My stomach speaks a language of its own. It gurgles and grunts. It squeaks and squeals. I do not exaggerate.
Often my stomach and intestines get chatty when they’re digesting something challenging or disagreeable. “There are too many nutrients in these vegetables,” they must say. Or “Sugar! Grease! We don’t know what to do with that!”
Other times they just whisper, a reminder that things aren’t entirely normal. A squeak. “I’m still here!”
It’s a rather ridiculous problem. An anxiety-causing, embarrassing problem. While those close to me find it “normal” or entertaining, I long for the days that my organs were silent behind the backdrop of my life.
Instead, I’m left imagining I can gurgle back, “Just shut the f*ck up already. Life is hard, stop complaining.”
I should eat my words.
Happy Eating: While there are many things I can’t eat, and many more that are unpredictable one way or another, there are a few trusty items I can always turn to. Today, I give a shout out to awesome food that never hurts me.
It’s been a while since my last written post, and in that time I’ve managed to stave off another head cold, take on a hot yoga challenge, and find some stability with my symptoms.
These “achievements” are connected in that they required lots of meal planning, a focus on good overall health practices (such as taking natural cold meds like oil of oregano) and making the time for all of the above.
While all the cooking has been time consuming, I’ve kept it interesting by experimenting with different recipes and storing extra food in the freezer for when I inevitably lose patience. The extra vitamins, probiotics and herbal remedies have given my immune system a boost, although I periodically still have the sniffles. I’m not sure what more to do about it other than pray for spring to come soon and melt what has become the icy hell hole of Southern Ontario.
Being active has always helped my symptoms and allowed me to de-stress. I’ve been doing hot yoga in addition to my workout routine for about a year now, and the challenge at my gym (attend 20 classes in 28 days) appealed to my competitive nature. I’ll be honest now and say I won’t make the 20 classes for the month since there aren’t 20 classes that work with my schedule, but I should hit 16.
If I’ve learned anything from all the yoga it’s that spinal twists help relieve intestinal cramping and gurgling and stretch your back at the same time. I do them at home whenever I feel off.
Realizing that trying to reach and maintain stability was becoming a stress factor for me, I’ve given up my food journaling for the last few days. I’m eating right, I’m exercising, I’m working on a work-life balance and it’s showing results. I can give the journal a rest, and feel a bit less obsessive about controlling IBD.
Cheers to small victories.
Sweet potato cutlets! Gluten free, vegan, delicious.
I get cravings like a pregnant woman. And no, I’m not preggers. I’m sure of that.
The cravings come out of no where and can be truly bizarre. Case in point, a few weeks ago I had an intense craving close for pepperoni pizza, from Pizza Pizza specifically. Now, I’ve been a vegetarian for eight years. Even before I made the switch, I never enjoyed pepperoni pizza. I was the weird kid growing up who preferred vegetarian pizza. The grease and saltiness of pepperoni didn’t appeal to me at all. But just before the lunch hour, that is exactly what I wanted. Oozing with grease, pepperoni pizza.
Other cravings are more logical, like chocolate or mango sorbet. Regardless of the weird-factor, I usually don’t give in to them. If I’m at work, it’s not like I can up and leave for a Pizza Pizza or Baskin Robbins run. At home, I try to find a more common sense alternative. Goat cheese melted on crackers instead of pizza. Fruit instead of sorbet.
I wonder sometimes if the cravings are because my diet is so restricted that my brain simply wants what it can’t have. Or perhaps the cravings represent a lack of certain nutrients. Low on salt and minerals, crave pickles. Need a happy boost, crave chocolate. The cause could be a number of things, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Crohn’s plays a crucial role in it all. Compared to all my other digestion ailments, at least cravings are manageable.
I keep a food journal. It’s something I’ve done whenever I have IBS systems that won’t die down, hoping that I will discover some sort of habit that’s the cause. I never really find a cause. Yet since the fall, I’ve fairly consistently maintained a food journal (under “notes” on my phone). I only took a break for the holidays, because really, who needs to know the shocking number of chocolates they consumed?
I keep track of meals (B, L, D) and snacks (S) but not beverages. I usually drink a coffee in the morning and just tea and water throughout the day, so there really isn’t a need to count that. I think I would also go insane trying to track my water intake.
Since the start of the new year, I’m also keeping track of when I go the gym (W) and what I do there (yoga versus weights, for example) and how Crohn’s (C) is treating me each day within the food journal. I’m hoping this might give more insight over the long term than tracking food alone.
It is a bit of an obsessive habit I’ve developed. It does make me more accountable for what I’m eating (I’ll think twice before grabbing a tortilla over rice paper).
More than a week back into my regular workout regimen (post-head cold) and I’m burning out pretty fast. The new protein I bought is certainly helping. But I’m finding that I’m sleeping a lot more than usual and have moments of just feeling mentally and physically exhausted.
It’s an exhaustion at times that reminds me of the time my iron was incredibly low (and undiagnosed). I could sleep and sleep and sleep and never feel satisfied. My brain would just not function — like there was a cloud in my head. My iron is fine now — admittedly on the lower end of the scale. It shouldn’t be the source of the problem.
I’m not sure if it is all the activity added to my recovery from the cold that’s burning me out or if Crohn’s plays a factor in it. I’ve had times where it isn’t my iron levels but Crohn’s that just drains me. Usually this comes with Crohn’s acting up — more trips to the bathroom or simply not properly digesting food (pain, cramps, bloating, etc.). I have been doing well though in the last three weeks, and keeping it up.
There’s always the odd day that Crohn’s needs remind me of its presence. Sunday, for example, I had sudden pain in my left side for no apparent reason. After an hour, it went away.
Back to the exhaustion; do I need more sleep? I doubt it. I sleep more and I feel awful still. Am I sleeping too much? Possibly. Am I working out too hard? I don’t think so; I was working out at this level before I got the cold without trouble. Am I missing some sort of nutrient? Maybe, I’ll show my naturopath my food log in a few weeks to see if that’s the cause. Having seen her last week and getting new vitamins, I can’t imagine I’m crucially short on something. I’ll just have to blame it on Crohn’s, hope that as I stay stable it goes away, and drink more coffee and tea until it passes.