I was, just. Sick. Of. IT. The weekly headaches. The constant fatigue and cloudy thinking. Sharp stomach pain. Bloating. Dealing with these things on a regular basis, over a long period of time, is NOT normal. I felt awful, and was no more going to tolerate this as my usual way of life. Something needed to change. No matter how difficult, no matter how long I had to work at it. I needed to do something.
There *is* - present tense - one more reason why I needed to change something. A raw, grievous, heartbreaking reason. The reason that motivated me to make a dietary change, perhaps most of all, is that I dream of being a mom.
That dream is currently not a reality that I can attain to.
It may never happen. But after years of silently dealing with it, finally facing it, different therapies, doctors' visits, long drives, thousands of dollars, and all of that leading to no change, I figured I have nothing to lose. Mainstream medicine isn't helping me. And, if nothing else, my goal in this endeavor is to make sure that I'm okay. And healthy. For ME.
I have a close comrade that had her own reasons to make a change as well: my sister. Together we're on a quest conquer our symptoms and improve our health. The first step in this adventure? An elimination diet.
An elimination diet is a short-term eating plan that cuts out certain foods that may be causing allergies and other digestive health issues - then reintroduces those foods one at a time to determine what your body can and cannot tolerate. Simple, right? Straightforward, sure, but do not fall into the mindset arguing that simple = easy. Those things ARE NOT the same. Elimination diets are not for the faint of heart. It will be difficult. You will get withdrawal symptoms. You will be perpetually hungry for weeks. You will probably act "severe", as my husband Josh described me during my first week. Let's not mince words - you will probably be a douche.
But a gem of optimism I unearthed after the beginning battle? It was WORTH IT. Withdrawals eventually waned. The headaches went away. Stomach pains ceased. The mind cleared up. I felt better. It was hard work, but it was feasible to see myself improve.
Enter: sweet potato fritters. I created these in a desperate attempt to use up the enormous bag of sweet potatoes I bought without really knowing what to do with them. I was never one to cook, use, eat, or look at sweet potatoes before starting this diet. All of a sudden, there was an unrealistic amount of them in my life. These fritters, against all odds, were a therapeutic life saver. They reminded me of hash browns, so there was a comforting essence about them. I found the balance of both a delicious and filling fare, and the salsa on top made it feel like a fresh, summer meal.
**NOTE** ~ The homemade salsa I made contained tomatoes. These are nightshade vegetables, and although I ate nightshade while on the elimination diet, someone struggling with an auto-immune disease may not be able to. So keep that in mind, and if needed, tweak the recipe however you desire.
Sweet Potato Fritters + a Homemade Salsa
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 egg
- salt + pepper
- coconut oil
- tomatoes (I used several grape tomatoes), diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- fresh herb of choice, minced (I believe I used basil in the pictures shown; another time I used cilantro)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- salt + pepper
Peel and grate the sweet potato. Place it in a medium bowl along with the egg, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Heat the oil in a large skillet or on a griddle set to medium/medium-high heat. Place spoonfuls of the sweet potato mix onto the skillet and flatten; let brown. Meanwhile, add tomatoes, avocado, herbs, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, and stir to combine. Set aside. Once fritters are brown on one side, flip and let them brown on the other side as well. Remove them from heat, place on a plate, and top with the salsa. Enjoy! xoxo.