So having been on this Elimination Diet for almost 5 full weeks, I can tell you eating a very limited group of foods is tough. There’s not much variety in the proteins and carbs you can eat, there are no fruits allowed, and the spices you can use are limited too. Here are some tips for keeping it fresh and tasty. When you’re done reading, visit this great post from Smith Meadows Farm’s blog for some other ideas for keeping elimination diets delicious!
Switch out your fats when cooking. Different fats give your veggies and meat different flavors! Ghee, for example, is super-clarified butter. It’s free of casein (a known gut irritant in some) and lactose (which is a FODMAP and can trigger IBS-D symptoms). Ghee has a great nutty flavor that lends a different taste than say, refined coconut oil, which basically adds no flavor to your meal. Depending on the olive oil you buy, it will also lend a distinct flavor. Unrefined coconut oil has a very slight sweet coconut flavor. I’m not a fan of coconut, and I will tell you I noticed the sweetness but not the coconut flavor when I tried cooking with this.
Use dried or fresh herbs. It’s winter while I’m doing this so the only fresh herb growing at my house is rosemary. I’ve been relying on a great herb combination called Herbes de Provence. You can find it many places (I usually pick up a bottle at Home Goods) and online. It’s a mixture of various herbs including rosemary, thyme and oregano, and it really is delightful. We use it constantly on meat, fish and veggies. In soups too. Remember when using dried herbs, you use less than you would of fresh!
Use salt – lots of it. It is night-and-day difference for the taste of everything you’ll be eating. I suggest you use Himalayan salt (pink salt) or sea salt to maximize your nutritional intake. Worried about your salt intake? I have low blood pressure so I’ve never worried about salt intake. I know some people do and I encourage you to research the Internet for the competing theories on whether salt is bad for you. If you are on a diet that has eliminated processed foods, you should not need to worry about overdosing on salt.
Use the freshest veggies you can find. Get a lot at the grocery store to make it through the week, but if they don’t look fresh, buy fewer and make a second trip mid-week. Nothing will kill your willpower to stay on an elimination diet faster than a few bad meals.
If you’re sweet tooth is aching, pan fry your carrots. Peel them, and slice them into thin rounds or sticks (1/4 – 1/2 inch max). Put some ghee in a skillet, and heat to medium high, then dump in the carrots. You may need to turn the heat down once the carrots have been in there a few minutes – to medium or so – so they don’t burn. You want them to caramelize and start getting brown. Stir regularly near the end to avoid burning. If you want, add herbs or just use salt. They come out sweet and juicy and wonderful. It’s like a dessert. Pour the excess ghee from the pan over whatever protein you’re having for extra flavor!