Call it what you will. Food Diary, Food Journal. A royal pain in the rectum.
I hated keeping food diaries whenever I fell ill or after my surgeries. LOATHED it. When doctors made the suggestion, a tight lipped smile pinched my face as my insides screamed, “NO! #$@%&!”
It is, however, as you have seen, ridiculously helpful.
You are able to better track/narrow specific foods that may be the culprit of some nasty gastrointestinal phenomena. Likewise, it can also demonstrate what GOOD things keep you from keeping your lonely toilet company all day.
So what was uncovered here?
My average bathroom visits on a good day are about 4 or 5. All with control and comfort. Little to no pain.
Raw/Lightly cooked vegetables do not sit well with me. Duh. I think that is the case with most of us. However, for the most part whenever I have vegetables cooked into a dish, everything sits well.
Fried/greasy foods kill me. Just downright knock me down and drag me through the mud. No amount of probiotics or good digestion can help the resulting typhoon of a mess I become. That’s why it’s a rare occurrence.
I do have my staples. I’ll admit, looking back, I thought, “Man, my diet is kinda boring.”
I do quite a bit of cooking, but aside from dinner, I do really have my safe foods that I frequently default to. My yogurt HAS to be everyday. We are never without it in our fridge. It just doesn’t happen. If I do not eat it, I am in the bathroom a lot more. My guts gurgle like an angry baby who wants a bottle and when he doesn’t get it throws a serious tantrum.
I love fruit. I eat a lot of bananas and apples. I don’t peel the skin off apples because A.) I’m lazy and B.) It doesn’t upset my guts at all anymore. It used to. But it was one of those “Wait a while and try again” foods.
Tea is awesome. Especially with an upset gut. It helps settle like no other. So does Gas X. Another thing we always keep stocked in the medicine cabinet.
Loads of water. People hate water. I know. It’s boring. But without it, I would be on the floor unconscious. No bull. Without a colon, you have to drink twice as much water since the primary responsibility of your large intestine is to absorb water! Staying hydrated was never so important as it is now. I have had a couple of bad dehydration spells in the last two years. No fun.
Better to drink more water than pass out at a baseball game and be wheeled into an emergency room only to be released less than an hour later with a cup of juice, a poke in your arm, and a $1000 ER bill. True story. Just sayin.
Protein is good. I keep hearing it said that the American population gets too much of it, which is most likely a statement I will concur with. However, I do think it’s an important staple of one’s diet (10-15% from what I have been told by my doc). Otherwise, there goes your iron intake and muscle mass and say hello to fatigue and exhaustion and skin issues! Been there, done that. Not going back. Ever.
There are many debates about eating animal-based protein. I don’t want to fight about it but I will say I think protein is fine for us colon free peeps as long as you are getting a little bit of everything. Get that protein through fish, eggs, chicken (I don’t really do red meat because holy wow, you saw what happened when I ate that burger! Bad news.), and beans/nuts (if you can handle them, which I sadly cannot). It’s like every dietitian will tell you: “Good variety and in moderation.” That really is the key. Unless you’re vegetarian or vegan. In which case, I can’t really help you on that. I don’t know much on the plant-based battlefield.
Of course, every person is different. Finding out what works best for you can take some time and creative culinary experimentation.
All that said, I love food. I love it LIKE WHOA. I love that I can enjoy more of it with only minimal restrictions. I am learning more about the art of cooking every day and finding more recipes that I can dissect and rearrange to suit a colon free diet. It’s not THAT different honestly. In fact, I may go so far as to say it’s better than the diet I had before the ulcerative colitis hit me.
My two cents. Just some twenty-something’s opinion. No doctor or nurse or health care professional. I certainly don’t know everything there is to know about food. But I believe the only way to know for sure what’s good for YOU is to find out for yourself. A food diary/journal can be a great tool for accomplishing just that. I can sit here and say to you, “YEAH, yogurt is the shiz” (which it is ) or “Oh man, red meat, soooo bad! Beans are the devil!”
That’s just one person’s body though. Yours may be COMPLETELY the opposite! I try to ignore food fads and diets because the only one who knows my body is ME. I have developed this diet over the course of the last two years with much trial and error, occasionally food diaries and many scribblings to learn what is good and what is just “OH GOD NO NEVER AGAIN”.
And why not? I have this second chance with a j-pouch to have a good quality of life. I don’t want to screw it up.
I earnestly hope this exercise has helped alleviate some inquiries/concerns. This was a fun little project! There is always more to learn about your own habits because they do change over time.
I may start posting some tried and true recipes for tasty colon free living! I just have to go through my stack of recipes and notes. I have to laugh at the thought. THAT will be a project in itself.
Thank you, everyone! As always, any questions/concerns/ideas/suggestions feel free to leave them!