Thursday, July 29, 2010

Food Combining: Day Seven

Well we have some what successfully completed 7 days of food combining. About a year ago I got fat. As in I'm 5'1 and I was ounces shy of 140. BMI 26.4. (Overweight = 25–29.9) I have never really worried much about weight. I've always been less than about 115 with out much effort. I got myself lined up and counted calories obsessively, was hungry all the time and grumpy from being hungry and missed ice cream and wine. But I got to about 123. BMI 23.2 (Normal weight = 18.5–24.9) Then I slowly backed off calorie counting and settled in at 129. BMI 24.4. While not delighted I'm working out and feel pretty good and it's still within that healthy range and Hubs thinks I look hot so I wasn't trying to loose just maintain and preferably rebuild some muscle tone.

All that to say. In 7 days of food combining. Without being hungry and with eating ice cream several days of those 7, I've been sitting pretty at 125 for 4 days. If I could cut out that ice cream.... yesterday I attempted and had chocolate milk (skim milk mixed with Hershey's syrup) instead. When I read the labels though - I should have just eaten my Ben & Jerrys. So when David had some after dinner I did too.....

Food combining is "supposed" to help you reach your pre-programmed weight. I think everyone has one. And if you're destined to be 150 you will never be 115. It's just kind of how it works. Counting calories is all that has ever worked for me to loose or maintain weight so I was a bit worried but figured a week wouldn't kill me. I work out typically at least every other day. I do cardio at least 30 mins (I push myself further by keep a note-book with the stats in it) and then light weight training for 20-30 mins depending on how much time I have. I figured I wouldn't gain/loose much so I'd try it. So I think (cautiously) that I have found another benefit of food combining.

Yesterday for lunch I re-made the Shepherds Pie again. This time I made a grilled sandwich out of it. Rather than cheese I slapped the veggies between two slice of lightly buttered bread and cooked it like a grilled cheese. I also added garlic to the mix to change the flavors. I'm not a huge fan of leftovers but I DESPISE throwing away food even more so....

For dinner I made a beef hot pot. From "The Food Combining Bible". I followed the recipe almost to the "t". Which if you ask Hubs is about a miracle. It was the best recipe yet. We both thought so.

I found another person who food combines... I see her name and think crazy combined family with a weird nephew that lives in the yard in a trailer and stuck up girls and a tom boy... And I think about Thigh Masters....

Yea Suzanne Sommers. It's a bit difficult for me to take her seriously. However, all her books are based on a method of food combining. Her main theory is that sugar is what makes people fat. So in her books she encourages readers to eat fat galore. Chicken with skin, thick creamy sauces.... but to avoid foods that are high in sugars or starch. Even naturally occurring sugar/starch like carrots, potatoes, winter squash and so on. It's an interesting approach that I'm sure Gillian McKeith would preach against and have Kensington and Hays rolling in their graves. But it's out there. And the book I got "Fast and Easy" is riddled with success stories. I am not an idiot, I realize that tipping into the edge of "overweight" is something a lot of people would envy. That being said I wasn't happy and was uncomfortable in my own skin. The people in Sommers books. They were huge. Some loosing over 100 pounds - almost my body weight when you look at it like that.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Food Combining: Day Six

Every morning I sit and eat fruit while I reflect on the prior days attempts at food combining... sometimes I'm drinking coffee, which always comes first, but usually I'm eating fresh, seasonal, usually organic, fruit.

Yesterday was Shepherds Pie leftovers for lunch. I browned a bit of whole wheat bread and tossed it on top for some crunch. It was good.

Last night I baked Rainbow Trout with a bit of almond oil, grated hazelnuts and lemon juice. On the table I garnished with more lemon juice and nuts. David and I made large side salads to accompany the fish. It was actually quite delicious. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get trout that is caught wild. I prefer wild caught, fresh (NOT previously frozen) fish. The selection yesterday wasn't great. The wild caught had all been previously frozen and all the fresh were farm raised. So I went by preference and price. Always good fall backs.

