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Another Season, Another Diet, Another Meal Plan

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It seems we tend to just go in cycles around here. A couple of times a year, one of us ends up on a particular diet to continue to work on health concerns, avoid food sensitivities, etc. This summer is no exception!

Several weeks ago, we had an appointment for my husband to have a blood analysis done by a hematologist (who functions similarly to a naturopath, but is certified in hematology instead). It was a fascinating appointment! They took two blood samples, one live and one dry. They put these into a microscope and put the images up on a screen. We were able to see his actual blood cells and the overall condition of his blood.

The basis of these analysis is that rather than beginning with your symptoms, they begin by looking at the condition of your blood, which tells them a lot about your overall health. We actually didn't tell them anything about my husband's current health or history, but instead they begin to analyze and tell us what symptoms they imagined that he would be experiencing. We were astounded that they were about 90-95% bang on correct! They examine the shape and size of the cells, whether they are clumping together or overlapping, whether there are fat globules in the blood (indicating that the liver is not breaking down fat as it should be), the electrolyte balance, whether there is a Candida/yeast imbalance, etc.

What impressed me the most is that their conclusions were very similar to what I would have said were some of his major health concerns and areas of weakness. The angle they are coming from is completely opposite of mine (they begin with the blood health and work towards the symptoms, whereas I start with symptoms and work towards probable causes), and yet there was a whole lot of corroboration and confirmation. Phew! This really relieved me that we are on the right track and that their suggestions were good ones!

So… we've begun a new and oh-so-fun diet! 🙂

For the next 4 months (which is how long it takes for blood cells to fully regenerate themselves), Ryan is restricted from:

  • All yeast, fungus (mushrooms), vinegars, etc.
  • Caffeine, any tea or coffee (except herbal tea is ok)
  • ALL sugars (this includes honey, molasses, even dried fruits! Stevia is allowed.)
  • Most fruit, although he is allowed to alternate certain fruits a couple of times a week
  • All processed foods and chemicals in foods (this one isn't difficult as we basically already do this)
  • Any foods that particularly irritate the digestive tract (onions, garlic, radishes, tomatoes, etc.) because this is an area of difficulty for him
  • No dairy, except a few specific types of cheese and some butter, but only on alternating days and no more than twice a week
  • Pink/red fish (salmon, etc.) and beef can only be had twice a week max, and only when he has not had other foods in his rotation (ie. no cheese or butter, no fruit, etc.)

He is also taking some supplements that are geared towards improving his digestion, his liver function and improving his absorption of nutrients. Despite the fact that he eats a nutrient rich diet, poor digestion was causing him to be deficient in many nutrients, which was evidenced by some imperfections and flaws with the shape, size and function of his red blood cells.

One thing we are praising God for in the midst of this is that his white blood cells, only 2 years after going through cancer and chemotherapy treatments, were very strong and doing their job well! They saw no indication of anything pre-cancerous in his blood, nor were they concerned about his immunity. God is good!

So what are we eating these days?

Ummm, vegetables? LOL!

It's not quite that bad. For breakfast, he can have my homemade sourdough bread, almond butter, some whole grain hot cereals, hemp milk, the very occasional smoothie (depending on which fruits I use), freshly juiced apple and veggie juices, eggs, and some cheese depending on the day.

My guidelines for lunch and dinners are:

  • Beef 2x a week (his maximum), fish 1x a week (alternating white fish one week, red/pink the next), and chicken or turkey or vegetarian protein (beans, legumes) the rest of the time
  • Lots of veggies! Lately we've been eating asparagus, green salads, peas, bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, etc.
  • Grains like brown or wild rice, millet, quinoa. Some corn. Slices of sourdough rye/kamut bread. Brown rice pasta is also allowed, so we had cold pasta salad the other night, and I am trying to think of dairy and tomato free hot pasta sauces (ideas welcome!)
  • Flavorings are mostly dried or fresh herbs, lemon/lime juice (only 2x a week), and salt and pepper.
  • For oils and fats, it is mostly extra virgin olive oil and cold-pressed coconut oil. Butter is only allowed 2x per week, so we save that for his toast. 🙂
  • A few other particulars, or foods that can only be in rotation- avocados (which he adores), sweet potatoes or yams, etc.

Here is my tentative meal plan for dinners next week:
Monday: Chicken Pot Pie using this millet dumpling topping (substituting hemp milk for the dairy)
Tuesday: Steak, millet (cooked in broth to give it more flavor), steamed cauliflower
Wednesday: Lentil/vegetable soup with green salad
Thursday: Tortilla sandwiches (with preservative free deli chicken slices)
Friday: Some type of hot (brown rice) pasta with sausages (still thinking of a sauce), plus green salad
Saturday: Vegetable stir-fry with beef over brown rice
Sunday: Pizza on homemade tortillas (these make a great, easy pizza "crust"), using a vegan pesto sauce, and one of the cheeses which he is allowed to have (feta or gouda)

A few things that I would love some suggestions for: general meal ideas for dinners, 100% stevia sweetened desserts, pasta sauces (dairy and tomato free) and salad dressings that don't include vinegar, lemon or lime juice, tomato, avocado or sweeteners (I know, I know, easy, right?).

