Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day

Today is July 4th. Independence Day. The day that we became The United States of America. A day when friends and family get together, and cook-out, go to the beach and watch fireworks.
To be honest, I'm really not looking forward to it. Yes, we are going over to a friends house for a cook-out, and there will be music and noise, kids giggling and splashing in the pool, and lots of heat. Since I live in Florida, there will probably be a pop-up thunderstorm in the afternoon that threatens to ruin all of the cook-outs. This is a typical, daily event in Florida when you mix the sea breeze with the high heat and humidity. All in all it really doesn't sound like a bad day. In fact it sounds like it would be a great time. I mean what's better than food, fun, family and friends, right?
My problem is a mix of the food and the heat. For some reason, even though I love warm weather, the warm/hot weather does not like me. It seems to make my Crohn's symptoms worse most of the time. Combine that with tables full of food, most of which I cannot eat, and you have an unhappy person. Most times I will leave these functions feeling hungry, depressed and just plain miserable.

 The problem is most people don't understand Crohn's and I have heard all the comments of how I'm such a picky eater. Not really. I love food! It just so happens that food does not always love me. Think about your typical summer cook-out type foods. You have watermelon, cantaloupe, hot dogs, potato salad with things like celery in it, fat, juicy hamburgers dripping with grease. They all sound tantalizing and make your mouth water, but I cannot eat the majority of food that is spread out on the tables.
Here is the thing; most doctors' recommend a low-fat, low residue diet to help control the symptoms of Crohn's. Low-fat knocks out that fat juicy hamburger. Low-residue equals low fiber. There go all fresh fruits and vegetables. It also knocks out things like popcorn. Red meats (hamburgers) are harder to digest and processed foods (hot dogs) are usually a big no-no. At least for me. I have found through the years that there is another common food ingredient that will trigger an episode with me, and that is MSG, monosodium glutamate. This is used as a preservative and a flavor enhancer in a lot of foods. Many people think that it is just found in chinese food, but it's actually pretty common. I have found that it is in a good majority of chips, rice mixes, seasoning packets for meats and salads, etc.  In the future I am hoping to add another page on here that contains recipes that are tasty, easy to fix and meet the low-fat, low-residue diet requirements.

With all of that being said, what triggers an episode for me may not necessarily trigger an episode in someone else who has Crohn's. I do know that this is the diet most Gastroenterologist recommend for patients with Crohn's, so when your loved one or friend rejects the food you have fixed, don't take it personally. They truly aren't out to hurt your feelings. They are trying to save themselves from the misery of abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea.

Keep these things in mind as you celebrate today. Enjoy your family and friends, as I will enjoy being with mine. Keep the alcohol to a minimum (another trigger), and don't be embarrassed to explain why you cannot have that huge, juicy chunk of watermelon. I think your friends and family would rather see you pass it by, then see you being miserable.

Happy 4th of July! The day that we became the great country of The United States of America!

Many Blessings and remember LIVE, LAUGH and LOVE!