And no pics because we ate it all before I thought about taking a picture. It was actually a pretty plate with the slightly browned edges on the pink fillets and the toasted nuts. We feed our dogs all raw foods (an entirely different topic which would fill an entirely separate blog) and our Bull Mastiff couldn't get enough of the Rainbow Trout before I stuck it in the oven. Of course then he didn't want his chicken later....

Oh and while David did use his cloth towel to prevent food splatter a woman made popcorn in the microwave..... probably not the best day to test theories.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Food Combining: Day Five

Yesterday David packed his own lunch from a variety of leftovers in the fridge. He said he mostly stuck to food combining when eating at work.

I did the same at home. I always start the day now with a breakfast of fresh fruit. Yesterday I blended fresh fruit with a little 100% organic apple juice (NOT from concentrate - no point in buying organic if it's concentrate) for a smoothie of sorts. It kept me full for several hours. Then I reinvented the pasta dinner from Saturday night on the stove top with fresh parsley.

Dinner was Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie. I used the recipe from Gillian McKeiths book but eliminated a few items (kidney beans - to make it food combo friendly, arrowroot - didn't have any, tamari sauce - it's soy and David's allergic) but stuck to the basic recipe and served it with the last of my home made whole wheat bread.

I posted on Facebook that David didn't realize it was vegetarian. He saw the post before trying the meal... He swears it didn't effect his perception. I thought it was really good. I think I will re-invent it today with some kind of crunch on top.

(Since I didn't add arrowroot I drained all the liquid off the veggies before putting them in the baking dish.)

Not Just a FOOD Allergy

Corn. We've call it a "food" allergy. That seems a bit shy of reality. While David would never eat glue or adhesive tape, contact with those items makes him ill. Same with deodorants, soaps, shampoos and so on. Soy is prevalent as well in products such as lip balm and lotion but thankfully, soy seems to truly be just a food allergy. We haven't had any problems with contact reactions that don't involve the actual consumption of soy (products). (We still however, attempt to a avoid products with soy that will come in contact with David.)

David's been having "issues" again at work. Last night as we were drifting to sleep I did my typical 100 questions - or however many he stays awake for.

I've decided that perhaps the problem is his use of paper towels to prevent splatter when using the microwave at work. (I'm hoping *fingers crossed* hoping that he can use the microwave at work because if eliminating the use of paper towels doesn't work he'll have to avoid the microwave completely.) We typically don't use the microwave at home. I prefer to "re-invent" left overs on the stove top or in the oven. At work David doesn't have that option. And it's tough to come up with enough food for him if we don't include left overs from dinner in his lunch kit. Raw fruit and veggies don't cut it out for him. Raw nuts and seeds help but still - not enough. Sandwiches are ok but again, he can eat 4 in a day with out something more filling.

Last night I asked him to take a dish towel to work with him. Specifically a thin 100% cotton towel I like to use for covering dough while it rises. It's light weight, easy to clean and perfect for bread rising, storing, serving as well as laying flat on the counter for air drying hand washed dishes (I detest hand washing but I do still occasionally).

My theory is that microwaving the paper towel some how transfers allergens in a way that simply using it does not. It was the same with plastic food storage containers. While we now avoid use of plastic in the kitchen in any form, he can drink cold beverages from plastic and not have a reaction. When hot beverages, however, go into a plastic thermos, he gets a reaction. When I stored veggies in a plastic container he was fine, but if he reheated in a plastic container he had a reaction....

We shall see. I think I only had 3 of these towels to begin with so it looks as though he didn't take one with him this morning. Hopefully he grabbed another dish towel because I'm pretty sure I was unable to convince him that his pasta tossed with olive oil, Parmesan and cracked black pepper could be eaten cold.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Food Combining: Day Four

I attempted to do McKeiths detox day so David was on his own for food. This doesn't happen much, typically I plan all the meals and cook most. David fried eggs and bacon for breakfast. I'm not sure this was a good combo but David felt more energetic yesterday.

