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Elimination diet: 3-day food log

April 26, 2012

News & Notes

    • Earlier this week my publisher, Vegan Heritage Press, shared some photos out of Practically Raw. Check ’em out, do a little drooling (::wink::) and grab a copy of the book, if you haven’t already!
    • Speaking of Practically Raw, Adriana over at Vegan Corner interviewed me recently about the book. In the post, she also shares my recipe for raw Sugared Doughnut Holes…so yummy!
    • Speaking of interviews, I was also interviewed yesterday by Caryn Hartglass on her internet radio show “It’s All About Food”—click here to listen.
    • I finally have an Instagram account! I don’t know why I put it off for so long. Feel free to “follow” me—my username is almostveganchef. I predict I’ll be sharing a lot of fun stuff on there.


I want to start out by dedicating this post to my friend Shanna Sandmoen. Shanna passed away Monday night. She had just turned 31 last month. Shanna had battled cancer (Hodgkin’s lymphoma) for the last several years and most recently suffered from congestive heart failure.

We first found each other online a couple years ago and instantly bonded over our love for Tori Amos, e. e. cummings, and health and nutrition. A fellow lover of living foods, Shanna was also a member of the Raw Food Union here in Kansas City, and just a couple weeks ago she was talking about which recipes from Practically Raw she wanted to make as soon as she felt better.

Shanna and I had longstanding plans to meet for tea sometime soon—most recently, we vowed to meet up as soon as I was settled into this new apartment. I can’t believe we never got to…can’t believe it. And I only noticed on Tuesday that on Shanna’s recently-created “32 Things To Do Before I Turn 32 on March 29th 2013” list, she put: “12. Meet Amber Shea from Almost Vegan.” That cracked my heart right open.

Shanna had a blog called Existing’s Tricky. Please peruse it if/when you get a chance—she was wise, kind, and generous far beyond her years. I will try harder than ever to follow her brave example of courage and self-love in healing. She is and always will be such an inspiration to me.

* * *

Since announcing my Hashimoto’s disease diagnosis and sharing my autoimmune elimination diet protocol, quite a few people have asked me to share a “food log” of a few days’ worth of eating, to get a sense of my current daily diet and how I’m dealing with so many restrictions. Here, then, is what I ate (and when I ate it) over the course of three days last week. It’s pretty representative of how I’ve been eating lately: small, frequent snacks, rotating many of the same simple, nutrient-dense foods. Please remember that this is not prescriptive in any way; it’s simply a snapshot of how I’m eating right now, and shouldn’t be construed as medical advice. (For the rationale behind this regimen, please read this post first.)


9:00am – Protein shake: ClearVite chocolate rice protein powder, water
10:00am – Spoonful of Sugar-Free Strawberry Coconut Butter
11:00am – Handful of Basic Flax Crackers (page 75) + ~1/4 cup Zucchini Hummus (page 110)
1:30pm – Smoothie: Sunwarrior raw vanilla protein powder, frozen raspberries, maca powder, black tahini, spinach, Swiss chard, stevia, water (drank 2 cups and saved the other 3 for later)
3:15pm – 1 cup smoothie (see above)
4:15pm – 1 cup smoothie (see above), spoonful of Sugar-Free Strawberry Coconut Butter
5:30pm – 1 cup smoothie (see above), spoonful of Sugar-Free Strawberry Coconut Butter
7:00pm – 5 cups steamed broccoli + coconut aminos + nutritional yeast + hempseeds
9:00pm – Protein shake: ClearVite chocolate rice protein powder, water


9:00am – Protein shake: ClearVite chocolate rice protein powder, water
10:00am – Spoonful of Sugar-Free Strawberry Coconut Butter
11:30am – Spoonful of Sugar-Free Strawberry Coconut Butter
1:30pm – Hummus Amongus Salad (page 129): romaine, broccoli/radish sprouts, shredded carrot, Zucchini Hummus (page 110)
2:30pm – Smoothie: Sunwarrior raw vanilla protein powder, frozen strawberries, spinach, Swiss chard, stevia, water (drank about 2 cups and saved the other 2 for later)
3:15pm – 1 cup smoothie (see above)
4:00pm – 1 cup smoothie (see above)
7:00pm – 1 cup steamed asparagus + 3 cups steamed cauliflower + olive oil + sea salt
9:00pm – Bowl of strawberries
10:30pm – 1/2 protein shake: ClearVite chocolate rice protein powder, water


