Thursday, May 2, 2013

How to turn orange in 30 days

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I have been on an elimination diet for the last six weeks or so in an attempt to figure out if anything I eat exacerbates my arthritis. I have a suspicion there is, and I have a good idea what it might be, but I thought I would try a systematic approach so I can find out for sure.

The program I am following can be found here, and it works like any elimination diet: you begin by restricting yourself to a small number of  foods least likely to be causing problems, and then once your symptoms have subsided you slowly add foods, one at a time, watching for any kind of reaction. The plan sets out three groups of food - Phase I, which should be safe for most people, Phase II which has foods that are more problematic, and then Phase III which contains the heavy hitters like dairy and gluten and nuts.

For someone with a chronic inflammatory condition like the arthritis I have, the suggestion is to stay on Phase I for at least 30 days. I won't bore you with all the other details, but what you need to know (for the purposes of this post) is that many of the Phase I foods are orange.

Sweet potatoes. Squash. Carrots. Peaches. Orange, orange, orange, orange. Yes, there are green foods too - green beans, peas, broccoli and zucchini. But ever since I regained my sense of smell I don't like broccoli, and zucchini is a stretch.

Here is a typical meal: chicken, rice and veg.

Here is another typical meal: chicken, rice and veg. Sigh.

I know I am not too compromised nutritionally because I am also taking a hypo-allergenic supplement while my diet is so restricted. The problem is, I am turning orange.

This first came to my attention about Day 30, when Kim was walking behind me and said "Your ears are orange."

"No," I said.

"Yes," she said.

"No they're not," I said.

"Yes, they are. You're turning orange," she said.

Then a couple of days later, when I was taking off my gardening gloves, I noticed that my palms had a distinct orange hue. I moved to a different light. Still orange.

I cook my orange vegetables in bulk these days.
If I had to choose between being orange and having arthritis pain I know what my choice would be. But still, I think it might be time to start eating some kale.


jeanives said...

Oy! How about your eyes. Because if they are turning orange your liver might not be happy even though the food seems benign. I LOVE that kale is your go-to option! lol

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Well. You're right... as trade-offs go, color over pain!
But... I do hope phases two and three prove successful, without losing too many favorite foods.

Alison said...

I can't believe you didn't post a picture of your orange ears!

I can't imagine the self-discipline needed to stick to such a diet. At least you know it's only temporary--and you are doing a great job making your plates pretty! For whatever solace that may give you.

Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies said...

Damn that beta-carotene!

Stephanie said...

Staying away from shade producing foods is a good option for arthritis.

Paula said...

Mixing green with orange will give you brown.

maybe you could make yourself look tan without any sun!

Shim Farm said...

Hope you manage to reduce the level of beta-carotene in your diet! Apparently too much can cause joint pain as well...

I don't know if you've heard of Dr. Terry Wahls, she's doing some pioneering research on diet and MS. She gave a TED-talk that was widely circulated. Link here if you haven't already seen it:

It's pretty thought-provoking and informative. And maybe it will inspire you to add even more kale to your plate!

Hope your diet is working, and that you're feeling better.

Miriam said...

Very funny everyone! So far my eyes are fine, Jean. And Alison, "self-discipline" and "Miriam" have never gone into the same sentence before. I think it's more a matter of "desperation" and "Miriam" in this case! Stephanie, do you mean nightshade vegetables? If so, they are DEFINITELY Phase III. Paula, you're hysterical - although someone I hadn't seen in a while asked me the other day if I had been spending time in the sun (which I haven't, so I figure it must be my overall orange-ness). And Ann, geeze-louise, now there's something else to worry about! Thanks for the link to the TED talk - I'm going to check it out right now (after I eat my breakfast kale, that is...).

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