In Times of Plenty and in Want

The Philosopher has been seeing a physician at The Ohio State University Center for Integrated Medicine for a few months.  The Philosopher has struggled with psoriasis for the past few years and decided to seek other ideas for treating the problems that involved less medication.  He has enjoyed the experience and has valued their work to look at his entire lifestyle and the impact of diet, exercise, and environment all have on his overall health.

After his first visit, we ran out to buy various supplements –including a smelly mixture prescribed by an Ayurveda specialist, part of India’s traditional medical system.  He was also instructed to remove yeast-products from his diet (goodbye sourdough starter and beer) and reduce his cheese intake.  Subsequent visits led to the purchase of a humidifier, creating a routine sleep schedule, and an increased exercise routine.  All these changes were reasonable.  I tried to use cheese in our meals no more than once per week and leavened bread was almost completely eliminated (a guy’s gotta have his pizza sometimes!).

Then last week he came home with a packet titled “Elimination Diet Support Group”.  The physicians run a support group to help patients taking on a detox diet a few times per week.  The packet includes lists of foods one can and cannot eat, recipes, suggestions, etc.  Since The Philosopher has been editing for one of the physicians at the Center for Integrated Medicine, I assumed he was going to edit this as well.  Wrong.

The Philosopher and I will be attending a class on March 2 to learn about the diet and will begin on March 3.  Foods to exclude are long:  oranges, dairy and eggs, wheat, corn, red meat and pork, soy products, peanuts, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, honey, maple syrup, chocolate, and soy and teriyaki sauces.

Now, some of these aren’t too difficult.  We don’t eat red meat or pork.  There are plenty of fruits and veggies we eat outside of oranges and corn.   I once gave up chocolate for Lent with an ex-boyfriend, I can do it again.

On the other hand, going completely gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free will be hard.  I don’t use a lot of refined sugar, but relying only on agave to sweeten will be difficult.  Can anyone spot the food/kitchen items that will be off-limits soon?

Oh yea, did I mention no alcohol?  Seriously?  How am I supposed to write rough drafts of papers without a glass of wine?  It’s going to be the end of the quarter!

So, I have decided that the next 1 1/2 weeks will be our time of plenty.  I made biscuits Friday with flour, baking powder, salt, butter and 3 cups of cream! These are perfect with homemade sweet potato and apple butter.  I purchased a few bottles of wine and beer.  I also began to plan the next few meals with the idea of enjoying some of our favorite ingredients.

Time of Plenty

Tonight’s menu; dill and lemon roasted salmon, smashed potatoes with kale (and more of that cream), and butter garlic roasted mushrooms (keep reading for the recipes)

Monday:  carmalized onion and kale frittata

Tuesday: stir-fried veggies in a spicy peanut sauce

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: tofu and veggie fajitas

Friday: out for pizza

Saturday:  Swiss Chard and Onion Panade

I also began to think about the week of want.  I am simmering vegetable stock while writing and am thinking of some of my favorite bean-based meals.  I have a pretty good foundation since this is fairly representative our our winter diet.  Unfortunately, The Philosopher will not be eating a veggie pita with yogurt for lunch.  Since he has a nearly bottomless stomach, I am going to need some ideas for new, filling recipes that do not require meat beyond fresh fish.   Also, I am guessing we will not be eating out until this diet is over.

Here are my initial ideas:

Coconut curry with beans and rice

Veggie Chili

Hummus and veggies

Red beans and Rice


Kale chips


Roasted veggies

I predict the biggest challenges will be to ensure that The Philosopher has enough in his lunch.  He does not like vinegar, making salads with a traditional dressing a no-go, so rice or quinoa salads will be necessary.  We also love having bread to sop up broth, so I won’t be able to rely solely on soup for success.

I plan on perusing my vegan cookbook for ideas and all my gathered recipes from over the years.  I will also probably search the online blog-o-sphere for other meal plans.  Readers, we are going to need a little more help.  This could last a few weeks and I would love some ideas and recipes.  Within those tight parameters, do you have any favorites out there?  Please, comment away!  I am sure other readers will greatly benefit from the combined wisdom.  I am going to try to post as many of the recipes I use during the elimination diet so that others can benefit in the future.

Most importantly, does anyone know a good replacement for the evening glass of red wine?

