I’m coming to the USA!

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I know I’ve neglected this blog terribly, and for that I am awfully, awfully sorry. Thank you to those of you who’ve found my posts, read them (or at the very least skimmed), left comments and shared your stories.

To sum up briefly what’s happened over the last year: I’m continuing to take Asacol (800mg) daily, but – and here’s a confession not even my physician knows – I’ve taken it down to once a day and I’m totally fine. Diet-wise I eat a bit of everything. I try to keep it LCHF, but it’s less hit than miss. I also try to stay away from dairy because lactose intolerance is for life…

… which brings me to – I’m coming to the USA!  

K and I have been planning this trip for months and months, and of course it’s the craziest time to be coming over, with the Rand plummeting through the floorboards and currently languishing at about R17:$1. So it’s going to be a pricey trip to say the least, but I’m so very excited.

We fly out of Cape Town on Thursday and arrive at JFK on Friday. We’ll spend a few days in NYC, staying with a friend, and then we’ll fly to LA for the weekend. Then it’s on to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and then Florida. From there, we’re hopping aboard a West Caribbean cruise (Mexico, Jamaica, Haiti and Grand Cayman) and once the tour finishes, we’ll fly back to NYC for a last few days.

A whole MONTH of travelling – longer than I’ve ever done before – and all I can think about is the food! We have some amazing cuisine and treats here in SA, but the US is on a whole different level. I mean, these insane milkshakes?! I’ve seen on Instagram (yup, I’m there now – come say hi) that people are waiting TWO to THREE HOURS for these things. We won’t have that kind of time to waste, but I’ll certainly be indulging – and overindulging – in all the things I’ve only ever seen on TV (and on Buzzfeed, and on all your blogs).

Which is why I’ve stocked up on Lactase – I don’t want to miss a single bite of the excitement and I certainly don’t want my holiday to be marred by bloating and cramps – ugh, who has the time?! I don’t usually take these (I simply avoid dairy for the most part) but I think it’ll be extremely worthwhile for this trip.

If you have any food or sightseeing suggestions or recommendations, please send them my way. On the list is drag shows, drag bars, gay bars, museums, major landmarks, New York cheesecake, steamed burgers, tacos and New York pizza. Oh, and as many of your candies as I can muster 🙂

Maybe see you there!

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How your body feels after eating healthy food vs unhealthy food: A comparison of physical & psychological symptoms

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This morning as I arrived at work, our new boss placed a fresh, warm, just-out-of-the-oven croissant on each of our desks. My resistance didn’t crumble. It crashed in a single almighty explosion at my feet, sending shards of flaky, buttery pastry everywhere. The croissant didn’t make it (any further than my mouth).

The guilt was immediate – but what surprised me was that the physical symptoms set in almost as quickly. I don’t usually react so quickly to refined carbs and dairy, but today I did – and it got me thinking about how (great) I feel when I eat healthily, and how (bad) I feel when I don’t. I also immediately wanted – no, CRAVED – more. MOOOOOOORE!!! In fact I could easily have swallowed another three or four pastries without blinking. Possibly five. Definitely five.

After switching to a clean or healing diet, it’s easy to forget just how bad those ‘bad’ foods can make you feel. Which isn’t exactly helpful, because it makes it all too easy to go back down that sparkling, sugar-paved road. So, for my edification (and yours, if you need it), here’s a comparison of today’s croissant breakfast versus what I usually eat, and how my body feels after consuming each.

Cheat breakfast: Butter croissant

How I feel/physical symptoms after eating:

  • Instant headache that lasted several hours
  • Immediate craving for more junk food/sugar
  • Not satisfied/satiated
  • ‘Popping’ eyes, like my eyes were really wide open and everything was very bright (this usually happens when I have too much sugar)
  • Gurgling stomach (probably a reaction to lactose)
  • Hungry soon after
  • Guilty

Regular breakfast: Boiled egg on gluten-free seed toast 

How I feel/physical symptoms after eating

  • Immediately satisfied after eating
  • No cravings afterwards
  • Full/satiated
  • Not hungry for 3 to 4 hours afterwards
  • Not guilty

While the differences are vast, they’re probably not going to surprise you. But in the same way that keeping a food journal can alert you to issues that you may not have been aware of, writing down these differences is a great way to remind myself of just how bad bad food can make me feel.

If I’m 100% honest, every day is a battle between the foods that I should eat and those I shouldn’t. I find it really, really hard to stay on track, and that little ‘just eat it – go on, it’s not going to hurt you’ voice never, ever stops. Ever. At least, by writing out this list, I can show that little voice that YES, it is going to hurt me – here’s the proof! (I guarantee that won’t shut it up though. It’ll probably pause for moment, regroup its thoughts and then say, ‘Yeeees, but how bad will it really be? What’s a little headache between friends? A little bloating? You own a baggy shirt, don’t you?’).

I shouldn’t have cheated today but at least I gained something from the experience apart from just a headache, a sugar rush and a large serving of guilt. A little insight never hurts, after all.