Food Matters is a meme run by May More, of If Sex Matters. This week, the topic for discussion is Foods That Heal:How we eat may help solve the problems food can cause.
Even though I’m overweight, I always eat healthily, which is something I have maintained for many years. I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) several years ago, which is a condition that can result in weight gain.
I pride myself on eating a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet. I avoid processed foods pretty much all the time and cook most of my meals from scratch. I enjoy cooking, and I think I am a pretty good cook. I tend to just do my own thing in terms of recipes and make things up as I go along. That isn’t to say I don’t follow recipes; sometimes I do and follow them religiously, particularly when it comes to baking, which is something that I rarely do in any event. I do like baking, but I’m always conscious that making cakes and biscuits means that they have to be eaten…
Eating my five a day has been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always been proud of the fact that the five is often seven, eight or more items of fruit and veg. Also, I’ve always been particular about eating wholemeal bread. I switched to wholemeal pasta some time ago; however, I found brown rice a little more difficult to get used to.
A few years ago, I read with interest how Marie from Rebels Notes had lost a large amount of weight on the LCHF (low-carb high-fat) diet. I researched this diet myself and thought that I would give it a try. I followed it very carefully and lost at least half a stone within a relatively short space of time. However, after six months, I found that the diet was actually getting me down mentally. I was getting fed up of the high fat foods and not being able to eat much fruit. I also found I was frequently hungry in between meals. Consequently. I gained weight after resuming eating more fruit and carbs again.
In 2018, I decided to try the LCHF diet again. However, this time I decided to modify it and eat less fat and allow myself a few more carbs and some fruit. My own adapted version seemed to work and I lost half a stone again fairly quickly.
Over the years, I have had an intermittent abdominal pain that seems to move around. These pains are quite debilitating and they generally last around a week. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been to see my GP about these pains, which no one could ever diagnose as a particular problem. Sometimes, the pain is so bad that it is actually difficult to sit down or to walk properly. The pain has also been confused by me and the medical professionals with a bladder infection. I have suffered a number of bladder infections and the pain is very similar and sometimes in a similar place. I’ve had various blood tests, and it became apparent that one of the tests was particularly high in what I remember to be an inflammatory marker. However, for anyone who has any medical knowledge and is reading this, I may not have used the correct terminology. The doctor looking at the result was horrified at the reading and he referred me for a colonoscopy in late 2018.
The colonoscopy wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience, but the outcome was that I had got a number of diverticula, which can, from time to time, become infected or inflamed.
Diverticular disease and diverticulitis are related digestive conditions that affect the large intestine (bowel).
Diverticula are small bulges or pockets that can develop in the lining of the intestine as you get older.
Most people with diverticula do not get any symptoms and only know they have them after having a scan for another reason.
When there are no symptoms, it is called diverticulosis.
When diverticula cause symptoms, such as pain in the lower tummy, it’s called diverticular disease.
If the diverticula become inflamed or infected, causing more severe symptoms, it’s called diverticulitis.
You’re more likely to get diverticular disease and diverticulitis if you do not get enough fibre in your diet.
I was amazed to be told that I was not eating enough fibre, as I have always been particularly careful with my diet, especially with eating wholemeal bread and plenty of fruit and vegetables. At this point in time I was still following my version of the LCHF diet, so I decided that this had to stop because eating enough fibre was more important. So, I had to make some tweaks to what I was eating, and this meant to get enough fibre, I would need to increase my carb consumption, which resulted in gaining weight again very quickly. But at least I knew that I was getting closer the correct amount of fibre each day. We are supposed to eat 30 g of fibre a day, which is actually quite difficult to do. The hospital recommended a fibre supplement called Fybogel. I tried this over a few days, but I found it gave me terrible headaches and heartburn, so I stopped taking it.
A few months ago, I decided that I could really do with losing some weight, and I looked critically at the amount of fibre and carbs that I was eating, and I was still surprised to see that I wasn’t really having quite enough fibre as I was nearer to 20g a day rather than 30g. So, I decided to adjust the amount of carbs again while trying to eat enough fibre. So now, I try to eat at least one meal a day that is carb free. It doesn’t always work out, but I don’t fret about this too much. I do what I can and trying to eat enough fibre is always uppermost in my mind.
I don’t generally weigh myself much these days But at the beginning of December I had to visit the doctor, and she weighed me and I was surprised at the weight, even with my clothes and shoes on. The following day I weighed myself at home, and I was surprised to see that the GP scales were accurate and I’d lost around 3 kg since I last weighed myself in October. The only conclusion I can come to is that it is due to the HRT I started in September, or my minor tweak in my diet in October. However, although I haven’t weighed myself since, I can tell that over the Christmas period I have put on some weight again. I also had a bad cold and bad chest for a couple of weeks that started in between Christmas and New Year, which meant that I couldn’t really follow my usual diet strictly. So, I’m now back to eating particularly carefully, and I hope that I can lose those few kilos again.
I have prepared a list of some of the foods that I eat regularly that have a good fibre content (but the carbs may be high!). The amount of fibre stated is approximate as the nutritional information on most packaging tends to vary between suppliers.
Fibre – serving in brackets
Fibre – serving in brackets
Baby broad beans
9.6g (1/2 tin)
Potato in skin
Sweet potato in skin
Seeded wholemeal bread
3.2g (per slice)
4.3g (per slice)
0.9g (15 nuts)
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