Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tummy Trials

Usually when I sit down to spin a tale, I try to provide a few background details, rather than just leaping right into it. The basic point is to establish how each particular story I choose to relate fits into the "grand scheme" of life in my household. I also believe that including an introduction of sorts helps the episode make more sense. (Wishful thinking? Blissful delusion? Whatever...) Today, however, you might find me a bit...vague...on the the interest of delicacy and...not grossing anyone out. Okey-dokey...with that in mind, suffice it to say that I was given a book--one that was recommended in a recent issue of one of my healthy-living magazines--by my dermatologist. (Although the book has nothing to do with skin, it happened to have been written by a good friend of my doctor's!)

The topic relates to...well....let's sum it up by using the polite euphemism "care and maintenance of a properly-running digestive system". Basically the author explains various types of digestive distress and disorders, offers possible explanations as to why they occur, and proposes some lifestyle "tweaks" to get everything in order and functioning at the ideal level of efficiency and comfort. I gotta say--it was fascinating...if utterly disgusting...reading. One thing that immediately caught my attention was her "10-day detox plan". I thought, "Hey, I can do anything for 10 days, right?" (And obviously, the holiday season is the absolute perfect time to try it, for sure...oops...)

There's a LOT more to it, but the doctor suggests that to banish such troublesome conditions as bloating, gas, and...irregularity (there, that was gentle, yeah?) one should avoid these items: soy, alcohol, dairy, gluten, artificial sweeteners, and sugar (which together make up the acronym SAD GAS--and who doesn't love a good acronym? I was on board, solely based on that...) Okay, that sounds doable...I don't really eat soy anyway, except the occasional tofu, which is easy to skip. Alcohol--I can totally live without my couple-of-beers-a-week, no problem. Dairy, sure! (Oh, except that I must have cream in my coffee...hmm, actually she discourages java as clearly we've already stumbled upon one rule I'm gonna have to break.) Eh, moving on: gluten. This one will take some effort, but substituting brown rice and quinoa for any pasta will be fine. Bread will be...simply banned. Crackers are allowed...if I can scare up some non-wheat ones (looks like a trip to the natural food store is in my imminent future). As for artificial sweeteners, I still drink diet soda a few times a week, but how much can that hurt? Pffftt, I can't imagine it being that big a deal (Rule #2, shattered, if you're keeping score). And finally, sugar...I'm supposed to watch my consumption of that substance, anyway, so it's cool. (Except for a wee little bit in my morning joe...and honey in my tea...shhh! Rule #3...sigh...)

Alright, I've perused the guidelines, now let's dig into how, exactly, this will work in day-to-day life. Well, friends, I'll tell you how: with lengthy recipes....and hours of prep and cooking. Suddenly the good gastroenterologist is just not speakin' my language, if ya know what I mean. So I combed through the menu options and whittled them down to....let's call them "things I actually have the time and motivation to concoct". Then I made an amusing shopping list which contained such novel ingredients as "smoked Spanish paprika" (which I've heard of...but never actually laid eyes on, so we'll see if I can locate it), "ground psyllium husk" (Not. A. Clue...), "coconut water" (I think I know where that is...ish...), "escarole" (salad-related, though I have no earthly idea if my grocery store carries it...guess we'll see) and "steel-cut oats" ('cereal cousins'--yeah, I've got that one).

So tomorrow morning I'll be the one wandering around the aisles of my local market, probably looking a bit lost and even more confounded as I attempt to scrounge up the building blocks for my new "healthy gut" diet. This is going to be a HOOT...or an unmitigated disaster...I could honestly see it going either way. But if it leads to all kinds of peace and the digestive...region, it's worth a try. Here goes nothing!

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