....so what can you eat?
So I thought I'd take a minute to fill you in on what I've been eating the past 2+ weeks. Just to refresh your memory - this is a list of all the things I can't have ::
NO sugar, nutrasweet, honey, aspertame, splenda, sucrose, dextrose, etc. (I can have Stevia, but only if it isn't mixed with other ingredients that I can't have.) NO yeast
NO chocolateNO processed meat (bacon, sausage, etc)
NO preservatives (especially citric acid)
NO peanuts or pistachios (too high in mold content)
NO vinegar (which means no condiments - ketchup, mustard, bbq, etc. It also means, no sushi.)
NO fermented foods (pickles, soy sauce, etc)
NO fruit (except for a green apple occasionally, and a few blueberries every now and then. Oh - and fresh coconut! It's allowed because of it's anti-fungal, anti-parasitic qualities)
NO sugary or starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, carrots, beans, peas)
And these are the foods that are recommended to help with this process (because they are anti-fungal)
Coconut oil, water, milk, meat
I should also mention that everyone online has a different opinion about this diet. Some sites say NO grains - but allow you to eat all the fruit you want. Other sites so NO fruit, but say that you can have grains. Some places say to be careful about how much brown rice you eat - others say it's great because the fiber helps "clean you out" on the inside. Some sites have no problem with starchy veggies (sweet potatoes, etc) and others say to avoid them like the plague. So the week leading up to this diet was a very confusing and overwhelming time for me! I did a lot of research, and a lot of meal planning, and I finally just decided to do what I thought was best!
Avoiding fruit, starchy veggies, and veggies high in sugar made more sense to me than avoiding grains - so I went that route. I actually tried the first 3 days to minimize my grain intake - but that was a terrible idea! I was starving all the time, super grumpy, too tired to walk upstairs, and I couldn't remember anything (apparently your brain needs carbs. Go figure! ;) So I decided to "read my body" and add in the allowed carbs - brown rice, quinoa, and steel cut oats.
I should also warn you - if any of you decide to try this diet - that the first 3 days are absolutely the hardest! I tried to be really hopeful going into this, and had bought tons of new food (most of which I'd never tried). I really expected to like it. Boy was I WRONG! I literally gagged and cried through every meal on day #1. It was terrible! I felt discouraged and defeated for most of my first week. All I could say was, "I can't do this! I'm going to starve!" If you feel that way - keep going! You will eventually find things that you like (or that at the very least don't make you gag).
A few of the things I HATED were -
- Almond butter - I seriously almost threw up. It tastes like dirt mixed with oil! BLECH!
- Almond milk - Also disgusting! It's really bitter. I think it might work better to cook with it, but I will not be drinking it or adding it to any of my tea again!
- Bragg's Liquid Aminos - This is one of only 2 condiments I can use on this diet, and unfortunately I hate it! Everyone said it was a soy sauce replacement, but it tastes nothing like soy sauce to me! Actually, it tastes a little like the super low sodium soy sauce (which I think is disgusting). It might work in a marinade with spices, but I wouldn't recommend it in stir fry or with sushi. ICK!
- Rice Penne with Tomato Sauce - there was only 1 kind of sugar free tomato sauce I could find (I think it was called Cocina Antica). Unfortuantely (as you can imagine) without sugar (and no cheese on top!) it didn't taste very good. I also learned that rice pasta does not "keep" well. If you save it beyond the day you make it, it turns to complete mush!
- Mock Garlic Mashed Potatoes - These were my mom's suggestion. They were supposed to taste just like "the real thing" by mixing boiled cauliflower with cream cheese, garlic, butter, and parmesan. Since I can't have cream cheese or parmesan I tried it with just some plain greek yogurt. BLECH! It just tasted like hot, veggie sour cream :(
A few of my FAVORITE (allowed) foods -
- Fried chicken tenders - chicken battered in egg and brown rice flour and fried in olive oil. DELISH! The only negative is without anything to dip it in (no ketchup, honey mustard, etc allowed, remember?) it can get boring/bland by the end of the meal.
- Fried okra - okra battered in corn meal (apparently it doesn't have sugar in it?) and fried in olive oil.
- Chicken fried rice - brown rice fried in olive oil with sauteed garlic, onions, and chicken seasoned with garlic and ginger. I also add chopped onions, 1 to 2 eggs (scrambled in) and around 2 tbs of Coconut Aminos (which in my opinion is WAY better than Bragg's!) You can find it at Whole Foods near the Asian food.
- Grilled Zucchini and Summer Squash slices - I drizzle them in olive oil and grill them on the George Foreman. They're a great side dish for the Chicken Fried Rice!
- Green Apples with salt - I only allow myself one every other day, and it has to be eaten on an empty stomach (apparently, all fruit should be or it can ferment in your intestines. Yuck!) I LOVE my Green Apple days! I seriously miss fruit!
- Coconut water and meat - The water is anti-fungal and sooo yummy when all you've had is regular water (with no flavor!) And the meat is a nice snack between meals. It's just too bad it's so hard to get it out of the coconut shell!
Some new, exciting finds -
- Rice Crispies - I was SO excited to find these NEW Gluten Free Rice Crispies! They are great with vanilla coconut milk, especially on days when I am starving and need to eat something "right now!"
