I was reminded through the nifty Facebook memories that 7 years ago I was in the hospital. My pancreas and liver were showing signs of stress, and I had been deathly ill at home for a week or so. I couldn’t leave the restroom and I had begun vomiting awesomeness as well. This wasn’t anything new I had been battling for my life for several years before this incident, and I was working with my doctors to find more meds, or more of the same meds, or just a way to life a somewhat normal life. I was sick, and I felt like I was dying. However, something was different this time in the hospital. I was seen by a new doctor who suggested that I try allergy testing, or at least an elimination diet. What else was I going to do for the week in the hospital while they try to get my organs functioning properly? Well, this is when I was told that I more than likely have Celiac and I must stay gluten free for the rest of my life. In addition, this doctor felt that the celiac is what caused the Ulcerative Colitis and that it is a reaction to continuing to eat gluten while having Celiac.
Well, this was news to me, since I had regular meetings and invasive procedures with my Gastroenterologist almost weekly at this point, and he swore that diet has nothing to do with my illness. Repeatedly when I asked if I should watch what I eat, or eliminate certain foods I was always told that it didn’t matter. Needless to say when I walked out of the hospital after that week, not only was a devoted to living a gluten-free lifestyle, but I also went to a Naturopathic physician to see if there were any ways I could help to heal myself.
My gastroenterologist solution was to remove my colon and have a pretty invasive surgery followed by a colostomy bag…not something I wanted to discuss at 28 years old with my doctor. I told him that I would have the conversation if I was still having issues after my 30th birthday but I was determined to figure some of this out on my own. And then I walked out of the office.
Then what… so it may surprise you to know that my diet pre-celiac was not amazing. I lived off of chili cheese burritos from taco bell, and macaroni and cheese when I felt sick, and I drank Dr. pepper and ate Reese’s peanut butter cups as a meal. Sure I had my gallbladder removed when I was 18, and the doctors just said it was due to an unhealthy diet. I mean don’t get me wrong I also tried to eat healthily, and I exercised, but in between those moments of wellness and glory, I stuffed my face with unmentionables. Actually let me mention one thing that was pretty amazing…. a taco bell gordita shell filled with nacho cheese and then used as a wrapper to a crunchy taco supreme, that was pretty amazing. So I digress. Let’s just say that the transition to gluten free was a huge leap, one that required reading every single label, and ingredient. This was 7 years ago when there were not the gluten-free sections in regular grocery stories, a lot has changed in the past few years to make this lifestyle more convenient. In addition, I was also going through a bit of a vegetarian stint, so this required me figuring out how to get protein from something besides gluten laden soy products… and to eat more than just processed foods. Keep in mind that I was also regularly consuming 50 mg of Prednisone and still taking medication to maintain a somewhat symptom-free situation with my Ulcerative colitis. If you have ever taken Prednisone you realize you can literally eat an entire horse and still feel ravished.
Then came Paleo. We had moved back to our island paradise with two small children in tow, and my wonderful husband had started Crossfit. I was a bit intimidated and felt as though I needed to do a handstand push up to even attend my first class, but went along with the idea. We were trying to eat healthily, and I was staying gluten free, which helped. Did it help 100% and put me in a state of remission, well not exactly, but I was able to leave the house. As we got more involved in the Crossfit community and I was realizing that my medications were slowly not doing the trick anymore, I apparently have a high tolerance for medications and my body just likes to stop processing them the way it should. So I started Paleo, Tyrel and I jumped on the Paleo ship. And it was a blissful couple of years. I hit a state of remission, I was devoted to the Paleo lifestyle, I preached, and meal prepped, and shared all the glory of being medication free, no prednisone, no sulfasalazine, no need for chemotherapy based drugs to ‘help’ with my symptoms. I was able to live a life I thought would never happen again. I could go on hikes, bike rides, run in places that didn’t have restrooms, a freedom that only one with a bowl disease can truly appreciate.
It truly was amazing. I was losing all the prednisone weight and was feeling stronger, faster, and healthier than I had my entire life. So what happened? Well, life happened, and as a mother, wife, teacher, and person things got in the way. Sure it was easier to eat gluten free processed things that it was to meal prep for the entire week. I know that is just an excuse, an easy way out. But there is no specific reason, I got lazy, and things got easy. And I have to deal with grumpy tummy time invading every aspect of my life.
Now what? So Tyrel and I have started back in a CrossFit program, and it is really good. We can do it at the local Globo gym and get the workouts in when we have the time, which that flexibility is amazing. As far as my diet and food, I realized that the past couple of years I have been dangling in the danger zone. I am not making consistent 100% Paleo choices, and am seeing the consequences of my actions. I have tried to jump on the paleo bandwagon several times and have lost some of that drive. But I don’t want to end up in the hospital and for me, this is seriously a life or death situation. The next steps if I can’t control my disease are not pleasant, and nothing that I want to go through or subject my family too. So prepare yourselves blog audience, for more post on Paleo, amazing paleo recipes, and preaching. Lots of preaching. If I am preaching the paleo lifestyle then I am living it….it’s when I get quiet about it that you should worry.
Today marks Day 1 – Whole 30 #reset!