I am in Hitchin, UK, dedicated to my mission of optimally nourishing my new gut microbes. I have a bad track record eating at restaurants, no matter how diligently and politely I communicate with the chefs and wait staff. That is why I no longer eat at restaurants. My health is too important to squander on social eating (usually of dressed up industrial food). At a time when I'm especially focused on minimizing inflammation and maximizing nutrition, I have no desire to play around with pub food, gluten-free or otherwise.
Hitchin is a quaint town, offering many lovely places to stay, but I really wanted to be within walking distance of the clinic. I could not find affordable accommodations in town that offered a kitchen, so I booked my room and bought a hotplate. I share this information not to brag, but to inspire anyone struggling with the social pressure of eating on the road or the sense of overwhelm that comes from being out of your digestive comfort zone (at least, if you live with IBD). Travel need not mean a constantly rumbling gut. With a little planning and a modest disregard for social norms (i.e. self-advocacy), you too can be a hotel gourmet.
This is what I ate on day one of my FMT treatment. I am here for two weeks and I am on a mission. Let us begin.
Eating well on the road has little to do with willpower. For me, the keys to healthy travel are:
When I travel in the US, I bring my little hotpot. On this trip, my 120V hotpot wouldn't cut it. Since I am staying two full weeks, I wanted something with burners. Fortunately, there was a department store within walking distance of my hotel with several options, all less than £50. This was not a surprise, mind you, it was all part of the plan.
This sucker (at left) was £40. Is that expensive for something I might have to leave behind? Yeah, but much less than ten round-trip cab fares from my hotel to the clinic--or the cost of a rental car for two weeks!
To the Market!
I usually request a fridge when booking a hotel room. This trip was no exception. Unfortunately, my hotel had none to offer. No problem, though--I just shop for food daily and choose perishable portions that I can consume in one day.
A great dinner starts with great ingredients. In Hitchin, I am fortunate to be within walking distance of three supermarkets and an open-air market offering produce. This makes living without a fridge much less of a burden.
The stage is set. Onward, to the tasty part!
Steamed Asparagus Drizzled with Goose Fat and Seasoned with Herbes de Provence
Wild Prawns Tossed with Salt and Clarified Butter
Leek and broccoli soup (as featured on www.theclarifiedself.com!)
I hope it's clear I'm having fun here. That said, my pretentiously silly recipe descriptions really do represent the meal I prepared. A big difference between my version and the restaurant version is that I know the cleanliness and origin of my ingredients (at least with more certainty). When I take care of myself this way, I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. The process takes time but most good things do. I like having a relationship with my food and this relationship was delicious. Prepare for future installments--this was only day one!
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.