Crohn's Disease

January 18, 2018

I'm officially two weeks in from being diagnosed with Crohn's after a bowel obstruction landed me in the ED. I'm still considered in a flare but fortunately my Prednisone was lowered and I'm to start weaning. Keeping my fingers crossed that my pain and inflammation doesn't return. Currently my meds are 40mg of Pred and (4) Apriso/Mesalamine pills per day. I follow up with the gastroenterologist next Wednesday so I will have a much better idea of what path lies ahead. I hate the idea of ingesting medication for the rest of my life so I have been spending a lot of time researching ways to heal the gut through food, vitamins and supplements. I am in no way against treatment but if I can place myself in remission and eventually eliminate these - I would be one happy lady.

(current med status. fun, right?)

So what is Crohn's? Because honestly, I had no idea what the hell it was before 2018. Apparently, in a normal individual your immune system is activated only when the body is exposed to harmful invaders. In individuals with Crohn's, the immune system is abnormally and chronically activated in the absence of any known invader. This continued abnormal activation results in chronic inflammation and ulceration to the large and small intestine. It's an autoimmune disease. Due to the chronic inflammation and ulceration it can lead to a life long struggle in prevention of colon cancer, vitamin and mineral deficiency's, osteoporosis, kidney stones and avoiding the possibility of a colostomy bag, ileostomy procedure or colon resection (which loads of people affected from Crohn's already have). Not to mention the other "milder" side-effects that just tend to happen when you eat something your body doesn't agree with (abdominal pain, nausea, lack of appetite, bathroom issues, bloating, vomiting, fatigue or fever). This susceptibility to abnormal activation of the immune system is genetically inherited too- so sadly, I will have to keep a close eye on Brody and Harlow. People with this mutation in genes are more likely to develop Crohn's Disease if they have a parent who was diagnosed.

Everything I've read and been told is that Crohn's is so individualized and unpredictable. Over time symptoms can progress, change in severity or change altogether. I may have periods of remission or symptoms that may come on suddenly and without warning. It's going to be a huge learning curve for me with trigger foods and eating habits but I'm more than ready for the challenge. If anything, I want to be as educated as possible to pave an informative path for my little babes if I pass along the genetics to them. Knowledge is power, right?

(gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo and whole30 friendly)

So far, besides my prescribed medications to control inflammation, I've added two things to my diet. Being on low-fiber and low-sodium during this flare has limited my daily food options so I haven't had an opportunity to experiment quite yet, but I do plan to eventually go gluten-free with very minimal dairy. Seriously, stay tuned for much more of these recipes to come, I'm going to be a baking badass. lol

This beef gelatin supplement (above) is mixed in with my morning coffee and is completely flavorless. Beef gelatin is used specifically to promote digestive health. It improves the lining of your digestive track and is packed with protein. Preventing leakage into my bloodstream (which triggers inflammation) is so important with Crohn's. I was pretty anemic when admitted to the hospital so the blood loss over time from my inflammation and ulcers needs any help it can get to heal and restore. No more leaky gut please. It also improves loose skin, cellulite and supports healthy skin, hair and nail growth, which who wouldn't love that?

Bone broth is my second line of defense. I heat (1) cup of this toasty liquid (swear it tastes just like chicken broth) and sip it in a big 'ol mug. Studies show that bone broth is beneficial for restoring strength of the gut lining, helping with the growth of probiotics and supporting healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract. There are some seriously yummy recipes to include this in.

I know that I have so much more to learn. Like, so much more - but I have my head in the game and I'm ready to go. I've always had a complicated relationship with food. I knew how to eat healthy and all but I loved my junk, convenience food so. damn. much. It is insanely crazy the information overload I've had the past several days on just how much our bodies can be influenced by processed, artificial shit. What goes into our bodies is literally affecting every single thing inside. We spend so much time and energy obsessing over beauty when the most important thing in life we have is our health.

So here's to a brand new year full of learning, mistake-making (cause God knows I do that an awful lot) and love.

Helpful Links:
Beef Gelatin (can also be found at your local Whole Foods)
Bone Broth