Stage I of my vegan dyspepsia diet was all about foods that were easy to digest, in order to give my stomach a break as much as possible. This included soups, porridges, smoothies, juices, cooked veggies, soft fruits, and carbs such as white bread and mashed potatoes. Think baby food, but for adults. In addition to the things to avoid for the whole plan (spicy, fatty, caffeine, alcohol & chocolate), in this stage I avoided high fiber foods, cruciferous vegetables, nuts & seeds, and beans & legumes. If you look at my regular diet it’s pretty much founded on those four categories, so it was not easy! Luckily, this stage only lasted two days.
For breakfasts I cooked up a big crockpot full of porridge. The mucousy nature of porridge is supposed to be good for the stomach lining.
I don’t remember the exact grains that went in to this, but I’m sure it contained at least amaranth and quinoa.
I topped a small serving with unsweetened applesauce, almond milk, and cinnamon.
I had to really brainstorm for smoothie ideas, since the berries, mango, and pineapple I usually use were too acidic for this stage.
Yogurt is pretty much always good for digestion due to the probiotics, so I started with Trader Joe’s cultured coconut milk, which was a new product at the time. To the yogurt I added pumpkin puree, banana, hemp protein powder, and stevia. This was very tasty, filling, and easy on my stomach.
For snacks, I bought a jar of pear halves. I actually really like canned pears but never buy them, so this was a good excuse to have them. I rinsed them off before eating, since grape juice was off limits.
For the first night’s dinner, I made a big pot of vegetable soup including potatoes, green beans, zucchini, carrots, and swiss chard, being sure to cook the veggies well. Although I was supposed to avoid onion and garlic, I figured using vegetable broth would be okay since the solids were strained out. I knew the soup alone wouldn’t be enough to keep me full, so I got a loaf of white Pugliese bread from Trader Joe’s. I don’t have white bread very often, so this was kind of a treat. The bread was soft and fluffy and soaked up the soup perfectly.
To avoid eating soup every meal for two days, and to have something to actually chew on, I made this meal of white rice, dry-fried tofu, and steamed carrots. It was weird to not add any seasonings, but despite the plainness it was a tasty meal! Much like the white bread above, the white rice was kind of a treat since I usually only eat brown, and the carrots were a nice sweet contrast to the tofu.
For beverages in this stage, I stuck to water and chamomile and ginger teas.
Now, let’s talk about the real issue with this plan: caffeine withdrawal. When the doctor told me I needed to avoid caffeine in order to get better, I knew I was in trouble. I was addicted to caffeine and honestly didn’t have a problem with that since I only have about two cups of coffee or tea per day, but I knew I was going to go through withdrawal. The first day wasn’t too bad, I got a headache, but nothing that put me out of commission. Second day was the same. The third day, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was a Monday and I was at work. I got a headache in the morning, and as the day went by I became cranky and irritable to the point where I couldn’t stand being around anyone or anything. It was probably the worst mood I’ve ever been in in my life. I left work early, went home, and just laid down for the rest of the day. On the fourth day I was really un-energetic but better, and it improved from there. Truthfully, even after a month my energy levels never recovered. I never felt like I had a good level of natural energy upon waking, and I always knew that I’d go back to caffeine as soon as I could, and I was okay with that. I have great admiration for people who quit caffeine for good!