Tuesday, June 24, 2014

the immuno calm (LEAP) diet starts today!

today is the day i start my immuno calm/LEAP diet journey. the last few weeks i have been weening myself off caffeine. i am now caffeine free, and it was easier to ween off than i imagined it would be. only one massive headache. now, the only sad part about no caffeine is that the type of drinks i can have is very limited. i can only hope down the road that i can add caffeine back into my world! (i miss coffee, this is something i never thought i'd say!)

here's what the start of my immuno calm/LEAP diet means. for two weeks, i can only eat the foods that my body reacted very minimally to. this means, i now have a list of 22 foods that i can eat and that is it. if the food is not on the list, i can't eat it. that includes seasonings, flavor additives, everything.

here is the list of what i'm allowed to eat for the next two weeks:

protein: shrimp, tuna, turkey, egg
vegetables: cucumber, zucchini, lettuce
fruits: strawberry, blueberry, watermelon, olive
grains/starches: corn, sweet potato
dairy: goat's milk
fats/oils: corn oil, sunflower oil, sunflower butter
nuts/spices: sunflower seed, lemon, garlic, honey, oregano
freebies: salt, white vinegar, baking soda

in order to survive, i tried to make a list of all the types of food combinations i could possibly make with the above foods. i came up with a pretty good list: lettuce wrap sandwiches, egg scrambles, salads, kebabs, fruit smoothie w/ ice, popcorn, soups, polenta variations... it's not a fun list, but it is requiring me to dig into my creative culinary skills and try these foods in different ways. 

for example? before today, i had never had polenta and certainly would not have considered it as something to eat for breakfast. this morning, i had it with honey and sunflower butter (with a side of approved fruits).

my first LEAP breakfast

the tricky thing with this diet is that i basically have to prepare all my foods for all meals. i now have to take breakfast and lunch to work (first world problems associated with my company, i know). i can't buy anything prepared or packaged because the likelihood of it having at least one ingredient i can't have in it is about 99%. this also means that eating out is a no go (unless of course, they are willing to prepare a turkey breast with salt only). 

i also can't eat leftovers outside of a 24 hour period. this also means that i am making fresh prepared food every day. in reality, this is probably the way us humans are supposed to be doing this whole food and eating thing, but in the world of fast foods and packaged goods, who can argue with convenience? 

the hardest part, however, has been finding meat without anything added to it. even tuna "in water" doesn't just have water in it. check the label, it almost always has some type of oil in it. the tuna i have to buy is super expensive and it is only packed with salt. this has also been tricky with turkey meat. i can't buy any ground turkey meat because everything i've found either has "natural flavors" or some other type of extract (like rosemary). even brands that say "all natural", "no hormones added" - look at the ingredients, there's stuff in there. "natural flavoring" is a no-no because it is not really regulated by the FDA. so you don't actually know what those "natural flavors" are (maybe beaver anal gland, for example - yuck!). 

i'm learning a lot about what goes into my food, needless to say. but it's a good thing. the whole point of this diet is to figure out what i'm eating that is making me chronically ill and the only way to do that is to know exactly what i'm eating to identify what is safe and what causes problems. i have to be very diligent about food tracking/logging as i will turn everything into my nutritionist. this includes how my foods are prepared, how old they are, down to the last detail.

first LEAP dinner: sweet potato & egg scramble

so day one went well. i think the first day of a diet always goes the best, because the excitement of starting something new can carry you through your temptations. i'm hungry, pretty much all day, so i'm going to have to learn how to fight the munchies, but that is good practice for me anyway. all in all, i think what i'm doing is taking a big step forward towards better overall health. i have to keep that end goal in mind, because i think these same foods over the course of two weeks are going to get pretty damn boring! :)

how do you add variety into your diet, or keep boring/bland foods exciting and fresh? would love ideas! 


  1. Wow, good luck with this diet. I'm hoping that after a while you don't even miss your caffeine drinks! I am caffeine free but then I never really drank them to begin with so being without them is not a big deal.
    I suspect that at some point you will get tired of the same stuff. I am a certified Nutrition teacher and although I am not as knowledgeable as your nutritionist, i'd love to help you come up with some recipes that you can get excited about. Okay, now I have to go read that article about Beaver anal glands????

    1. Yes, beaver anal glands! My nutritionist mentioned it on the phone, and I had heard about it before. The article says it is not used as much, but the whole point is that companies don't disclose what "natural flavors" is on their labels, so you could be eating ANYTHING!

  2. Okay, I looked over your list of food gain and now you have me challenged to create meals for you, haha! Are you handy with a grill? You could create shish kebobs with grilled shrip, zuchinni, and pieces of corn on the cob. That's just one thought.

    1. I love this!! Yes, kebabs are PERFECT for summer! It's a good thing I'm not doing this in the winter, otherwise I think it would be about 100% harder. I made a crockpot turkey soup day, which smells promising... but soup on a hot summer day isn't so great!

  3. Best of luck on your new LEAP diet- I hope it is as stress-free as possible and that it helps your body feel and perform better! :)

    1. Thank you! I am hoping for the same things. So far, not feeling great, but got to get past the first week hurdle!


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