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Monthly Archives: September 2010

So what DO I eat?

I’ve realized that, since I began this blog so long ago, many people might not realize what I can and cannot eat, and why.  So, here goes……

Essentially I eat chicken, fish, and hamburger.  I do not eat any processed meats except bacon once a month.  I only eat fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.  I eat nuts, and use nut butter and nut flour for baking.  The only sweetener I use is honey.  I stay away from all starchy and sugary foods.  That includes rice, potatoes, bread made with flour (except nut flour), and noodles.  Basically, I stay away from anything made with regular flour.  I do drink coffee, but stay away from liquid milk and soda.  I make my own yogurt and homemade chicken soup, and eat that once a day.  I also eat a lot of eggs that come from my own chickens in the backyard. 

I’m on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  I chose this diet for a couple of reasons.  One is that it seemed to have some background behind it.  It’s not just one that’s showed up in the last few years and is the “next big thing.”  There isn’t a lot of mainstream research about this diet, but that’s because the mainstream medical community still says diet plays no role in those with compromised immune systems.  The main thought behind this diet is:  our digestive systems have a fine balance of good bugs and bad bugs in them (I’m sure you’ve heard of probiotics?  Think of that when I talk about “bugs”).   We all know about acidophilus being one of the good guys.  Do you also know that there is E. Coli in there?  The problems start to happen when the bad bugs outweigh the good.  Think of if E. Coli became rampant in your system, and you have a big problem!  As long as there are enough good bugs to fight off the bad bugs and keep them in check, you will do fine.  But what do you do when the bad bugs grow too big for their britches?  The person behind this diet states that the bad bugs feed off of starchy and sugary substances.  Any bread, rice, cookies, cakes, candy, etc. will encourage them to overgrow.  Therefore, quit feeding them the stuff they love and thrive in!  Once you stop feeding them their “fertilizer,” work really hard at getting the good guys back in balance.  Think of your lawn.  There are always some weeds, but as long as your grass in healthy, they don’t take over.  Start to neglect your grass, and the weeds will slowly start to choke out the beautiful grass until there is nothing but bad stuff.

So, my system got out of whack somehow.  I decided to change, and went cold-turkey.  Overnight I stripped all processed foods, starchy foods, and sugary foods out of my diet.  No more bread, cookies, margarine, canned, food, fast food….all of it, gone.  Within a few weeks most of my symptoms were gone.  I lost 56 pounds, mostly due to getting rid of all that crap out of my system.  10 months later I’m still doing great.  I’ve learned how to bake yummy things with almond flour and honey.  I’m slowly introducing new foods into my diet.  I’ve seen some other great recipes that I’m dying to try.  I don’t know if this diet can help “heal” my gut (there is no cure for Crohn’s, and you cannot reverse the damage once done), but I know that it has done wonders for the symptoms, and I feel great.  And I know that I’m eating healthy, which will benefit me in the long run.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2010 in Crohn's Journal

 

In search of the Noodle

I have a new quest for myself.  It is a worthy challenge, and one that I will endeavour to succeed in to the highest degree.  I….will…..find……..the Noodle.

See, on my diet, I cannot eat pasta.  And that is a real shame.  Not that I’m a pasta-freak, but a good pasta dish every now and then is a great thing.  Take last night, for example.  I wanted to make a sort of “lasagna” for dinner.  Problem being of course that I can’t have regular noodles.  So, I looked on the Internet for suggestions on what I can make to “replace” the noodles in the dish.  You want to know what I found?  Squash or zucchini. 

Uh…..right.

On the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, many people claim that squash and zucchini are great substitutes for noodles.  I’ve even seen some pictures, and they don’t look half bad!  However, the couple times I’ve tried them, it turns out disastrous.  And I don’t think it’s just my method, though I’m sure that could use some improving.  I think the medium I’m working with does not lend itself readily to anything other than limp, squishy, quazi-noodle-shaped things.  My “Squishy Lasagna Bake” turned out wonderful in taste (to me!), but just didn’t have the noodles (thus it can’t really be called a lasagna, can it?), which was a shame.  The squash just didn’t quite cut it.  

I want more.  I want the firm or soft texture of a perfectly cooked noodle.  I want something that will truly replace this wonderful art form.  I’m tired of squishy, wet noodles.

Seeing how I can’t even make my own noodles the normal way (I can’t have any sort of white or wheat flour…just nut flour), this will definitely be a challenge.  I think today I may go look up a regular recipe, and see how I can maybe modify it.  I’ve got some time on my hands.  Maybe I’ll get lucky, and actually find something that will work.

I am determined.

I will find the Noodle.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2010 in Crohn's Journal

 

Giving up the car

Well, I haven’t written lately.  It’s not that I’ve had nothing to say….I guess I just had other things to do. 

