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Next steps….

So I’m looking back, remembering what I did after that first step of eating mostly Chicken Soup for three weeks. I don’t need to revisit this for my own health…I just figured it was a good thing to go back over those steps, in case anyone is needing some help in where to start.

After the clean-out of Chicken Soup, I did a few things that helped me tremendously. The first was to start a food/symptom journal. It was just a little notebook that, every day, I would write every single little thing I ate, how much, and how it was cooked. No matter how trivial, I wrote it down. I also kept track of BM’s through the day, their consistency, and any other symptoms like gas or cramping. I did this for the first year before I really felt I had a handle on what I could/couldn’t eat at this point in my journey. By using a food journal I was able to track when I had a bad reaction to something and pinpoint what it was that caused the problem. Sometimes a problem would manifest itself within the first couple of hours. But at other times it would manifest days later, and there simply was no way I could remember what I had to eat 3 days prior, and all the time in between, that might have caused a problem! With the food journal, it also kept my brain always conscious of the food I was eating, and how it was affecting me. It put it in the forefront of my brain, so I was always thinking of it. Not ideal….to always have to think of your food. But it worked for that time until I knew what was safe and wasn’t.

The other thing I did, as I mentioned in a previous post, was to only try one new item every 4-7 days. Food can take, from what I understand, a couple days to work it’s way through your body, and so by being very slow and cautious, I was able to see what I could tolerate. When I tried a new food I also would not eat too much of it at one sitting until I knew IF I could eat it, HOW it needed to prepared for me to digest it well, and HOW MUCH I could tolerate. Once I got a handle on the foods (which took most of the first year) I started to introduce new spices. A few at first, and then once I realized I could tolerate pretty much the normal spices, I stopped worrying about it. Now, almost 2 1/2 years later, I know what my “safe” foods are that I can always go back to if I’m having problems. I can also branch out a bit, if I have the time, and try new stuff.

My diet is still pretty boring, and I wish all the time I could have more time to be creative. And I do miss certain foods….a lot. But….I’m just glad I was able to take it very slow and methodical those for 18 months until I had a good grasp on what it meant to live with this disease, not taking drugs to mask the symptoms, but changing my diet to GET RID of the symptoms. 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Crohn's Journal

 

Where to begin?

After hearing of another person close to me being diagnosed with a digestive condition, I thought back to how I began this journey to healing foods and eating. In reality, it began with the GI doctor telling me, in my sedated-haze, that diet plays no role in Crohn’s. I had to ask him that same question 3 times, because what he was telling me just didn’t make sense. How could diet NOT play a role in how your body is dealing with foods? So, I took what he was telling me (immune suppressing drugs and steroids were the possible treatment, with no guarantee they would work), and went the opposite direction.

First, I dug into Jordan Rubin’s story of how he dealt with Crohn’s through supplements and foods. I believe it was his protocol that led me to take everything, and I mean just about everything, out of my diet for 3 weeks straight. I made this Chicken Soup , and ate it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I also had goat’s milk yogurt, Keifer milk, and lots of water. That’s it. For 3 weeks. Yes, it got boring. But it was what my body needed. With the extreme amount of inflammation that was in my gut, taking everything out and just eating easy to digest foods gave my gut a break. It allowed my system to rest, and reset. In essence, I detoxed myself from all the junk, preservatives, toxins, etc. that were running around in me. And all the natural, good-for-you ingredients in the soup helped calm the inflammation down to a point where I could build upon.

From the 3 weeks of chicken soup, I slowly began to add new foods. I would try a new food about once a week. I would cook it very soft, and not try too much. If I didn’t have a bad reaction (gas, cramps, diarrhea), then I would put it in my “safe” list. If I did have symptoms, I put it in my “no-go” list, where it sat off-limits for 6 months or so, where I might or might not try it again. In this way, I was able to work from the ground up, and create my diet that worked for me and my gut.

Looking back, I really didn’t know what I was doing in just eating the chicken soup, but it really was the best thing. If I would have tried anything else in terms of diet control, I would have been guessing each and every time if it was this spice, or that meat, or that vegetable. With literally introducing even a new spice, and that’s it, I was truly able to nail-down what I can and cannot eat.

That’s about it. That’s where I started. I keep making the Chicken Soup. I usually always have a few quarts frozen in the freezer, ready to thaw and eat. If I hear of someone being sick, I try to get them some of the soup. No, I don’t think it’s a miracle cure. I just believe in what it did for me, in letting the system rest so it can recover.

