I am on my second day of the “Roma Diet” and so far so good. I think this is going to be a hard road for me, as I generally do fine on the restrictive parts of food plans, but struggle on the reintroduction phase. However, this eating plan is so much more restrictive than anything I have even considered trying before and the reintroduction phase is essential if I don’t want to end up back where I was before starting.
Where was I before starting? Well, here’s a glimpse….
I worked on Saturday and wasn’t prepared to start the “Roma Diet” from a cooking perspective, so I decided to start on Sunday. I had a free Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuit to redeem for April, so I had that for breakfast. The one good thing that came out of eating that was I downloaded a symptom tracking program (Symple App) for my iPhone and paid the $10 to track as many symptoms and factors as I wanted. Otherwise, it was the “new normal” pain with bowel movements (hey, I seem to be more regular now, post medicine, so that’s still good), gas, brain fog, dizziness, drowsiness, red face, and itching. My back has been hurting more than usual too, but that’s likely because I stopped taking Cymbalta to see if it improved other issues.
Surprisingly, lunch went okay. I met my friends at Torchy’s Tacos and ate chips and queso, had a tequila sunrise, and a fajita beef taco. I did take a nap after lunch, but I didn’t feel as dreadful as I expected to.
Saturday night, my husband and I decided to use our Groupon to the Brazilian Steakhouse before it expired. We had a beer at Back Pew Brewing on the way and I had no symptoms!! I was surprised, but since I know the brewer and I had previously asked him about about the sulfur content of their beers (they don’t use sulfur compounds), that could be why. I asked my husband to listen to a Podcast that started me on the quest to develop the “Roma Diet” and he found it interesting how much I seem to have in common with the nutritionist interviewed in the Podcast. You can listen if you would like: Overcoming Sulfur Sensitivity Podcast
I’m feeling pretty good when we started eating at the Brazilian steakhouse, but the digestive issues start midway through the meal: burping, bloating, stomach ache, red face, and the itching gets worse… What could it be? I was leaning towards cheese and red meat, but I seemed to do better with those for lunch. Could it be garlic? That would be sad… Beans? I think I could handle that better, but still sad. However, during those couple of days when I was feeling better, I ate a few servings of black beans and they seemed to do okay. Wine? Maybe – I rarely drink it, and while this “Brazilian Chardonnay” did taste weird, it doesn’t explain the other occurrences when I didn’t have wine. I felt pretty crappy the rest of the night, so I was super-movitated to change on Sunday morning.
You may be wondering, what exactly is the “Roma Diet”…. I named it after my dog because she got this weird skin rash and the vet said that it was likely a food allergy. She was already eating a decent dog food, so our vet suggested “low ingredient” dog food. Unfortunately, Roma wouldn’t eat the “low ingredient” dog food, so we decided to start cooking for her. I wanted to start with something pretty basic, eliminating all possible allergens initially to see if the rash would go away. Roma’s diet consisted of chicken, sweet potatoes, and peas. We tried this for a while and realized that her allergy isn’t a food problem, it’s a seasonal one, but she ate this home-cooked meal day after day for a couple of weeks until we figured that out.
That’s essentially where I am starting my “diet” – at a super-restrictive place to see if basic ingredients relieve the issues I’ve been having. I chose the ingredients because they are Low FODMAP and Low Sulfur. So, basically, the intersection of these two eating plans, as a place to start, means I will try eating only dark meat chicken (4oz per serving, 8oz per day), potatoes, carrots, and grapes, cooking the food using olive oil and “allowed” herbs from our garden (parsley, basil, oregano, tarragon, and marjoram), drinking only water. I’m sure this isn’t the best long-term solution, as I am depriving myself of some nutrients, but it’s a place to start…
Here’s more of the intersection of the two plans, which is where I will start when I start modifying:
Fruits: Berries, Mandarins (and other citrus fruits), Kiwi, Melon (not watermelon)
Veggies: Bell Peppers, Celery, Cucumbers, Zucchini (and other squashes), Yams (but not sweet potato… not sure of the difference), Lettuce (but not spinach, kale, or greens)
Nuts: Macadamia and all seeds (except for sesame)
Meat/Fish: Dark meat turkey, herring, mackerel, salmon (there were other seafoods, like anchovies, clams, oysters, and sardines that I will purposefully “just say no” to eating)
Beverages: Herbal Tea
Dairy: Organic butter, ghee
Herbs: Any (excluding chives, cilantro, coriander, garlic, mustard, onion, tamarind)
Condiments: Ketchup, Vinegar (sulfite-free), and Worcestershire sauce
I have many items that weren’t on both lists, so I will have to do more investigating to try them. That will come down the road though.
Two days in, I am still itching and turning red after I eat. I am still getting dizzy after eating, but I don’t feel as bloated. It’s probably just going to take a few days to get all of the bad stuff out of my system. I am also still having daily bowel movements and they are not nearly as painful, which is fantastic, although partially digested carrots probably aren’t desirable (TMI), but at least that’s telling me food is perhaps moving along too quickly. Maybe I need to chew better? Who knows… I guess I’ll know more in a few days!