Today my husband is either going to sell his business car, or take it back to the bank for a voluntary repossession.  With all the money stuff going on, we’ve just not been able to stay current with those payments.  It’s really okay.  He hasn’t driven it in over 4 months anyway.  We are going to get my vehicle, the family vehicle, up to date on payments so it doesn’t get hauled away.  And his other vehicle has no debt on it.  That’s good.  All-in-all it’s a just-fine situation.

How did we get three vehicles in a two-driver family?  Here’s how: 

Mark has always wanted a Jeep Wrangler, so 2+ years ago when money was good he traded some services and cash into a Jeep Wrangler.  It was a good rig, but Mark wanted to put a bigger engine in it.  That worked like a train wreck, and ended up with an unreliable vehicle.  A year-plus later the Wrangler was actually working for a day, so he took it to a dealership and traded it in for  Jeep Liberty.  Over the course of a few months he realized that the Liberty will do all that he needed it to do, including business, and so that became his primary car.  Thus the silver business car sat…..

So we got a notice from the bank saying they were going to repossess it.  We knew this was coming.  Instead of having someone come to our house and tow it away, Mark decided to just take it in and hand over the keys.  And then he thought that maybe he can sell it, and not owe quite so much to the bank.

That’s where we are today.  He’s going to try and sell it, and if that fails, it will go to the bank.  At this point our credit is so shot that a repossession on the credit report really won’t matter that much at all.  You come to a place where you need to do whatever you can to keep going.  We could have used the scarce money we have right now and paid it current, then sold it for more money once the winter weather starts (it’s actually the better vehicle to handle snow and ice).  Possibly even not owe anything to the bank.  But what’s the use in that?  We need that money for other things right now.  We’ve gone past the point of saying, “we can wait a month to do this,” and are now at the point of week-by-week, and often day-by-day, figuring out how to make it to the next step. 

This economy has hit people hard.  We sure didn’t see it coming to us, this bad.  I haven’t hid what’s been going on from this blog, and I’m not going to start now.  I know that we’re not the only ones.  In our shared experiences, we can lift each other up and encourage each other to keep going. 

When we’ve come to the end our ourselves and all that we can do, HE will do the rest. 

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2010 in Crohn's Journal

 

Not smart, but oh so good…

Hi.  My name is Pam, and it’s been 10 months since I’ve had my last Starbucks latte.  I am a coffee junkie.  It all started when I was 15, and I started drinking coffee to keep me awake while working at McDonald’s.  From there, I ran the college coffee-house for 3 years.  Every night, from 8-12 or later, I would sit around talking and studying, drinking coffee.  The caffeine doesn’t do anything to me now.  Really.  I just love the taste.  I tried tea for six months, but that just didn’t do it.  There is just something about the flavor and aroma of coffee that I cannot live without.

Yesterday, I broke down.  Some good news had come my way, and to celebrate I decided it was time to see if I could handle a latte again.  I’m not supposed to drink any sort of milk (something to do with it not agreeing with my stomach), but thought I might as well give it a try.  I deserved it!

I only ordered a short (8 oz) drink with one shot of espresso and the rest steamed half-and-half.  It was even the same half-and-half that I use in my yogurt!  It wasn’t that bad of a mess-up, truly.

That first sip was pure heaven.  If I wasn’t sitting in my car I would have jumped for joy.  I groaned, and tears came to my eyes.  You just have no idea how amazing it feels when you’ve been denied something for so long, and then to get just a small taste of it again.

I’m hooked.

I did pay for my decision later.  I’ve learned my lesson.

Within an hour my stomach was gurgling, hurting, and gassy.  I guess even that little amount of cream was too much.

Do I regret it?

NO!!!

Like I said….it was heaven, pure heaven.

🙂

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2010 in Crohn's Journal

 

Give up on the dream?

Have you ever been given a vision for your life, or a word from God, and then had to wait?  And wait, and wait, and wait….. Pretty soon, people start to question you on if you are doing the right thing.  You may even start to question yourself and what you heard/saw.  If it takes long enough, you may even feel like giving up.  That it’s too hard to keep believing, and keep trusting.

This morning I asked God to remind me of all those in the bible who were given a vision for their future, yet had to wait for the realization of that dream.

I wonder if Joshua started to question the vision of the mighty man of God standing in front of him who told him to march around this huge wall for 7 days?  On day 6, did the people start to whisper behind his back, and did he hear their grumblings?  Did he wonder if he should just stop? 

Joseph languished in jail for years, remembering the vision God had given him.  Did he wonder if he saw it right?  Did he doubt what he had seen and been told? 

Noah built the ark for 100 years.  No one had ever seen rain.  I’m sure all of his neighbors came and laughed at him, and told him he was crazy.  During that time of waiting for God’s plan to come to pass, did he stay strong in following the vision God gave him?

