So after three weeks of successful grain avoidance, I feel just as great as when I stopped eating soy. Oh, I forgot to add- I also removed dairy from my diet.
I wasn't eating copious amounts of dairy, just milk with my protein shakes and a random piece of cheese here and there. But that,too, can be a trigger for women and since the culprit a few weeks ago was macaroni and cheese, I decided to cover all of my bases.
Here's a normal day, in case you're wondering what on earth I could possibly be living on at this point:
Breakfast: Eggs with thick sliced bacon (fried in a cast iron skillet, of course) or a protein shake with almond milk.
Lunch: I'm really liking shredded chicken breast on a bed of fresh spinach with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Super simple, but very yummy. I've also been eating black beans for lunch with mixed veggies.
Dinner: This is where most of my variation happens. Protein can be anything from london broil to chicken thighs to pork shoulder. And then I add in a couple different servings of veggies. Good to go. All-in-one meals like beef stew, taco salad, and brunswick stew are also regulars.
I actually don't eat snacks all that much. If I get hungry I'll have a handful of almonds or a spoonful of organic peanut butter. I think it's because I'm taking steps to have 20g of protein at every meal.
And I feel awesome. The pain pills have made their way back into the depths of the medicine drawer, and I'm focused on finishing my coursework and passing my comprehensive exams.
We made soy-free mac and cheese the other night, and have been eating leftovers for dinner. I've been super good with soy; no cheats. And today my pain is back, so bad that I've dug out the pain medicine again.
I was afraid this would happen, but I never said it out loud because I didn't want to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Back when I first read that soy can aggravate endometriosis symptoms, the same article cited wheats and all other grains as another potential detriment.
I love bread. Love it. So when I went soy-free I held onto my grains. And we've had a good run. But after three successive days with a serving of whole-grain macaroni and cheese, the pain has returned. And there are no other suspects.
So tomorrow is my birthday, and Brint is baking me a soy-free birthday cake, and that will be the last wheat I eat for at least 30 days. We're traveling to see family soon, so it will be difficult to forgo all grain-containing foods on the road, but I'm going to do it. 30 days, and then I'll have one meal with one serving of a grain (to be determined at a later date) and I'll see how it affects me. If I feel those familiar muscles cramp up again, I'll know.
This approach is a suggestion from the book Endometriosis: A Key to Healing Through Nutrition by Dian Shepperson Mills and Dr. Michael Vernon. I found an interview of Dian on endometriosis.org where she highlights the wheat intolerance of endo sufferers. The book is currently out of stock on Amazon, but I'll be snapping it up as soon as I can.
So here's to 2012, and another candle on my birthday cake, and to fighting endometriosis. I will win; pain-free life has been too wonderful to give up now. Soy was so difficult to eliminate due to its prevalence in our food industry that I have no doubt I can successfully eliminate wheat as well.
Vitamins are are not a huge part of my life. I don't go out and buy the latest supplement, and I believe that no one should take any dietary supplement except by doctor's orders based on blood tests. Otherwise, you start taking multiple vitamins and mixing things and without a biochemistry degree have no idea how one pill affects another.
But a couple of years ago my doctor did a full blood panel and ordered me to start taking a daily multivitamin with at least 1600 units of D a day. And I did. Until a few months ago, when I removed soy from my diet.
It is almost impossible to find a vitamin, supplement, or other pill without soy. See:
Those are my husband's multivitamins, fish oils, and trace nutrient supplement (he does not wait for doctor's orders, and I am waiting for him to turn purple as a result of mixing unknown levels of additives with wild abandon).
A little backstory: back before my doctor identified my severe vitamin D deficiency, I had terrible migraines. Like, lay in a silent dark room and try not to puke migraines. Once I started taking my vitamin D, the migraines went away. Almost instantly.
So when I stopped taking them due to the soy content, my headaches came back after about a month. And I found myself on a desperate search for a D supplement that was soy free. And I found one, in the form of a gummy multivitamin at my friendly wholesale store. Here's the label:
It has 800 units of D, so I take two servings. Maybe overkill, but until I find a D-only supplement that is soy free, that's my regimen. Here's the soy-free statement:
No wheat, gluten, milk, eggs, peanuts, or soy. So I guess it's Celiac-and Vegan-friendly. Very cool.
And I was always a little dubious about gummy vitamins, but since my headaches are at bay, I'm guessing they're doing just fine. So I've got that going for me.
And I'm still pain-free. So take that, endometriosis. And nutritional deficiencies.
For me, the sole purpose of salad dressing is lubrication. It's a bit odd, since salad vegetables are mostly cellulose and water, but dressing-less salads seem dry to me. Maybe I don't like to feel like a cow chewing her cud. Whatever the reason, I have to to have something to grease up a salad.
Every salad dressing I've encountered thus far has soy in it. Except for the tried and true olive oil and balsamic vinegar, I'm out of luck. But olive oil and vinegar get old, fast. So I have a new solution:
Mandarin oranges, to be exact. I only buy those packed in water or 100% juice (check the ingredients, because even if it says juice, they sometimes add sugar). I throw a half cup of those babies on my salad, and mix. The orange segments break down very easily, which releases plenty of grease juice. Here's my favorite salad of the moment:
Iceberg lettuce, cucumber, carrots, broccoli, one hard-boiled egg, and about half a cup of shredded chicken breast. Plus the oranges, obviously.
I'll probably try pineapple next. It's higher in sugar than I prefer, but it's pretty juicy as far as fruits go...
So remember how cream cheese was the only product that I haven't been able to find sans soy, and I can't make it myself?
Well I found another casualty of my soy war: creamy soups.
As in, cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, cream of celery, cream of fill in the blank.
This is quite unfortunate due to the sheer number of favorite recipes that use these ingredients: chicken spaghetti, southern dressing (and no, it's not anything like stuffing!), my personally invented low-fat alfredo, chicken pot pie, chicken enchiladas....
I'm sure I'll find some alternative recipes for some of the items I listed above. I'm actually trying to find a way to make my own cream of chicken soup, but haven't found any good recipes yet. I already make my own chicken broth (you can't buy any that doesn't have natural flavors added), so I don't mind doing the work.
I'm just sad about the chicken pot pie, and dressing. I think I'll probably still make dressing this year for Thanksgiving, but I'll only have a little.
Such is life. Oh, and I'm still pain free. So there's that...
After Brint and I started dating, it didn't take long for me to be introduced to one of his Mom's signature dishes - baked potato soup. It was absolutely the best potato soup I'd ever tasted. I asked for the recipe so she gave me a copy of the local cookbook from where it came.
This recipe is easy. It is also free of any trace soy. It is NOT low-fat, or low-calorie. If you want to make it low fat (skim milk, fat free sour cream, and fat free cheese) - feel free. We tried that once and vowed to never do this recipe injustice again. It was still good, but having had the deliciousness of the full-fat version, there was just no comparison.
Here's the skinny (or fat?):
6 Cups Whole Milk
4 large baking potatoes (or as many as you want)
Bacon, cooked and chopped
8 oz sour cream
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
Bake the potatoes until fork tender, and cool.
Scoop out the pulp and set aside. Note: If you don't want chunky potato soup, pulse the potato pulp in a food processor until creamy. Melt the butter on LOW heat, and add flour, stirring until smooth. Add the milk and stir consistently until smooth.
Add the potato pulp, 2 tablespoons chopped green onions, 1/2 cup bacon pieces, and 1 cup cheese. Cook on low heat until warm throughout, stirring occasionally. Add sour cream, stirring until well constituted. Enjoy!
** I didn't provide amounts of bacon, onions, and cheese because you can use extra for garnish