I am now halfway through my ten-day fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) at the Taymount Clinic. Before I left home, I thought this day would be a big milestone. I thought I would know, for certain, that the treatment was going to work or it wasn't. Perhaps I was right.
Obviously, I really like food, and novelty is a big part of the fun. With ulcerative colitis, though, the cost of experimentation was high--usually higher than I was willing to pay. Throw travel, with its many variables, into the mix and novel foods started looking more like time bombs. "No, thanks." became my standard and final answer.
This is the reason I started creating recipes based on my own digestive comfort foods. I could create novelty with new combinations of familiar ingredients. Cooking--at least at home--was fun again.
While on the road, I avoided novelty like it was a disease. Gone were my days of traveling to a new place, exploring the surroundings, seeing the local sights, and tasting the local flavors. It was my choice but a choice I made with resentment--resentment for my gut, resentment for my disease, and, ultimately, resentment for myself. After all, I was the broken one.
After my fifth treatment (I'm getting to be a real pro), I walked around the Hitchin marketplace, looking for a few edible things I could turn into a healthy lunch. There were people selling old DVDs, hats, clothes, potted plants, wood sculptures, fruits, vegetables and seafood! I had found my protein.
Used to traveling with a broken gut, I scanned the seafood display for the safest choice. I was close to settling for a simple fillet when in swooped a couple of ravenous chaps. I hovered as these two bantered with the fish guy, expressed opinions about a few things I did not recognize, and then began chowing down on these curious bowls of, well, something. Realizing I had not yet missed my opportunity, I asked my questions with my funny American accent and was unceremoniously handed a few mollusk-like things.
The old me might have withdrawn my hand, apologizing and making excuses. The new me, armed with a belly of healthy microbes, embraced the moment, confirmed that these critters were not seasoned with anything, and enjoyed a new experience. In fact, I walked back to my hotel, nibbling on my very own bowl of cockles. Yes, I still passed on the malt vinegar, but the cockles that reached the hotel uneaten were delightful with a squirt of fresh lemon juice.
It turns out a cockle is just a type of clam, but it's a type I can't get back home. Oh, and the gut thing? I'm feeling great.
In good health,
I'm Ethan, a guy whose life used to be controlled by ulcerative colitis. As I systematically tested diets, treatments, and all types of health advice to heal my colon, I learned a lot about my own biology and also how to cook without compromise. I'm here to share the best (and sometimes worst) of that journey with you.