A frustrated and apathetic person is leaning on their hand, sitting at a table setting with a black hole where a plate should be.

We’re Not “Fussy Eaters"!

I hate being thought of as a fussy eater.

I really don’t think I am, but of course, IBD often dictates what we can and can’t tolerate. Even more annoying is the fact that it so frequently changes!

My IBD diet

For me, flares have always meant a low residue diet. It helps slow things down and gives my digestive system time to have a little rest. It was always my “go-to” whenever my ulcerative colitis symptoms started. Sometimes, it was enough to calm things down again before the flare really took hold!

The trouble with low residue foods is that going out to eat feels like hard work. I don’t mind asking for adaptations to meals ordinarily, but when all you can have is a baked potato, or a ham and cheese toastie, it barely seems worth going out for.

Going out to eat with IBD

If I can make things at home super easily, I hate having to pay for it. I often end up ordering side dishes like garlic bread or fries, which I could literally chuck in the oven at home for next to no cost. I know, I sound like a grumpy old man, don’t I? But, it’s just one of those things that really annoys me!

But, what’s the alternative? Turning down invitations to go out for food and be social? Just staying home and eating cereal or noodles? Which ultimately leads to isolation...

I need to make modifications

Even when I’m at my best, I still have issues with certain foods. Usually, for a brief period following surgery, I can eat almost anything. As time passes, scar tissue and adhesions begin to develop, which means having to cut down on the insoluble fibre again because it causes pain and blockages. This has been the cycle of my life since 2007.

So, modifications have to be made, whether I’m cooking for myself or eating out.

Uncomfortable at restaurants

Like I said earlier, I don’t mind asking for the adaptations, but sometimes the staff can have a bit of a funny attitude about it (which always puts me off going to that place again). The people I tend to eat out with usually know I have IBD and a stoma, but they don’t really understand what that means in terms of food. How can they when it changes so frequently? Sometimes, I’m not even sure I know!

There might be times that I’m eating out and there’s someone new, a friends friend or a new partner for example. Then, I find myself very aware that this stranger might think I’m just being annoyingly picky.

Honestly, sometimes I find myself wanting to scream from the rooftops that if I’m asking for changes to a menu item, or taking an age to choose what to eat, it’s because I have dietary limitations. It’s not really a choice!

IBD restrictions are not a choice

I don’t choose to have a list of foods that cause me issues. I’m not being choosy, I am trying to look after myself! The worst-case scenario is a hospital admission because I have eaten something that I shouldn’t have, and the worst-case scenario whilst there is surgery! I’d really prefer to avoid that.

So, I just keep doing what I have to do and eating what I have to eat. Constantly annoyed that others think I’m just being “fussy."

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