- Natural Popcorn - Thank you Orville Redenbachers! I'd read I could have popcorn on this diet, but only if it didn't have any crazy additives. Since I don't know how to make popcorn at home, I had given up on that as a snack. But then, I found this new line of all-natural microwave popcorn and was THRILLED when I read the ingredients! All that's in it is - Popping Corn, Palm Oil, Salt, and Less than 2% natural flavoring. Now I can pop a bag in whenever I need a snack! The lime & salt flavor is my favorite (I know it sounds weird but it's SO good!) If only I could stop craving the M&M's I always eat with popcorn :(
- Brown Rice Chips - These have quickly become a staple item in my diet! I eat them with hummus or guacamole. I wasn't a big fan at first (I was missing my normal tortilla chips) but now I'm super thankful to have something crunchy and "chip-like" to eat. I have to be careful though, as some flavors have ingredients I can't have. I've found I can eat the "sea-salt" version of Lundberg's or RiceWorks brown rice chips.
- Spry gum - I cannot live without chewing gum! This isn't near as good as my normal gum (it doesn't hold flavor long) but at least it's SOMETHING! The xylitol is allowed as a sweetner, and supposedly helps with oral yeast issues. Chewing it helps with my food cravings too. The peppermint is the best.
The other things I eat -
- Hummus - This is not my favorite but I don't dislike it, and it's quickly become a "go to" snack and part of many meals since it is pre-prepared. Unfortunately, the only place I could find hummus without citric acid in it (one of the main preservatives I am not allowed to have) was Whole Foods - so I have to drive half an hour to get it. Even W.F. only has 2 flavors without citric acid - Traditional Hummus & Zesty Garlic. I don't understand why every other flavor (and brand) has citric acid when those don't need it?!
- Guacamole - This is just avocado, garlic, salt, lime juice, and red pepper flakes all mashed together. If only I could mix in salsa and my McCormick's seasoning packet... it's just not the same without it! :(
- Chicken Noodle Soup - I made this in my mini-crock pot with Imagine chicken broth (yeast and sugar free), cubed chicken, garlic, salt, and celery. I'm not allowed to have carrots but I did let myself cut up one tiny slice just to make it seem more like normal chicken soup. It was just "ok", but even my mini-crock made more than I could eat in a week. If I make it again I'll probably half the recipe.
- Stir fry - This isn't very good without carrots and teriyaki sauce, but I have tried it once. I made it with chicken, red cabbage, broccoli, onions, water chestnuts (but be careful to find ones not canned in citric acid) and a little Coconut Aminos. I served it over brown rice.
- Steel Cut Oatmeal - it tastes nothing like my instant oatmeal but it's better than nothing! I eat it with some Stevia, coconut milk, and cinnamon.
- Rice cakes with Coconut Manna - Not that tasty, but it will do if I'm starving. Coconut Manna is like Coconut Butter made from all the coconut (oil, water, meat). The downside is the texture... it tastes a little like liquid sandpaper.
- Almonds & Pecans - I don't usually eat a lot of nuts other than peanuts (love those! I wish I could have boiled peanuts on this diet!) but I have tried to add these into my diet. I've also eaten some pumpkin seeds, though I like them even less. These are good options to keep in my purse in case I have a "hunger crash" when I'm out running errands though!
My sugar substitute -
- Stevia or Xylitol - apparently these are the only 2 substitutes allowed on this diet. I really struggled the first few days because of the "fake sweetener" taste that Stevia has (it reminded me of Sweet n Low, which I hate!) But I'm slowly adjusting.
What I'm drinking -
- Water - obviously. About 96 ounces a day.
- Roobois Tea - with coconut milk and stevia
- Peppermint Tea - with stevia (it's also good for digestion)
- Limeade/Lemonade - this is only occasionally and as a treat! I mix a little lime or lemon juice with ice water and stevia. I still have to be careful with even these 2 "allowed" citrus fruits, so I only make it about half (or less) of the strength of a normal limeaid/lemonade.
- So Delicious Coconut Milk - Sugar Free Vanilla - thank the LORD for this invention! I actually like it! This has replaced my milk in cereal, and I also add it to my oatmeal and tea. Sometimes I'll drink a glass warm as a little treat. The added bonus is the fact that it's an anti-fungal!
What I miss the most -
- Condiments - ohhhhh how I miss these! Ketchup! Honey Mustard! Sweet Chili sauce! BBQ! I would kill to be able to put these on my food again! Everything just tastes so bland...
- Potatoes - sweet potatoes, white potatoes, french fries - I seriously crave these more than sweets!
- Chocolate - I don't eat a ton of sugar normally, but I rarely say no to chocolate (one reason we don't keep it in the house!) I really wish I could have a bite on the "hard days" - since it's such a good comfort food!
- Caffeine Free Pepsi/carbonated drinks - sometimes I'm just so sick of water. I actually cried one day because I just wanted a coke (silly, I know!)
- PRE-MADE FOOD! - The past few days I've been eating nothing but crap because I'm just so tired of cooking these elaborate meals every time I'm hungry. I would give anything to be able to eat out just once!
Don't get me wrong, I have lots of other cravings - cheese, bread/wraps, cheeseburgers, pumpkin muffins, sweet tea, and of course Chick-Fil-A! I even had a craving for cotton candy a few days ago when I saw some wadded-up pink bubble wrap in the floor that looked like cotton candy out of the corner of my eye (apparently I am hallucinating now!) But the things on that list are what I would give anything to have back in my diet!
Sooo, there you have it! I hope this answers some of your questions and helps any of you out who've been looking for gluten free, sugar free, Candida diet approved recipes/food ideas!