“Food is healthcare”

I don’t look at all food the way I used to.  I truly do love food, but sadly in the second half of 2015, it became apparent that there were a few foods that just, well, didn’t love me!

Before I go any further, I need to respectfully acknowledge people who suffer anaphylaxis, those with severe conditions  which bring on adverse reactions to certain foods and those with  diabetes. These people’s food choices can have life-threatening effects on their health.  In comparison, my little story is hardly worth telling, but I think still relevant to the image above.

So, it appeared that it would be a process to discover ‘which’ foods they were that didn’t love me!

You see, I had a colonsocopy (yep, the drink was woeful) – ruled out the nasties but symptoms were suggestive of Irritiable Bowel Disorder. In my head, I was thinking, ok, nothing too sinister about that – I will just watch what I eat….  and maybe take some of those over the counter medications I have seen advertised on TV – ‘for medically diagnosed IBD’ – you know the ones.

Woah – at that point I didn’t realise the regime the dietitian had in store for me!  Her recommendation was to do a FODMAP elmination – basically, cutting out all of the short chain carbohydrates for a period of 6 weeks and then methodically re-introducing them.

How hard can it be? Right? Wrong!  Do you know how many foods this involved??  There were a few days when I was just plain ‘hangry’ – so starving, and didn’t know what I was ‘allowed’ to eat.  But its done now, and you know what happened – I felt amazing, yep, on top of the world!

The dietitian was spot on, clearly all of the symptoms were being caused by those pesky short chain carbohydrates.  Then, the trick was to re-introduce them separately to work out exactly which ones were bothering me the most.  The challenges  were harder – so much trial and error (I do mostly like to have a plan!)  Interestingly, it got to this point where I didn’t want to add in any more foods because I was feeling so good, crazy hey?!

Now, I need to tell you, I seriously love bread – like, so much so that prior to the abovementioned story, my most truly favourite thing to eat was fresh bread, butter and vegemite (with proportionately more butter than vegemite, wink, wink!)  As you can probably imagine, this type of bread is not really allowed in low FODMAP regimes.  For a detailed look at FODMAP, head to http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/

Don’t get me wrong, its not that I haven’t had any bread at all since this unravelled, I have had bits and pieces – all the while knowing that it wasn’t the best thing for my body.  That was a choice I made on those days.  What I now know, and perhaps I didn’t fully acknowledge it before, but eating the right food really is healthcare.


The take away message here is:

  • Try practising mindful eating – essentially, it’s about concentrating on your food and the taste and how it makes you feel,
  • Nibbling while preparing dinner is an example of mindLESS eating, as is finishing the food on plates that your children didn’t eat 😉
  • Try keeping a journal of not of how many calories you ate, but rather, what you ate and how it made you feel – go on, just a few days, as an experiment?!

Yes, I can hear your say, nutrition is only one component of a healthy lifestyle, but it is a vital part!  You can’t eat rubbish and expect your body to work well  – like me with the bread, I know, not my wisest hour, but I have to be okay with the consequences, if that’s what I choose.

What do you choose??