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shadows of echoes of memories of songs
Traces of nuts
Saw the doctor and he was slightly more helpful than they usually are. He agreed that while stress is probably making things worse, being uncomfortable and in pain tends to make people stressed, so let's try to fix the problem or at least the symptoms.

Booked in for blood tests next week, but in the meantime he wants me to cut the following things out of my diet for two weeks:

* dairy produce
* tea & coffee
* alcohol
* citrus fruits (LJ icons don't count)
* under-ripe fruit (do people eat this for fun?)
* nuts (see? but at least he didn't say I was going nuts)
* chocolate
* re-heated food e.g. dried pasta (?)
* toast
* ready-meals
* food colourings and additives
* fun

Okay, I added the last one of those myself.

He also suggests eating porridge made with oats and bran for breakfast instead of my usual, apparently risible fare. ("What do you have for breakfast?" "Uh, yoghurt." "Yoghurt? Just yoghurt?") More fibre, basically. Porridge is nice (he didn't say I couldn't put honey on it ... or bacon for that matter), but it does mean getting up earlier.

If cutting out all the above helps, then I can reintroduce things one at a time; if it doesn't help, he says it might be worth trying cutting wheat out for 2 weeks. Of course if the blood tests say I've actually got Swine Flu the galloping lurgy something identifiable that's nothing to do with diet, than I can go back to eating whatever I like, hopefully.

I wouldn't mind so much but addedentry basically lives on pasta, bread, and cheese (and chocolate!) so if I have to cut any of these things out long-term then we're basically going to be eating separate meals for the rest of our lives. :-(

Anyway, at least it's something concrete to try, which is better than sitting on my arse feeling sorry for myself. We'll see what happens.

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From: taimatsu Date: June 10th, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Anecdote, only tangentially relevant: re. fibre in the diet, I was once prescribed Fybogel, the psyllium husk drink things. They tasted unpleasant (and they're lurid orange or yellow!) but most entertainingly if you leave them out in the open unconsumed for a while, they turn into a gel (as the observant might have guessed from the name), and cannot be poured away, but flollop into the sink like jellyblobs.

Assorted other thoughts, also barely coherent and certainly not helpful:

Could you perhaps have muesli with added bran for breakfast?

Identifiable foods which have caused me trouble have included apple juice (and any large quantity of juice in general), grapes, and pizza. None of the components of pizza, just pizza in general, which is really weird.

Does O not eat rice? Potatoes?

Fingers crossed for you. I damn well hope *something* helps.
j4 From: j4 Date: June 11th, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, he does eat rice and potatoes. He also has a full cooked meal at lunch (free from college) so he may just have to live with having a slightly less fun cooked meal in the evenings.
imc From: imc Date: June 10th, 2009 11:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Golly, is there anything left after all that? I hope you get some benefit from it.

"Re-heated food e.g. dried pasta" confuses me, too. I don't think of dried pasta as "re-heated" really (and does this mean you are allowed to eat crunchy uncooked dried pasta?) and the only reason I can think of for avoiding pasta is because it contains wheat or gluten or carbohydrate, and that's nothing to do with how it's cooked.
voiceofsauron From: voiceofsauron Date: June 11th, 2009 07:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Presumably you are allowed fresh pasta which hasn't been cooked!
khalinche From: khalinche Date: June 11th, 2009 12:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad the doctor took you seriously. Giving up tea, coffee, cheese and booze is a thing of horror, of course, but you might be surprised at how easy the rest is. Good luck! I always have a mental surfeit of recipes (although not for lampreys), just ask if you want suggestions.
j4 From: j4 Date: June 11th, 2009 09:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Giving up coffee is something I do occasionally anyway; and I haven't had much booze lately because I've been feeling so rotten. (The main thing I'd miss about giving up booze completely is being able to order anything worth drinking in a pub.) Dairy-free I did for ~16 years so it's not a big scary thing, just a pain in the butt when I have a fridge full of yoghurt and nice cheese. The hard thing is remembering that I've got to check the ingredients of absolutely everything again, & basically can't buy anything in a deli or a cafe or a restaurant, can't "just buy lunch from the shop", can't eat biscuits that are handed round at work etc etc. *sigh*
simonb From: simonb Date: June 11th, 2009 12:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like the doctor has put you on a sort of exclusion diet - so probably thinks that you have a food allergy or intolerence. I'd guess that the blood tests are for Crones which would show up on one.

