Saturday, 17 August 2013

Actually starting to look forward to this...

It may sound a little contradictory but I am now actually starting to look forward to this.  Two things made me realise this.

1)      I went to my local Sainsbury’s yesterday and was quite reassured.  Their FreeFrom section is huge with a good range of everything.  Although it isn’t that straightforward – more below – it’s a good start.  And they stock the lactose free yoghurt that isn’t soya.  Double yey!  And a bran flakes equivalent.

2)      I went out for dinner last night.  Now my IBS-D has always been a little stress related, always.  And Thursday was A Level results day. So my stress levels were through the roof.  For long and complicated reasons I was not expecting things to go well at all.  And by some miracle they were more than fine; they were great.  All that tension had to go somewhere and, as ever, it went to my stomach.  I had 3 RFTL incidents in the space of an hour.  In a restaurant and in a bar after.  Oh dear.  Cringe. 

So, actually, although this diet thing will be complicated, if it puts a stop to last night’s kind of activities then I have to say it will be a relief.  I’m sure I’m not the only one to have suffered the embarrassment of IBS-D in public places and it will be nice to not have to worry about it anymore.

I am starting to realise that, when it comes to the food front, I am going to have to make everything from scratch.  I was looking at the FreeFrom savoury crackers thinking “awesome!  I can have these with permitted cheese for lunch”.  No such luck – they contain onion.  This is going to take a whole lot more planning than I thought and choosing to do this in the first half term of the school year might prove to be a mistake in the long run.  So will be spending the first week (which is the last week of my holidays) making up permissible meals so I can freeze them to microwave.  It will at least take the thinking out of things;  especially since I will be in the school theatre every night.

Still, at least there’s poached eggs on gluten free toast.  I might end up living on that!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Shopping and planning

So the day approaches and the planning continues.  I don’t know if my body “knows” what I am planning but, as a punishment for my misdeeds, it has decided to treat me to a dose of IBS-C.  Yey!  As much as I am dreading the elimination phase I have to admit that I will not miss this. This doesn’t happen as much as my IBS-D moments and I have to admit that it is less “anti-social” but the ongoing discomfort is really not fun.  My skinny jeans no longer fit and I feel like a small baby elephant right now!

So, I have discovered that Sainsbury’s seems to be cornering the market in FreeFrom products. I am a little bit less worried about the whole thing.  This is assuming of course that any of the gluten/dairy free stuff actually tastes like the food it is supposed to replace. We shall wait and see – the jury, for now, remains out.
So, I have started to adapt foods I like to try and make them FODMAP friendly.

Idea 1; Spicy “Sausage” pasta
Pork mince
Fresh chilli
Fresh thyme
Tinned tomatoes – check the label for additives
Garlic Infused olive oil
Gluten free pasta

Hope it works! 

Other than that, things are plodding along.  It’s not long until the 26 and I have a lot of stock cupboard shopping to do before then. I also have a lot of clearing out to do.  I have never been able to resist temptation so I will have to clear out everything that I am not allowed to eat.  Especially really naughty things like fresh bread and normal pasta.  I keep having to tell myself that it's only temporary - this too shall pass! Anyway, back to my brand new pretty notebook that I am using to note down recipe ideas. 

Friday, 9 August 2013

The date is set

August 26. There it is. August 26. The eight weeks start then. It gives me a week of the holiday and then a seven week half term to survive the elimination phase. I have decided that between now and then I'm not going to worry about what I eat. I am planning. I am going to write some recipes and I have been researching appropriate alternatives for gluten etc but I am going to eat. And I will eat what I want. Who knows, after the reintroduction phase, I might never eat some of this stuff again. It's a "goodbye tour" if you will.  I think this is about to become one my favourite logo!  Sainbury's seems to be pretty good at this stuff too - I even found a gluten free chocolate starts cereal.  Awesome!

I know it sounds like I'm doing a lot of complaining and, I also know, that in the grand scheme of things IBS is far from the work digestive/food disorder I could have. Ultimately I am lucky in that nothing I eat will ever kill me; my best friend with the chronic nut allergy isn't so lucky. So why am I bothering?

Well, a couple of stories to remind me, if noone else, why I am doing this.

1) I once went out to lunch wearing my normal UK size 10 skinny jeans. After lunch I bloated so badly I had to go and buy a skirt with an elastic waistband. It was a size 14. Could do without having to do that again.

2) The "incident" at the National Theatre. I had a RFTL (rush for the loo) emergency in central London. Not good. Well, the National was closest. I accidently left something on the cistern and returned a little while later for it. As the lady was leaving the cubical she said to me "sorry dear, it's awful in there but it's not me!". I was embarrassed - she had no idea it was me - and mumbled something about drains, to which she replied - "oh heaven's - legionnaires disease". Great stuff. Excellent. Well that was mortifying. Could do without that again.

So with due deference to those with "real" issues these are my reasons. Serious discomfort. And very bad smells in public places. But I do have one question. I can find loads of stuff in supermarkets but where on earth do people eat when they have to give up gluten/wheat/dairy?

Restaurants are really not accessible are they?  I don't think I can eat out in my home city during the elimination phase. 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Just a little introduction

So this is new.  New blog.  New issues.  This one is more immediate than my other.  It’s my IBS.  I’ve been diagnosed with IBS-D for 5 years but have been living with it much longer.  If you don’t know what IBS-D is then you might want to look it up – I don’t want to gross you out just in case you’re snacking.  It’s grim.  And it isn’t fun; for me or my friends.  It makes me, as one friend put it, “anti-social”.  So, the purpose of this blog; in two weeks I’m starting the FODMAPs elimination diet.  I’d never heard of FODMAPs until very recently and then the universe decided to throw them in my path.  All the time.  The final straw came a few days ago when I couldn’t eat lunch while out-and-about with a friend as there was no loo in dashing proximity.  It’s bad at the moment.  I thought when school ended and the stress receded things would get better, but they haven’t.  I’ve been having 3 or 4 “rush for the loo” (or RFTL) moments a day and I’ve snapped.  This just cannot go on.  So it is time to declare all-out war.  And what does “all-out war” against IBS look like?  Well, it’s the FODMAPs elimination diet – also known as the “give up all the food you love diet”. Hmmm.

I suppose it makes sense – I have IBS and, if this new theory is to be believed, it’s so bad because I am eating all the wrong things.  Still asking me to give up dairy (mostly), gluten and a lot of fruit and veg is going to be hard. Onions, really?  I mean, come on! So that’s why I’m writing this blog.  As a way of venting.  But I also think I’m not the only one out there going through this.  It’s hard to talk to people about it – even the closest of friends don’t need to hear about my IBS symptoms over coffee – and who can blame them? It’s a pretty lonely issue to have to deal with.  So I suppose that I’m hoping that this might make someone else feel a little less like they’re so alone. 
So, I probably should make this clear, I am in no way a food expert.  I am not in any way "medical". I am a historian by trade.  This is being entirely based on a magazine article that a friend gave me.  So please don’t take this as anything other than my VERY limited personal experience. I am, however, planning on picking up this book that the article recommended; The Complete Low-Fodmap Diet: A Revolutionary Plan for Managing Ibs and Other Digestive Disorders  

So, on that note, this next two weeks I am girding my loins.  This weekend I am playing with “gluten free” food and it’s going to be hard.  Looking at restaurant menus I have suddenly developed a real sympathy for people with much worse digestive issues that I have; how on earth do coeliacs cope?  Eating out in London on my girly weekend will not be easy but I’m determined to give it a go.
Still.  You can take the red wine out of my cold dead hand!