Day 56: When you have to take a few steps back on SCD

I feel like I’ve really been on the back foot these last few weeks on SCD. Until about mid-phase 2, the diet was going brilliantly. But I feel like since I introduced the yogurt (which was comprised of several new foods I hadn’t yet introduced), and then made the carpaccio mistake last weekend (repeated yesterday and definitely the cause of the diarrhoea for both K and I), I’ve been struggling to get back to good.

Tonight we had friends over and they know of my health troubles. Because of the carpaccio we ate last night, I’ve had terrible cramps and diarrhoea all day. This of course is not ideal when you invite guests to your tiny apartment, where the bathroom is in a very central position. And even though they know about my UC, I still didn’t want to dash off to the bathroom every few minutes and subject them to the audible fireworks that follow when I’m hit with GI distress.

For most of the night, it felt like a demon was reaching inside my body every few minutes, grabbing my stomach with a gnarly hand (I just know it was gnarly – demons don’t do manicures) and twisting it around like play-doh. It seemed like great fun for the demon, but not so much for me. I tried throwing pain pills at it, but it just laughed and twisted some more. I tried to make it drunk on red wine, but I think that just fuelled its fire. The only thing that seemed to work was when our friends (as lovely as they are) finally left at 1am and I had the bathroom all to myself. TG (thank god).

Selfie tonight at +- midnight

Tonight’s selfie

I’ve also been testing my yoghurt again and I’m not sure that it’s agreeing with me either. I know for sure that meat and most phase 1 and 2 veggies (that I introduced) are kind to my gut and we get along just great. The yoghurt, however, is seems to be the problem child – along with this damn carpaccio which, after slaying us with awful symptoms twice in one week, we will certainly be avoiding.

For now, I think I need to get back to basics – meat and veg, limited bananas, probiotics, vitamins and water only (sob). I’m hating the gas, bloating and discomfort, which is one of the reasons I started this diet. I’m tired of feeling gross and bloaty, especially when I’m trying to be sociable.

A common problem for anyone with IBD!

A common problem for anyone with IBD!

Probiotics – what’s your take on them?

I stopped taking my probiotics a few days ago because I wasn’t actually sure whether they were making a difference or not. I can’t detect any significant changes, good or bad, since stopping about five days ago. Given the current state of my GI tract, however, I think going back to them can only do me good.

What’s your take on probiotics? Can you notice a difference when you do/don’t take them?

How to fix SCD when it breaks

I’m no SCD expert and I’ve been on this diet for less than two months. But what seems to make sense is to go back to when I was fine, and to start again from there. As with anything that goes wrong, be it a maths equation or driving directions or a diet, you simply need to stop, find your way back to the main road, and try again.

Tomorrow is a new day, and while you should endeavour to make EVERY day your best, it’s good to know that an SCD mistake today isn’t irreversible.

A cat, because cats make me happy, and this one makes me particularly mirthful.

A cat, because cats make me happy, and this one makes me particularly mirthful. I think he’s given up on trying to suck in

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Day 49: Facing a few terrifying foods

On SCD, there are quite a few foods that scare me:

– Foods that other people have cooked (I don’t eat them)

– Foods that are cooked in restaurants (I am very reticent to eat these too, no matter how clear my instructions have been)

– Foods that I haven’t phased in yet

– Foods that stand too close to me

– Foods that look at me funny

– Foods that are not bananas

Fear of food was not something I thought would ever happen to me. But when you’re faced with a health crisis, I guess things can change.

Whilst reading up on this diet before starting it, I read a warning that you should not get stuck in a ‘safe food’ zone. Hah! I scoffed. Oh please, I thought. Me, get stuck in a food zone? Neh-vah!

I guess none of us want to be predictable, and we all want to believe we won’t fall victim to the mistakes of lessers others. But, surprised as I was to discover it, I did kinda get stuck – and I still kinda am. I’ve only just moved on to phase 3 after nearly a whole month on phase 2. I still eat butternut, gem squash, eggs and bananas EVERY day, and without them, my life – and my belly – would be empty.

Learning to cook these foods and then discovering that they agreed with me was a huge comfort after all the GI distress that came before. So I’ve grabbed onto those foods that make my tummy happy, and I’ve clung to them like a 2-year-old clings to mommy’s ankles.

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The truth is that the foods being introduced on phase 3 terrify me. They are the foods that have historically caused me some of the most trouble: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onion, strawberries, lettuce, peppers… the list goes on. I was happy in my world of butternut and rubbery ‘balloon’ meatballs, as K referred to them. It wasn’t by any means a taste explosion in my mouth – but that also meant it wasn’t any kind of explosion in my colon.

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Tomorrow, I’m introducing onions. I’m not hopeful about it and I don’t expect them to treat me kindly. Apart from green beans (which have SO pleasantly surprised me), I haven’t been reticent to try any new foods, so this is a first. I plan to cook them really well, and test for three days as I have with everything else. If I can handle them, it’ll be some kind of miracle. Onion! In my meals! Amazing! But I’m not sure it’s going to go so smoothly. I know there are loads of people who’ve been on SCD for years and still can’t handle onions and various other veg from this phase.

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Tonight’s incredible dinner

K’s really been missing eating out since I started the SCD, and in the past 49 days, we’ve only done it twice. So we decided that tonight, we’d go to the steakhouse next door to our apartment. It’s one of our favourite spots and they are absolute pros. But when I went over there this afternoon to have a very serious discussion with them about my dietary restrictions, they told me they were fully booked. We googled a bunch of restaurants and eventually decided to make an amazing meaty meal at home… and that’s what we did.

K tried her hand at carpaccio, which is her very favourite thing to eat in the whole world. We bought top quality fillet from the butchery downstairs, and it turned out superbly! I was a bit worried at first because I love carpaccio too – but I usually have it with rocket, parmesan and a liberal dousing of balsamic vinegar. After all, it’s just slices of raw meat. Tonight, having only salt and pepper available to me, I took my first ginger bite… and it was phenomenal. Here’s K’s plate. Mine was significantly less colourful but outstanding nonetheless:

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I then grilled myself a chalmar beef sirloin, which was amay-may. I still can’t tell you what chalmar beef is, but I think it may be unique to SA? When I asked the butcher what differentiated chalmar from karan beef, he said, ‘The price’, but there has to be more to it. Chalmar is also grass fed up until 20kg, and seems to be nutritionally superior in some ways.

And what did the tequila say today after last night?

Well, it wasn’t fun waking up at 8.45am after hitting the sack with a belly full of booze and yoghurt at 2am, but my tummy felt fine, and I don’t seem to have suffered any ill effects after last night’s drinking. That’s not to say I want to make it a habit – oh no thank you! But nice to know I can party with my friends occasionally and not have to swap my shooters for carrot juice.

Tomorrow will be my weekly cooking day, which is tedious but necessary. K and I also like to make our Sundays ‘facemask days’, which yes, means we put on facemasks and post ridiculous photos on Facebook, but it also just means we try to stay home, hang out in our PJs until our guilt starts feeling guilty, then shower, get into clean PJs, and watch scary movies and Grey’s Anatomy until it;s time to go to bed. We’ll be doing this for most of tomorrow, though we are joining my folks for supper. Oh, how I love Facemask Sundays!

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The closest I get to chocolate these days: chocolate facemasks