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February 1999 Issue
A Spoonful of Sugar
by Krafty
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Compassionate Food for Compassionate People - all vegan all the time
I've changed my diet recently. No, it's not a fad. Nor is it one of those "Oh, my goodness, look what Christmas has done to me" things. Nor because I can't get my clothes on, although that's true as well. I have discovered I'm allergic to gluten.

For over 12 years I've suffered from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or Spastic Colon as it used to be called). I just thought that was something that happened to some people, and that if I avoided certain foods I would be OK. Avoiding "certain foods" was difficult because "certain foods" included my favourites. Isn't it always the way! Chocolate, bananas, bread, sponge cake, fried potatoes in any form - all these caused me discomfort (and often embarrassment). But I did try to cut them out, and if I succumbed to temptation then at least I knew what to expect.

Now, there is no temptation. I know that, because it has taken me so long to discover my allergy, my digestion is considerably weakened, and that if I don't do something about it I am in for a life-time of problems.

So, I have taken advice - something I don't do lightly as I like to make my own mind up about things, but I am obviously so ignorant about how to look after myself that I cannot do this on my own. As it turns out, the advice is based on what I have, until recently, regarded as fads - drink two litres of water a day, avoid processed foods, cut out everything containing gluten, eat fresh vegetables whenever possible. And on top of that, because I have candidiasis in the gut, for the next four weeks I was on a de-toxification routine. This means no yeast-containing foods and no sugar.

No sugar - for someone whose every tooth is a sweet one, who can demolish a whole packet of chocolate digestives in one dunking session, who is notorious in the works dining room for having two puddings (with or without a main course), and who salivates heavily at TV chocolate ads.

If that wasn't enough of a blow, the very short list of foods I would be eating for four weeks was devastating. But I steeled myself, told myself (over and over) that it was only four weeks, and that the gains of less pain, less flatulence and potentially a lot less weight would be worth it.

Because of my weakened constitution, I was advised not to drink any water for the two hours after a meal and during the half hour before. This would allow the acids in the stomach to do their job at full strength and process food more easily. I was beginning to wonder if this would leave any time for eating at all.

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