• Project Get Better

    August 13, 2012

    I spent a lot of time “researching” this weekend. I spent hours and hours on the internet—checking out colitis-related websites and ways to better manage my disease. I read about probiotics, folic acid, B12, and “leaky gut.” I read about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the GAPS diet. I scoured Robb Wolf’s website and read all of his testimonials related to colitis. I talked to my friend Erin who recently changed her diet in order to improve her health. (The image below is a list of what she’s been eating and not eating lately.)

    2012-08-13_0837

    Long story short, it’s time for me to change my diet, so I can get healthy. My ulcerative colitis is not going away anytime soon, so I don’t want to constantly worry about flares, and I really don’t want to rely on drugs for the rest of my life, so I’m going to see if making changes to my diet will keep me healthy for the long run.

    After all of my research, the two diets that really resonate with me are the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the Paleo diet, which are actually a lot alike. I bought Breaking the Vicious Cycle (aka the Specific Carbohydrate Diet book) right after my second flare. I read through the whole thing in one night and immediately started eating that way. But, once I started to feel better, I went back to my usual diet, which, of course, included some not-so-colon-friendly foods—and here I am fighting off another flare. Obviously, I need to change my eating habits for more than just a few weeks.

    breaking_vicious_cycle paleo-solution

    Honestly, when it comes down to it, I’m just sick of being sick, so I’m going to follow these diets (so much for I don’t do diets) and see what happens. Hopefully, I’ll stay flare-free and (with the blessing of my doctor) eventually wean myself off drugs for good. I’m not sure if these diets are forever, but they’re definitely going to guide my eating habits over the next several months.

    I bet you’re wondering why I didn’t make this change sooner. Well, I’m a stubborn mofo and it’s taken me awhile to truly give up the things I love (i.e. iced coffee, booze, cookies). It’s been a hard decision, but know it’s for the best. I want to get healthy once and for all.

    So, things are going to change here on CNC. (I hope you continue to read!) There will be less cake and more carrots, but I’m making this change for health—and myself, “self love” as my friend Erin says. 

    Breakfast

    This morning’s breakfast was a two-ingredient pancake made with banana and egg. (The key is a small banana + a large egg.) I topped my pancake with a scoop of almond butter, and I drank water mixed with VSL#3. No iced coffee. *sigh*

    IMG_9933 (750x563)

    Question of the Day

    Have you ever followed a diet in order to improve your health?

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    { 216 comments… read them below or add one }

    Liz August 13, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    I’m actually really looking forward to the change in your blog/diet! I could really stand to clean up my diet & maybe this will be a kick in the right direction. I am sorry that you have to do it due to UC, but hopefully the change in eating will help you stay flare free :)

    Reply

    allison @ thesundayflog August 13, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    i think its great that you are looking to change your diet for UC, whether it’s paleo, veganism, gluten free, etc. it baffles my mind when people (doctors included!!) maintain that food does not affect your health. HOW CAN IT NOT!? ugh sorry to get so ragey, but with everything ive learned through my trainings and work at whole foods, diet is THE #1 factor for overall health. there is not a doubt in my mind that dietary changes will have a positive impact on your colitis. hope you find what works for you

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    el August 14, 2012 at 10:34 am

    @allison @ thesundayflog: I agree! Diet changes EVERYTHING – from GI issues to things like arthritis. The no dairy will change a lot for you. I do want to let you know that I was able to re-introduce iced coffee into my diet once I got rid of everything else and I am fine! So you might be able to get back into it soon. Good luck

    Reply

    Katie Gaffney August 14, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Tina,

    I enjoyed reading about your “Project Get Better!” I was wondering if you have ever heard or tried Advocare. I am a distributor of the product. Advocare has four product lines (Wellness, Trim, Performance Elite, Active) Since I have been on product I have felt so much more healthier, ran my fastest marathon, and filled with more energy! I think the product might be able to help you! Let me know if you have any questions or would like to try any product. Advocare.com

    Reply

    Christina @ The Beautiful Balance August 14, 2012 at 1:38 am

    I have dealt with hypothyroidism my entire life. The symptoms really ruin your day, week, month, year, if they are not addressed. The norm is to take meds prescribed by a doctor, but the meds are articifical hormones amongst many other scary ingredients. I became vegan as a way to control my weight (Soph year high school I gained 20 pounds and had to quit playing sports).

    I also struggle with lower intestinal issues (never went to a doc) and found that probiotics do wonders to help this.

    If you are looking for an amazing probiotic, I suggest Dr.Ohhira’s. After 2 days of taking it, I experienced NO lower intestinal issues. Such a savior!

    Reply

    Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope August 14, 2012 at 5:39 am

    It Starts With Food is also another great paleo resource and a quick, easy read.

