Day 85: Surprising remedies for constipation

So this is something I’ve been battling with for several weeks – I just can’t seem to get onto an even keel with my BMs. But I’ve been going through my food diary (I still can’t believe I’m actually keeping one – it’s sooo useful), and I suddenly discovered that my BMs were great when I was drinking apple juice.

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I don’t always have it at home – there’s only one brand that I’ve found in Cape Town that makes 100% pure apple juice with no additives, and I can’t always get it. When I do, I stock up, though I usually guzzle my way through it quite fast!

Anyway, I’m guessing the owners of the deli downstairs have treated themselves to a new toy because they’ve also started selling their own ‘homemade’ pure apple juice. Until I get my own juicer, this is the perfect solution. YAY!

Here are some other things that I think may be helping to alleviate my constipation:

  • Pure apple juice
  • Hot toddies (noticed improved BMs when I was drinking these – lemon, honey and ginger)
  • Magnesium (I stopped taking magnesium supplements a few weeks ago, and have recently resumed)*
  • Cooking veg for shorter periods of time
  • Eating vegetable skins/seeds

I also am starting to suspect that I might react to red meat in large quantities (ie, eating a big steak). Anyone else react to red meat? Also, please feel free to share any constipation tips/cures you may have!

*Always check with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.

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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.

FAFscrapethenuts

 

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?

Day 40: Quadruple the excitement!

Four fabulous things happened today:

1. My nut milk bag arrived

2. My dad made his famous pureed spinach and I was able to have it!

3. I realised it’s day 40!

4. FREE meat!

These things might not seem so fabulous to anyone else, but for me, all four are MAJOR!

This week, and today in particular, have been exceedingly stressful at work. The team I work with is great – I really like them all, and the company itself is awesome. It’s just the damn client who’s a nightmare (isn’t that how it always goes?).

Anyway, after the stressiest work week yet, I went to my folks’ house for dins to discover that my dad had collected my nut milk bag for me. I now have all the ingredients I need to make my yoghurt, and I cannot WAIT! I’m going to try it this weekend, time permitting.

Purchased at http://www.rawlicious.co.za/, where they tell me it's been 'packed with love' ;-)

Purchased at rawlicious.co.za, where they tell me it’s been ‘packed with love’ 😉

Then, at dinner, my dad pulled out a bowl of spinach, which he’d cooked with just salt and pepper, and pureed. There really is nothing better for an SCD belly. Plus, I’d already tested green beans for three days (Mon – Wed), but I hadn’t thought ahead to what I was going to introduce today. Voila! I was able to have the spinach without compromising my diet – in fact, it was a good thing that I was able to add something new. And it was deeeeelicious!

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Now, as I typed my blog title, I realised that it’s day 40. Work has been so insane that I didn’t even write the number on my hand today. 40 really is a milestone, plus it’s nearly half way. I’m so proud of myself for having made it this far without knowingly cheating or doing anything to jeopardise my diet.

40 days, that is :-)

40 days, that is 🙂

And then there was meat

So remember a few days ago I showed you that pic of the piece of ‘metal’ I found in my venison mince? Turns out, it was a piece of buckshot. Can you actually. I mean, I love eating meat but that just brought the hunt WAY too close to home.

Anyway, the manufacturers were hugely apologetic (they said the chances were about one in a million of that happening) and to show just how contrite they were, they delivered a ‘sorry’ pack of meat to me today. This included ostrich mince, ostrich boerewors, ostrich fillet, venison mince, chicken kebabs, and entire spatchcock chicken, venison patties and two HUGE bags of biltong. I was gobsmacked. I’ve just finished loading it into our freezer and we have space for NOTHING else. I actually had to start defrosting other things!

every time you eat meat t-shirt funny tee

Unfortunately, everything except about 2 of those items contain additives like wheat, etc, so I can’t eat them. But K, an even bigger meat lover than I, is thrilled. I think that this was an incredible gesture and I’m quite overwhelmed.

So how’s the belly?

Well……………….. it’s not great today, to be honest. I ate a lot of bananas when I got home (late) after the show last night, as well as a few glasses of apple juice. This morning, I was constipated. Lately, I’ve come to rely on the regularity of my morning BMs, so I was irritable that nothing was forthcoming. This has been the trend all day, combined with – as usual – bloating. Maybe the vodka that I had last night?

My diet is becoming more and more varied so I’m hoping that at some point things will just ‘click’ into place with the right combo of fruit and veg. Maybe I need to add more fruit. Hopefully the yoghurt will help too.

I’ve also had jolting pains in my lower left quadrant for the whole day. I really think it’s stress because it started at work and I’m finding it really hard to unwind (though I really am trying).

Oh, and Eminem was AMAZING! Such an incredible performance, and he is a true legend. If you ever have the chance to see him live, grab it.

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Our view from the nose-bleed seats

This is what happens when Eminem tells the crowd to put their lighters up...

This is what happens when Eminem tells the crowd to put their lighters up…

FRIDAY tomorrow guys! It’s going to be a crazy busy weekend for us. Tomorrow night we’re going to watch a band performing at a bar in Hout Bay, then Saturday is Pride (YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!), Saturday night we have a friend’s birthday party, and Sunday is the tattoo convention in Cape Town that we’re really hoping to get to. I’m exhausted just thinking about it! What are you getting up to?

Day 36: Let’s try that again

So I got a bit ahead of myself yesterday. Today is day 36 🙂 Either way, it’s going well.

Today I spent around 3-4 hours cooking. That’s the thing with SCD. It’s not just a psychological commit; it’s a time commitment too. There’s no ‘quick grabbing’ of snacks – unless you’re talking about bananas (which I eat in unashamed abundance – and even bananas need to be bought in advance to ensure they’re ripe enough).

