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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

The Elimination Diet

 

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So I’m on day three of The Elimination Diet here. This is the first thing I cooked for it. I used coconut oil with butter flavoring for the first time. I think coconut oil has an after taste that I’m going to have to get used to…

Let’s go to the beginning of this very long journey. I have been suffering from stomach pain for a lot of my life, but for some reason this year the pain intensified 10 fold. I started having a constant fever in the 37.5 range from January this year, and it took me 2 months to get a referral to a larger hospital. There, I was referred to many specialists and finally a rheumatism doctor.  She came to the conclusion that my debilitating joint pain was from bacteria entering my system, raising my temperature and causing my acute arthritis. I was told to give it 2 months and I should go back to normal…

While my joints did improve my stomach did not. This year my parents came to visit and noticed my stomach pain and how it was interfering with my daily life. My mother consulted with her friends before her arrival and they all said it sounded like their symptoms when they had Helibactor Pylori (H. Pylori)  Before my mother’s arrival in the country I talked to my Stomach/Intestines doctor and asked to be tested for this. He told me that insurance did not cover the testing and that it was so unlikely that I had it that it would just be a waste of my money. Well, he’s been taking care of me for the past 3 years so I thought… if he’s that confident.

Well guys…. My mother came into town, came with me to the doctor and demanded that he do the test. The day her flight took off for home I got my results. POSITIVE for H. Pylori. Mother knows best! I learned an important lesson that day. Doctors PRACTICE medicine. And there are constantly new studies. My friend also made an excellent point. Not everyone presents symptoms in the same way and a lot of studies (the older ones) are based on caucasian males. Which I am not. So, I have to be my own strongest advocate for my health.

I picked up and moved doctors and the one that I have now, my GP is awesome. For the better part of this year, I have been trying to tell doctors that something is wrong. No one was willing to listen to my entire story. The first visit I had with my GP he asked me, “So, what’s going on?” I said it’s a bit of a long story… He said “The story is important so that I can diagnose you.” I about cried ya’ll. Doctors… please treat your patients like people. Those of you that do, keep it up! The person as a whole is important for the diagnosis.

I was sent after my first visit with my GP, directly to get an MRI. That was an experience guys. I had no idea I was claustrophobic until that moment. I had my second endoscopy and first colonoscopy about a week after. Something magical happened after the stuff I drank for the colonoscopy and all was… let’s say clear. I finally had relief from this constant stomach pain. I thought it was just after eating, but no… It was always there. I felt real hunger for the first time in a long time. I didn’t even know I wasn’t really feeling the sensation… I was so used to this pain that I would eat based on time. I DIDN’T REALIZE I WAS DOING THIS.

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I suspected a food allergy for some time, but as I told my GP, I couldn’t figure out a pattern. The relief was immediate after drinking the nasty colonoscopy stuff. I ordered The Elimination Diet book and skipped the detox. Sort of figured I had the best detox you could get.

IMG_0310I will say, I OVER-PREPARED for this. I bought all sorts of coconut oil and coconut aminos. I haven’t used it but once. Japan has prepared me for this diet. I’m telling you. It gets old, but I’ve mostly had salmon, veggie stir-fry and brown rice. The stir-fry is so easy. On high heat using olive oil toss in the veggies and salt and pepper at the end. It also reheats really well.

Now the brown rice (genmai), that took a lot of trial and error. I was not looking forward to this part because I’ve tried it before and HATED it. It’s always dry and harder than normal white rice. This time, I had no other choice so I did my best to google in Japanese the best way to make brown rice.

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I used 2 cups of dry brown rice. This was during the trial period still. The line says two on it but I filled the water up to the red line I drew in, to get the perfect texture. Don’t forget the salt!

Here is what I learned:

  1. Wash throughly.
  2. Let it soak for at least 8-10 hours. (The website told me 6… no it was still hard.) Rice still tastes really good reheated from frozen so make extra.
  3. Add more water than the rice cooker says. This part will require trial and error on your part, because it will depend on your cooker.
  4. Lastly, add some salt. I add about two pinches for 2 cups of dry rice. The website said that it makes it more like sea water so it reaches the core and fluffs up the rice better? IDK but it did make the difference. No the rice does not become salty if you add in the right amount.

IMG_0372The other go to recipe I enjoyed I got from Pinterest. Part of this diet means that I can’t use the chicken stock cubes over here, so I made my own stock. But this was delicious and had real staying power. I was full for the whole day!

https://www.aspicyperspective.com/chicken-detox-soup/

Anyhoo, while on this diet I haven’t had stomach pain, but I am tired and stressed. The book clearly says that you will have to plan your life around eating. They were not joking. When I’m told I can’t have something, it makes me want it even more. Even food I didn’t normally eat! I want it now. But the stomach pain is finally gone and I am going to push through this diet and find the culprit. I’ll be updating on my Instagram account how I’m doing. Follow the rest of my journey there. As of this moment I’m on Day 15 and starting reintroduction. I’m doing this diet from Japan, so a lot of the stuff I get my hands on will be from this location. Any recipe ideas you have or stories you want to share, please do. This is not an easy journey to do on your own. I had trouble finding a community so I’m just going to put this out into the world and hope people come together!

Follow me on Instagram @thingsonhermind

*It’s a bit sparse with the posts… I’ll work on it. But honestly, from here on out most of my stuff will probably be on there as it’s easier than writing out a post on wordpress.

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Balsamic Chicken and Mashed Potatoes

Balsamic chicken <—– Link to the recipe!

