It’s been a while since I’ve dedicated an entire post to something regarding my illness. If i’m honest it’s because I’ve been really struggling recently and using my blog as a distraction. Hence why I don’t then want to come on here and write about it. My health has really deteriorated over the past few months and if you’re up to date with my social media, you’ll know that I’m awaiting a colectomy on the 21st September. Not long to go at all and despite being really scared of what’s to come, I’m so excited to feel some sort of normal and hopefully properly enjoy my life again.
As it is a disease of the digestive system, something I find people ask me about a lot when talking about my illness is food. What I can eat, what I can’t eat, how my body reacts to this, whether it feels better when I eat that. If I’m visiting a friend and we’re going out or I’m going to theirs, more often than not they want to make sure they’re accommodating my needs which is really lovely. Some people are in fact just a little nosey though. I completely understand why it’s intriguing as it’s really quite a difficult part of the illness. I have briefly touched on my relationship with food in posts before. I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned that it has become increasingly more difficult as the illness has progressed, as with everything else.
Everyone always has something to say regarding what other people put into their body, too. I completely understand that the method you’re recommending may have worked for your dads friends sisters husband but he is not me. One thing I will also say regarding this topic is, IBD IS NOT IBS. Therefore you quite obviously cannot treat them the same way. From my knowledge of IBS, the symptoms are quite easily diminished with diet. Active IBD however is when parts of your digestive system are inflamed or ulcerated so if you think about it, quite literally any food is going to cause pain. You just have to test out which foods hurt the least when passing through for your body.
One thing I’ve seen quite a bit of discussion about on the Crohns and Colitis forum is veganism. It has worked wonders for some people with calming their illness but as I said, each bodies experience of the disease is different. With this kind of illness, it’s really hard to know as to whether it’s going to improve or deteriorate your health. Healthlabs.com* have recently brought out some options on their site where you can test whether you’d be better off being a vegan with how your body reacts to animal-derived foods. It tests for meat, poultry and dairy allergies and is available in three different intensities depending on how detailed and how many things you’d like your sample to be tested for. If you’re already vegan, they also offer a test for whether you’re nutritionally deficient in any areas just so you can adjust your lifestyle to improve your health. If you fancy doing either of these, you can also use my code TULIP25 to get yourself 25% off.
If I’d found out that these vegan allergy tests were a thing earlier on in my illness, it’s definitely something that I would have been really interested in investing in. Unfortunately as I’m a fortnight away from surgery, it’s a little late for me. I’ve tried a dairy and gluten-free diet for a few months and didn’t get on too badly at all. Veganism is something I have personally been interested in for ethical and health reasons though so depending on how my eating habits pan out following surgery, it could still be an option and I’d want to take the tests to make sure I was making my body as healthy as possible after all it’s been through.
The most irritating part of the process is that I’ve found some days I can get minimal disruption with a certain meal and then eat the exact same meal the next day and have it tear my insides apart. My main enemy for pain has been beef, funnily enough. It quite literally is the devil in my opinion and the pain it has caused me has been quite honestly traumatic. My body just seems to completely reject it and finds it ridiculously hard to digest. For this reason I of course stay completely clear of it now and don’t think I’ll ever really be able to eat it again.
It seems the food that my body digests the easiest is white, soft foods. Things like chicken, variations of potato, white bread, cod, cheese, pasta and yoghurt make up the majority of my diet currently. It was quite a big joke at first as these are pretty much my favourite foods and most of time I attempt to eat vegetables, salad or fruit, my body has a bit of a meltdown and I’m in a world of pain. People think I’m living the dream being forced to live on carbs and fat but it makes you feel so groggy after a while. This on top of being lumped with fatigue makes you feel pretty horrendous. I really do miss eating healthy foods, even having salad in things like fajitas or sandwiches makes me unwell.
Because my illness is so unpredictable, it means I can never really plan ahead either. The amount of date nights with Jake I’ve had to cancel to lie on the sofa and sip water is depressing. There are days where my stomach is a bottomless pit and then days where I will eat a bowl of cereal and my body will warn me off eating anything else all day. This is also another reason as to why it’s best for me to eat carbs and fat as they’re high calorie and it’s very rare that I’ll fill my daily calories. If i continue to lose weight then I’ll deteriorate faster and my healing process post-surgery will be a lot slower.
If I’m honest, I can’t even remember what it’s like to not be anxious about eating. I just never know what kind of havoc food is going to cause, it’s like russian roulette. It’s really surprising when you talk to people just how many have some sort of allergy or intolerance to something. My body just seems to be constantly fighting with food and I’m very excited for it to finally start appreciating it instead.
Do you struggle with any food allergies or intolerances? And would you consider veganism?