I’m a big fan of spaghetti squash. It’s cheap and easy like
Miley Cyrus Robin Thicke at the VMAs, and you can make it as simple or complicated as you want… like Taylor Swift’s relationship status.
Too late for VMA jokes?
I’m rounding out week 1 of a doctor-prescribed elimination diet to identify potential food intolerances and/or heal “leaky gut.” Lovely. If you’ve ever been to a doctor of Chinese/holistic medicine (or attempted to emulate one Miss Gwyneth Paltrow), you’ve probably been prescribed something similar. No:
- Rice, oats, corn, grains… PERIOD
- Peanuts, tree nuts (except almonds)
- Tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, lentils, peppers, beans
If you are thinking, “WHAT ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO EAT??”, rest assured I was, too. Before I get into that, though, here’s how I’m cheating (because obviously I’m cheating):
- I’m drinking coffee. If coffee is bad for me I’m just going to drink it until it kills me. Period.
- I’m eating processed sugar. Not a lot, but if I want a mint or gum or sweetened almond milk or one of the carob chip cookies I made, I’m eating it. Give me that one pleasure, dear god.
- I’m eating peppers. I swear I didn’t see the NO PEPPERS thing until right this second. I’ve been eating hot sauce. So much hot sauce. This must mean it is fine.
- The other day I had a tofu benedict for brunch and pizza for dinner. Live a little.
What I am eating:
- Chickpeas out the ass. Seriously. Chickpeas for days. Like, a can a day. They’re the only “bean” I was told I could have. What the hell kind of world do we live in where beans are allegedly not good for me? Anyway, I like to roast them in olive oil or fry them in a pan with coconut oil. Speaking of coconut oil…
- Coconut. So much coconut. Coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut flour, coconut flakes. Co.co.nut.
- Vegetables. Mostly my favorites: broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, etc.
- Fruit. Dates when I want “dessert” and apples as easy on-the-go filler. Berries in smoothies. The usual suspects. I don’t know if I’m even allowed to have dates… Don’t care.
- Smoothies. I’ve tried to make coconut flour pancakes three times and every time they suck so much I want to cry. So I eat smoothies for breakfast. Almond milk, banana, frozen berries, hemp protein.
- FAT. Due to the severe lack of protein for a vegetarian on this diet, I’m trying to go heavy on fat. Fat most certainly does not replace protein but I need something to keep me satiated so I’m eating a lot of avocados, coconut (duh), almond butter, olive oil, etc.
- Protein. Hemp and pea protein got the thumbs up so I’ve been supplementing with that.
- Supplements. I always take a prenatal vitamin and liquid B12 sublingual and am still taking those throughout this little adventure.
- Macaroons, Truffles, Banana Coconut Muffins. Those are my “treats.” I went through an entire $12 bag of raw cocoa macaroons in 24 hours. This is so healthy.
I made it five full days adhering pretty strictly to the diet (excluding the cheats above for which I will not apologize) before eating pizza on Saturday. And you know what? I felt amazing for those five days. I felt so good it made me angry, 1) because I didn’t want this stupid elimination to work and 2) because I didn’t want to admit defeat after years of yelling about how good chicken-fried tofu is for me.
When I say I felt good, specifically I mean that I felt more energized, less bloated and better satiated than I have in the last year. I’ve had trouble recently getting really hungry and irritable before I eat and then getting really uncomfortably full and exhausted (and consequently irritable… again) afterwards–to the point where I want to go to bed. I don’t know if it was what I was eating (or not eating) for these five days or the fact that I was eating more frequently (every 2-3 hours), but it did wonders for stabilizing my blood sugar and avoiding those peaks and valleys.
The Bottom Line
I’m done with this charade. I learned a lot and I will tweak my diet accordingly, but two more weeks of chickpeas and raw macaroons doesn’t appeal (and sounds like a great way to trigger an eating disorder). The point of the Repairvite Diet (which is what this is, by the way) is to heal your leaky gut, which is a condition resulting in a hyperpermeable intestinal lining due to the consumption of inflammatory foods (ie. all of those listed on the NO list). The idea, if I understand correctly, is that after adhering to the diet for 2-3 weeks, you will have healed your gut and can begin incorporating the NO foods back into your diet.
Personally, I have a sneaking suspicion (based on a lot more than just the last week) that soy and dairy are no-go foods for me, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop eating them altogether. I just might stop eating them every day.
I’m a big believer in taking care of yourself and in using food to do so, but part of that formula–for me personally–involves eating for more than just nutrients. Food is a catalyst for social engagement, a cultural celebration, a sensory thrill ride, and a walk down memory lane. You can’t quantify that on a food label.
If you’re outright allergic to something, by all means avoid it. And don’t feel deprived! There are substitutions for everything these days, and with a little creativity you’ll be able to recreate all your old favorites. One of my favorite challenges is to try to recreate foods to fit dietary restrictions. (Truly, if you’re recently diagnosed with a food allergy you can’t seem to work around, shoot me an email I’ll try to come up with something for you!) But if you’re just aiming for the “healthiest” diet on the block, I’d suggest redefining what it means to be wholly healthy–physically, mentally, socially, spiritually.
All that to say: Spaghetti squash is your secret weapon for surviving the Repairvite elimination diet.
Spaghetti Squash w/Coconut Oil-Fried Chickpeas & Creamy Kale
Spaghetti squash is great on its own with a little salt and pepper or topped with elaborate sauces. If you’re avoiding dairy, I find that a sauce of hummus thinned with vegetable stock creates a thick, creamy, satisfying substitute.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup vegetables of choice (I used frozen kale for the top photo)
- 2 tablespoons hummus
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- Carefully cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise
- Scoop out seeds, coat with olive oil and place on baking sheet (cut side down)
- Bake in 400-degree oven for 10-12 minutes, flip so cut side faces down, and cook another 6-8 minutes, or until the flesh and soft and stringy like noodles when fluffed with a fork
- Season with salt and pepper
- While the squash is baking, warm coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat
- Add chickpeas and saute until browned and crispy. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In the same skillet add vegetables (frozen kale in my top photo and chopped red pepper in the second photo) and vegetable broth and simmer until tender
- Stir in hummus (and more vegetable broth as needed) until it forms a thick, creamy sauce
- Top spaghetti squash with creamy hummus vegetables and then with fried chickpeas
- Optional: Diced avocado and hot sauce