Sugar and Spice

Thinks have been very healthy around here lately….

I’ve had a recurring allergy for a couple of years now and in an effort to clear it up and figure it out I began an Elimination Diet 10 days ago. No dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no soy, no corn, no caffeine, no nightshades, no citrus, no red meat, no eggs and no sugary fruits (read:bananas, dates, figs etc). That’s a lot of NOs for a foodie like me.

There is actually plenty left to eat: quinoa, brown rice, fish, chicken and a cornucopia of vegetables. That being said, a lot of my usual staples have been outlawed. Most preciously, my morning cup of tea. No caffeine equals no black tea (and even if I was allowed caffeine no dairy equals no milk which equals no way in my opinion).

So what’s it like? I think about food a lot more often. I read all of the labels on everything. I eat a boatload of avocados. I make more. I say make because I don’t think of these things as cooking per say, I made hummus last week and I’m making almond milk today. I eat out less (because it’s just too difficult). I have a greater awareness of everything that’s in my food. I only eat whole foods. I sleep better. I find fruit to be extraordinarily sweet. I’m more creative with my cooking. Snacking is more boring. Food is more like fuel. Chocolate is sorely missed.

What’s been most difficult for me has been the social, emotional connection I have to food. A cup of tea is a morning ritual. A square of chocolate is a treat on a rainy afternoon. A glass of Malbec is an indulgence on a Thursday night. A day sampling  coffees, pastries, lunch and cocktails in Brooklyn is a day enjoying some of my favorite things. I’m trying to find these values in my new healthy routine – a green juice is an energizing fix, a cup of warm almond milk with cinnamon is a weekend luxury, a bowl of berries is a sweet way to end a meal. 

I have 11 more days before I begin re-introducing food. But I think my perspective on grocery shopping and eating out will  be a little different from now on. This has made me realize how even a “healthy” person can be out of sync with all of the “extras” that are in their food. Sugar in your almond butter, corn preservatives in your organic almond milk, soy preservatives in your coconut milk. It pays to stay knowledgeable about  what you’re putting inside your body and what brands you can trust.

Consider me enlightened.