We had leftovers galore from the previous days so he ate some of those and had cereal and bread as well.

I started the day with warm lemon water. Then flax seed in water. Then a run. Then fruit. We went to church so I missed the next several steps in McKeiths detox day which included an herb tea and a juice break, also a broth break I believe. When we got home I didn't take the time to juice my own fruit. I had 100% organic grape juice. Only ingredient: Organic grapes. Then I had some apple juice (same 100% organic apple ingredient). I cooked Quinoa per the lunch for Detox day schedule. I ate only a small amount before I began to feel very sick. David though it was delicious and ate a large bowl of it. I thought I was going to vomit so I took a nap. I slept about 3 hours missing the other steps in the detox day. I attempted to pick up detox day with a snack of raw sour kraut and seeds. Since I still felt terrible I had toast - 100% whole wheat home made bread. Toasted and buttered - a good combination but not at all a part of detox day - for dinner.

I'm not sure if missing the steps made me ill or the combination of grape then apple juice or just detoxing in general but it was pretty awful.

This week I'm focusing on good food combo's. Thus far I've had only coffee this morning. I'm skipping my run since I still feel pretty crumby from yesterday.

For dinner we are having Sweet Potato Shepard Pie. It's a good combo and it's a recipe from McKeiths book.

Here's a web-site that I have found. It's very helpful in determining a foods dominate trait (Fat, Protein, Carb...)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Food Combining: Day Three

Today is the first full day of food combining experimentation. I attempted to make yesterday a full day but had leftover minestrone soup (Poor combination of protein/starch thanks to my addition). We did well with supper last night and that boosted my confidence enough to go full force this morning.

First breakfast:
Chopped nectarine, sliced strawberries, blueberries tossed with a little cinnamon and nutmeg.
(I should have taken a picture of this because it really was pretty.)

Fruit is supposed to be eaten first thing in the morning and with no other foods. With the exception of melon, all fruits can be mixed.

Second breakfast:
Omelets. Whisked eggs with cream, chopped chives, finely diced garlic, a little salt and pepper and grated raw cheddar cheese. Poured into skillet with heated olive oil. Added lots of chopped broccoli to mine and a very small portion to Hubs (he doesn't prefer broccoli in his omelets but he tolerates small portions). Then I grated a bit more cheese into the egg. My favorite thing about broccoli in omelets is the way that the broccoli is perfectly steamed while the egg cooks. It's slightly crunchy but the bite is taken out of it.

This was a protein dominate meal combined with veggies. Veggies can be mixed with anything. Potatoes, however are a veggie that is considered a starch... so don't add those.

Here is another good chart for reference. I printed this one out and put it on my fridge. It's easy to read and use in a pinch. Food combiners differ over technicalities such as combining acidic fruits with non-acidic fruits and so on. The most basic chart is in "You are what you eat" by Gillian McKeith. She breaks food into four distinct groups and explains which groups make good combinations and which don't.

Dinner was a pasta dish straight from The Food Combining Bible.

For the record we purchase primarily ORGANIC, or NATURAL products (all foods, meats, cheeses and other dairy) and attempt to keep it local and in season (fruits/veggies). Clearly it is not possible to do this all the time but we believe that an unhealthy earth or animal can not possibly produce a healthy product. Traditional large scale farming and animal raising strips the ground of essential nutrients and keeps animals on un-natural diets (Such as corn for cows, cows were intended to eat grass. When they are fed corn the occurrences of e-coli become far more prevalent than those on grass diets.) That being said, we don't attempt to push organic lifestyle on others and don't think that one person can make that decision for another. Organic foods are expensive and can be difficult to find. With David's corn allergy organics make additional sense because the labeling is clearer and there are fewer hidden ingredients.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Food Combining: Dinner Two

Grilled chicken & veggies

I think I nailed this one. I had Hubs grill organic chicken breast (protein) with garlic and onion and "Italian Seasoning Mix" from World Market. I steamed carrots. Sauteed green beans in Sweet Almond Oil (only a tad). Mixed raw cucumber with onion and a little vinegar.

