The Inaugural "Reintroduction" Post: Tomatoes

...or, well, tomato sauce. It's cooked, so they're not exactly fresh off the vine or anything. And acidic foods lose some of their acidity when cooked.

So, before I get to the topic at hand, let me give you a little background about the rules for reintroducing foods into my diet. If this diet and food lifestyle shift has been anything, it's been rule-driven. Rules about when, how, what, where to eat... you know the drill if you've read any of this blog.

My doctor and I chatted about the best and safest way for me to start reintroducing food back into my diet. The rule is one food a week, trying it twice within that week - spaced out by a few days. So, if I try something on Monday, I have to wait 'til at least Thursday before trying it again. I have to try it twice during the week. And if, by the end of the week, I haven't been able to adequately discern how that food affects my system, it gets another week. At most one new food a week, and as pure/plain as I can make it (obviously with onions, I'm not just going to eat an onion, but will create something highlights the onion and only uses other ingredients that I'm sure work well in my system. The key words here are slow and isolated. Slow to reintroduce, and only introduce one thing at a time, as isolated as possible.

Once I've tried a new food off of my No-List, the next part of the process is paying attention to the reaction in my system. This is 3-fold, really. The instant initial reaction (if any), the 2-hours later reaction (after digestion has started), and the two days later reaction (after the food has pretty much moved through my whole system). These 3 reactions (or lack thereof) will help me ascertain how much of the food I can handle, in what ways, and help me figure out how to ultimately modify my diet in regards to the food in question.

There are two main reasons for such a slow, and seemingly painstaking process of reintroduction. 1) Just what I've said above - to figure out how my system will react without a lot of interference from other foods; and 2) most of these foods are things I have not eaten in over 7 months. Meaning my stomach/digestive system doesn't have even a vague recollection of how to deal with these foods. (It's actually quite surprising how quick your system can forget!) So I'm also being careful to ease myself lightly back into a more normal diet. I won't be able to handle it all at once. So, again, slow and isolated.

Phew, what a mouthful!

So, now onto the actual subject here: I just had tomato sauce for the first time since March! Excitement!!! I found a recipe online for Low-Acid Tomato Sauce (from one of my favorite online recipe sources, Dr. Gourmet). My version is modified a bit, of course (like always), to account for my stricter dietary guidelines. He calls for onion and garlic - I quite literally just used tomatoes and water. Takes kind of a long time to make this tomato sauce, but I'm hoping the end result is something that makes my system happy (or, at least, not unhappy - I'll settle for that).

Low Acid Tomato Sauce
[My modified version]

I put this sauce over whole wheat rotini, and used the meatballs I made at the end of last week (recipe here).
...I need to pause for a moment and express just how fabulous it was to look at a basic pasta meal with actual tomato sauce!!!

2 28-oz cans peeled tomatoes, chopped [either buy cans of whole peeled and chop yourself or get pre-chopped peeled]
3 cups water
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp olive oil (optional)

1. Put water and tomatoes in a large stock pot with the olive oil added in, if desired. Simmer over low heat until tomatoes are soft and easily squashed (this will take a good 90 minutes).
2. Once tomatoes are done, remove pot from heat and cool the sauce completely (this will take a good 40-45 minutes).
3. Once cooled, add baking soda. This causes the sauce to fizz or bubble. Stir every five minutes until the sauce is no longer bubbling.
4. You can now either store this until ready to use it, or else reheat and use for your meal.

- Initial

Besides the butterflies in my stomach from being a little anxious about trying formerly forbidden food, my stomach was fine. It went down well, and no immediate pain. Pass

- 2 hours later
The tummy is still happy. A little reflux - but I think that's because I ate it rather late (bad Nina). Next time, will try it earlier in the evening...

- 2 days later
Tummy's still happy!

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