It shouldn’t have come as a surprise

It had rather got lost in the emotional struggle of the last five days, but I have felt healthier this week than I have in a long time. I don’t know if I’ve talked about it much here, but I have IBS and have to take anti-spasmodics before eating. Recently I was prescribed with co-codamol, which I haven’t had cause to take yet, but essentially I was told that there was nothing more the NHS could do for me, and I should simply figure out for myself what triggered my flare-ups.

And doing the LBL challenge has confirmed what I have long suspected – that what triggers flare-ups for me is sugar and fat. Other than the marmalade, and a small amount of fat in the sausages, I hadn’t eaten much of either this week.

When I told friends that I intended to eat cake for every meal today, I was joking, but in fact I did end up eating cake for breakfast because I hadn’t managed to buy milk before the shop shut. Then I ate more cake later, just because I could, and a yoghurt after lunch (which included a fair amount of cheese), and graduation dinner was a delicious goat’s cheese tartlet followed by a filo pastry roll, and a black forest chocolate square for dessert.

My stomach started to feel a little uncertain mid-afternoon, and by the evening it was clear that I was having a flare-up. I had forgotten how unpleasant and uncomfortable they are, and the reminder has cemented a decision I have been trying not to make for the last few months: I need to move to a low fat, low sugar whole food diet. Despite how much I have been craving sweet things (which shows me that there is no way I could entirely deprive myself), I am going to have to avoid them as much as possible because it’s just not worth it.

It’s quite funny really. My journey to healthy eating and fitness has been essentially accidental. I weaned myself off sugary drinks two and a half years ago after being horrified at the amount of sugar in a bottle of Sprite, my health has forced me to improve my diet overall, and an impulse decision has pushed me to start exercising regularly to avoid being utterly humiliated in a few months when I attempt to run a half marathon.

A while ago I was hit by the truth in a sign I passed somewhere: it said “Sugar: an ingredient or an additive?” and I suddenly realised that the answer should be obvious – sugar is an additive. Except for in a few cases, it should not be the base ingredient to a food, and if it is, that food is a treat, not an everyday item.

2 thoughts on “It shouldn’t have come as a surprise

  1. Do fruit sugars trigger your flare-ups, or only added sugars? Because I have generally found fruit to be pretty spectacular at staving off the sweet cravings.
    Unfortunately, I now live in a country where fruit-flavored candy is often cheaper than actual fruit, and so I often end up going with the candy even when I know it’s the fruit I actually want…

    • Interesting question – I’m not really sure, I haven’t done enough experimenting to be certain what causes them but I have an instinctive aversion to apples, based on a totally unfounded suspicion (I also am avoiding alcohol on the same basis). I actually don’t eat a lot of fruit, because of the cost, but I think it is better than processed sugar. I shall find out in August, during my food-experiment month!

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