Friday, November 15, 2013

lemons, too? phooey

There are few flavors I love more than lemon and lime, and lemon tops lime in my book, though maybe  only by a hair.

While wrapping my head around eliminating fruit, I've realized this may be the hardest. Funny, isn't it? Not apples or peaches or grapes or pears or avocados or even wine. Nope, for me it's citrus fruit that causing the most grief. I used to cut lemons in half and eat them out of hand, sometimes with salt, sometimes without. The lemons and limes in my fridge were the last fruits I gave away. It was hard. I knew I would not eat them or cook with them, and still it was hard. I must admit, I did something else that I normally NEVER do when removing a food I find I can no longer eat from my home. I kept a few limes, well, 2 limes. And half a lemon. It was a beautiful specimen: perfectly juicy with the most gorgeous pale yellow flesh. I couldn't send it down the garbage disposal or toss it into the compost looking like that. So I left it in a small open bowl on a refrigerator shelf where it could taunt me until it got all dry and brown and withered.

Have you ever put part of a lemon in the fridge to use later? In my experience, they don't usually hold up too long. They dry up or get kind of junky, and I rarely ended up using them, though I had the best of intentions. Not this last one, I pulled it out this morning, and it was just as beautiful as the day I put it in there, well over a week ago. I have since determined that was one evil lemon. It is now sitting by the sink where GK can use it to freshen the garbage disposal.

The limes will go today, too. Keeping them was just silly. What will remain is the void left by this exodus of citrus from my life. For years I've used it so often and in so many ways, every single day. Lemon juice in salads, on fish, in soup, on virtually every vegetable, brightening the flavors in lamb dishes. I'm hard pressed to think of a food not improved by lemon juice. Still for me and the rest of us who are fruit-less, it's history. And there truly is a void. White and red wine vinegars, Champagne vinegar, and cider vinegar are also fruits, as is citric acid.

Little by little I'm working through this fruit-free thing. And dish by dish I'm finding substitutes or rethinking the flavors. Distilled white vinegar holds some promise, though I will have to stop thinking of it as a cleaning product.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

are you serious?

Where to start...

I thought my diet was already pretty restricted, what with no gluten---no grains at all, really, no dairy, no legumes, no FODMAPS, few nightshades, almost nothing processed in any way, certainly nothing artificial or "food-like." I really thought there was nothing much left to remove. What can I say? I was wrong.

In the short time between her receiving the results of my blood tests and our appointment to go over those results, my doctor sent me a quick message. She said she thought I'd find the results quite interesting and cautioned me against doing too much advance food prep because much would be changing. My first thought? She must have forgotten I've already removed most offending foods. We're just fine-tuning. There's not much left to change or remove. Again, I was wrong.

When we met, she smiled at me gently, took a quiet breath, and handed me the paperwork she'd prepared with my results and recommendations. She explained I had one primary food intolerance and one combination issue, foods that were okay as long as they were not consumed at the same time. For me it's a need to allow a full four hours in between potato, including sweet potato even though they are different plants, in any form and grains or their derivatives. Okay, I can do this.

But, but, but---fruit intolerance, I'd never heard of such a thing. And, trust me, I still wish I hadn't. Apparently, my body doesn't treat fruit as food, to oversimplify a bit, never has, never will. This isn't short term. This is a lifetime reality. When I first viewed the list she gave me, I'm sure I was still in a fog of disbelief and relief. After all, we'd done the tests because I had not been able to resolve digestive issues completely---ever. I wanted---still want---to fix that. But...all fruit?

I've since asked a million questions and pretty much divided the fruit list into the four different categories below.

1. Well, this isn't so bad.
pears, plums, cranberries, bananas, berries, kiwi, apricots, mango, fruit barks, citric acid, acetic acid, malic acid

2. Darn it!
Oranges, pomegranates, apples, cherries, grapes, cashews, cloves, nutmeg, mace, allspice, cream of tartar, palm oil

3. You're joking, right?
lemons, limes, fruit peels, avocado, honey, wine and apple cider vinegar

4. Okay, now this is just mean!
all coconut products: shredded, flour, cream and oil, olives and olive oil, wine

And again, I am so far out of water, it's laughable. I must laugh, or I'll cry. I'm starting to do what I advise others. I'm looking at what I can eat and choosing what I truly, truly love for now. I'm being a bit indulgent and gentle with myself as I make this adjustment, while adhering vigorously to the guidelines. I've also given away almost every fruit-related food in the house, except for those that GK particularly likes, as he will eat those. This is far easier than getting rid of food-like products because these should not harm the recipients.

My blog posts will likely focus on the ways I'm making this work, while I'll continue to share lots of general Paleo-friendly food ideas on my Facebook page, Aseafish Out of Water. My attention right now is on a Thanksgiving Day treat. I'm determined to create a foodie-lovers' sweet potato pie with maple syrup and a nut crust. I can do this.