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Thu, Mar. 20th, 2014, 10:49 am
Diet Notes

I complain a great deal about my dietary restrictions, and as a consequence, people are often very helpful with their commentary. Or, at least, they mean to be helpful. It seems that about half the time they make an effort to figure out what I can and can't eat, and the other half of the time they just shout out things that work for them, which have little to no relation to foods that I can eat, or no real bearing on my dietary issues.

Mostly, I'm just sick of eating the same old things all of the time. I know that I feel better when I stick to things that are good for me, but a little piece of my soul dies slowly over time. I'm a total foodie. To be deprived of such basic necessities as garlic and onions, horseradish and cheese; it just breaks my heart. That's before I'm forced to constantly imbibe things I'd rather not in the name of feeling better. You take away the yummy foods and then you have to eat mediocre, or sometimes wretched fare, and it's like being on a perpetual diet that is supposed to last for the rest of your life. I'm desperate for alternatives that never appear.

The current conundrum is I have to have an influx of protein at a high level, but I'm limited in my meat levels, because for awhile I couldn't eat meat protein at all and now my body only lets me eat it in small quantities. And, without meat, there are only so many high protein options. There's beans, and there's nuts. And I can't eat nut products by themselves, because they give me heartburn. One does get sick of beans.

Currently, I plan to go back to two whey-protein powder shakes a day, one with berries and spirulina, and one with soymilk, prebiotics and probiotics. The probiotic shake at night isn't so bad, except it makes me gain weight since it's the last thing before bedtime. The afternoon "algae-berry" shake is particularly loathesome to me--it smells like Tetramin fish flakes.

Here's a refresher of all of my other issues, in case anyone has any other bright ideas.

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, kale, most 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. Also, fermented grape products like balsamic or red wine or champagne vinegars are a "no". I can tolerate low levels of sulfites found in some vegetables, especially if I cook them to death.

Problem #3: Allergy to canola/rapeseed oil. Canola/rapeseed oil gives me the worst heartburn feeling almost instantly. It kindof feels like...well, it kind of feels like gastritis does. 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: Allergy to yellow #5. It's also in a number of things, not just candies and lemonades, but pickles and relishes and sauces. I really have to be careful of my condiments or anything processed, even potato bread. A handful of Starburst candies made me puke until nothing but bile and blood came out and I crapped blood for three days following. I'm good with all of the other food colorings, including red #40 and yellow #6.

Problem #5: Problems with most artificial sweeteners and stevia. 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. Both stevia and the chicory root "natural" sweeteners give me diarrhea (do remember that chicory is a natural laxative), although stevia normally has the opposite effect on people.

Problem #6: Reactive hypoglycemia. This means I'm on a high-protein diet, about 60gm a day. 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. My blood sugar has become so out of whack that I'm now trying to ingest more than a full-grown male.

Problem #7: Gastritis and hiatal hernia. There are certain foods you shouldn't eat in these conditions, specifically tomatoes (not going to happen; I don't think I can give up these unless you pry them from my dead fingers), chocolate, spicy food, onions/garlic (already out), and orange juice (whoops!). Initially, all my vegetables HAD to be cooked, but they've since relaxed that rule. However, I've maintained cooking my vegetables.

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, soy, and coconut. 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).

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 either need to supplement above my multivitamin, which I would prefer not to do, or add folic acid rich foods to my diet. 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.

So, I may go back to my "two muffin, two shake, one snack a day" meal regimen" but I don't have to be enthralled about it.

Alternatives to meat that have been suggested have included quinoa and seitan. The quinoa, as it turns out, has the same protein as peas, meaning not nearly enough. It's at least a complete protein, and I can use it to replace a grain, but I would have to eat twice as much quinoa as meat to get the same dose of protein and I just don't eat that much food these days. If I'm working out or really hungry, maybe it would be a good alternative on occasion.

The seitan is a much better idea, although it is missing lysine, which means I'll have to cook it in a soy-sauce rich broth to supplement the lysine. I'll have to be careful about getting low on my lysine if I opt for the occasional meal using this meat substitute.

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