Porridge which chopped up bacon in it is very nice.
pseudomonas From: pseudomonas Date: June 11th, 2009 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
crohn's can't be diagnosed by a blood test, though if the test shows high inflammatory markers, it might mean other tests are worthwhile.
cleanskies From: cleanskies Date: June 11th, 2009 06:47 am (UTC) (Link)
When I had the breakfast conversation, I was saying, "Uh, nothing. Well, coffee." You can imagine how well that went...

You know, looking at what you've said, though -- I do vary my carbs. No way would my stomach tolerate eating just pasta, every day -- more processed (white, soft) bread similarly, is a food with which I need to practice moderation. Ditto pizza -- I used to be able to tolerate far more of this when I was younger. But then, I couldn't tolerate irritants like chilli as well as I can now. Swings and roundabouts. On top of the dietary trinity of wheat, rice and potatoes, there are (delicious) outliers like polenta and quinoa -- and always the various different sorts of bread.

Underripe fruit, re-heated foods and ready meals are known causes of making already dicky stomachs somewhat dickier. Toast is scritchy, citrus fruits are acid. All these are fine for a normal digestion but might be upsetting someone who's already having problems.

If it turns out to be the booze, I'm sorry. I do have a friend for whom that turned out to be the case -- and I have to exercise more caution with wine (only wine, but still, come on!) as I grow older and will doubtless (just as my mother has) at some point decide the stomach trouble isn't worth the fun.
cleanskies From: cleanskies Date: June 11th, 2009 06:59 am (UTC) (Link)
P.S. One thing to bear in mind if you're switching off the booze, tea and coffee is that fruit juices (especially in quantity) can also cause problems.
emperor From: emperor Date: June 11th, 2009 06:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Good luck with that. I think I'd just cry if told to cut all that lot out, even for 2 weeks - you are clearly made of sterner stuff!
htfb From: htfb Date: June 11th, 2009 07:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Adding oatmeal to your yoghurt produces instantly a perfectly palatable mush, rich in fibre, which you can consume even with a broken and immobile jaw. (Ask me how I know that.) After a few weeks living on nothing but this and soup you will feel like the Old Man of Tobago.
venta From: venta Date: June 11th, 2009 08:29 am (UTC) (Link)
If porridge requires too much early activity, then something like Ready Brek is (more expensive but) a quicker alternative. Or All Bran with soya milk (not as nasty on cereal as you might think - admittedly not that nice either).

Good luck with this - obviously discovering long-term food intolerances would be quite sucky, but then being rather ill long term is also sucky. Hurrah for doctors who actually listen.
j4 From: j4 Date: June 11th, 2009 08:46 am (UTC) (Link)
How is Ready Brek easier - can you just put boiling water on it or something?

I don't mind the taste of soya milk (got used to it being dairy-free for ~16 years...) but less happy about the links between soya and infertility. :-/ (Yes, I will research this properly rather than just assuming that because I read it in the papers it must be true.)
porridge! - (Anonymous) - Expand
k425 From: k425 Date: June 11th, 2009 08:38 am (UTC) (Link)
under-ripe fruit (do people eat this for fun?)

I prefer my bananas on the greener side of yellow, rather than the browner side. Which makes them under-ripe - but not unripe.

If he wants you to cut out wheat, ask him to have you tested for coeliac disease first (if he hasn't included that already) since if you cut out food containing gluten your body won't be producing the immune response any more and it won't show up.

