I love making Against All Grains banana muffins. These are grain free, soy free, dairy free and refined sugar free. They are moist and delicious. I made some this weekend and have them in the fridge for when I need to grab a snack on the go. They are even good with out the streusel topping! Gut check: to the best of my knowledge they treat my gut well even if I have more then one in a day. Feel free to omit the chocolate chips if you want!
The unpredictability of Ulcerative Colitis symptoms can drag you through some crazy emotions. It can be very exciting to have a day where you feel some what "normal" but then when the next day comes and you are cramping or having GI symptoms the let down can be intense.
I also struggle with not having the answers. Why do I feel like this today? What did I eat? What is causing this? How do I make this go away? When will I get better? I am always searching for the answer to the why questions in my search for a healing solution. I have so many unanswered questions.
It is almost impossible not to be frustrated when you do everything in your power to heal and still feel sick or have symptoms. I try my very best to get regular exercise at least 4 times a week including yoga. I eat as healthy as I can and cook as many meals as possible. I read all ingredient labels and do my best to pick the best options for my health. I take the recommended medications from my traditional medical doctor and the supplements from my naturopath. I diffuse essential oils, dry brush my body before the shower, sweat on a regular basis (ex: exercise), drink filtered alkaline water and add fresh lemon. I see an amazing therapist to keep my mental health in check and still get frustrated. If one symptoms isn't bothering me it will be another. I am not sure how to get rid of these frustrations other then to try and remain hopeful and do more exercise!
Anyone else feel this way?
Experienced my first Buti Yoga this past Sunday and was truly blown away. I was in love with the entire experience. It challenged my body & mind. I did not know what to expect which kept my mind present and in the moment. Sweat was dripping off of my body and soaking my clothing, I felt revitalized. The tribal movements induced a feeling of freedom and power. I can't wait to do this again. I went to Meraki Mama Collective in Roswell, GA. Gut check: this class did not induce any gut symptoms during or after class so I was very happy!
My favorite breakfast these days has been scrambled eggs with spinach cooked in coconut oil with a side of paleo friendly bacon. I originally started eating this because I needed to increase my leafy green intake and have been hooked ever since. The coconut oil along with the pink Himalayan sea salt and a dash of pepper give it all the flavor it needs. I pop the bacon in the oven on a baking pan lined with foil because I don't like making a mess. After the bacon has started to crisp I start on the eggs!
Give it a try, no measuring necessary! All you need is:
Cage Free Eggs (pasture raised if you can afford them)
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
Spinach (I love Organic Girl)
Any other veggies you want to add to spice your scramble up!
Paleo friendly bacon
Gut Check: these goes over very well with my gut that is why I have been eating it so often!
P.S. If dairy doesn't bother you add some Vermont Cheddar Cheese to the eggs for amazing flavor. I recommend Cabot!
Running is so hard. It is physically demanding in many ways. I want to increase my cardiovascular fitness and endurance so I still try to add running into my workout routine. However, my least favorite thing about running is that it many times makes me have to run to the toilet. As soon as I turn my run into a walk I my intestines explode leaving me feeling the urgent need to use the restroom. Sometimes it can be so bad I don't feel like I will even make it to the nearest toilet which is one of the worst feelings.
For this reason I find it challenging to enjoy running/walking outdoors. I used to be able to run 7 miles and walk, bike and jog for an entire evening out in Piedmont Park in Atlanta. Now, I have to think about it really hard before venturing on even a short run near my home. I have to mentally prepare myself and check in with my body. Even doing all of this doesn't guarantee a safe trip outdoors.
Every-time I am brave enough to venture out on a run I try to give myself a pat on the back and be proud. This is not a comfortable subject to discuss and nobody wants to live with this fear and isolation. If we talk about our stories and how we work on overcoming the obstacles we face I believe we will be stronger and more centered.
It is pretty confusing these days trying to make sense of all the different diets for gut healing and health. There are so many that claim to have amazing health benefits. I don't preach right or wrong or tell anyone I associate with what diet is best for them. What I try to help my friends and family understand are the simple building blocks to a healthier way of living. The main thing I work on personally and try to educate others on are cutting out the excessive sugar, preservatives, fillers and chemicals that you can't pronounce. If you don't know what it is or can't begin to pronounce it....well do you want that in your body?
