Valentine’s Day is all about love, obviously. Love of chocolate. Love of champagne. Love of expensive romantic meals. Love of… er… oh, your partner. I kid, I kid. Kinda – after all, we all know about my tendency to put food before all others.
For those of us with digestive disorders that have colonised (ha! see what I did there?) our bodies, it’s important that we show our bellies some love too on Valentine’s Day. And just because we can’t guzzle down heart-shaped chocolates and edible roses doesn’t mean we can’t still have an amazing V-day that doesn’t leave us sick, or feeling bloated, sore and dismal.
Here’s what I plan to do to give my belly its BEST Valentine’s Day (post-UC diagnosis) ever.*
*Prior, it had many best V-days, though admittedly the requirements for ‘best’ were pretty low, starting and ending with food.
1. Don’t veer from your diet: BORING, I know. And I’m sorry. But you’ll thank me tomorrow when you don’t have the IBD-equivalent of a 3-day bender hangover. Sticking to your diet doesn’t mean you have to have a piece of dry chicken with carrot juice for dinner. Tonight, we’re going to a fancy-shmancy place where I plan to order a rump steak, with no seasoning, grilled in olive oil. I’ll ask for avo slices and plain grilled mushrooms on the side. It’s totally SCD safe and, actually, it’ll be pretty delicious too.
2. Have wine: See, I’m not so mean. If you’re not flaring, go ahead and have some wine. Just make sure it’s the dry kind – red or white. You could even have vodka if you wanted to, or whisky. But please, please try to avoid the bubbly. For many of us with IBD or IBS (myself included), it causes terrible bloating. And who wants to be bloated on the most romantic night of the year?
3. Have dessert: I’m like a saint, aren’t I, permitting you these heavenly treats? Except that by ‘dessert’, I don’t mean that shared chocolate mousse with double whipped cream topping. Just because your partner can scoff it down without a moment of gastric distress (it’s like a super-power I swear), doesn’t mean that you’ve suddenly developed the power to, too, just because it’s Valentine’s Day. Prepare something using SCD-legal ingredients, like these gorgeous Valentine Linzer hearts or this divine-looking raw vegan cashew cake (thanks Miss Piggy!).
4. DIY: I don’t mean that kind of DIY – who wants to fix cupboards on Valentine’s Day? (besides every man that ever lived, of course). I mean that you should throw together your own romantic meal at home – and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Last year, I cooked dinner for K and I at her place. Our starter was tomato soup served in shot glasses to look fancy; mains was a thai curry with rice that I’d coloured red with food colouring (a little weird to wrap your head around, but totes fun for V-day) and dessert – for her only, of course – was white choc mousse that I’d also subjected to the food colouring treatment. It was inexpensive, it was super romantic with tons of candles, our own favourite music and the perfect lighting, and it ensured that I could eat anything I wanted. My belly was happy.
5. Drink tea or soup: Everyone knows that tea is like a hug in a cup, so there’s really nothing more appropriate to be drinking of the day of love. Choose an SCD-legal kind, and enjoy the soothing, warming benefits. It’s the best way to show your belly some adoration. And if you’re flaring, switch the tea for soup (the bone-broth variety) and your body will truly thank you for it.
Have an awesome Valentine’s Day peeps. I wish you lots of belly love ❤