sarah’s experience with crohn’s disease

i’ve been wanting to find a way to share my experience with crohn’s disease but a blog post isn’t enough. and this is so important that i don’t want it to disappear into the archives either. so here we go, a page dedicated just to this. it’s a very personal story, and somewhat painful to recall, but i hope more than anything that someone who is going through something similar will read this and be inspired, find hope and get better. so here’s what happened to me :

in january 2011 lou and i were packing up our house to move. we had a nightmare landlord who put the house we were living in on the market 5 months into being there and was having open houses, showings, etc for 6 months before we moved. it was a very stressful time. we packed up the whole house a couple of weeks before the move because lou was going to be traveling for a job. which meant we were living out of boxes and surviving on takeout / pre-packaged food. 

i always had what i would describe as a squirrely stomach and periodically would have stomach pains. in january i started having stomach pains different than i’d ever had. they’d double me over, last for a minute or two and then go away as unexpectedly as they came. they started increasing in frequency and intensity over the course of the next few weeks. i couldn’t keep food down. i tried eating {and not eating} anything i could think of, following my general practitioner’s instructions to eat the brat diet (bananas, white rice, apples, toast}. i would eat and then dread the time following as food moved through my digestive tract, curling up in a ball on the floor. my doctor ran tests for parasites, blood tests, and ordered an ultrasound. they all turned up nothing.

this continued through all of january as i got weaker, lost crazy amounts of weight and became progressively more frightened. i had seen my doctor at least 3 times and paid a visit to the ER once, all without answers. they were sending me to specialists, drawing blood, running tests and coming up blank over and over again. i felt like my body was turning on me. i stopped working, stopped seeing friends, barely ate, and couldn’t sleep because of the pain.

the first week of february lou brought me back to the ER and after examining me they said that i was so severely malnourished/dehydrated that they would have to admit me. i’d never spent the night in a hospital before, so it was scary but i was so thankful that they’d finally really have to pay attention to what was going on with me and get to the bottom of it. i was becoming a shadow of myself, too weak to do much of anything and too sick to do much about it. i was so scared.

i spent a full week on an iv at the hospital. after i had a traumatic experience the first night lou moved in with me and we spent the next week sleeping together on a twin bed, woken up by nurses for blood drawing at 6 am every morning. lou brought me things from home to make me more comfortable, my dearest friends came to visit and i watched a lot of daytime tv. the experience bonded lou and i in a way that we had not been before, we were in this nightmare together. he tried to hide it but i could tell he was scared to see me so sick. we joked about all of the things that were the most horrific: the allergic reaction i had that made me look like charlize theron from “monster”, the colonoscopy and endoscopy (yikes!), the way my body looked as i grew thinner and lost all of my muscle tone. it showed me how strong lou and i can be together in crisis: when all else fails we make jokes and crack eachother up.

during my hospital stay they ran a myriad of tests on me,  but the gastrointestinal specialist was confident that i was sick with crohn’s disease. they ran a test specific to crohn’s while also testing to rule out any other possible illness. i had a colonsocopy and endoscopy that showed my entire instestinal track (including my esophagus) covered with sores. it was a textbook case of crohn’s but the technician who looked at my MRI results told my doctor that he wasn’t convinced.

a week after i was admitted, they released me. but not without first serving me the first solid food i’d had in 7 days. they plopped a “pot roast” in front of me and told me to eat up. i sent it back with a confused nurse, telling her that i wouldn’t be eating pot roast and didn’t think it would be the best thing for a first meal even if i wasn’t a vegan. this was my first light bulb moment that maybe our medical system did not really have a grasp on crohn’s disease and the treatment for it. 

when i got home i was so weak that i couldn’t walk into the house by myself. i required constant care by lou, but i was so happy to be home! i was still without an official diagnosis, but at the time i left the hospital my gastrointestinal specialist told us that i’d probably been suffering from a “virus”. it didn’t make sense, but we were still waiting for the crohn’s test to come back and so we didn’t have a definitive answer either way.

i have a friend who has crohn’s disease, but i didn’t know much about it. so of course i started googling like it was my job. the more research i did the more scared i got. i learned that crohn’s is an incurable autoimmune disease in the same family as ulcerative colitis and IBD. i was horrified to learn that i would live with this for the rest of my life, experiencing “flare ups” like the one that had landed me in the hospital. that frequently people who suffer from crohn’s wind up in the hospital many times over the course of a year. i was even more terrified by the treatments which my doctor told me were standard, the only option i had: steroids & immune suppressors.

a week after my release i was still very ill, weak, scared and confused. i tried to go for a walk and only made it 3 houses before i had to sit down and rest. i didn’t know if i’d be able to make it home. i had never imagined that i could feel this way, it was a very dark time. i had a follow up appointment with my GI specialist at the end of that week. lou and i sat in his office as he explained my serious diagnosis: i had scored higher on the crohn’s test than he’d ever seen (always an overachiever!).  i felt relieved that i had a diagnosis finally but horrified by what he proceeded to tell us. he said that there’s a 50% chance i would need to have parts of my intestines removed in the next 5 years, that i had a moderate/severe case of crohn’s and that i would need to go through a round of steroids/immune suppressors and then take other medications in between flare ups, indefinitely. i asked him if there was any special foods i should be eating. he advised me to start eating red meat because i was so iron deficient and that besides for that, his only advice was to eat canned vegetables and avoid fresh fruits/veggies. he told me that diet has no effect on the disease. i told him i had no intention of being on medication for the rest of my life, and he told me that there was no other option.

lou and i left the appointment with mixed emotions. we were relieved to have a diagnosis and a treatment plan but really scared about what the treatment plan involved. i knew steroids to be brutal, but we felt so hopeless with the doctor’s grim diagnosis and lack of alternative treatment options. so i committed to trying it out.  i also asked my mom to come out from the east coast to help take care of me and help lou. 

