• Erin Zaranec

What's a Girl To Eat? Following Functional Medicine

In February, I wrote about my medically-mandated elimination diet and why it was necessary for me to eliminate so many food groups to move forward with my health. Now, three months later, I’m actually still sticking to it all - which means I eat no beef, pork, processed meats, shellfish, soy, gluten, caffeine, dairy, soy, or corn. None of it - not even for a cheat!

I began to reintroduce added sugars in very, very small amounts and have set my weekly limit at 15 grams of added sugars per week. This allows me to eat some gluten free breads and crackers that have one or two grams of added sugar per serving. (Fun fact - actually really sad fact: I had a Gatorade that had 34 grams of ADDED sugar while hiking and had a headache for two days... so, no more random sugar splurges for me!)

If you would have asked 2020 Erin if this was possible, I would have laughed you out of the room - well… we wouldn’t have been in the same room because of the pandemic… but you get it.

There’s definitely moments of frustration and days of craving foods I can’t have, but overall this has been working so well for me that I no longer consider it a diet - but a lifestyle.

When I posted about my diet, a lot of people said they’d be interested in hearing some recipes I enjoy. While I’m no food blogger, I figured I could give it a go. I do enjoy cooking but love the ease of basic meals that are filling and can easily become leftovers, nothing too fancy for me!

I am NOT a food blogger and actually follow recipes pretty loosely so full warning: these recipes are typed out Erin-style, not Food Network approved.

Here’s some of my easy go-to recipes:

  • Lamb Burgers:

  • Ingredients needed: ground lamb, fresh mint, fresh parsley, red onion, oregnano, cumin, paprika, garlic, cucumber, lettuce, tomato

  • My favorite things ever, ever, ever!! Combine 1 lb. ground lamb with 10 mint leafs, fresh parsley, red onion, oregano, cumin, paprika, and fresh garlic.

  • Make patties to your size of choice and either grill or cook over the stovetop on high heat (I've only ever cooked on the stovetop and do about 5 minutes per side for a 10 minute total cook).

  • Let patties set for about 5 minutes after they cook. While the patties are setting, chop tomato, cucumber, and lettuce and toppings. I always eat these "open-faced" with no buns so I just plate with my toppings and enjoy!

  • For more detailed seasoning amounts, follow this recipe.

  • Teriyaki Chicken Spring Rolls:

  • Ingredients needed: Primal Kitchen No Soy Teriyaki marinade, chicken breast, vegetables to taste, rice paper wraps

  • This one is super simple and one of my go-to easy lunches. Simply cube chicken and cook until done on stove top using avocado oil in pan, in the last 3 minutes or so, add no soy marinade to your liking. While you're cooking your chicken, chop veggies you like - I use red or orange pepper, carrot, and cucumber with some broccoli slaw!

  • Once everything is prepped, soak your rice paper in warm water for about 15 seconds. Pull it out, place your toppings, and roll that bad boy up! YUM!

  • Taco Bowls:

  • Ingredients needed: Meat of choice, brown rice, toppings of choice, bean chips

  • Another super simple one - cook your meat of choice on the stovetop, add taco seasoning and simmer. Cook brown rice, add cilantro and lime juice in the last 2 minutes of stovetop time.

  • Chop up your topping of choice (my favorite are tomato, avocado, pinto and black beans, and lettuce!) and scoop up with Aldi's White Bean Chips!

  • Chicken Gyro Bowls:

  • Ingredients needed: Chicken, jasmine rice, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, Trader Joe's Vegan Tzatziki sauce

  • This is definitely getting added to my menu rotation - it's SO easy and SO good! Cube chicken on your stovetop and season with Za'atar seasoning, while your chicken is cooking start your rice - I used jasmine with this recipe and it was delicious.

  • Once your chicken and rice are cooked, just dice up tomato, cucumber, and shred some lettuce. Top with some vegan tzatziki and you're done!

  • Banana Oat Bars:

  • Ingredients needed: Gluten free oats, ripe banana, cinnamon, vegan butter, frozen fruit

  • Goodbye granola bars! This is so simple and easy, I love it for a good mid-day snack or an addition to my breakfast. Mash one ripe banana and combine with 1/2 cup of gluten free oats, 2 tablespoons of vegan butter, and add cinnamon to taste. Spread the mixture on parchment paper and bake for 25 minutes at 350°.

  • While your base is baking, add frozen fruit to a stovetop pan over medium heat. As the fruit begins to soften, mash it with a fork / any other mash-friendly tool you have on hand. Let this simmer for at least 10 minutes, the longer it simmers the thicker the fruit mixture will get!

  • If you want this to be on the sweeter side, add honey! I skip out on this because of my sugar restrictions.

  • Once your base is baked, remove from the oven and let it set for about 5 minutes before spreading the fruit mixture on top. Let everything cool and enjoy!

I'm a HUGE snacker, my favorite snacks are now: apples and bananas with unsweetened sunbutter (Trader Joe's brand is my fav!), apples with Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels and sunbutter, carrots and hummus, pickles - yep, just pickles (Randy's Pickles Spicy Dill are delicous), and bean chips with Trader Joe's Tomatillo and Roasted Yellow Chili Salsa. I love a good day of healthy eating, but I won't give up my snacks!

I've seen a huge improvement in my energy levels, my migraines, my chronic pain, and stomach bloating as a result of these diet changes. For the future, I plan on loosely reintroducing beef as an occasional addition so I can enjoy a steak again! But for now, my elimination diet has now become a lifestyle I plan to follow.

What are your go-to health conscious recipes?! Let me know what your go-tos are or if you try any of my favorites.

An important note: I do not endorse diet culture or making unnecessary changes to your diet for looks or aesthetic. All food swaps and diet components mentioned in my blog were recommended by medical professionals and were done under medical supervision.


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