So, what can I eat?

In my experience, School Business Leaders are an intelligent, pragmatic, empathetic bunch who are keen to share experience and find solutions. So, I’m going to hit you with a (personal) issue and let’s see what we can do…

As you are aware (if you’ve been reading my blog – but that isn’t a pre-requisite of being involved) I have…shall we say…dietary issues.

Following years of discomfort, tests and head-scratching by consultants, it was declared that I must have IBS and that I should stop wasting everyone’s time and, here, take these pills for the rest of my life.

Err no. Not my style.

So, after considerable internet research (a dangerous pastime I know) I went gluten free.

Instant result. Happy tummy. For a while that was. Until I started noticing the morning nausea. Pregnancy wasn’t a possibility so it must be something else. I finally noticed that the mornings I had milk on my (gluten-free) cereal were the same mornings that I spent feeling like my stomach was doing cartwheels for hours afterwards. So milk went off the menu, along with yoghurt (which I’ve never liked anyway).

A year or so later I discovered the Australian “I Quit Sugar” programme. From all my research into diet (I could probably take a degree in nutrition by now), this made a lot of sense. Our nation has always eaten copious amounts of fat. I remember my Dad lathering dripping onto a doorstep and loving it, but we haven’t always had so much sugar forced down our throats by the food manufacturing industry. So I “quit” sugar myself. Anything containing more than 5g of sugar per 100g was out – until you’ve read every label in the shop, you will not believe how much secret sugar there is in our food.

All was good. I was happy, healthy and symptom free. It was hard work but I remain drug (sugar) free for over a year.

Until I started noticing symptoms creeping back. Cheese on toast would turn my stomach over, that morning nausea returned and I began to spiral down towards feeling pretty shoddy most of the time again.

I went to my GP (as you do) who gleefully told me she could now refer me to a local IBS clinic. I traipsed along, begrudging the time off work if I’m honest. More tests were carried out. An ultrasound that took ages (what on earth could be in there that was so interesting and left me feeling bruised for the entire afternoon?)

The verdict came at the beginning of this week. Gallstones. “Go on a very low-fat diet for 3 months and if there is no improvement we’re going in.”

Err OK…when you say low fat?

Back to the internet.

“Low fat” is defined as anything that has less than 3g of fat per 100g. Everything I’ve read so far screams at me “YOUR BODY NEEDS FAT”! OK I hear you, any advice on how to actually do this though? It seems not.

So SBLs (or anyone who has got this far and is interested.) Over to you. Here follows a list of things I can’t (currently) eat. Any recipes, tips, ideas, experience you have for the next 3 months while I try to pacify my gall bladder, would be very gratefully received.

  1. Eggs – see previous post Eggs Just Bounce
  2. Gluten – I do eat gluten-free products such as pasta and bread (which I now notice is over the low-fat limit!)
  3. Fat – The consultant kindly informed me I can have skinless chicken and fish – that’s it.
  4. Dairy – I might give fat free cottage cheese a try because I can’t imagine living without jacket potatoes.
  5. Sugar – a habit and desire to avoid it rather than an intolerance.

One thing that has come out of my experience is that you find out what you really can’t live without. People say to me “I couldn’t live without chocolate” but actually I’ve discovered I can’t live without apples and tomatoes.

As a final note. You might say “I think you need a dietitian love.” You’re right, and I have seen one recently but they told me that there was no point in trying to resolve the changing IBS until I’d got my gall bladder sorted out (one way or another).

So, I’ve told the family, Easter’s cancelled. I’m not expecting a flurry of springtime dinner invitations and I’ve accepted that I’ve just got to knuckle down (in true SBL fashion) and sort myself out.

Thank you in advance for your help. I haven’t got this…yet

PS Breakfast ideas particularly welcome.

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