three days into the steroids i felt worse than i had before i started. my symptoms were the same but i had also swollen up like a puffer fish, developed a lumberjack’s appetite and started feeling like i could crawl out of my skin with anxiety. i felt much worse, not better. meanwhile i was following the doctors orders and eating beef and canned veggies. it felt counterintuitive to be eating things i believed to be unhealthy but i was a good little patient doing as i was told. i called my doctor to discuss the side effects from the steroids (by this time i had the medicine cabinet of a senior citizen- i had so many different pills prescribed to treat my different symptoms i couldn’t keep track of them all).  the doctor told me that he would send me to a psychiatrist to put me on anti-anxiety medication to treat the side effects of the steroids.  i knew it was crazy- i was in a never-ending cycle of taking medications to treat side effects of other medications. i hung up the phone and told my mom i was done, i wouldn’t be taking any more of the steroids or any of the dozens of other medications they had prescribed. 

it was serendipitous that a book arrived that day from my dad called controlling crohn’s disease the natural way. i devoured the book; the woman’s story and how she healed herself made sense to me in a way that eating canned veggies and taking steroids never would. i commited to healing myself through diet and even though it was scary to veer away from western medicine, i knew that i was facing a quality of life i could never be happy with. i felt i didn’t have any other choice but to go with my gut {no pun intended} and do what made more sense to me. i was fortunate that both my mom and lou immediately got on board and supported me. we were all very worried that i would end up back in the hospital but also believed that western medicine doesn’t hold all the answers. this book and it’s methods for healing gave me real hope and i saw a light at the end of the tunnel for the first time. i had been sick for over six weeks at this point, my life as i knew it was long gone and i was desperate to get better.

the basic idea behind the book is that diet plays a direct role in the treatment of crohn’s disease, which seems so obvious it’s crazy. so i started following a macrobiotic diet. i’ll write in more detail about what exactly that means another day, but if you’re interested my favorite book to get a basic understanding of it is this one. i started doing exactly what the doctor had told me not to do- eating veggetables, brown rice, avoiding meat & dairy.  within a week i was better. it felt like a miracle, but now a year later, i know it wasn’t. i have managed the crohn’s since the day i quit taking steroids without another “flare up”. i do have to pay attention to my body, and when i feel myself starting to go down the path of not feeling well i cut back on my stress and get back to my healing diet.

there are two things that i believe caused my crohn’s flare up: stress and poor diet. as i mentioned when i started this post, we were moving houses and eating takeout for every meal. even though i was a vegan, i really had no idea what a healhy diet was. i thought as long as i was eating wheat bread and avoiding animal products i was a healthy eater. this nasty combination of stress and poor diet threw my body into a tailspin. i’ve learned so much since then. i’m a huge believer in “you are what you eat” and i truly understand what my body needs to stay healthy.  

this was the best and worst thing to ever happen to me.  let me explain. on paper, it was by far the worst: being sick for two months and in the hospital for a week was like nothing i’ve ever been through (i had been lucky enough to have had a pretty healthy life up until that point). it was scary and i went through the gamut of negative emotions during the course of it.  my hospital stay was traumatizing, i still cry when i think about it. BUT, i truly believe i’m a happier and healthier person now than i was before i got sick. lou and i are closer and have a bond that can only be made by surviving something terrible. i love the way we eat and the way we live so much more now. and then there’s all the should-be-saved-for-talk-shows clichés about how much more i appreciate my life, my loved ones, my health, etc. i feel so lucky to have gotten sick and gone through that experience. it sounds crazy, but i promise it’s true. 

if you are suffering from crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, IBD or any disease for that matter, i encourage you to look into natural healing/dietary changes. i saw this macrobiotic counselor when i first started learning about alternative healing, she is amazing. i believe that so many of the answers we are looking for regarding our health can be found in examining the things we are putting into our bodies. more than anything, i want you to have hope.

if you are completely healthy, i still recommend learning more about diet and health. i know that had i been eating better i wouldn’t have gotten sick. there are so many modern illnesses that can be directly linked to our diet. and preventing disease is so much better than healing from it. so, spread the word: whole grains and organic fruits / veggies are where it’s at!

thank you so much for reading this. please  leave a comment or email us with any questions.  i will post more later about what we eat, the nitty gritties of how i got better.  

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Reader Comments

  1. Dustin B.|

    So glad to hear you are doing better, your story is a blessing, my prayers are with you and lou.

    Miss you guys.

    Dustin.

    Reply
  2. Jessica Neideffer|

    Hi Sarah… Thank You sooooo much for sharing. I was diagnosed with crohn's dis-ease when I was 14 years old and had a similar experience for a period of 18 years! I had a section of my intestine removed when I was 27 and was on 30 pills a day at one point. About 4 years ago, I started chiropractic care and eating healthier and symptoms subsided. I also started working with a holistic doctor and take organic enzymes and probiotics every day, which really help with digestion. I believe that stress is the cause of ALL dis-ease… Working to release anger, fear and doubt was the first step for me in the true healing process.

    I wish You ALL the BEST in your continued healthy Life…

    In Love & Light,

    Jess

    Reply
  3. sarah yates|

    thank you so much everyone for your responses and support!
    kim, i am so sorry to read that you've been suffering so long. i cannot even begin to imagine the hell you have been through. i do have hope for you and everyone else in your position though, i have read so many inspiring stories from people who have suffered as long/longer than yourself finding the answers. i wish that for you as well.
    (and thank you for the heads up on my spelling! i think i corrected all the errors)

    Reply
  4. Caitlin|

    what an amazing and inspiring story. i love hearing/reading stories of food healing. you are such a strong and amazing woman.

