OK, this may be a bit grim so I apologise in advance to those of a weak disposition.
My IBS was diagnosed in 2002 or 2003, I had been going back and forth with various symptoms to different doctors for ages. Literally years, because I had the same problems before I left Eastbourne, and it wasn’t until I was living in Tidworth with Voldermort it was confirmed by a locum. I was prescribed tablets to take half hour before I ate to ‘activate’ my digestive system. This didn’t really work, although I persevered with them for a couple of years, the problem with IBS is that it is so temperamental, (it is a good gauge for your own body), if you are under the weather it flares up, if you are stressed, it flares up. So trying to control it with medication is difficult. Sometimes you are more successful than others, because sometimes you are pain free, sometimes you are symptom free, but then you will have a meal out, choose your best from the menu and be doubled over. But now rely on lots of fruit and veg, psyllium husks and probiotics to help and it mostly is under control. If I am careful with what I eat, I am pain free. Symptom free is more tricky, as V&D are a regular occurrence, as is being bunged up for days on end.
I remember getting a hot chocolate from the vending machine at work once, then spending the rest of the afternoon in the toilet wondering what the hell had happened to me. It had been thickened by wheat powder, which we only found out when we investigated the ingredients.
So while I avoid bread and pasta, as gluten really plays havoc with me, sometimes as I wrote this morning, it is impossible. I have wheat free bread and pasta at home, but given the choice between eating or not eating when you are out – try grabbing a lunch when you are out with your friends. In the UK, it’s very difficult to get a salad without it being padded out with pasta. If you get rye bread, it is rye flavoured, but still at least 80% wheat. Most things are breaded, or just a plain sandwich. Burger King, McDonalds? Not that we eat there anyway, but all in buns. Subway, forget it. Starbucks? All cakes and paninis. So when you start looking around, you realise it is everywhere. In Australia, about the only “fast food” option I have is Boost, which make fruit juices.
Luckily, I am not a cealiac, I can eat wheat, I can put up with being bunged up for days, or diarrhoea. While it isn’t pleasant, it is manageable. I know that by planning my meals, I can eat what is suitable for me and be fine, but life gets in the way. When we go out to a restaurant, I will try to find a menu on-line so I can choose before we get there, as I said I carry nuts and dried fruit with me, so if I get hungry, I can at least snack.
Plus as we are trying to run down the pantry before we move we are eating some rather random meals. I should take better care of myself though, and tomorrow I am going shopping because this is ridiculous.
Have you ever asked for vegetable crudites to be brought to your table instead of bread? I don’t know about you, but over here they ‘don’t do that.’ So while I am good 90-95% of the time, if I was good 100% of the time, my weight would stabilise out. Yes, I know it should be a no-brainer, but it isn’t as easy you would imagine.