9:00am – Protein shake: ClearVite chocolate rice protein powder, water
10:00am – Spoonful of plain coconut butter
11:30am – 2 cups Crazy Green Juice
12:45pm – Nut-free kale chips (made with sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, and spices)
2:00pm – Spoonful of plain coconut butter, handful of sunflower seeds
3:45pm – Avocado pudding (whole avocado, Sunwarrior raw chocolate protein powder, spinach, sunflower lecithin, stevia, water)
6:00pm – 2 cups Crazy Green Juice
7:30pm – One whole batch Curry-Roasted Cauliflower
9:00pm – Protein shake: ClearVite chocolate rice protein powder, water

And there you have it. As you can see, I’m basically eating lots of veggies (including plenty of leafy greens), healthy fats (mostly coconut butter and oil, plus a little olive oil), hypo-allergenic protein powders (which my doctor encourages; they’re gentle on my digestive tract) and smaller amounts of fruits (berries and avocados) and seeds (flax, hemp, sunflower, sesame). Despite my limited options, I think I’m doing pretty well at mixing it up each day and keeping it interesting.

Do you find these types of posts helpful? Should I do another in the future?


3 years ago this week…
Chickpea-lentil slow cooker stew
Oat crumble jam bars
2 years ago this week…
Quick blueberry compote
Almost Vegan in Chicago, parts 2.1 and 2.2
1 year ago this week…
Lichtenauer family birthday “red cake”

46 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2012 11:12 am

    So sorry to hear about Shanna!! That’s so sad. Cancer is just fucking evil. She sounds like a lovely soul (especially because she loved Tori!!).

    As for the food log, it doesn’t sound so bad. Lots of smoothies, but that’s okay because smoothies are delicious. I must try your strawberry coconut butter, for real-real.

  2. Alayna @ Thyme Bombe permalink
    April 26, 2012 11:33 am

    I’m really sorry to hear about your friend. It’s like something’s in the water, it seems like everyone I know has lost someone special recently. I’m glad she had a chance to make an impression on your life.

    You seem to be finding plenty of delicious things to eat even with so many restrictions right now. I love snacking all day like that rather than clearly defined meals anyway, you get to taste so many more different things that way.

  3. April 26, 2012 11:54 am

    So sorry about your friend. The fact you never met in person underscores for me the poignancy of the fact that it’s possible to get really close, and really miss, people who are friends via the internet. Agree with the previous commenter–so many deaths recently, so many people moving.

    I could live on smoothies, except occasionally I want to chew something–for which lettuce/celery/carrots are perfect!

    I’m curious whether Matt’s eating any of the same things as you atm or if he’s hitting the freezer burgers stash, or traveling. You know Phil and I eat almost completely differently–unless I make a salad (and even then usually a dressing I wouldn’t touch on the side), we’re basically eating two completely different meals.

    Glad you’re getting such good nourishment and really, some variety!
    Hope you’re feeling good on it.

    • April 26, 2012 12:04 pm

      Completely agree. I often feel closer to some of my blog friends than I do to my real-life friends.

      Steamed or roasted cauli/broccoli are my favorite chewables!

      Matt hasn’t changed his diet lately, though he’s gradually cut out most processed fake meats, etc. on his own over the last several months (even though he didn’t eat many to begin with). He’s been out of town for 7 of the last 8 days, but he’s always good about finding healthy options on the road. When he’s here, I suppose he doesn’t eat dramatically differently from me – but I do cook him big batches of beans each week, and sometimes quinoa or brown rice. He snacks on peanuts and almonds (and their butters). He’s cut down his coffee consumption quite a bit (or so he tells me). He eats more fruits than I’m eating right now – he’s obsessed with banana soft-serve and can eat 5-6 nanners in one sitting that way! He also, believe it or not, eats more salads than I do 🙂 But really, none of those things have been because of my recent diet changes – it’s the way he was already eating. I wish I could get him to write a guest post about his “hegan” diet!

  4. Kerri Di Costantino permalink
    April 26, 2012 12:11 pm

    yes please! so funny I am obsessed with the roasted cauliflower thing now too! we eat very similar, as we have very similar diagnosis!