I have done a number of the diets listed above and have had varying results. I think they are all valid in their own ways but the most important rule is to listen to your body. Our bodies talk to us all the time we just have to stop and listen.
I do avoid: gluten, dairy, soy, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, excess sugar, carageenen, maltodextrin, emulsifiers and preservatives.
Eating clean is a new trend and I think it is great. The more whole, natural foods that we cook and make ourselves the better off we will be. Learning to read the ingredient list of all foods you put in your cart every single time is the biggest change I have made and one I would love to pass on to you!
Reading about gut healing has taught me so much. Not only am I more educated but I feel less alone in this journey. I am stocking my bookshelf with diverse literature. I am reading everything from science based studies and nutritional healing protocols to cookbooks. I recently started the book Living with Crohn's and Colitis. I am only a few pages in and already love this book. It is written by a Naturopath and a Crohn's patient. I think the merriment of the two perspectives will really make this book a fast read. I am also reading the Earth Diet and One Person Multiple Careers. Keeping the bookshelf well rounded.
The more I read about gut health the more tools I can add to my toolkit. The better educated I can be and more active I am in the decision making about my health and healing journey.
Are there any great books you recommend?
Danielle Walker the author and creator of amazing cookbooks Against All Grain is truly an inspiration to me. She is a fellow UC fighter and a beautiful person. I follow her religiously on instagram and have been using her cookbooks to inspire myself to cook more. I highly recommend you check out her website, instagram and cookbooks. I buy all of mine on Amazon. She has a fourth book coming out later this year I am very excited for.
My top 3 favorite recipes from Danielle are-Pulled BBQ Chicken. Pizza Pasta. Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.
Gut check: all of these recipes go over well with my gut!
Working out can be hard when you have Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Due to the nature of unpredictability with this type of GI illness exercise can be scary. I work hard to make exercise a priority, even on the days my gut isn't the happiest. Exercise always leaves me feeling better then when I started. Detoxifying my body by moving and sweating. Quieting my mind by focusing on movement. I used to run longer distances and lift heavy weights. Running a lot of the time stimulates my bowels and can leave my running to the restroom. I have recently decided not to take on that type of stress and move my body in different ways. I found barre3 almost two years ago. The low impact movements combining strength and athleticism has helped me transform my body and my mind. I now work at my neighborhood barre3 in Atlanta, come see me your first class is on us! In the last few months I found yoga sculpt. I love the instructors at Burn Studios in Atlanta along with the very sweaty CorePower Yoga sculpt classes. Yoga sculpt combines yoga with weight lifting and cardio. Jumping jacks don't always serve my gut well but there are so many great modifications that allow you to build strength and honor your body. These exercises help me tremendously. I make an effort to take 3-4 classes a week and like any indoor studio they have restrooms in case your gut has other plans for you!
After being told by my gastroenterologist for years that the science doesn't support any specific diets for Ulcerative Colitis patients and being completely dismissed at the though of nutrition as medicine, I took matters into my own hands. Doing my own research on anti-inflammatory foods, gut healing diets, various protocols and recipes I started experimenting. I am continuing to experiment with food as medicine to heal my gut.
I am currently working on getting more dark leafy greens in my diet daily. I started with spinach and will be moving on to kale shortly. Hiding leafy greens in smoothies and eggs really works great and tastes amazing. I try very hard to keep refined sugar out of my mouth and sugar in general including honey and maple syrup to a minimum. Sugar is so bad for my gut I can feel the difference when I overdo it on the sugary treats. I find it one of the hardest things to stay away from because it obviously tastes so good!
I have successfully switched out many things in my pantry for healthier options for my intestines!
Vegetable/Canola Oils----->Coconut & Olive Oil and Grass-Fed Ghee
Refined sugar---------------->Coconut crystals, honey and maple syrup
Regular mayo---------------->Avocado mayo (I use Chosen Foods)
Regular condiments-------->Organic condiments with no natural flavorings, preservatives or excess sugar
Conventional eggs---------->Cage free eggs always and when I can afford it I prefer to buy 100% pasture raised eggs
Conventional meat---------->Organic grass-fed meat as much as possible
Packaged foods-------------->Healthier packaged foods and less of them as much as possible
This is a journey! Always listen to your body! Stay tuned for more details!