Day 97: What the f@#!, nuts?

So, it’s pretty much official: my gut hates nuts. The whole kinds, anyway. It seems to tolerate nut milks and yogurts, but when it comes to actual pieces of nuts, it goes, well, completely nuts.

Last night K and I headed out for drinks with colleagues and friends after work, and we only got home at around 9. Neither of us was hungry enough for a meal, so I ‘just’ had a bowl of almonds (unblanched – silly), and some cashew pieces.

Soon after, I felt distinctly faint, and I broke out in a cold sweat. I headed straight to the bathroom, where I remained for about half an hour, wishing for death. The GI symptoms where horrendous: severe cramps and diarrhoea, and an intense nausea that had me hanging my head over the bath at the same time (though I couldn’t vomit for some reason – I think that’s psychological). Plus I was completely light-headed and drenched in sweat.

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Times this by 100, and that’s how my head felt

When I was finally able to get off the loo, the furtherest I could manage was the bathroom floor. AND I’M A TOTAL GERMAPHOBE. I hate bathroom floors, even my own, but at that moment, it was heaven. The cool tiles helped to ease the sweating and I eventually managed to drag myself into the shower.

Guys, I have never felt like that – not even during the worst of my flares. It was scary. I even considered that my drink might have been spiked at the bar, but that had been a few hours before. How can I deny that it was the nuts – especially since this is not the first time I’ve had an adverse reaction to them?

Nut allergy vs nut intolerance

I always thought that if your body couldn’t handle nuts, you would just die. But that was silly of me. Having done a little googling, I’ve found a few reputable sites that tell me that a nut intolerance is different to a nut allergy, and can cause all the symptoms I experienced last night (but not death – even though it felt like my last moments had come).

The strange thing is, I’ve never had a problem with nuts of any kind before. But I’ve also learnt that a damaged gut may react to foods that it never used to – doh! Also, adults can develop intolerances over the years – like I developed lactose intolerance due to the fact that, as an adult, my body stopped producing lactase enzymes.

The strange thing is that my body only reacts to whole nuts, as I’ve mentioned. Not even my foray in nut butters a few weeks ago had this kind of effect on me, so it must be that my gut simply can’t break them down.

So nuts – at least in their whole form – are out. Sigh.

Seriously, what the fuck, nuts? I thought we were friends!

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Look how happy that bugger is

 

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Day 78: A jar and a spoon…

…is all that’s left of the almond butter I opened… on Friday. This is why I shouldn’t buy things like this! I have absolutely no self control.

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I love nut butters. LOVE. On SCD, particularly the early phases, there’s not much ‘naughty food’ to binge on. Not that nut butter is particularly naughty, but of course it is very high in calories and I suspect nut butters make me bloated.

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And of course, peanuts are illegal on SCD plus they’re not *real* nuts… they’re legumes (neh-neh-ne-nehhhh-neh)

Nuts and an SCD belly

Nuts definitely don’t agree with everyone, and in fact they’re known to cause problems for people with damaged guts. Nuts are very hard to digest, and they can be bloating. They can also cause diarrhoea and/or constipation.

It’s recommended that you don’t introduce nuts (even nut milks and nut butters) until you’ve been symptom free for 3 months (for me, it’s going on 4 or 5 months).

I tested almonds quite some time ago when I first made SCD yogurt on phase 2. The first time I made the yogurt, I used unstrained almond milk which meant it had lots of ground-up almonds in it, and that didn’t agree with me (lots of bloating).

I used strained almond milk next, and I tolerated that a lot better (SCD yogurt recipe here). Since then, over the weeks, I’ve introduced coconut milk, cashew butter and macadamia butter. They don’t wreak havoc on my system and I tolerate them well in small amounts, but I doubt I’m doing my body any favours by clocking a jar in 72 hours!

How well do you tolerate nuts? Any tips or advice? And HOW can I stop eating it like a crazy person?!?

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Day 58: A careful introduction of cashews

Today I decided to introduce cashew nut butter to my diet. According to Elaine, you shouldn’t introduce anything nut-based into your diet until you’ve been symptom-free for 3 months. The last time I had UC symptoms was in November 2013, so that’s about 4 months, which is also why I introduced the almond nut yoghurt a few weeks ago.