    Reply
  5. Georgia|

    Sarah, thank you for bravely sharing your inspiring story! Crohn's and ulcerative colitis run in my family – my cousin has Crohn's and my Dad has had UC and to be honest I've never really known very much about these illnesses. I have a whole new understanding now.

    My boyfriend and I recently went through a big house move, with a long period of takeout eating and it's only really hit me now, after reading your post, how much of an impact that had on our health and wellbeing. Having only recently got back to healthier home cooking, your post was a very timely and important reminder that what we eat has such a huge impact on the way we feel.

    Wishing you all the very best for your ongoing health and wellbeing.

    Reply
  6. Rachel|

    Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I've suffered from digestive issues for the past 5 years or so, which I have self-diagnosed as stress-related IBS. I have visited numerous GI doctors over the years, who haven't been able to tell me exactly what is wrong. I have tried countless diets, kept food journals, eliminated foods, and tried almost everything under the sun. One of the best things I have done is eliminate all artificial sweeteners and most processed foods (I can't seem to let go of my chocolate addiction!). I eat a mostly plant based diet, with a little meat every once in a while. I also started practicing yoga. Both of these lifestyle changes have made a huge difference in my overall wellbeing. All of that being said, it was so interesting to read about your macrobiotic diet. I had to google macrobiotic to find out what it entails…..I had no idea that I very closely follow that diet. Do you have any book or website recommendations so I can learn more?

    Thank you!

    Rachel

    Reply
  7. Jeannie|

    this post is so inspiring to me right now. I'm going through very similar symptoms, horrible pain after eating, waking me during the night, and losing weight. I feel like food is my enemy. (I've been gluten free/dairy free for almost 2 years after being dx'd celiac) I'm seeing a new gastroenterologist after not getting results from my last one. the fact that you've healed yourself through diet is great news. I'm getting tests done in the next month, I hope it's not a serious diagnosis, but I am definitely going to look into the macrobiotic diet either way. thank you so much!

    Reply
  8. Denise|

    What a scary thing to go through! I too, am a big believer that diet can help, if not sure auto-immune diseases. I have had kidney problems for the past 2 years and they suspected Lupus t be the cause even though I didn't have enough symptoms to make a diagnosis. I finally changed my diet and in 3 months my lab tests improved and my doctors appointments went from every 2 months to twice a year! And like you, I can feel when my body doesn't like whatnim putting into it. It's so nice to meet someone else who agrees that alternative medicine and diet can make a difference in disease. :)

    Reply
  9. kiko|

    can't believe it's been a year! all the more, how healthy you have been since. you are one gutsy woman, sarah.
    congrats to this wonderful anniversary!

    Reply
  10. Sarah Rhoads|

    Sarah, thank you for sharing your story… I can't imagine how difficult that was for you to go through and then re-live in a tiny way while writting this post. I do not have anything like Chrons but I do have stomach problems from time to time and Chris and I have started juicing & I've literally noticed a huge difference. thanks for sharing today sarah…

    Reply
  11. kelly Oshiro|

    thank you so much for sharing! I have had very similar experiences with western medicine for another auto-immune disease… My favorite experience is when they prescribed me a drug that is was developed for treating schizophrenia!

    Reply
  12. Alison|

    What an incredible post! So well-written, so touching. You are so right about how diet affects us…although I haven't had symptoms that you've suffered, I'm interested in seeing how a healthier diet changes how I feel/look. Thank you for sharing such an inspirational and heartfelt post!
    Xoxo Alison

    Reply
  13. Angela|

    Thanks for sharing your experience and your insights!
    There's a lot of really useful info to absorb.

    So glad to hear you are starting off 2012 happy and healthy!
    All the best to you and Lou : ) Angela

    Reply
  14. sarah yates|

    thank you so much for the support everyone!

    kiko, i remember you helping me into the car to bring me to a last minute dr appointment! i am so lucky to have all of you amazing wangers in my life.

    sarah, that's so great! i know you two travel a bunch and it's so hard to get healthy food on the go, especially in less urban places. i'll post more soon about exactly how/what we eat and what we do when we travel!

    thanks again everyone! xo

    Reply
  15. Kelly|

    Sarah,

    Thanks for sharing – I know it is a difficult topic. I'm sorry that you've had to go through this but I'm so happy to hear that you tried alternative therapy so quickly! I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at 15 (I don't think too many people knew – I hid it for a long time). I was unlucky enough to have a colonoscopy without anesthesia…something I wish I could forget but never will. I struggled for 10 years and was also on steroids and other medications that I was supposed to be on "for the rest of my life"… no way!! Since my mid 20's I've been able to control everything with diet – I'm a big fan of probiotics, antioxidants, anti-inflamatory foods and FRS energy drinks (that one's kind of odd, but it seems to work). I really think there needs to be more research for alternative therapy for this and other diseases. I believe you're on the right track.
    Best wishes,
    Kelly

    Reply
  16. Megan|

    Wow Sarah – I didn't know the full extent of what happened last year in the least – I am so glad you are doing so great now! I love that you sent back your hospital food – the picture of the roast beef creation made my stomach turn and this is coming from someone who likes it! It makes me so happy that Lou was right by your side the whole time and that you have found a way to deal with this through diet and lifestyle – you are truly amazing my sweet friend!

    Reply
  17. Ciara|

    Thanks for sharing this Sarah. I have been dealing with sometimes severe digestive flare ups for the last 8 years – and of course, the doctors never can figure out what they are. It is uncomfortable talking with people about these problems, so I applaud you at this bravery. I am working very hard at eating better and taking care of my stress, which are certainly leading causes. Thanks for being so honest and encouraging.