  5. Sara permalink
    April 26, 2012 1:15 pm

    Very interesting!Just curious why you are eating so often and consuming so much protein? I am currently trying to follow food combining. Have you ever tried it and any thoughts on it?

    • April 26, 2012 1:24 pm

      Hi Sara – read this post for the rationale behind this regimen.
      I’d studied the scientific evidence for food combining and, truth be told, there isn’t much! But I know it works well for some people. Whether it’s a mental trick or a biochemical thing, we may never know for sure.

  6. April 26, 2012 1:54 pm

    I just read your post and learned about Shanna’s passing. Shanna and I used to converse with each other after we discovered each other’s blogs. I very much enjoyed hearing from her and reading her comments on my blog and it was a treat to get private emails from her. I am so saddened to hear about her passing. Her blog was inspirational to me when I was first diagnosed with cancer back in March ’10. I have been thinking a lot about her lately, she had sent me a letter in the mail a month or so ago and since my recent move I failed to get it. I hope it is not lost forever in the land of the USPS. I am so saddened by this news. Cancer Can Suck It!

  7. bitt permalink
    April 26, 2012 6:08 pm

    So sorry for your loss. I have heard of too many lately. It’s sad when someone is so young. Glad you were an inspiration to her.

    Interesting about the diet, it was good to see how it played out in terms of what you DO eat instead of the no this, no that thing. Good thing coconut butter is ok! I try to get in a tablespoon a day too. is there a reason for spacing it like that? blood sugar?

    More interestingly to me is also the emotional and detox part of this. For me, getting rid of certain foods always gives me a period of mourning the loss of certain foods. Did you experience any of that? I know you said you had some detox symptoms too. It’s hard as we have a lot of emotional attachment to food.

    • April 26, 2012 8:47 pm

      Yep, I’m spreading everything out for the sake of blood sugar. I’m told that’s of the utmost importance for my body right now.

      I’ve definitely had some emotional detox…it’s gotten a little better the last few days; I hope it stays that way. I haven’t mourned too much because I do expect to be able to add back things like nuts, beans, and maybe even certain grains eventually. But I try not to think too much about gluten, because the loss of naan/pita bread/injera is particularly “devastating” to me. 😦

      Thanks goodness for coconut butter!

      • bitt permalink
        April 27, 2012 9:36 pm

        Someone came up with a GF injera recipe, can’t remember who but it’s around somewhere. Havent tried it yet. I got really sad about gluten too and still do sometimes. Bread is hard to replicate, but there’s been a lot of progress in GF baking lately and it’s better than it’s ever been I think.

      • April 27, 2012 10:23 pm

        Yeah, at some point when I can eat grains again, I’ll experiment with GF naan/injera. It’s the fact that I can no longer ever get it in my favorite restaurants is what really bums me out.

  8. Tara permalink
    April 26, 2012 7:25 pm

    Hi Amber,
    Just wanted to say that I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your friend ; ( Also, I like this post, as I am curious about your diet and how it works for you. Hope u r feeling yourself again soon!!

  9. April 27, 2012 3:24 am

    Sending you such love. It seems like that cancer fucker has been skulking around too many of us right now; I seem to be hearing of another person being taken too young far, far too often. All hugs and support, and I know the agony of someone being taken before your plans to meet eventuated. When I got back from UVA and switched majors from English to Sociology, I necessarily had to stop working one-on-one with the English academic I’d spent the first two years of my degree with. He was an incredible man, and kept talking of catching up over coffee, and yet I felt so guilty about “abandoning” him that I never quite got around to it. At the beginning of my Honours year, he felt unwell during a lecture, went back to his office, where he had a stroke and was gone.

    I still have one of his books that he lent me, and I’ll never give it away. xoxo

    • April 27, 2012 10:01 am

      Oh my gosh, Hannah, I’m so sorry to hear that. Shanna once invited me to a “movie night” at her house that I didn’t go to…because I don’t particularly like movies, and was anxious (as usual) about being around a whole group of people I didn’t know. I’m kicking myself now for not getting over it and just going.

