with a recipe as a loose guide and alter it as I go. For example last night I made a rice and garbanzo bean chili. Because I had to leave out the onions I added more garlic. I had to leave out the Worcestershire sauce (you don’t even want to know what all is in that stuff) I added a dash of soy sauce. To make cranberry sauce at Christmas I replaced the oranges with apples, the sugar with some pure maple syrup, the white wine vinegar with raspberry vinegar. So it works. But I also have to make up a lot of my own recipes. My favorite recipe I’ve made up so far is a super quick easy chicken recipe that I serve with mashed sweet potatoes and sautéed spinach. It makes such a quick and easy dinner and is super yummy.

Balsamic and Thyme Chicken with mashed sweet potatoes and spinach (serves 4)

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 TB olive oil
2 TB balsamic vinegar
2 Tb fresh thyme leaves
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper

3 large sweet potatoes
Good nob of butter
Salt and pepper

1 bag of fresh baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper

First mix the oil, vinegar, thyme and garlic in shallow dish. Add generous amount of salt and pepper. Pound chicken with meat mallet until very thin. Basically you want it thin enough that it will cook very quickly. Cut each piece in half so you have four pieces of chicken. Place chicken in marinade and turn over to coat each side. Let it sit out in marinade while you continue with sides.

Peel and chop potatoes. Place in pot, cover with cold water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain.

While potatoes are draining heat oil in skillet until smoking. Add chicken pieces.

While chicken is cooking run potatoes through a potato ricer if you have one. If not just mash in bowl. Add good nob of butter and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

When chicken has cooked 3-4 minutes turn over. Cook a few more minutes on other side. Remove from pan and set aside. Add a little more oil to pan, add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Add spinach. Turn heat down to med. Cook spinach just till wilted. Season to taste.

Serve chicken on bed of spinach with sweet potatoes on the side.

*Recipe is by Laura Potter.


  1. Wow. Sounds like you are taking a challenge and rising to the occasion! I wish I was creative enough to come up with original recipes like that. But what's that they say, necessity is the mother of invention?

  2. Oh my goodness - what a challenge!! I admire you for looking at the things you can have and adapting recipes to fit your needs instead of being upset by what you can't have (I don't know that I could be as positive). Nicely done for looking on the positive side - I admire you!

    p.s. Your recipe sounds really good!

  3. Keep your head up. You know what is head of you now. Foods are crazy. Researching with cancer makes you freak out sometimes with what you are really eating. Good Luck with it:)