Plus, it’s just a really good, simply, soup. 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Crohn's Journal

 

Vacation Food

We recently went on a 5 day vacation, and I had pretty good success with foods while gone from my home kitchen. Thankfully, I knew we would be staying in a condo with a full kitchen, so I knew that I could cook, once there. I’ve been able to really dial-in this past year as to how to travel with Crohn’s, and how to eat while gone in a way that does not seriously compromise all the hard work I’ve done.

First, when I travel TO somewhere, I usually have fresh fruit (a banana or an apple, which I can tolerate raw), granola bars, bakes goods that I can snack on, madjool dates, and nuts. With this combination, I can usually do just fine in the car, away from prepared food, for up to a day. If I can, I’ll bring some chicken just to give an added protein boost. And, wherever I am going, I know to prepare a BIG meal once I get there, knowing that I will be hungry! The fruits and nuts are great for me, but they just don’t replace a hot meal. 🙂

I’ve learned that when I travel, breakfast is the most important meal. I can generally get eggs cooked my way at any restaurant with lots of veggies and a side of fruit. If I’m in a location where I can cook, I do the same thing. Doing this for breakfast sets me up very well for the rest of the day. If I’m able to do a big breakfast, I can usually go light on lunch, since lunch-time is when we are generally out and about, and lunch at a restaurant can be sketchy for me. I’ll carry fresh fruit and granola bars if we are out exploring, which will generally sustain me until dinner.

Dinner is the other big meal I try to eat while on vacation. At a restaurant, I can order cooked veggies and usually some sort of meat with no sauce and minimal seasonings. Since I can eat fresh fruit, I’ll typically get a side of that as well. If I am home, or in a location where I can cook, I can make a normal meal for myself consisting of meat, fresh or cooked fruit, and veggies. This gets me through the rest of the day.

The one thing I miss while on vacation is my yogurt, and there is simply no way to replace that. If I’m traveling to family, I’ll often take a small amount with me. But if not, I just usually can’t take it. The yogurt serves two very important functions for me while on vacation: One, it continues to put the good flora back in my gut (basically, gets the good bacteria in there so the bad guys don’t take over again). Two, it serves as a snack/treat before bed. Often when on vacation, I eat to sustain, but not for taste and fulfillment. It’s just a matter of getting fuel in my body while gone, and not about it being really good or filling. The yogurt and frozen blueberries that I eat while at home is a treat each night that I savor. If I don’t have it while on vacation, I might be more tempted to cheat, which is really not good for me.

On this vacation, I was able to eat to sustain me, but once I got home I was really hungry. I made eggs and Almond Crisp once I got home, just to give me something that tasted REALLY good to me, and felt like it would be filling. I did cheat some on this trip….which I need to keep trying to curb. It doesn’t hurt me in the immediate, but will add up if I continue to do it. Basically, I had some bread at The Old Spaghetti Factory, and some breaded chicken. I think I did pretty good the rest of the time. Now that I’m home, I trying to reset, again. I don’t like how my body is acting these days. I can tell when the inflammation is up, and when things just are not as good as they could be. I believe that is directly related to my diet, and so….off to fixing my diet again I go!!!

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Crohn's Journal

 

IV

Good grief….can’t my body just figure this stuff out? Two IV’s ago I had this massive dose of energy, so much that I felt I my body couldn’t keep up with how fast my insides were going. This time, I not only DIDN’T have energy, I had a huge crash just a few short hours after the IV. I felt crushed with how tired I felt, inside and out. Then, my joints started to ache. I know from past experience that when my inflammation is really up, I start to feel it in my joints. First, my right knee, then, if I don’t catch it and get some Tylenol, it goes to the other knee, my hips and last night, even to my right shoulder. Ugh!!! I’ll have to call the doctor and report these changes, and make sure we had the right mix. With the energy level, it could be that my body is ready to move past 50% of dosing strength in these IV’s. That would be cool. With the joint pain? I’m not sure if that was related to the IV, but I can’t think of much that I ate that would have caused a flare-up of inflammation. Hmmmm…..

At least I didn’t get a headache from this IV. Though….we might have figured out a connection. For two IV’s back in the Fall, I had a glass of wine the night I got the infusion. And then I would get a headache (I don’t normally get headaches with a glass of wine). When I mentioned it to the doctors last time, they both said the wine could be a trigger, because of the sulfites in it. I remember, when first diagnosed, that I looked up sulfites and why I should stay away from them. But now, I can’t remember why. I’ll have to look it up again, just to refresh my memory. Anyway….for the last two IV’s I have not had a glass of wine anywhere close to the infusion, and that seems to be helping. Last night I had just a nibble of a headache, but then it was gone in a flash. If we have the headaches taken care of, I might be able to up the dosage, and then maybe even spread these out a bit. I don’t like being tied to a chair for an hour every 3 weeks with a needle in my arm. I’ve got stuff to do!!! 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2012 in Crohn's Journal, Doctor Journal

 

Courage

At dinner the other night I asked my kiddos, almost 8 years old and 9, what they thought of when I said the word “courage”? We pray for courage all the time, but I wanted to get a grasp of their understanding of what the word means. I loved their answers….and the surprise I realized later.