Here’s recipes for tonight’s meal of plenty:

Dill and Lemon Roasted Salmon

I mixed ~ 1T of Dijon mustard, one minced garlic clove, a splash of lemon juice, and a good helping of fresh dill with a few tablespoons of butter to make a compound butter.  After applying kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to the salmon fillets, I layered the compound butter on top and baked at 400 for ~15 minutes.  Careful, the butter will melt and you may end up filling your oven with smoke.  I suggest putting the salmon on a cookie sheet with a lip, unlike my cookie sheet choice.

Smashed Potatoes with Kale

I diced and boiled 4-5 yukon gold potatoes (leaving their skins on) until nearly soft.  Before finished, I added loosely chopped kale to the water and potatoes.  After everything had softened, I strained the water.  To smash, I used my stand mixer, but a good potato masher would work.  I added 1 stick of butter, fresh pepper and salt, and a few tablespoons of heavy cream while mixing.

Butter and Garlic Roasted Mushrooms

I simply used this recipe and made no changes.  With spoon-licking results.

While this was far from the most heart-healthy meal I have ever posted, it was certainly delicious. Especially with a beer.

Damn, this is going to be hard!  Help please!


8 thoughts on “In Times of Plenty and in Want

  1. I forgot to mention this when you mentioned the elimination diet, but have you looked at breastfeeding? This diet is super similar to ones that some moms have to go on to figure out what may be irritating their wee one. I am sure there are lots of cookbooks for this, but you may have already known that.

    I, for one, have um… no ideas for you. This looks really, really hard! Especially cutting out my go-to season-ers and sweeteners. Good luck, you two!!

    • My husband and I are going on a gluten free diet to deal with his psoriasis and allergies. But we think his psoriasis and allergies are due to celiac. in fact one person who has celiac told us she thinks everyone with psoriasis should be tested for celiac. interesting perspective i think. Good luck with everything.

    • Susan, that’s a good thought. I will check into the breastfeeding sites, I bet mothers and fathers may have already blogged about this.
      Dick, I am pretty sure this point of the diet is to eliminate potential allergens then slowly add them back in to see if a food product is the cause. Blood work is happening, so no fears. I knew about the flour options and I think I have a few recipes that use them. I also know that you can get quinoa pasta at my local grocery store. I hate fake cheese. I would rather cut it out entirely. I found a suggestion for ground flax and water as an egg replacer. I can ask about sprouted products, where would I find them? The co-op? Quinoa salad creativity may hit an all-time record in this house! Thanks for more ideas. Lastly, a run, walk and/or stretch will not help me throw thoughts on paper for a class. Well, not in the same way a glass or two of wine helps.
      Heather-good luck to you and Kyle!
      Thanks everyone!

  2. from my reading on wikipedia, it seems psoriasis is a condition whose cause has yet to be identified. i find it interesting that psoriasis is caused by the immune system freaking out over nothing. allergies are cause by the same thing. i have several friends (ok, i have a few friends) that are gluten intolerant. they only found out for sure after a bit of blood work. one friend found out she was a celiac. another found out he was allergic to dairy and vanilla (the only symptom is a slightly swollen throat). anyway, my point is, maybe you should consider having some blood work done. i’ve considered it myself. by the way, i’m no doctor, but that restricted food list sure seems random.

    anyway…there are plenty of terrific gluten free substitutes at your local health food store. instead of using regular flour, use garbanzo flour instead. instead of using semolina flour pasta use rice flour pasta. many non dairy cheeses are soy based but, believe it or not, you can buy the stuff made from almonds. you can even get egg replacer (the ingredients in Ener-G egg replacer seem to meet your requirements). some of these products are tastier than others. some, in my opinion, are downright bad.

    one thing you may want to consider asking about are sprouted products. when a grain is sprouted, the protein is transformed to the point where an otherwise allergic individual could now safely consume it (results vary from individual to individual). you can purchase tortillas, breads, etc. made from these sprouted grains.

    a couple simple, delicious quinoa “recipes”:
    quinoa, cashew, cranberry, olive oil, lemon juice, mint, parsley, salt
    quinoa, tomato, cucumber, green onion, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic
    i’ll let you play with the quantities to get it how you like it.
    also, i like mixing plain and red quinoa. it looks prettier that way.

    despite your new restrictions, there are still plenty of tasty things you’ll be able to make. i feel certain that you’ll enjoy this new challenge.

    let me know if i can be of more service.

    oh, a run, a walk, and/or some stretching make a great substitute for a glass of wine. =P

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