Honestly, I'm not too stressed about this. We've done sooo many special diets over the years that this isn't really anything new. The kids and I can still eat some of our more regular foods in the daytime when Daddy isn't home. It's not seeming to be too taxing on the budget so far, with some careful planning. The only time that will be difficult is the initial weeks after baby arrives, because some of the foods I've already put away include no-no items, and we will also be receiving meals from our church members, whom I don't expect to be able to fully follow these guidelines! However, that will be a short season and we will make do, I'm sure!

Part of Menu Plan Mondays, hosted by Organizing Junkie.

Have you done any diets similar to this? Any meal/recipe suggestions for me?  🙂

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  1. wow, that’s amazing that they found all of this out through a blood sample. I’m always wondering what they would find if they checked mine.

    I have a few stevia-sweetened treats on my site. Most are also dairy free, using coconut milk. I find coconut milk to be a lifesaver for dairy free and sugar free. The orange coconut cake with coconut oil frosting could be adapted without the orange – just use more of an extract for flavor like vanilla, orange or almond.

    I think herbs will be crucial without citrus or vinegar. Have you ever tried sorrel? It tastes like lemons, literally. Amazing stuff.

    Pasta sauce ideas – pestos minus the cheese like you said, a butternut squash sauce like Kimi has on her site, olive oil, veggies and herbs do the trick as well. Pasta with sausages and peppers can be dressed simply with olive oil, salt, pepper, herbs and maybe some red pepper flakes if he can tolerate them.

    Blessings to you as you make these changes.

  2. I think you could make pesto (without cheese) in a variety of ways. You could try it with any herbs you have really and a variety of herb/nut combinations. I am trying one myself this week from the Cook for Good website with lemon balm (herb) and pecans (from the freezer). You might also browse the 101cookbooks.com website – she uses lots of alternative flours, sweeteners and oils and usually has suggestions for other things you could substitute.
    You could try some infused olive oils or try to do some yourself with herbs to add a different flavor to the oil for dressing pasta. Roasted red bell peppers and olive oil would probably make a really yummy sauce. If you can have eggs you might try pasta carbonara type dishes – might be good with sausage or something. Plus, if he can have eggs you could have veggies omelets or other things like that for dinner.
    I will come back if I think of any other ideas. 🙂

  3. Have you heard of The Body Ecology diet? I used the book and followed the diet several months after having my first baby due to several issues I was having. The diet sounds almost exactly the same as the one you are doing. They have lots of recipes in the book.

    Also, Dr. Joel Fuhrman has a book called Eat to Live. It is also very similar.

    I don’t agree with all that is in either books, but both have many helpful and beneficial things that might be worth looking into during this season!

  4. We pretty much eat grainfree and use the gaps diet for our daughter. Here are a couple ideas that might help. I just found this website
    http://www.healthyindulgences.blogspot.com and it’s awesome for baked goods. I use honey and stevia in her recipes, but I think you might be able to use just stevia in some. You can make pancakes, sweet breads and pizza crust using almond or coconut flour. I do this all the time now and we like it. I make roe cakes from Nourishing Traditions and use almond flour instead of regular. We all love them. I think she also has a tomato free spagetti sauce recipe. I just made a miso salad dressing based on the recipe from the container and you might be able to adjust a recipe using stevia and olive oil to make up for not using honey. I did half honey and some stevia and olive oil in it.
    Those are a couple ideas i thought of. Hope it helps!

  5. That is so neat! I would love to get that analysis done on my son but I don’t know of any in our area. How do you find these services? My son has a rare skin disease that mimics T Cell Lymphoma. Cancer cells have shown up in his blood tests, and we are treating him with light therapy. I would love to take a natural approach to his health! I have changed our diets drastically over the last two years, but he still has the disease!

  6. A few great resources to check out are:

    The Healthiest Meals on Earth…it has a fantastic brownie recipe using beans, dates and agave nectar (most of the recipes don’t use sugar) and

    The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen…I’ve used several recipes from the book in place of conventional pasta sauce.

    Also, maybe try looking up a recipe for Pumpkin Seed Pesto? Pumpkin seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients for men, in particular.

  7. Thanks for all the great ideas, so far! I will definitely be checking out those recipes, websites and books! Any help I can get it good. 🙂 Thanks, ladies!

    Stephanie, I’ve emailed you with some info to hopefully help you find someone close to where you live!

  8. there is a great recipe for homemade hemp milk in The Thrive Diet — that’s the diet my family is on and we are doing great — you take 1 c. of hemp hearts (they have them at that health food store on Fraser Highway near Ten Thousand Villages), then you add 4 c. of water more or less, and if you want you an add 2 T or less of agave nectar (I know he can’t have sugar, but it is much lower on the glycemic index than most sugars, so maybe it’s ok) — this tastes MUCH better than storebought hemp milk — it’s white, not brown, and raw, so it’s enzymatically active. give it a try! xo

  9. All I can think of is what others have already said – pesto sauce or olive oil with veggies. Is he allowed chicken or vegetable broth? We have a family tradition of cooking egg noodles in chicken broth and then eating it over mashed potatoes like a gravy. The stock adds a lot of flavor to the noodles, so maybe you could do a variation of this with the rice noodles and add veggies or something.