    Reply
  18. monique|

    Thanks for sharing your story Sarah, I have just started following a more plant based diet, phasing out meat, dairy, and all sorts of processed nasty food. I am feeling better already. So glad you are feeling well and I am loving your blog. BTW I made the beet hummus for friends last weekend and they loved it despite not being beet fans.

    Reply
  19. aileen|

    this is such a touching and honest story. it made me cry. you're such an amazing, brave and inspiring person. all this advice is so great. every time i read a food/diet related post on your blog, it makes me get off my butt to go grocery shopping for fruits and veggies. thanks so much for sharing :)

    Reply
  20. B|

    I am suffering with UC and have been now for 6 years. I have tried all the drugs and nothing is working. I am contemplating taking out my colon which will leave me with a bag for the rest of my life, UGH!!! Would love to see more about the diet you are referring to and what you exactly eat on a daily basis. I will try anything at this point!

    Reply
  21. sarah yates|

    hello b!

    I am going to work on a post with all of the details of what i eat /did to get better. it might take me a bit. In the meantime:

    My first recommendation is that you buy the book I read http://www.amazon.com/Controlling-Crohns-Disease-Natural-Way/dp/1575668319/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1326738544&sr=8-3
    It's such an inspiring story, I think you will believe like I did that what she wrote makes more sense than steroids or surgeries.

    the basic principles are that organic whole grains and organic vegetables should be the majority of your diet.
    brown rice is my go to. when you're not feeling well all grains/vegetables should be very lightly seasoned and eaten in small amounts, just at mealtimes (breakfast, lunch, dinner, maybe a light snack or two if you're hungry)

    all food must be very well chewed (start counting, chew at least 50X per bite). food should be liquid before your swallow. this allows the enzymes in your saliva to break the food down before it ever gets into your stomach.intestines. it will make it easier for your body to break down food and absorb the nutriets.

    please consider reading the hip chick's guide to macrobiotics as well. http://www.amazon.com/Hip-Chicks-Guide-Macrobiotics-Philosophy/dp/1583332057/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326823880&sr=8-1

    don't be overwhelmed by the details of macrobiotics, just start by learning how to make brown rice (if you don't know how) and eating vegetables and beans. avoid all processed foods, absolutely no sugar, no caffeine, no white flour (that turns to goop in your intestines, it's so bad!), no dairy!, no meat, white fish occasionally (once every couple of weeks)

    for healing:

    two things that really help me when my stomach is getting bad is kuzu root (it's been used by the japanese for thousands of years for healing)
    http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=kuzu+root&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=15163219239265605212&sa=X&ei=muUUT7O2K9TJiQKs4sjLDQ&ved=0CH0Q8gIwAw
    if you mix a couple tablespoons of this with a little 1/2-3/4 c unsweetened organic apple juice and heat it (Stirring constantly) will become a thick pudding. i swear by it.

    the other thing i would recommend incorporating into your daily diet is miso soup. this was a huge staple in my healing diet, something i still eat at least once a day and believe is so good for your intestines/stomach/digestion.

    here's a quick recipe for miso:
    thinly slice one scallion
    bring 1 cup of water, scallion to boil
    dissolve 1 tablespoon miso in a little water, mix into a paste .
    reduce heat on water (it's important to not let the miso boil, it ruins the beneficial properties in in). i use a heat diffuser to keep my water from boiling once i've added the miso. let cook for additional 2 minutes or so.
    tear up pieces of toasted nori (seaweed) and add to soup
    eat it up.
    (heat diffuser : http://www.shop.woodwardcrossingscountrybasics.com/Heat-Diffuser-Simmer-Ring-Prevents-Scorching-Overheating-5068.htm?gclid=CKbuwMGW1q0CFQ9qhwodEDP5mw )

    both the kuzu and miso can be found at whole foods (most whole foods have kuzu) and on amazon.com

    lastly, i want you to know that when your body is healing your diet needs to be very strict, but after you get better it becomes less rigid and you will be able to eat little treats every once in awhile. you will also start to enjoy eating a more simple/healthy way, i promise!

    i will post more soon! please take care and get in touch with any questions.

    Reply
  22. elizabeth antonia|

    thank you so much for sharing. it was so scary seeing you so weak. even seeing these pictures brings tears to my eyes. i am so glad you found your way back by educating yourself and, most of all, trusting your intuition. what a year it has been! so happy to see you have your vitality back!

    Reply
  23. Kim|

    I love your story because the beginning sounds like mine. However, even though you were one of the luckiest Crohns sufferers only being sick for less than a year, people such as me and so many others suffered for years and some still not being able to achieve remission. So many who are so much worse off refrain from telling there story so I commend you for doing so. I wish you would learn how to spell the name of this horrible disease. I'm sorry for the harsh words and people should be inspired by your story because I would never wish Crohns on anyone and I'm sure you feel the same. I hope you realize how lucky you really are.

    Reply
  24. Ranu|

    Wow Sarah, I just read this whole story–thank you for sharing! It is so sad to hear about your diagnosis, but I am really glad that treating it through conscious diet helped. I've seen documentaries about how profound of an effect eating properly can have on your body and diseases (Forks Over Knives is a great one), and it's good to see that you're living proof of that! It is unfortunate that Western medicine isn't always the best way and shame on your doctor for not offering you other options!

    I appreciate you taking the time to share something so personal and I'm glad that you are feeling better!