(No pics and no recipes - we created this on our own and didn't take pics b/c we had company... it'd be a tad odd to tell them "Sorry folks if you could wait a few mins while we take pics of din-din...")

The meal was protein and veggies. A very happy combination.

Food Combining: Dinner One

Minestrone Soup

Had I followed the recipe perfectly I would have been fine. But alas I am used to using recipes as "ideas" and adding/subtracting ingredients as I see fit.

This soup is from "The Food Combining Bible". It's basically carrots, celery, potatoes, veggie broth, a little oil, some basil and oregano. I think that is it. So starch and veggies. A good combination. With out thinking I added KIDNEY BEANS. A protein. So I totally screwed up my first attempt. I was thinking I could have bread or beans.... yea well potatoes are a starch which eliminated the protein option... Gag. Also the soup wasn't filling enough for Hubs. He was super hungry after only 2 hours. So we had oatmeal. At 8pm. Something we wouldn't typically do. But a starch. Does that make up for the beans? I keep reading the book. I've probably read all of the sections several times now. Today the part that said something along the lines of picking one or two bad combination's and avoiding them stuck out. I really wanted to jump in with both feet. I'm still trying but it's going to take time for it to become habit.

Next time I make the soup I'll add pasta - a starch - and serve it with whole wheat bread - also a starch.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Food Combining

Starting today, I am going to attempt to Food Combine. I've read several books. The two I own: "You Are What You Eat" by Dr.Gillian McKeith (this was actually a gift I requested at Christmas) and "The Food Combining Bible" by Jan & Inge Dries. I picked this one up in a used book store prior to corn allergy discovery (PCAD). McKeith's book doesn't go into detail about the use of food combining but she does write about food allergies and sensitives and the use of ones pulse to help determine them. She also talks frankly about BM's and itchy bottoms. It's quite interesting actually. The Dries book goes into detail (um - hence the name of the book) about food combining. They reference Dr. Hay and Dr. Shelton quite a bit in this book. Both of the good Dr's did extensive research/work on food combining.

Both books discuss the benefits of food combining to aid in digestion and possibly help eliminate or alleviate food allergies. The basic physiological explanation is that when foods are eaten in specific orders they are digested properly and there are no "back ups" in one's digestive track.

"Although allergy is a disorder of the immune system, food combining removes the factors that induce the reaction. Eating different foods, mixed together, disrupts the digestion: gases and toxins are formed, and protein residues remain in the intestines. These are absorbed through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream, causing an allergic reaction. Food combining results in perfect digestion, improving the metabolism and making allergic reactions less likely." The Food Combining Bible Dries (pg 79)

This does not mean I am going to re-introduce corn into our diet. That would be ludicrous. My hope is that by food combining we can avoid situations such as the one we are in now - huge reactions, NO idea what from.

PCAD I'd occasionally call David and ask him to pick up dinner on the way home. I didn't typically care what he picked up just so I didn't have to cook and do dishes. While I miss the ease of an occasional to go dinner, both of us have a healthier lifestyle as a result of our meals being home prepared with out preservatives or additives.


Through the course of history and even still today people practice fasting - the giving up of, traditionally food. There are religious reasons to fast and there are health reasons to fast and, I'm sure, there are several other reasons.

David and I fasted on Sunday 07.11.2010 for his health. He'd been sick from the effects of corn for several weeks in a row and we decided that giving his digestive system a break would be very beneficial. We ate nothing from when we got up Sunday morning until we woke, and broke the fast on Monday morning. We drank lots of water, a little organic chicken broth and a little 100% organic, clear fruit juice.