      • June 23, 2012 7:22 pm

        She wouldn’t have asked if she didn’t care about you, and that wouldn’t have changed xoxo But yes, motto for both of us: embrace ALL THE THINGS. (Except for when I really just need alone time away from people 😛 )

  10. Kelli permalink
    April 27, 2012 8:09 am

    That breaks my heart. Sounds like cancer took another wonderful person well before her time. Thank you for posting a snapshot of your current menu. You are way more creative with such a limited menu than I am with having a ton of choices. Thank you for the inspiration. Hugs to you and Shanna’s family~~

  11. fitnessoversixty permalink
    April 27, 2012 9:21 am

    Thank you for your gentle reminder that each person in a community is real and how we interact with each other does matter; Shanna was a beautiful young woman.

    I hope you are feeling better! I am not surprised at all that you have engagements, didn’t I tell you that would happen?! Although your knowledge and experience are what attracts people, it is the essence of you that make them glad they met you.

    Now, to FOOD! I am digging into some of these recipes today and see what fits in our diets, everything looks so good, I want it all!

    Happy creating,

    • April 27, 2012 10:04 am

      Some of my best friends are internet friends…I think we bloggers understand the kinds of strong connections that can be made in this community.

      I’m not feeling better yet, but then again this H. pylori infection is still raging…can’t wait for it to be gone, so we can start to try to calm down my immune system!

  12. fitnessoversixty permalink
    April 27, 2012 9:24 am

    Reblogged this on fitnessoversixty and commented:
    Amber Shea is a fasinating, authentic young woman whose recipes and nutritional expertise are exceptional. I bought her cookbook and am thrilled to have it and be a part of her BLOG community. Perhaps you will enjoy as well!

  13. April 27, 2012 11:15 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, Amber. It’s sad how often we are reminded how short and fragile life can be!

    Thanks for sharing this peak into your very private world. I hope your current regimen is helping! I’ve always been a “grazer” as well and I try to eat every ~2 hrs to keep my blood sugar stable (I don’t have any diagnosed condition, but I certainly feel better when I’m doing that). I understand how difficult it can be to maintain a “regular” life when you’re breaking all the time for snacks!

    Stay strong… Deep breaths! Much love!

    • April 27, 2012 11:18 am

      Thank you, Cat ❤
      Even though I naturally enjoy snacking, it's kind of annoying to HAVE to eat so often! Plus I'm paranoid about eating too many calories, which is easy to do when constantly grazing.

      • April 27, 2012 12:00 pm

        I feel ya. But you know the keys: planning and portion control. The only times I’m apt to go overboard is when I haven’t given advance thought to what I’ll be snacking on. I’m sure you’ll do fine in that department!

  14. April 27, 2012 5:20 pm

    Wow, Amber…your dedication to Shanna is so touching. Deep stuff, especially knowing how much you meant to each other without ever having met face to face.

    Good job on the food regimen!

  15. Susan permalink
    April 29, 2012 2:15 pm

    So sorry to hear about your friend Amber. It just doesn’t make sense, so many people are getting cancer, it’s scary.

    On a brighter note, thanks for writing the best book ever. I love it and my skin is glowing, my eyes are sparkling since using your recipes. I feel wonderful, so many friends have commented that I’m glowing at the moment. Thank you!

    • April 29, 2012 2:47 pm

      Wow, thank you for the compliment, Susan! I’m SO happy you love the book and are getting beautiful results from your diet!

  16. April 29, 2012 3:10 pm

    Amber, I’m so sorry to read this about your friend, Shanna. No way around it, she was too young to die. Unfortunately cancer seems to have become a permanent part of my life via family members and well, I’d be happy never to see or hear the word again. The specter of it is one reason I went vegan.

    Maybe it’s the voyeur in me, but it’s very interesting to see your menu for each day. I’m constantly tinkering with my diet – adding more raw, more green smoothies and less grains. Anyway…thanks for sharing.

    • April 29, 2012 3:15 pm

      I too would love nothing more than to never hear the word cancer ever again. 😦

      I’m a foodie voyeur – and a chronic diet-tinkerer – too!

  17. knitalittlekitty permalink
    April 30, 2012 11:37 am

    Amber, I’m so sorry to hear about your friend Shanna. I’m a new reader and I love the positive perspective and environment you maintain here. It is certainly inspirational.

    This post was really neat to read, thanks for sharing. It’s great that your doctors are embracing your dietary philosophy and encouraging you to maintain who you and what you stand for as you heal. I imagine that that is comforting.

