I attribute the following to a series of happy accidents and the culmination of focusing on the food and drink that we’ve been putting into our bodies. I qualify everything below with: This has been the finding of my husband and me. Other people may have different outcomes. However, our findings have been so striking that I believe it’s worth the effort to test for yourselves.
I can now enjoy artisan breads and pizza like I used to but without the pesky side effects that had been accumulating and were lifelong in some cases. My side effects (at least where related to gluten) have disappeared as long as I follow my new routine. I’ll share that below, but first a brief history.
Several years ago, a friend shared her experience with an elimination diet and how it helped her chase down several health issue causes. Since I had been dealing with a few minor issues myself, I decided to try this diet to see what might come of it. I can unequivocally say that the JJ Virgin Diet changed my life.
Up until this elimination diet (which cuts out 7 problematic foods for 7 weeks), I had chronic insomnia. I would cherish the handful of days a year that I slept solidly through the night. I also had a pelvis that would go out nearly monthly and resulted in lower back problems. Both of these were patterns since at latet my teens (I just turned 60). More recently, I had developed a knee problem that resulted in pain and inflammation. Since menopause I had also begun to add weight.
Within the first week of JJ’s Diet, I was sleeping solidly through the night and my knee problems evaporated. I was aghast! I never would have connected my insomnia to my diet without the information I was accruing with this diet. Since the change in my eating habits, I also now see a direct correlation between my pelvic alignment and certain food intolerances—specifically dairy.
My husband recently tried the diet due to health concerns and found his own surprises. Since his change in eating habits, his blood pressure has come down from concerning levels to normal ranges. He has also had other lifelong problems alleviated, notably his sinus congestion is much less. He had developed pulsitile tinnitus which went from constant to none over the course of the testing. He also lost 35 pounds along the way. (I lost 50.)
The toughest part for me was proving my intolerance for gluten and dairy. I adored supping on a good artisan bread and gourmet cheeses. However, the reactions that I now know are caused by certain foods have kept me on the straight and narrow since the benefits of a more youthful vigor with an able body are more than worth it.
Accidentally, during a weak moment, we discovered Mandia Gold Label Pizzas one day at Kroger. We took some home and what happened next sent us down another experimental path. Neither my husband nor myself had any reaction (we’re both bothered by dairy). After a little research we found the pizzas were made in Italy. Hmmm… what was different? “Cleaner” raw materials, perhaps? We suspected these pies might be GMO and pesticide free.
Luckily for us, Kroger stopped carrying these pizzas (although I complained loudly when they did). The next happy accident occurred because I’d recently woken my sourdough starter up and wanted to see if I could tolerate the gluten. I had tried a few years ago but the build-up of symptoms would get to me after a week or so and the good bugs in the sourdough couldn’t overcome the problem for me.
I decided to give it another whirl because I found some Italian flour some months back and was now curious about testing our theory regarding the cleaner ingredients. Wonder of wonders, I have no problem with my homemade pizza dough and have found a recipe that rivals the Mandia pizzas (though it’s a bit more work).
Concurrently to all of this happening, we purchased a new kitchen helper because I was needing a way to grind our corn into meal for one of our favorite gluten-free cornbreads. We researched quite a bit, including inexpensive coffee grinders, and settled on the WonderMill Grain Mill. (If you’d rather not purchase this from Amazon, we can’t recommend Pleasant Hill Grain Company highly enough. (Tell them I sent you, it’ll make me smile.)
Even though we purchased our mill specifically for corn, I spent the first couple of weeks grinding everything but corn. We discovered some wonderful non-GMO, chemical-free wheat berries at a nearby Amish market. They come from Montana and so far, so good—no problem with pesky symptoms.
My next rabbit hole will be chasing down specific cheeses that I can tolerate. I’m convinced that because Mandia uses four or more cheeses on its pizza and I don’t have any reaction, I must be able to find other cheeses that will work for me. I’m excited about the possibilities of adding back more of the foods I love.
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