They both said, initially, that courage was standing up to things and not running away. They are in a public school, and so their thoughts turn to standing up to bullies, or speaking the truth when something is going wrong instead of being quiet.

But what surprised me is that neither one of them said that courage was a lack of fear. As a child, I would think that “fear” and “courage” would be in the same sentence. Instead, when I probed a little further, they both said that you can have courage in life to face the hard things because of the belief that God is on your side, and he will take care of you. So in essence, you don’t NEED to fear, because God is bigger than it all!

YES!!!

I love that both of my kids, at such a young age, understand the reality that God loves them so deeply that He will take care of them, no matter what they face. I love that they can have that kind of courageous faith to believe what the Word of God says, and believe that He is right there with them. This deep seeded strength is what I have wanted for years, as I have prayed over them nightly for courage. I want them to stand strong, no matter what comes in life, knowing that with God on your side, all things are possible. I think they have a good start on this. 🙂

The last thing we discussed was this question that I posed to them: Being that Jesus was fully God AND fully human, did he feel fear before he went to the cross? NO…my kiddos said. When I asked them why, this is what they said: “He was doing what he knew he was destined to do. When you are being who God has made you to be, there is no need to fear. You can be full of courage in ANY situation because God is with you.”

Out of the mouths of babes….

AMEN! 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2012 in Crohn's Journal

 

Reset…

Okay, the holiday’s are over, life is back to normal. It is time to reset. I’ve had a ton of words running through my head over the past month that I’ve wanted to blog on, but just didn’t have the time or energy. I’m taking this opportunity to tell, mostly myself, that it’s time to start writing again.

There is a ton going on in our life that I want to write about. So many steps forward. In a couple of years my husband and I will be 40, and yet we have had a re-birth of our lives this past year. I’m looking forward to writing about that journey more, and about where it is in the present, and looks like it could be in the future. Pretty cool stuff, if not a bit scary at times…..

I will also continue to blog about this journey with Crohn’s, although those posts are pretty slim these days. Things continue to be about the same, and so I don’t want to bore people with posts on health updates that continually say the same thing. Still, when things happen, I will try to be diligent to write about them. I’m finding more people who are saying no to the major drugs to treat this disease, and doing pretty good using the Specific Carbohydrate Diet like myself in order to gain some control. I think it’s important for us that have gone “off the grid” medically to document, however we can, how this disease is helped (or hurt) by alternative medicine. (I put in the “hurt” part because not every disease can be treated naturally, I believe, and there are some treatments out there that could actually harm a person if not done appropriately or with correct supervision by a professional.) There is legitimacy to the drugs that are out there, but I think a broader view of treating diseases is needed. Instead of being looked at like a crazy person when someone mentions treating a disease with something other than a manufactured drug, I hope that the person would be at least listened to, and not scorned or laughed at. So….I will continue to write about this disease, and how it’s is progressing/regressing without medicine.

All in all, it’s a good time in our lives. I look forward to getting back to sharing it with you. Stay tuned! 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2012 in Crohn's Journal

 

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Bug!!!

Oh, I have never wished I had a stomach bug more than i did last night!!! Short story…I ended up in the bathroom for hours with liquid coming out of both ends. A couple times I had pretty bad stomach cramps, shaking, dizziness, and extreme racing heart. I ended up sleeping on the floor for a time, in the bathroom, knowing that I shouldn’t go far.

Why, you might ask, did I wish it was “just” a stomach bug? Because with a stomach bug I know it will end…eventually. But as I sat there last night, I had the terrifying thought that this could be the start of a bad Crohn’s flare. The thing with a flare up of Crohn’s is that you never know how long it will last, or how bad it will get. Yuck!

Thankfully, this does just seem to be the bug that is going around. It lasted for just a few hours. I was able to sleep. My body is tired today and my stomach is tender. But….those are all things I would expect from a stomach bug. Regardless, I will be eating soft foods and chicken soup for a few days. My body fought off this bug pretty well, but I need to do my part to help it heal.

Oh, one last thing. It seems a bit funny now, as I look back at last night. But in all honesty, there is only one way I got through those hours. I believe in the power of speaking scripture over your life and situation. Last night I could only think of one thing, and I said it over and over and over again. Through the anxiety, the yuck coming out, and the pain that was within, I just kept saying the verse from Psalm 27: “I will remain confident in this…..I WILL see the goodness of the Lord!!!”

🙂

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Crohn's Journal