    Reply

    Michele August 14, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I’ve changed my diet to improve some digestive issues and to improve my health in terms of weight too. Essentially, I eat Paleo-ish… meaning I have a few treats here and there but on a daily basis, I keep it clean, grain-free, and sugar-free (except fruit). I still have Greek yogurt once per day, and instead of giving up coffee, I switched to decaf, which seemed to make a HUGE difference. You might want to try that before giving it up completely. Coffee is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and I could never give it up altogether.

    I look forward to reading about your experience, and I love that a blog I’ve read for years is now a CrossFit blog — I’ve been going since April and love it so much.

    Reply

    Katie August 14, 2012 at 9:10 am

    I’ve done the paleo and gaps diet to help with my colon/digestive issues. What ive found is that I can eat pretty much anything, except gluten! I’d also recommend the low fodmaps diet…it’s similar to the gaps diet, but not as restrictive.

    Reply

    Lydia August 14, 2012 at 10:20 am

    I don’t really have any colon/intestinal issues but have slowly been reading my way through The Paleo Solution and making changes to my diet based on what I am reading. I have to say I feel better than I have in a very long time. I swore I would never “go paleo” or do something I considered a “fad” but the more I read about paleo, the more I see the life changing benefits this “way of life” can be for me. I plan on being one of those “I’m 100% pale – 80% of the time” chicks when its all said and done! Good luck with your diet changes!!! I can’t wait to see all the fun food options you share with us!

    Reply

    Lydia August 14, 2012 at 10:21 am

    I’m 100% paleo – 80% of the time

    Reply

    Irene August 14, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Good luck Tina! I hope you find something that works for you with out beating yourself up if you can’t completely control your UC with diet. These things are really difficult and it isn’t your fault if a diet that works for someone else doesn’t work for you. I have tried so many things to get rid of my migraines and get tired of being told that if I would just try one more miracle diet or supplement I’d be fine! Believe me, I wish that were true! I hope it is for you. Anyway, I just thought I’d suggest you keep a long term diet (no calories or sizes or anything, just generally the components of each meal), exercise and travel log to see what correlates with your flares. This is pretty standard practice when one is starting to figure out their migraine triggers. I know it is a lot of work but it is really the best way to know what is actually affecting YOU. good luck!

    Reply

    Kelly@BalancedDaily August 14, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I haven’t tried any of these diets, but I have witnessed my mother go through a life long struggle with her weight and health (mostly heart and blood pressure). In the past year she has gone on and stuck to the Paleo diet and absolutely loves it! She looks smaller than I’ve ever seen her (well at least since I was just a kid and she was sneaking outside to smoke cigarettes). But she is incredibly happy, and not only does she look great, but says she feels amazing. Good luck with changing your diet completely, I know how hard it was for my mom, but have also directly seen how much she’s benefitted from it. You can do it!

    Reply

    Ashley @ Sweat for Sweets August 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Hi Tina! I totally understand your reluctance to switch up your diet; it’s so hard to take away the things you love most, especially when they don’t affect you all the time! I’ve recently been going through the same thing .. I’ve been having digestive issues & intense stomach bloating after I eat, so I’ve been trying to eliminate things from my diet and figure out what’s going on. I think gluten definitely negatively affects me, so I’ve removed it (for the most part). I also think sugar alcohols/sweeteners make me bloat, so I’ve removed those as well. It’s a long road to figure out what it is exactly that irritates you, but in the end it will be well worth it! Looking forward to hearing about your journey and we’ll be cheering you on all the way! :)

    Reply

    Nicole August 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Hey Tina, I read your blog every day and have commented a few times but I really feel like your such an inspiration in the blog world so I WILL continute to read every dayand hope you feel better. i can’t imagine how difficult this is for you but stay strong – which you are, very!

    Reply

    Tina August 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Aww, thank you! :)

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    Emily August 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Yuppers! No corn syrup for this girl. I strongly think it is a heart-burn trigger. I haven’t bought stuff with corn syrup for years for eating at home but it is difficult at social events/restaurants

    Reply

    Tara August 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Haven’t read previous comments if anyone suggested Teecino for a coffee-like beverage. It can be made hot or iced and they have a dozen different natural flavors like Caramel Nut, Pumpkin Spice, Hazelnut, etc.

    http://teeccino.com/category/11/Herbal-Coffees.html

    It’s caffeine free, herbal, and non-acidic. I have it 3-4 times a week. It gives you the happiness from coffee without the side effects. :)

    Reply

    Missy August 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I’m so sorry that you are suffering with this disease but I agree with you. Changing your diet to make yourself feel better is the right choice!
    I had really bad acid reflux and I had to give up alot of things I loved to eat and drink to maintain it without medicine and even every now and then it flares up.
    Good luck with changing your diet, it will so be worth it!

    P.S. I just joined Twitter, follow me @SouthGirlRun, Thanks! Love your blog and book!

    Reply

    Ashley-Drake August 14, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Hey.

    PALEO is definitely the way to go. I have been Paleo for about a year now. My Lupus is in remission, and my Rheumatoid Arthritis has been reversed. I have never been healthier and the transformation isn’t stopping on the inside.. I even look better on the outside.

