*Cricket… *Cricket… *Cricket

3 Apr

You know on cartoons when they exaggerate silence with the sound of crickets?  That is what I imagined every time I mentally pictured my blog screen.  Let’s see what the guinea pig is up to this week…*Cricket… *Cricket… *Cricket…  Derek and I just moved into our house on the 23rd of March, so things have been a little crazy (understatement).    Sorry I fell off the face of the Earth for a couple of weeks.  In my defense, I didn’t have the internet at my residence for a decent chunk of that span.

It’s time to play catch up again.  To end the suspense for those of you who are unaware, my April diet is fructose malabsorption.  Later in the week I will fill you in on the details.  For now, let’s just focus on wrapping up the Jain diet.

I decided to save the mini raw foods experiment for later.  The dysphagia diet, based on 3 levels of chewing/swallowing difficulty, will only be a 3 week experiment.  I will do the raw foods diet the final week of that month.  Since the Jain diet and raw food diet are both already extremely restrictive, I didn’t want to combine the 2!

Sins to confess: Oh so many.  Where to begin?

The good news is that I almost followed the Jain dietary restrictions 100%.  I know that doesn’t even make sense (60% of the time, it works every time ;-)).  The diet I ate during the month of March was vegan and didn’t include any root vegetables, fermented foods, caffeine, or alcohol.  I also avoided all refined sugar and most sweeteners by my own choosing (why not a little extra self-sacrifice?)  My consumption of one product may have been the culprit of several sins: vanilla soy milk.

Duh Duh Duh!  (Dramatic emphasis) :-O  Sounds so menacing, doesn’t it?!

I drank vanilla soy milk sweetened with malted wheat and barley extract.  Honestly, I still don’t understand quite what that means, but it’s possible that this ingredient would be considered unacceptable by Jain standards.  I don’t know if there is any fermentation/alcohol involved in the extraction process.  I never questioned the vanilla either.  Vanilla extract contains alcohol.  It wasn’t until the final day of the Jain diet that I discovered this mistake.  As I crushed the empty container, I noticed a phrase on the back boasting the company’s use of real vanilla extract.  They claim to be the only soy milk company in the US to use the good stuff.  This is probably why I never questioned it.  Most companies use vanilla flavor (which is alcohol free).  Details Details!  I’m usually so good with those, but I’ve been a little distracted lately.  Damn life…I don’t have time to be on a diet AND have a life.  Sheesh!

While I meant to nix all sweeteners during March, I rationalized buying the vanilla flavored soy milk due to its vitamin & mineral fortification. I haven’t been able to find a fortified unsweetened version.

I also continued to use a Vitamin D3 dropper.  D3 is usually extracted from sheep’s wool and therefore, not vegan.  I didn’t see the practicality in buying Vitamin D2 (vegan version derived from yeast/mushrooms).  Animal products, yeast, and mushrooms are all technically no no’s on the Jain diet.  I’m not giving up my Vitamin D!

The next category of sinning involves the failure of honoring the Jain dietary philosophy.  There was definitely a decent amount of mindless/binge eating this past month.  One night, I ate close to bedtime.  My brain tends to go haywire in the springtime.  Its chemicals have a hard time figuring out how to transition from winter (death) to spring (life).  One way it prefers to cope is by eating its emotions.

Finally, there’s the leftovers rule.  On a few occasions I knowingly ate leftovers from longer than a day prior.  One defense I could always cling to?  If I don’t eat this, it will be thrown out.  That’s not really in line with the ahimsa principle either.  So what’s a girl to do?  Strangely enough, sometimes I overate just to keep in line with the leftovers tenet.  Rigid thinking can be a bitch!

Phew!  Does anybody else find it ironic that I committed the most “sins” on the religious diet?

Caffeine-Free Vanilla Chai:

Here’s your sweet treat recipe of the month.  I used to love to drink black chai tea with milk and sugar.  I was very excited with the results of this vegan tea-free version.  I used the vanilla soy milk (which may or may not be the devil) for the following recipe.  To make sure the recipe is 100% Jain, you could buy a different brand of vanilla soy milk that uses evaporated cane juice and vanilla flavor (rather than extract).

