Day 98: What to eat (and what to avoid) when you’re having a ‘bad GI’ day

After everything my poor GI system went through last night with the nuts, it was still feeling very fragile today… and the legacy of the assault remained. I spent more time than I’d have liked to in the bathroom, but I didn’t panic, unlike the times before.

stomach-pain-while-eating

There’ve been about three occasions on this diet when my stomach has reacted quite violently to something. The first few times I freaked out, thinking that it was a sure sign of a flare. Slowly I came to realise that a) sometimes your system just has an ‘off’ day, due to any number of factors from food to stress to hormonal imbalances or state of mind, and it doesn’t mean you’re flaring, and b) there’s no point stressing about potential flares – you’ll only make your symptoms worse.

Instead, it’s about eating (and drinking) right on those days to ease the symptoms instead of exacerbating them. Don’t ignore what your body is telling you, and if your GI system is out of whack, treat it delicately to help restore it to health.

What you should and shouldn’t eat when having a ‘bad GI day’

Let’s start with a list of foods to avoid:

  • Avoid foods high in fibre like fruit, nuts, high-fibre vegetables (beans, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc) and lentils
  • Avoid dairy, as it can aggravate an inflamed gut
  • Avoid fruit juice (too much fibre) and carbonated drinks (can cause bloating)
  • Avoid nut butters
  • Avoid any foods to which you know you react badly
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid any foods you have not yet introduced to your diet – now’s not the time to be adventurous.

What you should eat:

  • Bone broth soups, which help to restore the body, especially after a bout of diarrhoea. They’re highly nutritious and packed with vitamins
  • Herbal teas – add ginger to soothe your belly
  • Starchy vegetables like squash, pumpkin and butternut
  • Your ‘safe’ flare foods
  • Plenty of water – aim for 2 litres
  • BRAT foods – this works very effectively for some people (Banana, Rice, Applesauce, Toast)

While it’s frustrating cutting back on an already limited diet, it’s worth it for the day or two that you feel so, well, crappy. If you’ve been through your fair share of flares already, you’ve probably established a group of ‘safe’ flare foods. For me, it’s basmati rice (which I craved SOOO badly today but I wasn’t prepared to cheat so close to the end!) and eggs. I used to find that crackers were also very soothing, before I had to cut out gluten.

All things being equal, your bad bout should pass within about 24 hours, if it was just something that you ate. If it doesn’t abate or if you start bleeding, suffering from bad cramps, nausea, night sweats or joint pain, it might be a flare and you should contact your doctor ASAP to get it under control.

No.

No.

Day 51: Swallowing my own advice is a bitter pill

Today was a bleak day.

I was exhausted, due to the fact that I spent most of the night in the bathroom. Every time I drifted off, I was rudely awoken by a very angry colon. I don’t know how many times my diarrhoea woke me last night, but I do know I must’ve been pretty dehydrated today because no matter how much water I drank, I hardly needed to pee (a sure sign for me).

Just a few weeks ago I wrote about not anticipating flares, and just a few weeks before that, I wrote about staying calm when you think you’re flaring, and not to stress because stress makes it worse. But not only did I have an extremely stressful day at work today, but I also constantly fretted about the fact that I may be in the throes of a new flare. Well done Debby. Way to take your own advice.

Strangely, after my last BM at home this morning before work, my stomach hasn’t worked since. It hasn’t felt happy, but it also hasn’t gurgled and kicked the way it did all through the night last night. Plus, K has had the same thing. So……. maybe this is actually just a stomach bug? Maybe it’s a reaction to something we ate? Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that raw meat? I mean, it only occurred to me today, but isn’t it actually too soon on this diet to be eating my meat completely raw?

Needless to say, I haven’t added onion yet. I haven’t really changed much about my diet today, due to the fact that the diarrhoea hasn’t returned. However, I don’t necessarily believe that it isn’t a flare. It could just be a coincidence that K has a runny tummy too. I’m giving it a few more days, and if it happens again, I’ll get in touch with my physician and get my ESR levels tested. That’ll tell me if I have inflammation, which will be an immediate sign.

In the mean time, I’m not introducing anything new, and I’m also avoiding acidic foods like tomato and coffee (is coffee acidic? Well you know what I mean). I’m also trying not to be tearful but it’s really hard. I spoke to my mom this evening and she told my quite sternly – and correctly – that there’s no point in worrying and that I have to stay positive. I know she’s absolutely right and I’m going to keep trying to do that.

Looks like food won this round

Looks like food won this round

Day 50 and my least favourite F-word

I had so much I wanted to write today. I wanted to tell you about all the awesome food I cooked and that I’d prepared some onions to try and how much fun our facemasks were and how I’m going to make almond milk tomorrow for a new batch of yoghurt.

But then 4pm happened, and brought with it a dreadfully familiar routine. Since then (5 hours ago), I’ve been in and out of the bathroom at least 6 times with diarrhoea (and tears of frustration), but I’m trying to stay positive. I’m hoping it’s simply the booze and the litre of yoghurt I consumed on Friday that’s caused this, and that’s it’s just a hiccup and it’ll be out of my system by tomorrow. But even as I type, I feel my tummy gurgling, and I can tell I’m going to have to jump up any second.

I just can’t. I want to crawl into my bed and stay there until this passes. More than anything, I don’t want this to be flare. And that’s exactly what it feels like. If it is… where to from here?

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