    You’re making the right choice. There’s a huge supportive Paleo group out there, and whenever you need us, we’ll be there.

    Come hang with us at http://www.EPLifeFit.com

    Reply

    Tina August 15, 2012 at 6:05 am

    That’s awesome to hear! I’ll definitely check it out! :)

    Reply

    Erinn August 15, 2012 at 3:57 am

    I am sooo excited to see where your new Lifestyle (not just a diet :]) takes you! I think choosing changing lifestyle over relying on medication is an amazing and scary decision. Good for you for taking the first step!

    Reply

    Katie August 15, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I go through phases where I follow a good diet and feel better, followed by the “I feel better-I can eat what I want” attitude. Currently, I am being as careful as possible to avoid and recover from sever abdominal pain, which my doctor is lazily calling IBS (it isn’t). I know that eliminating certain foods helps but sometimes I just want a glass of wine :)

    I can’t wait to see how you change up your diet and how it helps. My bet is that you will notice a huge difference. Good luck!!!

    And you may already know her, but Ali from http://www.aliontherunblog.com/ has Chron’s and may be a good contact for you.

    Reply

    Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See August 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I know your blog name reflects a balance between two things, and I think your determination to change your diet falls right into that! While everyone would love to eat cake, I think it’s admirable that you’re doing what’s best for your own body. Not even cookies are worth your body feeling awful :)

    Reply

    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles August 16, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I think it’s great your taking charge of your health this way. I’m not a big fan of diets for the “I’m going to stop eating bread so I can lose weight” sort of mindset, but if it’s for a health issue, I’ll be 100% supportive.

    Reply

    Erin @ The Grass Skirt August 16, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I think it’s great that you’re taking control of your health, Tina. I have to follow a specific diet because I have Lupus. Having a clean diet actually allowed me to completely go off medication, and I’m actually in remission. Food can definitely have healing properties. :)

    Reply

    j3nn August 25, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Good luck with this! I suffer from ibs-d and completely sympathize with you. I’m starting a modified GAPS intro diet on sept. 1st (including freshly squeezed juice with my broth/soups) — follow along, maybe we can compare notes and share progress. :)

    Reply

    KerriAnn August 26, 2012 at 7:51 am

    I started with SCD with my first few flares and like you, would only do it when I was sick and go back to eating crap when I felt good again. Once I got into crossfit and learned alot about Paleo I took up an 80/20 paleo diet and have been off all Crohn’s medicine going on 6 months now. Even at my annual colonoscopy my doctor said to keep up whatever I was doing because he didnt see any inflammation or scaring and if he didn’t know me he wouldn’t have known I had IBD. I highly suggest doing the “diet” (even though its more of a lifestyle change, not a diet now). I am proof it works.

    Reply

    Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf August 27, 2012 at 2:11 am

    I have PCOS and I manage it with a gluten-free, managed-carb approach to a Weston A. Price Foundation diet. Basically, take paleo, add in small amounts of SCD-prepared dairy, some traditionally prepared grains and legumes, and eat carbs only in the context of a meal with sufficient protein and fat, and you’ve got my diet. Not only have my cycles become regular for the first time in my LIFE but my chronic sinus infections have become a rarity!

    It’s really amazing how much education I have received in nutrition since being diagnosed. Most my problems were subclinical. Hidden away in a corner because I’m young and have been eating whole foods and living actively for several years. I feel like, in a way, I was a ticking time bomb. I feel that if I continued on my high-legume, low-meat/fat lifestyle that eventually I’d end up as one of those people who looks healthy and fit but takes sick days every week and ends up with type 2 diabetes. I was already on that path with unstable response to sugar and never having enough sick leave. I was miserable. I knew that I felt better when I ate more animal sources, and less so when I depended on grains and legumes (especially soy). By the time I felt like I had the green-light to change my diet, I did. And it has been fantastic.

    I wrote a post about this transition recently. But in a nutshell, my diet most recently consists of eggs and veggies for breakfast (sometimes I have potato or soaked GF grain baked good with it), soup (with veggies and homemade bone broth, or gazpacho with raw veggies and apple cider vinegar) and sardines for lunch–often with homemade GF sourdough bread or soaked crackers, and dinner will usually be meat with vegetables, often with some sort of potato, rice, or quinoa added. Snacks are typically nuts and dried fruit. I often also prepare a huge pot of black beans (that have been super-soaked with water and apple cider vinegar) with homemade bone broth and a local ham hock. I eat this for lunch occasionally. I find I can handle beans (digestively and metabolically) when prepared this way. :)

    Reply

    JLO September 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Used to have awful IBS. Sometimes couldn’t get out of the house because i’d need to go to the bathroom 10 times a day. Started eating vegan 2 years ago, IBS – gone! Now I even drink coffee and an occasional glass of vine or been ( which I couldn’t do before)

    Reply

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