I normally post about the newest health trend, wellness tip or recipe on my blog, but I decided to start a series of posts (for those interested) on me and my health struggles. My boyfriend said it best the other day, he said although my blog posts are easy to read, they don’t tell the reader that much about you. So I’m going to start sharing bits and pieces of my life story and my journey to heal my body from Crohn’s disease.
I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s back in 1999, the summer after I graduated high school. I guess I had had the disease for much longer but my symptoms weren’t diagnosed until I was hospitalized that summer with shooting pain in my right side.If you don’t know what Crohn’s disease is, let me give you a little background information. Crohn’s is described as a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines, especially the colon and ileum, with no know cause or cure. When I have a flare up, my worst symptoms include, gas, bloating, multiple trips to the bathroom and a sharp stabbing pain on my right side. If you were diagnosed with this disease, you would usually see several specialists and they would recommend that you take harsh prescription drugs indefinitely to mask your symptoms. I did just that, I went on some drugs for a few months but they did not help me with the pain I was in. Once I realized that the drugs weren’t helping, I was scheduled for a colonoscopy and a small surgery to remove some of my intestine. When the surgeon went in to see what was going on, they found that a few inches of my intestine had built up so much scar tissue that a pencil could not fit through it! They removed the damaged section of my bowels and I started to feel a whole lot better. 🙂
After the surgery, I felt pretty good for the next few years. At this stage of my life I was in my early 20’s and didn’t want to believe that my diet and lifestyle were related to my Crohn’s flare ups. It was probably around age 25 when I decided to do some research on the internet to find other bloggers/people who had used food and natural medicine to help with their Crohn’s disease symptoms. I tried taking probiotics, making herbal teas and eating umboshi plums when I would have flare ups. Sometimes they seemed to help, other times they didn’t.
When I finally hit 30 I stared to see a naturopath and she told me the 2 things I didn’t want to hear. “You should cut out gluten and dairy from your diet.” No more bread and cheese! This was going to be an uphill battle. I cut out cheese for short periods of time but it always seemed to creep back into my diet. What can I say….. I’m addicted! Bread has a similar story, I would give it up here and there but I didn’t think it was the main culprit so I would start eating it again. I find it extremely hard to avoid whole food groups that my son and boyfriend are still eating…..
This past summer, my Crohn’s symptoms reeded their ugly head again. By September I was fed up and I decided to try a very extreme diet that has many devotees. It is called the SCD Diet, and it’s main goal is to heal your leaky gut and help your body reduce the inflammation that is wreaking havoc. I went pretty hard core on it for the first month. You must avoid all grains, sugar, alcohol, nightshade vegetables, dairy or raw vegetables in the first phase. There are a few other diet restrictions as well and I found myself struggling, especially when I wanted to go out and have a social life. I’m now nearing the end of October and I have decided to allow myself to eat rice, and a few other grains on occasion to make my life easier. My main goal is to feel better, and for the most part I do. I’m way less bloated and it’s truly a gift. If you have ever felt awful after a meal and you just want to go home and put on your fat pants, you know how I felt 70% of the time!
I totally believe that every one is an individual and what works for one person may not work for another. I’m keeping track of the foods that make me feel bad and the foods that seem to be right for me at this time in my life. I started eating chicken again which I had not eaten in over 2 years, but with this SCD diet I needed more protein to feel full and so I am ok with eating small amounts of chicken and fish in my diet agin.
This is just a sneak peak into some of my health history. I hope by sharing my story I can help other people who might be struggling with similar health issues. I really do believe that diet and lifestyle are the keys to our health. I’m looking forward to this next chapter of my life where I can feel more in control of my body. Health is wealth!!