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A day in the life of Danielle

June 13, 2010

I’ve been on this Elimination Diet (ED) for 3 and a half months now.   Other than the tears I’ve shed from having to turn down wine time and time again, it’s been a relatively painless experience.   

Good news is that I’m not going to be alone.  There are a few people who are now considering giving the ED a shot, albeit with some hesitation.   The question I often get is “What can I eat?”.   My initial response was “Everything.  Except dairy, gluten/wheat, sugar, coffee and alcohol”.   This short and (not so) sweet answer didn’t seem to cut it.  You really wanted to know what I ate morning, noon and night – a loaded question.   I don’t have a cookie-cutter menu.  My meals are a mish-mash of foods, dictated by the randomness of my cravings.    

However, it’s important to set expectations around the ED.   So here’s a play-by-play of what I eat on the “average” day (p.s. the rhyming was unintentional).  

BREAKFAST 

I truly don’t understand how people can skip breakfast.  Within thirty minutes of my eyes opening, you will find me rummaging through my cupboards (or someone else’s) for fuel.  My typical breakfast at home can be one or more of the following:    

  • 2 free-range eggs, sometimes with avocado and spinach (no cheese).

My standard weekend breakfast - eggs, spinach and avocado

Chia Goodness

  • Shake with almond milk, berries, flax seed, almond butter, half a banana (and whatever I have lingering in my kitchen)
  • Left-over dinner 

LUNCH

It varies everyday depending on where I am (at work or home) and what I had for dinner (which becomes my lunch).  Here are a few basic ideas:   

  • Salad with pretty much anything.  This is my staple when I’m at the Microsoft Mississauga office.  They have a subsidized salad bar with a decent variety of toppings.  Watch out for gluten, sugar and dairy which can sneak into dressings (Caeser salads are a no-no).  Plus you’ll want to make sure there’s enough protein (beans, meat, egg, nuts) to fill you up.  Otherwise you’ll be craving that 3pm cookie.
  • Chicken or fish with a side of rice and veggies (usually leftovers).   Try to make vegetables account for 50% of your dish.
  • Quinoa salad with chickpeas or other beans and chopped veggies.  Try the quinoa recipe in this post.  If you need some direction on how to cook this gluten-free grain, check out this video.

DINNER

In attempt to keep the kitchen clean, I’ve been cooking less and eating out more.   This condo is up for sale and we have to be prepared for ad hoc showings.  I’ve already reviewed a bunch of places that cater to the ED (just select “Restaurant Reviews” or “Gluten-free” on the right hand side of the page to find them).   Otherwise here are a few suggestions: 

  • Thai – dishes are typically made with coconut milk and rice noodles. 

Cashew chicken

  • Indian – rice is the staple and there are a few dishes that are dairy-free (unfortunately not the butter chicken).
  • Ethiopian – the injera is made with teff, a gluten-free grain! 
  • Sushi – if you bring your own tamari and avoid tempura (both contain gluten), you’re safe.
  • Chicken, fish, legumes or meat with potatoes, rice (again) or quinoa and sautéed veggies in coconut oil.  Stirfries work, just check the ingredients in the sauce you use.
  • Chili – it’s more appropriate in the winter but who needs more rules when you’re on a diet!

SNACKS

  • Rice crackers or vegetables with hummus.  Mary’s Organic Crackers are awesome ($4 to $5 a box).  They’re made with rice and quinoa which gives them an interesting flavour.  Don’t expect a Ritz.

Mary's Organic (Gluten-Free) Crackers

  • Rice cake with almond butter or natural peanut butter.
  • Nuts, nuts and more nuts (I’m loving brazil nuts lately!). 
  • Fruit (usually with the nuts).  I’m supposed to ease off the fruit but I could be eating worse things.   By pairing it with protein, I minimize the spike in my blood sugar.
  • Anything in arm’s reach that’s suitable for the ED. 

DESSERT 

If only this was the most important meal of the day:)  I have a sweet tooth like no other but I’ve found ways to work around this.  You’ll learn to appreciate healthier alternatives to the desserts we know and love.  Here are mine:   

  • Cashew cookie (I get mine from Fresh or Pulp Kitchen in Leslieville).  I love they way it crumbles and melts in your mouth.
 
  • Gluten and dairy-free desserts from Hibiscus, The Big Carrot on the Danforth or other health food stores.
  • Cakes made by Sweets from the Earth (~$20).   These contain natural sugars but are still sugars nonetheless, so I limit them to “special” occasions.   I think tomorrow’s going to be a “special” day:)
  • Lara Bars ($2 each).  These are also high in natural sugars, so I just have enough to satisfy the sweet tooth.
  • Avocado shake, or a fruit shake made with almond or rice milk.
  • Anything that doesn’t contain chocolate or processed sugars.

Other than the above suggestions, I’m stumped.  It seems all I do is eat but I can’t recall WHAT I eat.  I’ll keep an eye on my menu over the next week and update this post accordingly.   Alright, all this talk of food is making me hungry!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrew permalink
    June 17, 2010 11:24 pm

    Thanks for this Danielle. I am taking the plunge on Monday (have to wait until Father’s day). Believe it or not…I’ve turned the corner and am actually looking forward to it now.

  2. Arlene permalink
    June 14, 2010 12:51 pm

    Hey Danielle! I would love to hear how the ED has impacted your health. Can you write a note about what you were expecting and what the results have been?

    • June 17, 2010 10:41 am

      Definitely. I was planning to do this once the Elimination Diet is over (whenever that may be) so I can also communicate the impact from the re-introduction of foods. As of today, the improvements are similar to those mentioned in this post. There are a few other changes that I should probably keep to myself:)

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