    Reply
  25. Kristen|

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for sharing such a personal story. My husband has UC and it is a daily struggle. It is so hard to see him suffer when there is not much I can do to help him. I'm glad you have found what works for you and that you're feeling better. My husband unfortunately has to take a myriad of prescriptions as the only thing that helps (and even then it's still bad even with a tremendous amount of dietary restrictions and strict attention to what we eat). I myself have IC (not an IBD) so I can somewhat empathize with the frequent bathroom trips. Sadly, diet did nothing for my condition; it only aggravated my symptoms. I wish diet was the cure for us but sometimes, for some people, it isn't.

    These IBD illnesses are more common than we think but sometimes people are too scared or embarrassed to share, even with those closest to them. I commend you for sharing and wish you well on your journey to healing and wellness!

    Reply
  26. sarah yates|

    hi Kristen!
    thank you so much for sharing. i feel for you and your husband, all of these diseases are so cruel and there's just not enough information out there. it's frustrating that there aren't more answers.
    if you would be open to it, i'd love to talk to you a bit more. i'm trying to learn more and hearing other people's stories is so helpful. i have a great platform here for talking about this and i'd love to be better informed. if you're willing to talk to me please email me at sarah@sarahyates.com (and i totally understand if you'd rather not, it is an extremely personal issue)
    thanks again!

    Reply
  27. annie mcelwain|

    Sarah, I think it is absolutely amazing for you to dedicate your thought and time to this part of your story. I'm sure that your honesty in our public world has already eased the minds of many out there and will continue to do so. Keep it up– you have a great story to tell. Much love.

    Reply
  28. Bee|

    Thank you so much for sharing. I'm so glad I came across your blog. This is a wonderful collection of posts and this particular experience you shared was really impactful. Thank you!

    Bee

    Reply
  29. alissa|

    Wow Sarah – so glad you shared this story. I met you last year in Palm Springs at the Fabulousity-thingy and I think you had recently started on this diet – but I never knew the reason why! I had severe stomach issues from age 15-28 – I went to every specialist in LA, had many emergency trips to the doctor, only one to the ER. No one could figure out the reason for the problem. At age 28 I went to acupuncture for a totally unrelated health issue – and she asked if I had any other health problems. I mentioned my stomach issues. After that visit, my stomach has improved amazingly. Right now I'm back to seeing an acupuncturist regularly, but I can take months off from acupuncture with no issues. I'm even able to reintroduce some foods that used to make me sick.
    So glad to hear you are following your "gut" and making decisions about how you want to live your life, rather than what the doctors say. Wishing you good things this year!

    Reply
  30. Natalie | A Dose of the Delightful|

    Wow. This is one of the most inspiring things I've read in a long time, and it really confirms for me that I'm on the right path lately. In 2010, after my 12-year old brother was suddenly diagnosed with leukemia and passed away within months, I started to think a lot more about the unknown stresses we're putting on our bodies constantly. From what we eat to the beauty products we use to the kind of domestic environment we surround ourselves with, our bodies react to what we expose them to. I, like you, firmly believe that Western medicine has light years to go before it really understands that plying people with pharmaceutical after pharmaceutical will never truly fix our medical issues.

    Much of what we suffer from, particularly here in the US (diabetes is a great example) is a result of the way we treat our own bodies, from what we ingest to what we slather on to what we surround them with. I think many people essentially ignore, or don't even know how to listen to their bodies – and that's something I'm working on becoming more attune to myself. I'm so impressed and inspired that you realized that the one-size-fits-all approach to medicine was not going to work for you, and that you were determined to cope with Crohn's on your own terms.

    Reply
  31. Rachel|

    I just stumbled on your blog via VMAC & Cheese (I think). I'm always interested to meet other IBD survivors. I myself had UC and had run the gamut of diets, medicines, etc., and eventually went to the Mayo Clinic to have my colon out. After having the disease for 4 years, I've now been healthier than ever in the 2 years since having my colon out. But like you, I too felt serious confusion at the "advice" proffered by doctors about how diet doesn't really affect anything, etc. etc. All I could do was shake my head and say, "Are you kidding me?" Clearly it all DOES relate!

    I am always so happy to see other bloggers who are successfully dealing with Crohns & UC. It is so inspiring to others, especially those who are newly-diagnosed. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  32. Tracy|

    Wow, this is such an amazing story, Sarah. I never would've guessed that this is what you had to go through, and I'm sorry to hear that anyone has to suffer in this way.

    My mother-in-law passed away from stomach cancer a few years ago at a relatively young age. Although she was vegetarian and had an active lifestyle, she still suffered the terrible fate of cancer. My husband and I are vegetarian, but since then we've taken our diets further by cutting out highly processed foods and eating organic foods – the way nature intended us to eat, I guess. I have to say that we do feel lighter and more energized as a result. I'm not going to lie, sometimes I want to have an Oreo so badly! But the thought of losing the most amazing friend and husband in my life at an early age far outweighs any craving.

    It was great meeting you and Lou last week at Aileen and Kevin's wedding, and I wish you two newlyweds every joy in the world. Hope you two can enjoy a honeymoon soon!

    Reply
  33. Amy|

    Wow. What a moving story. Thank you so much for sharing. It's brave to put this out there! I had a similar experience with western medicine right before {and shortly after} being diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I was on a slew of medicines that seemed like a never ending downward spiral…until I changed my diet, found some natural cures, and learned to take better care of myself emotionally. I'm sorry I had to go through it, but I agree with you; I'm stronger, happier, and healthier as a result. I wish you the best of luck in your journey and keep my fingers crossed that you just keep getting stronger.

    Reply
  34. Denise|

    What a story! I am on my own journey of health – in my case, it's to avoid chronic conditions rather than to treat one. I'm lucky that so far I've been healthy. But I know it's up to me to keep myself that way. I highly recommend a book called Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Furhman. He uses science to back up exactly the experience you've described. It's so encouraging to understand how much power we have to heal ourselves and keep ourselves healthy! Very brave of you to share. Keep up all the good efforts!

