The main crux of the diet is that my gastritis, if not directly caused by the amount of pills I'm taking, is certainly affected by it. I've tried cutting down on my meds (so far, only one looks promising) with my doctor's permission of course, but really it is the supplements where I have wiggle room. Since I'm deficient in certain areas, though, I have to find a way to supplement in my diet, and because I can't eat a lot of food (again, the gastritis, not to mention low metabolism from the medications) everything has to have high nutritional value. I'm replacing the supplements with superfoods.
Problem #1: Lactose-intolerant, also can't have any product that comes from a cow (no beef)
This doesn't seem to apply to my whey protein powder. It's got no lactose, and whatever chemical processes they've done to it have pretty much stripped out whatever 'cow-ness' affects me. These days, this isn't such a hardship with all the milk substitutes around; there are plenty of ways to get one's calcium that don't come in pill form.
Problem #2: Sulfite-intolerant. I have to stay away from onions, garlic, cabbage, broccoli, many fermented foods, wine, pre-bottled lemon or lime juice, and processed corn or potato products. Those are some of the worst offenders. Molasses and dried fruits you can find in unsulfered varieties, but ALL processed potatoes (think frozen hash browns) have gone through some kind of sulphite process to keep them white. And raisins naturally contain sulphites (it's the mold/fungus/whatever that turns grapes into wine) but I've found cranberries make a wonderful substitute in almost any baking recipe. I can tolerate low levels of sulfites.
Problem #3: Allergy to canola/rapeseed oil. Also problems with most artificial sweeteners. Canola/rapeseed oil gives me the worst heartburn feeling almost instantly. It kindof feels like...well, it kind of feels like this gastritis does. Now I'm suddenly wondering if somewhere in my diet I'm secretly ingesting small doses of canola and don't know it. Nutrasweet (blue) gives me an instant migraine and splenda/sucralose (yellow), it does very special things to me, the end result of which involve sitting on the toilet with the trashcan between one's knees. Saccharin (pink) doesn't do anything in particular, other than cause brain lesions but it does that to everyone. By the way, canola is in everything. There are NO breadcrumbs (I use wheatgerm or pecan meal instead) sans canola and NO instant fish sticks. I love Gordon's microwave fish sticks. I remember them fondly from when I was a kid. I would kill to be able to make some sort of substitute I could eat (yes, I know they are barely fish).
Problem #4: Reactive hypoglycemia. This means I'm on a high-protein diet. I can't have any processed sugar, and I'm limited in the amount of simple sugars I should eat. I can only have juice if I squeeze it myself, preferably if I blend it myself, because then it's got the fiber which slows the digestion of it. There should be protein with every meal, and I should never go more than four hours without eating at least a snack.
Problem #5: The Gastritis Itself. The inflammation in my stomach has made complex proteins nauseating and heartburn inducing in large quantities. Eggs are almost impossible. Right now my morning muffin still has one egg in the recipe, but I really am trying to find a workable substitute, because I'm pretty sure that one egg is bothering me. In fact, I may have become allergic to eggs altogether. I can't have heavy, greasy meals. I have to eat several small meals (which isn't a problem with the hypoglycemia). I can't eat much and it's best if the food is cooked down first. Initially, all my vegetables HAD to be cooked, but they've since relaxed that rule. However, I've maintained cooking my vegetables just because my gastritis continues to bother me. The rule was supposed to be relaxed at a certain date; I was also supposed to be better by said date and I'm not. I'm also not supposed to have tomatoes, chocolate, spicy food, onions/garlic (already out), and orange juice (whoops!).
Problem #6: Lysine / Arginine Ratio. Unlike your average person, who should have a high arginine to lysine ratio (they are amino acids that balance each other out), because of other medical conditions I need to have a high lysine to arginine ratio. It keeps those conditions under control, the downside is it makes my healing rate slower overall. In order to keep a high lysine to arginine ratio I have to avoid eating chocolate, nuts (another oops), oats (what??), cereal grains, carob, coconut, and soya beans (not soy products). Foods I should eat include vegetables (except, of course, all those high-sulfite ones), meats, legumes, fish, sprouts (yeshch), and dairy (only, not dairy, because I can't have dairy). Right now, I know my ratio is quite off. I think it's because I'm eating too many nuts (every day). I need to switch up and rotate the crackers & nut butters with fish.
Problem #7: Vitamin Deficiencies. I'm low on vitamin D and folic acid. I'm staying with my D3 supplement, and will probably go for tanning since I've cut the pill dose in half. Having weighed the odds, I'd say my gain (from severe depression for one thing, and moving toward my goal of lowering incidence of gastritis, not to mention a nice tan) is much higher than potential risks (skin cancer, which does not run in my family, and higher costs). The folic acid, however, I'm currently having a problem with. As the diet stands now, (see this entry, I know I'm not getting the folic acid I need, because whenever it gets too low the tissue inside my mouth starts to degrade, until I begin developing canker sores that won't heal. I've got a raw spot on my tongue and one inside my cheek that will continue to get worse unless I can solve this problem. I think it's because I'm blanching the greens, and because folic acid is water soluble it's being lost. So it looks like I'm going to have to start making my own hummus.
Potential Problems: My sister is allergic to tomatoes, citrus fruits, and pecans. Am I next?
THE OFFICIAL TWEAKS
- Adjust the Touch of Bran recipe (my one yummy treat of the day, boo hoo). Look for an egg-less, gluten-free version that doesn't use baking powder (sulfite). Consider replacing the orange juice with something else.
- Find an acceptable substitute for the orange juice in Meal #2 (my algae-berry shake). BTW, I've only been doing a teaspoon of spirulina. I just can't stomach a whole tablespoon yet.
- The snack is really an unlimited serving. I need to make lots and lots, and not just dried lettuce. Want to experiment with cucumber and squash chips as well.
- Meal #3 is going to be a 3-day rotation (all appx. 300 calories).
Day 1: serving of fruit / gluten-free seed crackers / nut butter
Day 2: serving of fruit (chips) / hummus
Day 3: brown rice / fish OR seed crackers / fish
If I stick to this diet, I can pull myself off of a lot of supplemental pills, and even a medication. The question comes up, do I add in a 'cheat day'? Is it worth it? Do I take my medication that day? Or a pain pill before a meal which involves cheating? How much of a setback am I willing to take, if any? Why do antacids seem to make my gastritis worse instead of better? *sigh*