Jesus did one simple miracle, and still months later people were up in arms about it.  They questioned him, and they mocked him.  They even called him crazy and demon-possessed!  When he had to defend himself and his decisions to these people, did he keep in his mind the final goal of his life?  Did he keep trusting in his Father even when the road got hard?

Moses kept walking.  Paul kept preaching.  Esther invited the king a second time.  David kept hiding, and singing.  Elijah kept proclaiming.  Daniel kept praying. 

All of them were given a vision for their future.  They all believed, and trusted, what they had heard.  They never gave up.

Is it so different for us today?  Is it any more difficult to believe?

My husband was given a vision for our lives years ago.  He has continued to believe in that dream.  He has been called crazy.  He has been doubted.  He has been beat down by the circumstances of life, and he has continued to believe. 

When God gives you a vision for your life, what will you do?  Will you stay strong for a short time, and then falter?

Or will you continue to believe in that dream, and keep pressing forward, and trust in Him for everything?

That’s where we are right now. 

Pressing forward…….believing………trusting.

Believing in HIM who makes the impossible…………………….possible.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2010 in Crohn's Journal

 

Working out a “flare”

I’m not sure what the definition of a “flare” is, but my guess is that it’s an increase in Crohn’s activity/symptoms.  That’s where I’ve been for most of the month of September and last part of August.  It hasn’t been that bad.  Some increased gas and gurgles, mostly.  However, last Saturday I woke up with a dull ache under my ribs on the right side- where the inflammation is in my colon.  I have never had an ache like this since my diagnosis in November, so this made me sit up and take notice.  Not really painful, but definately…..there.  I ended up having that ache for about 6 days (4 of which were constant, the last 2 were off and on) before it went away altogether.  I also lost 3 pounds in one week, likely due to my body not absorbing the necessary nutrients while in this “flare.” 

So, with the ache present, I decided I needed to do something in order to get the symptoms to decrease to normal levels again.  Starting on the day the ache started, I ate eggs for breakfast, usually my homemade Chicken soup for lunch, and soft foods for dinner.  I was very careful to eat only fruits and veggies that were cooked very well, and were very soft.  I also didn’t eat much of meats that were tough or might be difficult to digest, and had my homemade yogurt a couple times during the “flare.”  All in all, I stayed with foods that I know were easy for my system to digest in order to give my gut a rest, and a chance to decrease the inflammation.

It worked.  The ache, like I said, lasted a good 4 days, with occasional aches for 2 days afterwards.  All other symptoms are slowly going away as well.  I’m still taking it easy, and trying to make sure my fruits and veggies are soft-cooked.  But overall, I’m feeling a lot better.  It could have been worse, but I am glad that it happened so far into this diet, so that I had a good handle on what I could eat and couldn’t eat in order to help my body rest.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2010 in Crohn's Journal

 

Cranky!

Man, I was sure cranky yesterday!  I woke up that way, and must have loved the feeling so much that I came back to it later that night.  NOT!  I finally decided it just wasn’t worth being awake, so went to bed around 8:30.  It was a beast to wake up this morning, but I’m happy to report that the crankies have taken their leave.

What brought it on?  Well, let me see…….

Not getting enough sleep might have been the first trigger.  I need a good 10 hours of sleep each night, but never get it.  And on those times where I only get 7-8, my body starts to rebel against me and life gets a titch more difficult!

Kids can always be a stress.  My kids were taking 30 minutes to get ready for school in the morning, leaving us only 15 to eat breakfast.  This really irked my hide.  My breakfast time with the kids is something I love and cherish.  We typically will read the bible and then talk about what we’ve just read.  I’ll also read to them out of “The Chronicles of Narnia.”  It is a great time for us to connect, and learn some good life lessons.

Of course, there’s always the money thing.  I would love to tell you that I’m always up and never let our money situation get me down, but that would not be the truth.  I honestly do carry a positive attitude about it 99% of the time.  But it’s those couple of other times that really get to me.  Seeing all the bills add up with no way to pay for them gets tiring.  Sometimes, my feet just stumble a bit.  When I went to bed last night, that’s where my brain was going.  So, I went to sleep before my thoughts could get out of hand, and then woke up this morning to try and get my feet straight again.

Truth is, I don’t get cranky very often.  I don’t like to snap at the kids or pick a fight with my husband.  But there are just times where things pile up.  My mood becomes sour, and there is nothing that anyone can say that will turn it around.

Sigh…….

Today is a new day, and there were so many blessings this past week.  Grandparents visiting, food in the fridge, time spent with kids.  All of it was good, even the trials.  I’m glad that my crankies don’t last long.  I’d much rather think on the good in life than the bad.  🙂

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2010 in Crohn's Journal