*1 cup vanilla soy milk (or rice/almond/hemp…whatever floats your boat)

*1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

*1/4 tsp ground ginger

*1/4 tsp ground cardamom

*Pinch – 1/8 tsp ground cloves

Bring soy milk to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.  Stir in the spices & simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Strain mixture through cheesecloth/dish towel to remove tiny powdered particles.  (Note: You don’t have to strain the mixture.  I didn’t, but the texture was a bit scratchy and awkward on the throat.)

The original recipe that inspired this one can be found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/amsterdam-hippie-soymilk-chai/.

What I ate my last day as a Jain:

Breakfast: Bosc pear; Scottish oats w/ almond butter, cinnamon, ground hemp seed, and dried goji berries.

Lunch: Corn chips w/ homemade spinach hummus (made with cumin instead of garlic)

Supper: Green smoothie (Banana, collard greens, kale, & blueberries)

Weird, huh?  Some days I eat like a monster.  Other days, my appetite is barely noticeable.

Lessons learned: 

Binges: During January, February, and March I have found various foods to mindlessly eat.  This proves that food and I have a complicated relationship.  You might even compare it to an abusive romance.  At times, only food can make me feel better.  Other times, I blame food for all of my woes.

Every month I tend to binge on certain categories of food.  January, I was all about the molasses and maple syrup.  In February, with my carbs restricted, I ate spoonfuls of almond butter straight out of the jar.  During March, I ate ridiculous amounts of fruit.  One day, I even ate 20 dates in one sitting (NEVER doing that again!  Only try this if you have an intestinal death wish and enjoy the feeling of things rotting inside of you.)  In April, fruit will be restricted.  Isn’t it weird how the diet lineup is shaping itself?  It’s as if the universe is trying to tell me when I’ve taken certain aspects of my diet too far.  That’s the most religious thought I can conjure for this post.

Fasting: Fasting for a day was a bit difficult, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected.  The morning and afternoon were pretty painless, but I started to feel noticeably lethargic and uncomfortable around suppertime.  I amazingly slept through the night, however.  One day recently, I skipped supper due to an upset stomach.  I discovered that by not adding more fuel to the fire, you allow your body to get its ducks in a row (or poop in a chute…tee hee ;-)).  As a means of giving my digestive system a break, I found it to be a useful tool.  I’ve found that I occasionally eat meals just because it’s mealtime and not necessarily because I am hungry.  In the past, weird stomach sensations were treated with more food in an attempt to fix the situation.  Almost always, things would get worse.  Catering to the needs of my body is something that I am trying to get better at.  I plan to incorporate occasional fasting into my life as a result.  I considered implementing a monthly one-day juice fast regime.  However, the fructose malabsorption diet won’t allow that during the month of April.

Fed Up!: (Only not in the desired literal sense)  The diets in general are officially “getting to me”.  It only took a quarter of a year.  My spirits were high during the first couple of months with the excitement of a challenge.  This has melded into frustration and corresponding empathy.  Most people might expect the problem to lie in the inability to indulge in favorite foods.  The truth is that that is only a fraction of the struggle.  There is also the inconvenience, the social awkwardness and missed opportunities: the lost ability to quickly grab a bite to eat, taste an exotic treat that someone offers you, or eat at a restaurant for a friend’s birthday.  These capabilities are taken for granted by most people and are often a non-option for those with serious dietary restrictions.  Having to make almost EVERYTHING from scratch is exhausting.  Planning is key, and sometimes, I just don’t feel like it!

Stay tuned for the lowdown on the fructose malabsorption diet, including what I ate my first day and fructmal-friendly recipes! 🙂

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2 Responses to “*Cricket… *Cricket… *Cricket”

  1. Kaia April 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    Yum! Your vegan vanilla chai recipe sounds delicious. I’m going to have to make that sometime.

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