    Reply
  35. Valerie|

    It's so amazing hearing your story. My husband and I had read a bunch in the last year about curing or controlling things western medicine doesn't believe are controllable through diet. It's such a powerful feeling knowing what you do affects how you feel.
    Also, we just happen to be moving at the end of the week. The kitchen is packed and fast food is on the menu. Thanks for the reminder to choose wisely! : )

    Reply
  36. Kelly Sauer|

    Girl, I knew something had happened with you when you dropped off the face of the earth last year, but I had no idea – I'm TERRIFICALLY proud of you, and so excited to see you getting this out there. I've been through my own wringer with a diagnosis of MS and the promise of steroids and complete disablement within months of my diagnosis. I looked at the neurologist and told him I couldn't do that, started treating naturally through food and supplementation. Since then, I've gotten married, climbed out of a wheelchair, and started a photography business. There's too much life to live to CHOOSE to live it doped up on medications that are only shoveling more toxins into your system.

    I am SO glad you're feeling better. I missed your voice last year.

    Reply
  37. Lauren|

    I'm so happy I came across your blog and this story. As you will read in my blog, I have been a long sufferer of Crohn's disease. (almost 30 years) I followed the conventional way of medicine for a long time and not until a year ago did I take charge and eliminate dairy, wheat, meat and anything processed. I have been med-free and flare free for a year now! I'm so excited to read through your blog – I am a true foodie and your pictures are just beautiful to look at and just as inspiring to make. I hope you are still feeling well! xo

    Reply
  38. Casey|

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! What a journey you've had and there's so much for others to learn from you. I have a childhood friend who suffers from Chrons and I never quite understood it like this. I have a whole new level of sympathy and a new comprehension of what she has been through. I really appreciate the transparency and so happy I happened upon your blog. Thank you.

    Reply
  39. sarah yates|

    Hi Rachel! I'm so happy to hear you've found your own answers!
    the books that were the most helpful for me are the hip chick's guide to macrobiotics and the kind diet (by alicia silverstone)
    I eat basically just a vegan diet with very limited amounts of processed foods or refined sugars.
    Please let me know if there's anything else I can help with!

    Reply
  40. Rachel|

    Thanks for the suggestions! I'll definitely look into those books. Also, I love your blog (the dog photos are hilarious :)

    Reply
  41. Tracy H.|

    Thank you for sharing your story! My husband has Crohn's disease and has been in a flare for nine months. I'm in the middle of reading "Controlling Crohn's Disease the Natural Way." I really hope he's inspired by your story and Virginia Harper's.

    Reply
  42. Patricia|

    Wow, this is unbelievable. The pain and uncertainty you went through and then dealing with Western medicine must have been traumatizing. But you came out of it, and it seems for good. Sometimes instinct is what pulls us up from the abyss, and yours was so spot on. The only thing I can recommend is Reiki. Have you ever had it done? I just had it done the first time a week ago and I already feel a difference in my life. It's restorative and wonderful, and it might help you achieve the balance you might be craving or were craving in you life. BTW I learned about you from Diana's exPress-o, she posted on the frozen banana bites, which of course, look delicious, and can't wait to try my own version. Stay well, and good luck with everything.

    Reply
  43. Heather|

    I just found your blog and was strumming through cute outfits and good looking food when I found this post about your auto immune disease. I'm touched you shared your story. I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Spinal Arthritis about 6 years ago and I go back and forth with changing my diet. Your story has inspired me to try something again. Thank you.

    Reply
  44. Erin @ she cooks, she gardens|

    Hey Sarah,

    My partner suffers with Crohns and went through a similar experience to yours before diagnosis, everything you've said resonates with me including the frustrations at the limitations of Western medicine. I was so shocked when we were told diet played no role in treatment and Paul was handed a bag of steroids instead, after two weeks of absolute hell we proceeded to ignore all the advice and started eating clean, whole foods (nothing from a packet!) and eventually went vego. Paul is now drug free and, like you, seems to suffer minor flare ups if he's particularly stressed or has been eating a crappy diet.

    I'm so glad to hear you are feeling better, thanks so much for sharing your story, I have bookmarked the book you've mentioned and will have to have a read sometime soon.

    Take care!
    Erin.xx

    Reply
  45. karen wise|

    wow, sarah, what a moving story. i'm so glad you are doing better now. it just goes to show how much physicians in general really know about good (and safe) nutrition.
    wishing you all the best,
    xo,
    karen

    Reply
  46. Mariah|

    This post really resonated with me. I am a professional in the healthcare industry who recently started volunteering at an urban farm trying to get back to the "roots" of growing and eating local food. I truly believe so many of our health problems come from our lifestyle choices (mainly the food we put in our bodies). Thank you for having the courage to share your story. I hope more people are inspired by it and make healthy changes in their own lives!
    Mariah
    http://www.thebarefootbeat.com

    Reply
  47. sarah yates|

    thank you so much everyone for your kind words and for sharing your stories as well! i really hope that together we can raise awareness about this and stop the unnecessary suffering! there are so many more illnesses besides crohn's that i think could be treated with diet as well. it's frustrating that more attention isn't paid to it but i'm hopeful for change!

    michelle, yes i was. i do not have gluten sensitivity or celiacs. i do try to limit the amount of gluten in our lives anyway, but i don't think it's played much of a role in how i feel.

    Reply
  48. marlene|

    Hi Sarah — great website and courageous story.