The following Monday morning David felt significantly better and had very little heartburn (which is the first symptom that he experiences from his corn allergy). He was feeling great until yesterday when he experienced heartburn all day. David's symptoms start with light heartburn, build up to chronic heart burn, shortness of breath and skin ailments (eczema, acne, rashes), digestive problems (constipation) and psychological effects (depression, anxiety, irrational thoughts). If we can end the allergic reaction at the first sign of heartburn he typically avoids the other symptoms which typically build within just a few days and not always in an "order" but usually after the heartburn the other symptoms hit together at the same time, or in very short succession.

So we are back to the drawing board on his allergy. He's experiencing more than heartburn right now and it was a quick build. He couldn't think of anything special about yesterday that would cause the problem.

Becca "Did you lick any envelops?"
David "No"
Becca "Did you have any meetings?" (They sit in the old "print" room)
David "No"
Becca "Did you eat anything from a co-worker?"
David "No"
Becca "What did you eat for breakfast?"
David "That new organic cereal" (I read the label 12 times - it shouldn't cause a reaction and wouldn't cause one all day if there were minute levels of corn - not on the label. He'd be sick for an hour or so right after breakfast.)
Becca "Did you handle a lot of paper?"
David "No more than usual"

And on and on and on until David falls asleep and quits responding. It's really aggravating for me to be unable to determine what is making him sick. We keep a corn free house including the bulk of our cleaning products and other household items. I'm careful about cleaning with questionable products in the early mornings so that when he gets home the fumes have dissipated (he's gone about 11-12 hours a work day). I wash all the fruits and veggies we purchase even the occasional "pre-washed lettuce" I purchase. We buy mostly organic because the labels are easier to decipher and 100% organic means that salts can't have "pouring agents." Speaking of salt we have only 100% sea salt that we have to grind ourselves....

(Keep in mind corn can be organic so organic DOES NOT mean corn free it just means it should have clearer labels and no hidden ingredients or miscellaneous "spices" listed.)

Needless to say the grocery bill is OUTRAGEOUS for 2 adults.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

plaCes t O Read iNgredients

I checked a book out of the library that was all about purchasing organic foods. The bottom line was that home cooking from scratch was the best way to avoid additives and preservatives.... Well of course but for those of us with a corn allergy even home cooking from scratch can cause allergic reactions.

This means I'm the one parked in a corner at the grocery store carefully reading all the labels before anything gets placed in my cart. Organic does not = corn free. 100% organic means that in the labeling not much can be hidden under the ambiguous "spices" or "natural flavors". Corn is ubiquitous. It is used as a sweetener, lubricant, thickener, adhesive... and on and on...

Home cooking from scratch is basically all we eat. But chicken is sometimes packed with "broth". Even the whole chickens or the chicken breasts packed separately. Veggies are coated with wax to help prevent bugs and make them look prettier... and that wax often contains corn. One can see where I am headed with this.

I wish that corn and corn products were only found in food items but when I shop I have to read the labels on detergents, soaps, deodorants, household cleaning products, dog shampoos, toilet paper, medicines and so on. We have friends that have an allergy to wheat. I wish David had an allergy to wheat. Avoiding wheat is much more common. Individuals and families avoid wheat not just for allergy purposes but as a diet preference. It is easy to find "gluten free" items at the market in every aisle. I've only found one item that specifically says "made with out corn", but then it's in a list that also includes: soy, wheat and so on. That's ok, I'll take it.

Prior to corn allergy discovery (PCAD) I cooked from scratch for fun and because that's what my mom did. When time was of the essence however, I would occasionally pick up short cut meals such as frozen pasta with sauce in a bag and in the summer I purchased all our bread (we live in Texas and I made all our bread from scratch in the cooler months but hated running the oven in the summer heat). PCAD one could open the pantry, the fridge or the freezer and find these shortcut items. Now my pantry contains two short cut items that I purchase regularly and never make from scratch BECAUSE I DO NOT HAVE TO. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is corn free. (Who-da-thunk??) I've emailed Kraft and have had a response. Ingredients do change in products but David has not had a reaction to this product so we continue to purchase and eat it. And of course Kitchen Basics products.

Happy label reading!! Be diligent even with safe products as companies do change ingredients from time to time.