As I type, the cauliflower is steaming on the stove. When I finish this post, I’ll have a bowl of homemade chicken soup and some steamed cauliflower. That will be my breakfast, lunch, and dinner today.
The last time I did this was almost exactly four years ago. It worked for me then, so I’m trying it again.
I won’t go into too much detail about this way of eating. It’s a digestive health diet (“diet” in the sense of “food and drink one consumes regularly,” not in the sense of “eating less to lose weight”) for people who have certain specific ailments of varying severity. And that’s all the detail I’ll go into about my digestive health. It’s somewhat similar to the GAPS diet, if you’re familiar with that one.
Diet is a very individual thing. People like my husband seem able to eat anything with no ill effects (except hydrogenated oils…those make him ill), while people like me seem to get a rash or other ailment from practically everything that modern humans consider treats (sugar, alcohol, wheat, ice cream…). Which is why I’m not going into detail about my particular diet. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me.
For the first three years after I started the diet the first time, I did fairly well with it. It even saw me through my second pregnancy without the high blood pressure and swelling I’d had with my first. But in the past year, I’ve really stretched the limits of the “allowed” foods. As an example, an all-day sandwich cookie (a half-inch-thick layer of vegan chocolate buttercream frosting sandwiched between two large, vegan, gluten-free chocolate-chip cookies) once a week is not actually on the digestive health diet. Neither is Two-Buck Chuck or Faux Pep Mo. Finally, the mood swings, fatigue, rashes, anxiety, and myriad digestive symptoms led me to re-commit to the way of eating that had carried me so well through those several years.
All of this just means that I’ve been eating what’s basically homemade chicken soup for breakfast, lunch, and dinner since Tuesday. Yesterday I added lots of probiotics (liquid acidophilus, probiotic capsules, and a fermented coconut beverage) between meals and steamed veggies with each meal.
It occurred to me that I had inadvertently simplified my diet (to an extreme). I make three days worth of soup in one day and put it in pint jars in the fridge. For each meal, I take out a jar, pour the contents in a bowl, and heat the soup in the microwave. I can’t eat out, so there’s none of the looking through restaurant coupons or trying to get the kids to eat something other than pizza, chicken fingers, and french fries.
I feel a little bored with eating the same thing all the time, but even that has a positive side: after three days of nothing but soup and water, the liquid probiotics taste incredibly good.
As much as I crave variety, I feel great already. I have more energy even when I stay up late (before, I could go to bed at 9 for a whole week and not feel rested), I feel calmer, and many of my other symptoms have already improved dramatically. The eczema I’ve had on my eyelids for the past three months (since I accidentally ate “real” feta cheese) is even clearing up.
In addition, I like cooking large quantities and then just heating them up later. It really streamlines my day. I’m wondering if there’s a way to use some of these lessons in simple food prep when I go back to eating a much more varied diet next week.
In the meantime, I’m going to focus on planning my birthday foods. I arranged it so I’m starting the phase with greater variety on my birthday next week. I’m planning meals that are likely not exciting to anyone who hasn’t consumed as much chicken soup as I have this past week, but they’re a source of great anticipation for me. Scrambled eggs for breakfast. Salad with homemade dressing for lunch, either with cooked chicken on top or with chicken soup as a side, if I have some left. Poached fish and vegetables for dinner. Then for dessert: apple slices dipped in a homemade honey/almond-butter dip.
I’m really looking forward to that apple.