This was tonight’s dinner! This is a recipe that I got off of Pinterest. It looked easy enough, and now it is part of my weekly rotation! It’s quick and delicious and goes with just about anything! My nearby store didn’t have much in the way of veggies; I was planning on a spinach salad, so I went with what I had! Onions and Potatoes!

My friend boiled them together when she made them and now that is the only way I will eat them!

Here we have 3 large potatoes and one tiny onion with some salt and pepper. Boil until the potato slides off the fork and drain!

I added some more salt and pepper to taste then threw in some garlic powder. I love me some LOTS of garlic! 

I crowded the pan here because I was lazy, but I recommend doing this amount in two batches. It gives you a better sear on the chicken. And the final product. Meat and potatoes! Hopefully I can drag myself to the actual grocery store tomorrow and get some fruit and veggies!

The link to this recipe is at the top of the page. I strongly recommend you try this recipe out! It’s absolutely delicious!

Sangria 

I had a hard week a couple of weeks ago and I thought I deserved some alcohol. I decided I didn’t want to go for the canned stuff although they are really good over here, so I made a quick sangria. I thought it would be more complicated but it’s like a smoothie only the base is wine and you don’t blend it. HA!

I used what I had on hand so my frozen strawberries and blueberries went in there. I also sliced up some oranges and threw those in. I added a bit of honey to sweeten it and I let it sit for a couple hours then decided it was time. I splashed in some Mitsuya Cider which is similar to Sprite and TADA! A 2 hour Sangria! It was good too. Just what the doctor ordered. 
  

Daily smoothies again…

It’s summer here in Japan, and it is HOT! I have made my way to Costco and purchased frozen strawberries and mango in bulk. While my Freezer is TINY, these are necessary for having a daily smoothie at a reasonable cost. Recently my favorite is strawberry/Mango with a couple blueberries thrown in there to make it a nice purple. I use milk and yogurt as my base and sweeten it with honey. I add the fruit first. Then milk, and put yogurt on top. Then I dribble the honey on top of the yogurt. Why… well the honey, if it touches the frozen fruit, doesn’t blend well. It gets hard, and sticks to the side and you add more honey and waste what sticks to the side. I paid 3,000yen for that honey. I’m going to be stingy and smart about how I use it. (If you look closely you can see a glob of honey in the photo.)

**Oops forgot! I see a lot of recipes that add ice cubes. I am personally not a fan. I think it waters down the flavor and the frozen fruit works just fine to make that perfect smoothie consistency for me! But, that’s the beauty of it! You can add whatever you want!

Stay cool and hydrated everybody. The summers just keep getting hotter! 

Tamagokake-gohan

I mentioned the other day about tamagokake-gohan. When abbreviated TKG. I just couldn’t wait to give the garlic soy sauce a try and it was delicious. It was completely different from the plain one. I totally recommend it! It raised the level of this simple dish times 10!

The one in the photo is a bit frothy because I didn’t have enough rice in it but delicious all the same.

**WARNING**

Some countries tell you not to eat eggs raw but in Japan it is normal. Please be safe and follow the guidelines of your country and know what eggs you can eat raw and which you cannot before trying a recipe like this one.

  

Garlic soy sauce

I got my hands on some raw garlic. Usually the ones at the grocery store have been dried a bit. These were not so they stank. Let me tell you! I’m a huge garlic fan but Wooo!

So I was thinking about ways to use it and my coworker said her favorite for garlic that was just pulled out of the ground was to soak them in soy sauce so I can make garlic soy sauce! I don’t know if I’ll be able to use the cloves I put in there or just the soy sauce but I’ll update you and let you know.

I’m excited to use it in a number of ways, but my number one way might be with tamago-kake-gohan. This is where you take rice, crack a raw egg in it and add a drizzle of soy sauce. In this case I would use my garlic soy sauce.

Now,  I realize in some countries eating raw egg is dangerous. But in Japan, it is normal. Please make sure you use the proper eggs before trying that particular recipe at home.

i added a bit more soy sauce than in this picture.

There we go!

Dubu Jorim (Korean braised tofu)

When my roommate was living with me she often made this for me, and the other night I had a craving for it. So I decided to attempt it myself. I went a little red pepper happy but other than that it was perfect. I made it with what I had on hand and that was spinach. My friend made it with spinach and bok choy before. I believe usually it’s made with green onions or scallions on top.

To make this I first bought firm (もめん)tofu. Then I put it in a strainer that was sitting on top of a bowl so the liquid can drain out. To help that along I put paper towels then two heavy bowls on top to press the water out.

Next is to slice the tofu and set the pieces on paper towels. In a pan I put some oil and let it get hot and pan seared the tofu on both sides for about 4min each. Then I removed the tofu onto a plate. TIP: the more water left in the tofu the longer it will take to get a good sear on it.

I sautéed some spinach then added a few spoonfuls of sauce for flavor. (I’ll write the recipe for the sauce at the bottom.) Then I removed these onto a plate.

Once you have cooked the spinach and removed it. Add the tofu back in and dump in the sauce. Let it simmer and soak in all the flavorings. If the sauce reduces all the better.

To plate it up I just put the rice first, then spinach, then the tofu and TADA! A simple yummy meal.

 

Sauce recipe

3 tbs of water

3 tbs of soy sauce

1 tbs of sesame oil

2-3 tsp of brown sugar

2-3 tsp of red pepper flakes

1 tbs of sesame seeds

minced garlic (i love garlic so i added way more than 2 cloves)

 

I like to double the recipe because I’m one of those people who love sauce.

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