    Have you seen roost blog? I think you'll like it a LOT if you haven't already seen it, the recipes and photos are wonderful. http://www.roostblog.com/meet-caitlin/

    I loved your wedding photos and video over at 100 layer. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  49. anne|

    Sarah, thank you so much for writing this post. I just found your blog through Twitter and your AMAZING wedding video, so congratulations! Not only is your blog beautiful, but I noticed the Crohn's link at the top and felt my heart pull towards yours. My husband was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease about 2 years ago, and we too had to deal with the same ER/Hospital stays that you two had to. It was a horrible time for us, and really scary.

    His GI doc told him that he had Crohn's and started him on the steroids and a whole slew of other meds. It didn't help at all, and he just got sicker and sicker. He ended up getting a fistula (his intestines fused with his bladder) and had to be admitted to the hospital. I had taken him to the ER thinking he had a kidney infection, and was terrified when they wouldn't let him leave. He had a foot of his intestines removed, the terminal illium. His GI surgeon said that it is possible to rediagnosed with something called terminal ileitus – where the Crohn's goes away when that section is removed. That was the only section of his gut that was affected with the Crohn's so I am hopeful of this.

    On the other hand, my husband has been eating along the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for about a year and a half now. It sounds very similar to your diet, but he isn't vegan. He doesn't drink milk or eat rice, breads, etc… He told me the other night that he notices his energy levels go down when he strays away form this diet. I think this has played a huge factor in his recovery.

    I'm so encouraged to hear your story of recovery. It's good to know we're not alone. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  50. Nina|

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Almost a year ago, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. For years I suffered intestinal pain and like you had every test done. All the results came back "normal" and I even had doctors tell me I was imagining the pain. I am now on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet but I've been wondering whether a macrobiotic diet may heal my intestines and maybe even cure me. You've inspired me to try…worst that can happen is that I get healthier. :)

    Reply
  51. sarah yates|

    @ anne- i am hopeful that your husband remains healthy! but at least you feel empowered to take control of it should it ever come back! best wishes to you both!

    @ nina- i was tested for celiac as well. i believe a macrobiotic diet is amazing for overall health- but if it feels too complicated just getting back to the basics- whole grains (that are gluten free of course), fruits, veggies, minimal amounts of processed/refined foods and no refined sugar, meat or animal products should help you feel better! best of luck, please do take care! xx

    Reply
  52. Annie|

    Woww– just read this whole story, and can only say thank you so much for sharing. My mom has Multiple Sclerosis, also an autoimmune disease, and while she hasn't been cured, both of my parents are equally committed to alternative treatment options and diet; Western medicine is so advanced and yet so limited in many ways. I am very conscious about what I put into my body, and absolutely agree with you that it is of the utmost importance. Wonderful to see you putting your story out there to share with others and hopefully increase overall awareness.
    Wishing you good health always!
    -Annie

    Reply
  53. sarah yates|

    hi denise! i'm so happy to read that dietary changes helped you as well! it makes me crazy to think how how many people- with so many different kind of illnesses- are suffering needlessly. thanks for stopping by and sharing your story!
    xx

    Reply
  54. otto|

    i am beating stage 4 cancer with food & vitamins.. my tumor has "evaporated " from a hamburger size , to barely visible in 60 days.. the doctors were going to put me through bad stuff, so i walked away.. it IS what you eat . . .

    Reply
  55. Camille Marie|

    My ex-boyfriend's sister developed crohn-like symptoms but her kidneys were also shutting down. she ended up on steroids and i think now, two years later, she's managed to live a pretty normal life. I never really asked about her condition since the family was so private about it but i think to this day they are not sure what she has. the dad is completely against medicine so i am 100% certain that she is now managing it through her diet. i still think about her a lot and pray that she manages to do all of the amazing goals she had set out for herself!

    Thank you for sharing your story. It's stories like these that make me feel so appreciative of my life and makes me want to live better.

    Reply
  56. A.Co|

    HOLY COW (errr, turnip?! *vegan joke* ;)

    What a ride you have been through. I just found your blog last week and have been catching up and clicked on your pages for CD at the top to find this post and read and read and read. It's wild and I'm so impressed you found the strength to move away from the Western medicine idea and follow your body and that book. With the support of your Mom and Lou, I'm sure that made all the difference.

    Wow. All I have to say is, you are a SUPER STRONG WOMAN, and what a great post. Wishing you continued health (and please keep blogging! I love it :)

    Reply
  57. ck|

    Thanks for sharing this post. People need to talk about this.
    I was diagnosed with UC about 5 years ago. I went to many GI doctors and they all said the same thing "diet has nothing to do with this" …I'm sorry, how in the world can diet not have anything to do with it, it's my DIGESTIVE TRACK! Just like you they suggested I eat canned veggies and fruit, WHAT????. After months of internal bleeding ulcers so bad that blood was poring out of me and my only solution were drugs that made me sick and the possibility of losing my colon, I searched for the proper solution, one that would heal me, not mask the symptoms. I read everything I could get my hands on. Gluten free and dairy free! That was my solution….I eat lots of raw organic veggies, brown rice, quinoa, beans, things that feed my body, not processed foods that just full my stomach. I haven't had a flare up since and without meds. People always say it must be so hard not eating bread and cheese, it's not. You get used to it and its way better than being sick. You can have plenty of snacks…dark chocolate is gluten free and dairy free!
    I hope more people can find the path we did, I truly believe it's the only way to heal. As you said, you are what you eat!

    Reply
  58. Katie|

    I went thru a similar situation 12 years ago with ulcerative colitis. I bought into the steroids and asicol because I was told there was no other choice. 30 steroid puffy pounds later and arthritis in every joint I said enough and went to a natural path. I read a couple of books and decided to become a vegetarian and cut all meds cold turkey. My gastrointerologist was mortified and said I needed an emergency colonoscopy. After the unnecessary procedure he said it was a miracle, no signs of colitis anywhere. He couldn't wrap his brain around diet and excercise, NOT degenerative medication could heal me. I haven't had a flare up since, and every time I start to feel unstable in the digestive department I take a good look at my diet to make adjustments! It blows my mind that this isn't an acceptable answer in western medicine and has made me lose faith in going to the dr unless all else fails!