  10. I am not sure if this is a good thing or not…but I know that once I made a salad dressing using ascorbic acid (from the health food store, apparently it is vitamin C powder) and it has a similar “bite” as lemon juice or vinegars.

    I have made pesto without cheese before as I can’t have dairy and it was great!

  11. Blessings to you and your family. A couple of books that may help…
    ~Stevia, Naturally Sweet Recipes for Desserts, Drinks & More
    ~Sugar-Free Cooking with Stevia

    You can order both of these books from Azure Standard.
    Thought these may help. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  12. I’d suggest the body ecology diet which saved me when I was having health issues. There are many recipes you can even find on her website. Will he do cultured veggies, my favorite is Gold Mine cultured vegetables. A b-fast idea…egg drop soup, using bone broth, simply drop the eggs in until they are soft boiled, tastes like the yummy kind in a asian rest, w/ out the msg 😉 God bless.

  13. Hey Stephanie. This post comes on the heals of some talks my husband and I have been having. I have noticed in several of your posts that you talk about your naturopath. We would both love to see one but there are none that I can find within 2 1/2 hours of us. I was reading on another blog about a lady who went to a nutritionist (who is a nutripath) and was able to find out her food allergies, why she had low energy, that her hormones were not what they should be for pregnancies, she had no digestive enzymes, and that she was “eaten” up with candida. Is that the same type thing the blood analyses did? I would love for both me and my husband to get this done. Can you provide me with any info on how to find someone who does this?

    Blessings in Him,

  14. Pasta sauces – have you already tried doing a whole grain pasta al dente and then just drizzling a little EVOO over the top? It gives it a nice nutty flavor. I like to sprinkle a little bit of grated Parmesan on top while it’s still hot – don’t know if that’s on the list of acceptable cheeses, but it may be worth a taste test. 🙂

  15. Wow, that is amazing how they could detect all that with a blood sample. Makes you wonder about our modern medicine and why that is not routine at check ups. I have been wanting to have a full blood panel run, this has motivated me.

    As far as the diet, I love a challenge. Afterall, I am studying to be a dietitian. Have you considered a pesto sauce for pasta? I know he can’t have cheese(or is limited on it) but it could be something to play around with. Can he have pine nuts?

    Best to you! You have a beautiful family and I love reading your blog….we are still trying to switch over to a NT diet….we do lots of what is in the book but soaking grains, fermenting, etc does take some forethought. 🙂

  16. Hello Stephanie,

    I’m new to your website and I really enjoy it. Came to it through gardening interests.

    Just saw the post regarding your diet change and Candida. My husband and I have been struggling with various health issues for years and I began asking the Lord for wisdom.

    In the past couple of years, we changed our diet based on Weston Price so when I discovered our Candida issue, I desired to address it based on that type of diet.

    Here is a website that not only correctly states the seriousness of Candida and how it relates to many other health issues i.e diabetes, cancer etc., it provides the most thorough diet for your immune system to correct the Candida. We’ve been doing this for 7 months along with my friend and her autistic daughter. It is working!!!

    The only thing I would stay away from is any new age teachings otherwise, everything else is excellent. Not easy but excellent. Take a look. You won’t be disappointed. http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com.

    In Christ,

  17. Hello Stephanie,

    I just reread your original post and caught the the comment concerning your husband’s cancer. You’ll be interested to learn through Bee’s website (hold onto your hat) that cancer isn’t cancer at all but it is really fungus i.e. candida. Read Bee’s basic articles first. Very interesting…


  18. Hi,

    I just found your blog and so glad I did! It seems like we might have a lot in common!

    we LOVE pesto for pasta, I’ve made it with green peas, asparagus, basically anything green. And you can make it cheese free too!

    There are probably a lot of recipes on my blog that you could use. 🙂

    have a great night!


  19. Thanks so much for this post, as we are dealing with many of the same issues and you have lots of inspiring menu ideas 🙂

    I too would love to hear how you found the specialist to do your husband’s blood work – any resources you can point me to?

    I highly recommend Doug Kaufmann’s website – good articles and helpful advice on eating grain free and combating yeast. He’s a believer also.


  20. I’d like to second Emily Hope’s post about Doug Kaufmann. I’ve been following his diet for quite some time now and it’s been really great. My mother died from breast cancer in April and I’m doing everything I can to not follow down that same road.

    We eat a lot of homemade soaked tortillas (in place of bread), I also was successful in my sourdough starter and I make pizza shells and freeze them. We pull one out every Friday and make one up (sometimes I just use feta cheese, or goat cheese, and sometimes I’ll splurge with mozz)

    Thanks to so many of you on here with your great blogs and websites, I’ve been able to learn and do so much more. I’ll just leave you with this.


    This is a group that follows Dougs diet along with similar diets. I’ve learned a lot there. I wish you and your husband the strength to continue. Educate yourselves and stay prayerful. The Lord will bless you.

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