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Do my ‘tummy bug’-type symptoms over the past 10 days classify as UC symptoms? I have no idea. I don’t include them in the 3 months, because I feel they were a once-off caused by a specific food that my body reacted to on two separate occasions. I could be wrong here but I’m learning as I go. Weigh in by all means!

Anyway, cashew nut butter is actually legal, according to Pecanbread.com, from phase 2. I had about a tablespoon (plus a sneaky extra teaspoon), and it was delicious! So far my stomach feels fine, but it was only about an hour ago.

My OhMega cashew butter. Pricey but worth it, plus it's just pure nuts

My OhMega cashew butter. Pricey but worth it, plus it’s just pure nuts

Quick aside: Length of time it takes for the gut to react to food

One thing I learnt through my awful-but-educational gastric reaction to the carpaccio is that my gut actually can take as long as 24 hours, or even more, to react to a food. I always thought I reacted pretty much straight away or not at all, but I certainly stand corrected. As much as I tried to deny it, I am just like everyone else, and food can take up to 72 hours to cause a reaction in me – which is why each new thing needs to be tested over 3 days.

Why you need to be careful with cashews

On this diet, cashews can be a beneficial addition if you can handle them. They’re full of protein, and they contain healthy fats which you may be lacking, especially at this stage of the diet. In fact, cashews are just incredibly healthy all round.

Well if this is true, everyone who flies on planes should be really, really happy

If this is true, anyone who travels by plane should be really, really happy

However, cashews and nuts in general can be a trigger for people with IBD, and they should be eaten with caution, especially if you’ve reacted to them before. You don’t want to make all this progress on SCD just to undo it with a couple of cashews.

The guys at SCDLifestyle.com refer to nuts as one of the ‘four dark horsemen’ of SCD, which are the four most common foods that they say cause the diet to not work for some people. The others are egg, dairy and fruit. Read more about them here.

Can you tolerate nuts? Are they helping your IBD or hurting it? I’ve always loved nuts but of course I can’t eat them in moderation, so that’s going to be (yet) another challenge…! And to end, here’s a great cashew milk/creamer recipe I’ve just found online. You could probably use it to make SCD yogurt as well.

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Day 57: Food and symptoms

Today I took it very easy on my gut and didn’t introduce anything new. I also didn’t have any honey or yogurt, and I avoided all drinks besides water and one cup of weak filter coffee.

Today I’m constipated, bloated and still a bit crampy. It’s not surprising, I guess, considering the ordeal I’ve put my belly through over the past week, but it is always strange to go from crazy diarrhoea one day to constipation the next. It seems the balance eludes me for any significant period of time.

Found at sickforcute.com, where they echo the exact sentiments I had last night: 'Ever had such a bad stomach that you're convinced you have monsters in your belly? They're probably in there planning their attacks, being devious, and dancing around trying to stir up trouble. Wear this shirt to your next doctors visit and see if he can prescribe something for your bad stomach. HA!'

Found at sickforcute.com, where they echo the exact sentiments I had last night: ‘Ever had such a bad stomach that you’re convinced you have monsters in your belly? They’re probably in there planning their attacks, being devious, and dancing around trying to stir up trouble. Wear this shirt to your next doctors visit and see if he can prescribe something for your bad stomach. HA!’

Sometimes I feel like no matter what food I eat or what supplements I throw at my gut, it’s just going to do its own thing regardless, and I’m just along for the ride. I know it’s not really like that, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing SCD, but it’s just how it feels.

Selfie of me in 100 years from now, still trying to figure out why I'm bloated

Selfie of me in 100 years from now, still trying to figure out which foods are causing me to get bloated

Today I cooked up some big batches of veg – butternut, green beans, tomato and garlic sauce, gem squash and onions, which I’m testing again this week. My beautiful jar of cashew nut butter is staring at me, just waiting to be unsealed. I’m so keen to try it so I may introduce it from tomorrow. Though what I’m really needing is more sweet stuff so I can kick the bananas. They’re doing me no favours but as the only bit of sweetness in my diet, I’m struggling to give them up.

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As an interesting aside, the SCDLifestyle.com guys say that berries are well tolerated by most people with GI disease so they should be one of the first raw fruits you introduce. I’ll try to get them into my diet ASAP. Raw fruit can be introduced from phase 4.

How’s your diet going? What’s working for you and what’s gotta go?