Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Brat Diet

Dear Tummy, you are the real brat.

Sounds like a diet made for me, doesn't it? Well, it is. For now. After I spent last last month talking about my tummy and how far I've come, I have to admit. I've had a total relapse. It's not totally my fault though, it seems as though my body just can't tolerate any food aside from steamed rice, plain breads, yogurt and steamed milk (as well as bland chicken and some steamed veggies). That's not like me... I love my cookies, my processed cheese (we all have our vices), my rich wild game meats, all that glorious french food and a glass of wine on Monday nights.

Over the summer I started to challenge myself and was surprised at how well I stomached everything, but then... now. I don't know when things got this bad... I can't stomach a thing. It's come on slowly and I thought it as just stress but now I don't know. Maybe I don't know how to identify stress or perhaps I'm so use to stress in my life that it feels normal, though I don't really think that is the case- what could I be stressed about?

School is done, I aced everything achieving over 95%. I adore Christmas, I have more than enough money to support my life style and tuck enough away for retirement. I have an excellent relationship with my family and I have some of the best friends a girl could ask for. Truly, I feel blessed, at times a little lonely but I've felt lonely in relationships before. This girl can't complain... except about her stomach.

I've been to the doctor and so I have some tests I am waiting to take. Mostly they are just routine tests for when she writes a referral to a specialist, we can say that I definitely don't have:

an ulcer (I'm pretty sure I don't have one of those)
Celiacs (have you seen how much gluten I can put away- unlikely)
Lactose intolerance (yogurt, milk, good cheese- all things that still are part of my bland diet)

The problem is one of the tests called a Helicobacter Pylori Urea Breath Test does not allow me to have Bismuth Subsalicylate (aka: Pepto-Bismol) for at least 2 weeks prior to the test. No Pepto for 2 weeks! That is unheard of. Truth, I always have Pepto on hand but I can go months without using it. Right now though, I need it more then ever. Or do I...

In efforts to get my tum-tum back in order I've been exercising a fairly bland diet of bagels, bread, cream cheese, milk, rice, steamed veggies, chicken, Wor Wonton Soup and water. It's been hell but the effects of testing my tummy with my usual eating habits lead into a far worse system of events that make eating anything a blessing. If I even take a step off the side and try to eat like I used too (even as simple as having a little dark chocolate in the afternoon) I end up shaking uncontrollably, over heating and shivering, dry mouth, intense abdominal discomfort and feeling totally disoriented. The last time this happened I was out to dinner last week about to go see Stuart McLean. An attack occurred halfway to the concert hall and I spent the first half of the concert shaking in my seat, holding my mothers had as Laura escorted me, arms linked,  to the ladies room.

My sister was on a "white food" diet when she was a wee one. She had contracted a virus that was effecting a lot of people and putting them in hospital (by the way, I'm going to say this now, there is no such thing as the "Stomach Flu" is actually called Gastroenteritis and is caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. The flu, influenza, is a respiratory infection that affects the lungs.). My mum kept her out of the hospital and eating on this diet of bland, white foods.

This is where I get to "the BRAT diet"
BRAT diet, which is an acronym for:
  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Toast

These bland, low-fiber foods are easy to digest and may help with diarrhea, and most people who have a stomach illness can tolerate them pretty well. The BRAT diet has spawned other eating regimens that have a similar effect on upset stomach. They include the BRATY diet, which stands for:

  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Toast
  • Yogurt
And the BRATT diet, which stands for:
  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Tea
  • Toast

So what I plan to do is combine this BRAT diet theory with the "white food" diet my sister was once on along with some of the other foods I know my body can handle and HOPEFULLY get a grip on my tummy. At least until I have that one test done that limits my Pepto ingestion. Once I am in the clear I can start challenging myself again, eating foods that might upset my tummy and deal with the consequence freely without the concern of botching up an important exam or major physical discomfort.

I know stomach issues are common, have you ever been through something like this before?

Hat Tips:


The Clever Pup said...

I've heard Stuart McLean can do that to you...

No, really - I'm sorry for your tummy upsets.

Try activated charcoal - you can get it from the health food store in capsule form. It neutralizes poisons, bacterias and gas that you may have in your system. It's good for other things too.

amourissima said...

Oh that Stuart! Always upsets everyone’s tummy! He's just far too sweet for his own good.

Thanks for the advice about the Activated Charcoal, it sounds interesting.