Good luck!
j4 From: j4 Date: June 11th, 2009 08:47 am (UTC) (Link)
If he wants you to cut out wheat, ask him to have you tested for coeliac disease first

Yes, I think that's supposed to be included in the blood tests. I suspect I will be eating plenty of bread for the next couple of weeks because it's about the only moderately-fun thing left. :-}
camellia_uk From: camellia_uk Date: June 11th, 2009 10:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Breakfast in the always-oversleeping, credit-crunch household is currently porridge with mixed fruits. Porridge done in the microwave is really fast, and frozen mixed berries are nice and cheap (often throw in a banana as well for sweetness).

No tea and coffee is the real kicker, but presumably herbal/fruit teas are ok. Goat milk is apparently a lot easier to digest than cow milk, depends if you like the taste of it, but that also goes for goat's cheese. Plus there's rice milk etc, and I've even seen something out there that's apparently lactose-free cow milk, don't ask me how they do that!

Re: the soya thing, our biology teacher told us that soya would basically kill us all (did you have the same teacher?) and I avoided it for years, until someone pointed out just how much soy products they consume in China and surrounding countries, with no problems at all. Think it's like the whole oily fish debate, no-one really knows.

Good luck with the next 2 weeks anyway, hope you feel better soon :-S
camellia_uk From: camellia_uk Date: June 11th, 2009 12:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
By the way, I'm currently eating a 9 Bar. Have you tried them? All seeds (no nuts) mixed with honey, and topped with carob (not chocolate). And they're really really yummy. They also do quite well for a got-to-grab-something-fast breakfast, if needed.
From: scat0324 Date: June 11th, 2009 10:47 am (UTC) (Link)
My Mother-in-law did an exclusion diet for a while last year, and discovered an allergy to tomatoes. Before this, her symptoms were similar to yours, and now she's much much better - I hope you track down whatever it is for you. However, when they all come over, I have to contend with:

  • No tomatoes for her (now she's excluded them generally, even the slightest trace in a sauce brings her out in a rash)
  • No meat for S-i-l (fussy!)
  • No vegetables for B-i-l (fussier!)
  • No lactose for B-i-l's girlfriend (allergic)
  • No salicylate for me

Oh, and two boys with typical toddler food habits - fun!
j4 From: j4 Date: June 11th, 2009 09:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yikes. So you can't eat most vegetables (or in fact pretty much anything, judging from that website) anyway?? I had no idea!
lnr From: lnr Date: June 11th, 2009 02:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Also if you can put up with them being *very* sweet caramac bars are tasty but not chocolate.
j4 From: j4 Date: June 11th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Um... I've never had caramac but according to Wikipedia "The unique flavour is maintained using sweetened condensed milk, butter and various artificial flavourings". So that's dairy, dairy, and artificial flavourings (all banned)...

The vast majority of shop-bought sweets, cakes, biscuits etc have dairy in, I'm afraid. Even if they don't need butter/milk etc then they usually have whey powder added because it's cheap filler. :-/
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 18th, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi Janet,
I stumbled on this when I clicked on Owen's facebook link to your flat details - we met at the Good Friday singalonga Mozart Requiem.
I absolutely had to post a reply to this, as I can really really empathise - I've had awful stomach pains for the last year and a bit and have been referred to gastro people up at the JR who have performed a series of pretty grim tests on me, to conclude firstly that there is nothing wrong with me, then that I have IBS, and then that I don't have IBS but "chronic abdominal pain syndrome" - I've taken enough pills to make me rattle and wish that I had taken out a prescription season ticket but don't seem to have got much closer to managing the pain. I struggle to get into work and have spent a lot of time sitting on my arse feeling sorry for myself (this has been good in terms of the amount of reading I've done this year (over 200 books already!).
The diet looks interesting - I'm waiting for a referral to a dietician to do something similar. The theory behind reheated foods is something called resistant starch. But bizarrely you might find that /less/ fibre is what helps, and also cutting out raw foods. Certainly the latter is a big trigger in my stomach pain.
And who knows about stress?! I wonder if it is a factor in my pain but I don't feel that I lead a hugely stressful life (plus whenever a dr hears my occupation they immediately assume that I cannot possibly be stressed).
I'll be interested to see if the diet works, but hugely good luck in finding some sort of solution...
Anyway, I hope you didn't mind me posting here...
Verity (verity orme magd email)
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