You need to have at least one day a week, but preferably two, when you can set aside at least a few hours to cook. And while it sucks at the time, you’ll thank yourself when you get home late from work in the middle of the week and most of your food is already prepared. Here’s what I cooked today.

Tomatoes

These guys are a mission because you need a lot of them to yield a fairly small amount of workable food. I cooked up 2kg today. I started by dunking them in boiling water for about a minute, to make it easy to peel off the skin. Once the skin has been removed, you need to cut them open and remove the seeds. It took me almost an hour to get through 2kg (but I’m pretty pedantic). That said, the results were worth it.

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Because I’d already tested garlic, I tossed the peeled, de-seeded, chopped chunks of tomato into a pot with some chopped garlic and boiling water. Cooked for about an hour on med-high heat, then pureed with a hand blender. It makes a beautiful sauce that goes fantastically with meat and veg. I froze some and have about 3 days’ worth in the fridge.

Green beans

Now this is a real test. I’ve suspected for years that green beans don’t agree with me, but when I went through the list of foods to introduce on Phase 2, this was one of the remaining few that appealed to me. I topped-and-tailed about 6oog of green beans, sliced them into about inch-long pieces, and boiled them for an hour and a half. They smell amazing when they’re cooking! I’ll be testing them from tomorrow. I made enough for the next three days, plus some have gone into the freezer.

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Butternut

I peeled and de-seeded three medium-sized butternuts, and cut them into small blocks. I also removed as much of the ‘stringy’ bits in the bulb part that I could, just because I want to limit any possible digestive hurdles. Once chopped, they only take about 45-6o minutes to cook (and less if you’re cooking a smaller batch). I’ve also found that you can cook pre-chopped butternut in the microwave and it only takes about 12 minutes. Of course, you can cook butternut with the skin on, but I find that it’s harder to peel them when they’re super soft. Again, I put enough in the fridge for about 3 days, and froze the rest.

Green beans, butternut (at the back), tomatoes and a bowl of cooked gem squash. Plus the freakin awesome kettle my sister bought us when we moved into our new apartment. It lights up in blue when it boils!

Green beans, butternut (at the back), tomatoes and a bowl of cooked gem squash. Plus the freakin awesome kettle my sister bought us when we moved into our apartment. It lights up in blue when it boils!

Gem squash

I cooked 5 gem squash, for about an hour. I always scrape the skin out of the shells for easy eating 🙂 It makes about 3 days’ worth of fare, depending on how much you eat at each meal. I LOVE squash so I could probably get through two whole (small) ones at each dinner.

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Venison meatballs

I bought about 1kg of venison mince and divided it into 14 patties. I seasoned the meat with salt and pepper, but nothing else. Weirdly, while I was shaping them into patties, a small metal ball fell out of the meat. I took a photo and sent it, along with a very displeased email, to the manufacturers. It could’ve caused serious problems! If I’d bitten it I could’ve broken a tooth, and if I’d swallowed it… it’s not even worth thinking about. So let’s see what they say.

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Anyway, the problem with venison, as I’ve said before, is that it smells terrible when you’re cooking it. In fact, we’ve just returned home from being out for several hours (at the most awesome gay comedy gig where K performed – have I mentioned she’s a comedienne? 🙂 ) and our small apartment reeks of it. I’m not sure what the solution is. But I do love the taste.

…And the one non-SCD thing I baked today

I haven’t baked in ages, and I miss it. This morning, I grabbed a bunch of ingredients, including a chocolate muffin mix, instant caramel pudding, milk, oil and eggs, and threw together a batch of chocolate-caramel brownies. I don’t know who I intended them for. K is supposed to be eating healthy. But I convinced her to have one, and she said they were ‘the best brownies I’ve ever eaten’. Yay! Except now I have an entire batch of chocolate brownies just hanging around my kitchen. Plus I got a good talking-to from K about contaminating my SCD area!

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My choc-caramel brownies – VERY SCD-illegal!

How do I feel on day 36?

Mostly fine. I do concede that I’ve had some bad bloating these past few days, and I’m pretty sure it’s the wine. Then again, it could be the tomatoes. So what I’m going to do is cut out the wine for the week, and keep eating the tomatoes. If it doesn’t improve, I’ll cut out the tomatoes. So it’s kinda like ‘backwards’ testing, I guess, but I think it’ll work. Or, as I like to think of it: Inception testing – a test within a test (within a test…) 🙂

I’m also constipated. I HATE being constipated. Of course, diarrhoea is awful. Being (figuratively) chained to the toilet for months on end is awful. The bleeding, the dehydration, the anaemia, the just-plain rawness, is terrible. But constipation… in my mind, it’s almost as bad. I hate feeling like there’s gunk inside my body that needs to come out but won’t or can’t.

constipation

I’m still taking all my supplements, including magnesium, and I’ll keep trying to add foods that can aid in better bowel movements.

Overall, I feel good. I’ve lost about 3kg and my jeans are all hanging off my butt. My butt is always the first to go. But I love that my clothes don’t feel like they’re constricting me.

It’s gay pride week in Cape Town and I’m sooooooo happy! I’m very out and proud, but being part of an actual week dedicated to it, contrived as it may seem, brings out the happy tears in me. There’s an incredible feeling of togetherness, which is unusual because the gays are such bitches most of the time (men and women). This coming Saturday is the Pride march in the city centre, and I can’t wait to paint my face, dress in pink and march with people from all over South Africa and other parts of Africa. It makes my heart swell. And in my opinion, what makes your heart happy makes your body happy 🙂

PS: I just got changed into my PJs and my tummy is bloat central. I don’t know what it was but I’m guessing the booze wasn’t completely innocent. Back to clean tomorrow.