In the past segments in my Getting Started with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet series, I’ve talked about preparing to go on the diet both practically and emotionally and I’ve talked a lot about food of course. But once you’re on the diet there’s everything else in the real world – travelling, going out to restaurants, and work.
After all the whole goal of feeling better is to live in the real world. Maybe you’ve been struggling along with the same daily routine or maybe you’ve been stuck not being able to do much of anything – I certainly experienced both of those realities when I was first dealing with Crohn’s – but once you’re feeling good again you’re going to be doing normal things. One of those normal things is a full or part-time job that may take you out of the house for several hours a day. You may even travel and most likely you’ll be around food that you shouldn’t eat.
I’ve worked several jobs since starting SCD and for all them food has been used as a reward, for social occasions, and as a way to get through a stressful day. Donuts, pizza, out-to-lunch, and even beer Fridays can leave you feeling left out – and sometimes hungry. In some cases it can cause others to think you’re not a team player – it’s unfortunate, but a reality – but I encourage you strongly to stick to the diet. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it forever, not eating what everyone is having is less embarrassing than the familiar symptoms of IBD.
Just like I talked about in the Emotional Side post, it’s always a good idea to have something you can eat handy. When we have a potluck I bring something I can eat. Sometimes I just grab a fruit tray and sometimes I make something. I brought my lemon bars to our last lunch pot luck and everyone loved them! I usually have a few things at the get together and then have a small lunch I can eat later if I didn’t get enough.
Sometimes there won’t be anything I can eat like when there are 10 pizzas and nothing else or trays of donuts. It’s okay. I hang out for a bit and then have my own lunch – sometimes I bring my lunch there and no one seems to mind. It’s really the social aspect that’s important.
Going out to lunch is a little trickier. I’ll be honest, early on when I was still getting used to things and wasn’t feeling 100%, I begged off on lunch outings a few times. It can be awkward when your team has to pick a place where’s there’s a chance that you can order something, but a lot of times they have offered. That being said I’ve been a few situations where I’ve just had to go wherever and in one case they had pre-ordered four different meals and we had to pick one – no substitutions allowed. In those cases I just order something I can eat – sometimes just a salad or fruit plate. In the case of not the pre-ordered meals I just had to pick at what I could.
It’s not always going to be easy, but I’ve found over the years that if I stick to it and stay confident when I tell others what I need it’s not so bad. The hardest part for me really is just feeling awkward. I can handle the food part of it. That’s where confidence in the diet comes in. I’ve told more than one person about being sick in the past and feeling completely fine just by altering my diet. I’ve only ever had one person say they’d rather be on medication than eat like I do.