Hi everyone! Sorry for the winter hiatus. I've been cooking up a storm every week and have even started to venture into vegan/GF baking. Because of my busy schedule at work right now I just haven't had a chance to post any recipes. Hoping to get to that soon. In the meantime, I am excited to give you an update on my work with the naturopath I first visited and told you guys about here in December. 

I got my US Biotek test results back in February. This is the test that gives me a chart with any foods that irritate my immune system antibodies (not a normal allergy test). I ended up paying extra to have an extra vegetarian panel done on foods I eat a lot of, like brown rice, quinoa, cashews, and flax, that weren't included in the standard test. 

These are the foods, in order of which I react to them (worst to least) that my doctor suggested I stop eating completely for 3-4 weeks to reset my body:

Egg, cashews (I eat these daily), lima beans, almonds (also daily), pineapple (daily), tuna, pinto beans, navy beans, pistachios, string beans, dairy (whey specifically), wheat gluten (ah ha! I knew it!), spelt (often used in gluten free recipes), chili pepper (I cook with this a lot), crab.

When I got the results back, I did a lot of research about the test and how it's perceived in the medical community. A lot of my favorite and most healthy-seeming foods were causing major red flags in my body. I couldn't imagine that cashews, pineapple and beans were fucking with my system. I could believe the wheat, dairy and egg were though. 

I found some articles completely negating the test's validity and I immediately got mad at myself for spending $200+ on it. I had to see for myself though and immediately stopped eating all the foods. Have you ever tried being gluten free and vegan? It's tough. Almost all store-bought gluten free breads have egg in them. Hence the new adventure in baking!

A few weeks went by and I'd have a few bites of something, cheating here or there. But it wasn't until I went to a party one Saturday night and ate like twenty gooey bacon-wrapped dates (to. die. for.) and Syrah-soaked cheese that I started to notice the difference. Forty-eight hours after the party, I had four zits on different parts of my face. Zits I hadn't seen since I stopped eating dairy. Like literally, I had not had one zit in two months. And then suddenly, four at the same time. I knew immediately it was the dairy.

I went a few more weeks, this time not cheating at all. My naturopath recommended I "test" each food from the Biotek test back into my system one at a time, three days apart. I had the hardest time living without cashews (they make many non-dairy recipes creamy) so I tested those first with my favorite portobello and cream cheese recipe from This Rawsome Vegan Life. After dinner, I felt totally fine, but when I woke up in the morning, my hands felt more arthritic and "crunchy" than they have in months. Normally morning stillness dissipates by the time I'm out of the shower, but that day it continued on all afternoon. I couldn't believe it! I was sad that I was reacting to my beloved cashews, but I was happy that it was so obviously impacting me and that the test was actually relevant and not a waste of money.

I was a little gung-ho over the cashews so I didn't wait three days to try kidney beans. Technically they weren't on my "no" list, but they were close to being a red flag along with many similar beans. I had the same pain after eating them, but maybe it was left-over reaction from the cashews. I need to try them again because I have a insanely good recipe for quinoa, red pepper and white bean burgers that I just can't give up!

I do want to make one thing clear though. I am not 100% vegan and don't have plans to be. This month it became really long-winded to explain to people what I eat. "Oh, you're a vegan?"..."Well, no. Not completely"..."But you eat meat?"..."Yeah, sometimes, but not dairy, egg or gluten." You get it. I've found the best way to label myself is to not label myself. I just say, "I'm typically vegan at home and in my packed my lunches. When I go out, I eat what makes me feel good/healthy and what I'm craving." Because the test didn't raise any issue with actual meat but with bi-product, I am eating meat when I crave it (it's rare, but I'm definitely not going to deprive my body of something it wants. Point being - you may see me in the line at Chipotle ordering a steak salad someday, but I'll probably skip the sour cream.

So that's where I am with that. I've continued the supplements she recommended for me, including the herbal antibiotic to kill any yeast or bad bacterial overgrown in my system and a month of glutamine, which I had self-prescribed before after reading about leaky gut syndrome. The herbal antibiotic also made a huge impact on my digestion. I used to complain of bloating and pain in my abdomen, but that's totally gone now. 

To top it all off, I saw my rheumatologist a couple weeks ago. I showed him the test and he didn't nay-say it or my work with the naturopath. He believed there's merit to what came back in my blood results and to keep at it if makes me feel good. We had our shortest visit ever and when he got up to leave, I said, "Wait, that's it?!" and he said, "That's it. You used to be a challenge but now you're so easy."  I couldn't have been happier.