    I wanted to pop in and let you know that recently ordered and received your cookbook in the mail and I love it! I made six recipes out of it just yesterday. They literally take no time at all (using a dehydrator is interesting!), and everything turns out delicious. Thanks for putting it out there and for helping to make raw food accessible, practical, and super delicious. I plan to go 75/25% raw (I’m already mostly vegan) and can’t wait to see where the journey leads!

    • April 30, 2012 11:41 am

      Thank you so much! What an incredibly sweet comment. Wow, six dishes in one day?! I am impressed! What all did you make? – or at least, what was your favorite that you made? If you snapped any photos, please feel free to email them to me – I’d love to share them on the AV FB page! And if you ever want to take a few moments to leave a 5-star review on Amazon, too, that would be amazing – but no pressure. I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying the book – that makes my day. 🙂

      • knitalittlekitty permalink
        April 30, 2012 1:02 pm

        Sorry for the lousy grammar errors, I didn’t proofread before posting! I made:
        Sopes con Mole Poblano (I really wanted to eat them for dinner last night so I baked them, the corn cakes came out amazing), your dehydrated mushroom nut burgers (that includes the mushroom recipe, which I counted, ha), coconut butter, Mediterranean flax crackers, and the make your own energy bars (with pepitas, a few cashews, pecans, coconut flakes, dried cherries, and a smidgeon of vanilla extract). I also plan to make zucchini hummus, as I also made my own tahini. Oh! And this morning I made your almond milk recipe. I’ve been drinking cashew milk and found it too fatty and inconsistent from batch to batch. I’ll email you photos of the Sopes and energy bars. Everything was delicious! Sundays, especially when my boyfriend is gone, are used for weekly food prep so I try to make as many/prep for as many dinners as I can so I don’t have to do too much during the work week. You can call me a champion (or an overachiever) if you want, I have a feeling that you’re itching to. 😉

      • April 30, 2012 1:15 pm

        Haha, I totally was going to say “Wow, you’re a champ!” You read my mind 😉 Seriously though, I wish I were that on-top-of my meal-planning efforts. Well done!

        The sopes are one of my favorite Main Dishes. And I’m due to make some more energy bars, myself; thanks for the reminder! Gonna include pepitas in mine this time too; been meaning to try that.

  18. April 30, 2012 7:14 pm

    So, so sorry to hear about your friend. 😦 She’s my age, and that’s such a young age to leave. And I believe every single life has a purpose, and some leave earlier than others if for no other reason than to teach the rest of us to love a little more deeply and to appreciate things just a little bit more than we did yesterday.
    On a happier note, your diet doesn’t look so bad. Of course I’d be dying to add in some nuts or eggs and a little seafood by now. But I go days at a time where I’m eating almost nothing except fruits and veggies. Somtimes it’s what my body requires. I could eat roasted cauliflower all day, every day.

    • April 30, 2012 7:25 pm

      The diet’s not TOO bad, but I am starting to really feel the lack of variety. I miss nuts SO much!
      Ditto on the cauli, though! 🙂

  19. Joe Rakowski permalink
    September 25, 2012 1:35 am

    Hello Amber. I’m very interested in what has been going on as of late?
    I am an Ayurveda Wellness Counselor with a dear friend who has been suffering from Hypo but only recently found out that she did indeed have Hashimoto’s and the Doc’s just decided to label her Hypo despite knowing that she has had the disease for about 10yrs.
    I’m developing a strict routine and food choices for her as well as herbal supplements to boost the Immune system and metabolism.
    I was wondering why your doc cut out almost all nuts and legumes?
    Does your doctor have a site or anything explaining this?
    Thank you!
    Hope you are doing VERY well!!!

  20. Jeannine permalink
    October 5, 2012 1:34 pm

    Sorry to hear about your friend, my condolences. Thank you for posting this, sometimes it’s difficult to make a meal plan from a list of can’t and can have’s. This helps a lot! Though I can’t imagine eating 5 cups steamed broccoli, blech.. I can’t stomach it. Where do you get your coconut aminos? I will be in the US next weekend and hoping to find some while I’m there.

    • October 5, 2012 1:35 pm

      Hehe, I love broccoli…but not as much as I love cauliflower!
      Coconut aminos can be found at most Whole Foods stores nowadays.

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