My body is a temple. I’m very careful about what I put into it – partly because I don’t like certain things, but mainly because my life is ruled by IBS. There’s not a day in my life when I don’t suffer with IBS, I just aim to minimise my suffering through what I eat.
I don’t drink alcohol and I drink lots of water. I’m always hearing ‘Oh, you’re so GOOD!’ but these decisions are not based on being good, they’re based on the fact that I don’t like alcohol and I really, really like water. It just so happens these are also good decisions for me – I’ve heard alcohol is bad for IBS and drinking water is good for it.
I’m vegetarian, as well as being fairly obsessed with fibre (the hospital are now telling me that maybe I eat TOO MUCH fibre, that’s not something you hear very often), so I eat A LOT of fruit and vegetables. My kids can’t get their heads round this – my daughter looks at my plate in my disgust and says ‘Ugh! How come you LIKE vegetables?’ Well, I just do, and I’d say it’s a damn good job I do, or I would just be living on pizza and pasta like my fussy, vegetarian son.
I can’t eat a lot of wheat because it upsets my stomach and the only dairy I eat is cheese, for the same reason, but also because milk is the devil’s own food (along with bananas). A lot of cooking oils are bad for me, so I avoid fried food like the plague, including crisps and chips. I went six years without a single chip.
The only non-temple-like thing I put into my body is chocolate, namely Green & Blacks. Yes, I am a chocaholic. It was starting to get out of hand. I wasn’t just eating 30g of Green & Blacks a day (that’s a third of a bar to you non-addicts), I was eating 70g. Plus a Snickers. Or sometimes 100g of G&B, but no Snickers. The Snickers was a new addiction, brought on by my raging post-run hunger and desperation for food. The problem is, I still ate them when I wasn’t running. Because I was addicted.
One day, I decided to stop. I thought it would be hard. I thought I wouldn’t manage. But I did. I just drew a line under it. I allowed myself 30g of Green & Blacks a day and that was it.
I felt so smug and proud of myself. And the IBS was a little bit better too, if I’m honest. But then my birthday came along like a massive Bad Food juggernaut. Sometimes I know I just have to take the hit and suffer for a day or two. I could go to a restaurant and request rice and steamed vegetables with no dressing, but I’m only human! Sometimes I want to enjoy my food and eat like everyone else (albeit with no meat or no alcohol).
I was going to have three bad days – MAD Blog Awards, London trip with my family and my actual birthday, then four days to recover before two more nights out with my friends, then three days to recover before my trip to Amsterdam
But I’d reckoned without two things – CAKE and NOODLES. Noodles are good if they’re rice noodles and don’t contain all sorts of complex dressings. But wheat noodles with the complex dressings are not so good. I looked at my birthday cake the day after my birthday and thought it was a shame I’d only had one slice. It was still practically my birthday. The next day one of my lovely colleagues took me out for Pad Thai to celebrate my birthday. It was such a good idea and those noodles were delicious. I love Pad Thai, but after days and days of bad food, it wasn’t ideal for my poor stomach. Three days after my birthday I belatedly took in the all-important cakes for my colleagues. Krispy Kreme donuts. I wasn’t really going to ignore those, was I?
So I ate them.
And I felt dreadful. My poor temple body was a wreck and I only had two days to recover before another weekend of bad food.
More pad thai and some tempura – a particularly bad combination of wheat and oil. Tastes nice, but ouch! Then Mexican the following day…
Then it was off to Amsterdam, where it was more noodles and more wheat. In the two weeks between the MAD Blog Awards and leaving Amsterdam I ate Japanese or Thai noodles no less than six times. Delicious, but not good for my poor delicate stomach at all. Add to that the fact that vegetarian food in Europe is largely based on wheat and I was in trouble. I once tried eating next to nothing in Europe – when I went to Disneyland Paris – all I did was make myself ill. Discomfort is definitely preferable to actually being ill.
I am now recovering with lots of rice cakes, fruit and vegetables and wheat-free pasta…
Sorry, body. Bet you’re glad I don’t have a birthday too often!