Food and chronic illness

When you have a chronic illness like mine food is something that can become incredibly difficult to navigate. I have picked up several allergies and intolerance’s to different types of food, and after doing an elimination diet a few years ago I managed to get the worst of the IBS symptoms under a semblance of control. I’m on a lose interpretation of the fodmap diet. And lately I have reintroduced some of the stuff I reacted to before that seems to work OK now. As long as I avoid wheat starch I can have gluten free bread for instance but only certain kinds. Sandwiches certainly makes things easier day to day, but I also have to bake my own bread.

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My energy levels dictate how much cooking I manage to do. Generally things have to be relatively quick and easy to cook. One pot cooking is something i recommend for everyone. Just chuck a load of vegetables in a Pyrex and put whatever meat or fish you like on top  and you’ll have a decent dinner in half an hour or so (remember some spices, herbs and a bit of oil and or lemon/lime and you are golden). I know I’m lucky that I have skills other people don’t have, I was a chef for a while and cooking is something I understand. But it’s also true that the worse I feel the worse my diet gets. It is practically impossible to have high standards when everything is difficult. So living on breakfast cereal, sandwiches, fruit and whatever I manage to scrape together for dinner becomes norm.

This is what the people who constantly promote whatever diet is considered healthy and beneficiary at any given time don’t seem to understand. Eating well actually requires a level of ability and money. Not only do you have to be physically able to prep and cook the food, you also have to be able to afford it. You have to be able to get to a supermarket that has the things you need. And then you have to get it home and put away. I’m lucky – I can order what I need on the net and get it carried in to my kitchen.Hopefully I have planned well enough to not end up with any waste this time, but that’s no guarantee. Because you also have to cook what you bought, and store it right and all those things that a brain fogged person who sometimes has problems standing up will struggle with.

It’s also utter bollox that you can eat yourself well from a physical illness. There are many claims that following this or that protocol makes you better, but this is all anecdotal. There are no scientific mechanisms found in any of these diets, and you constantly see ill people trying this ending up disappointed. There are always someone in the background getting rich on this stuff. I know you get desperate for anything to work, but following diets of the already healthy that in general can eat anything anyway is not going to help.

I find that having a realistic outlook on the whole food thing is a better approach mentally. Eat what makes you feel good, don’t eat what makes you feel bad. Try to discover what makes your system work the best. Getting enough nutrients in to our stupid bodies is of course important but if having some chips/crisps makes you feel a bit better you should. Only maybe not every day? You cant afford fresh vegetables? Frozen are cheaper and just as nutritious. cant afford the best cut of meat? Here is a pro tip: the “bad” cuts often tastes much better, but need slow (and long) cooking. Eating a proper meal every now and again makes you feel a bit better. I often eat breakfast off my grandmothers old breakfast set and that is a little happiness I take with me on my day.

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