    Reply
  59. Kelli|

    I am so happy I stumbled across your blog – what great timing!!! I've been home for the past week curled up in a ball. To pass time, I spent hours searching online for inspirational decor for our new home. Never would I have expected to look for a new home and find a 'cure' to my IBD/IBS at the same time. You are such a huge inspiration and thanks to you – I will be researching the macrobiotic diet in further detail – anything to stay away from meds!

    Thank you for sharing….

    Reply
  60. sarah yates|

    hi kelli! feel better and good luck!!! (the comment section of this post is a great inspiration too, so many stories of people recovering!)

    Reply
  61. Mary|

    Hello Sarah

    Glad to hear of another person who has managed to recover from a so-called incurable illness. I too was diagnosed with Crohn's. I've officially had it for more than 17 years – sigh! That's more than half my life and it's not like my digestive system was normal before the first attack! Anyway, I too recovered a lot using a diet albeit a different one – the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I came across the macrobiotic one too but decided to try the SCD first. I didn't recover my digestive health completely though my bloods were completely normal so my Crohn's wasn't active when I wasn't on the diet. This had never happened with drugs or even after a severe operation so it was a major step forward for me. It was just like I had IBS instead of IBD. Anyway, realising eventually I also needed some psychological help I went to see a wonderful homeopath whose treatment has helped me enormously. I'd imagine that most people's Crohn's is probably treatable with diet alone but mine wasn't really. Anyway, cut to the present and I'm very nearly completely healthy. And funnily enough able to eat anything I like now too, well except for dairy which I have always been allergic to but that's not a serious allergy for me anyway. Knowing from experience like you and anyone else who has travelled a similar path that health really is wealth though I choose to eat very well indeed, influenced by the SCD, the seasons and whatever takes my fancy. I too despite the darkness and godawful complications and pain have come to be very glad that I was ill. My boyfriend is the sweetest man on earth and I have great friends. I've learned so much about myself and others by being sick and I think I'm a better and more whole person because of it. I have to say I'm very glad to be healthier now though!

    I had very severe Crohn's Disease by the way – recto-vaginal fistuals, bowel resection (or a temporary ileostomy) for 2 years, another operation to remove a small part of my terminal ileum, been on steroids and inflliximab for years and have had a plethora of other unspeakably embarrassing problems. If I can get better, anyone can! Good luck to you and everyone else. Thanks for posting. So glad to see some other people doing well. xxx

    Reply
  62. Debi Wells|

    We've invited a lot of people over for dinner this evening and I ran into your site while looking for something to make for dessert. Your story is very interesting to me.

    I, too, spent a week in the hospital after experiencing much the same lead-up as you did. And I left the hospital with the same instructions from the doctors. Not to worry about what I ate, the drugs would take care of my symptoms – I should just avoid "difficult to digest" foods like whole grains and fresh fruits. The prednisone was wild and I quickly took myself off to my TCM doctor who admitted that Crohns was a nasty illness, but if I felt up to it, she had a book for me.

    But the book was a different one, it was Elaine Gottschall's "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" and I grabbed onto her Specific Carbohydrate Diet like my life depended on it. Which, of course, it did. I have been following the diet for two years and now I see that a macrobiotic diet can also heal the gut. Very confusing for me since I have not had any grain, starches, sugar (except honey) or soy for such a long time. But I have been so healthy that I'm willing to continue forever if I have to.

    So I am going to look into changing my diet a bit and research macrobiotics. My hunch is that refined foods, sugar and general toxins found all over the place are hurting lots of us. But I am convinced that what we fuel our bodies with can make us healthy and if I can add some foods (tofu and miso – I miss them so much) while maintaining good health, I will be thrilled.

    So wish me luck, and thanks for making me take a different look at this.

    Debi

    Reply
  63. sarah yates|

    hi debi!

    i'm so happy to hear that you have been able to maintain your health through diet and didn't suffer too long with those nasty medications!

    i also find it completely fascinating that the selective carbohydrate diet works so well for people since so much of it conflicts with macrobiotic principles and vice versa. but i think you're right, ultimately i think getting processed foods, sugars, and toxins out of our systems seems to be the common thread!

    good luck with your experimentation! xx- sarah

    Reply
  64. Eloise Southard|

    hey sarah,

    i've been a fan of your website for a long time now and it was only until today, when i had my own diagnosis of crohn's disease, that i understand everything you'd been through. thank you for sharing your story and the books to buy. i too do NOT want to take the steroids or drugs. i'm a healthy person in general but i too am moving, stressed and eating takeout. i can't wait to read these books. if there are any sites, books or anything else you can recommend, please email me or post!
    thanks! eloise

    Reply
  65. Mollie *The Almond Flower*|

    Hi Sarah- I found your blog through some of my favorite design blogs and was surprised/happy/sympathetic when I saw your page for Chrons Disease. I read your blog for design and style inspiration and I think it's so beautiful! Thank you for creating a page just for Chrons- I'm sorry you had that experience but am so happy that you are healthy and found the way to feel well!
    I myself run a gluten free food blog that focuses on alternative gluten free baking (using almond flour and natural sweeteners) to help treat my experience with celiac disease. I have friends who have Chrons and other auto immune diseases that have healed themselves with nutrition and I'm so AMAZED at the power of food over medicine.
    I'm in the process of including more art and art lessons in my blog and am inspired by the mix of content in your lovely blog!
    xoxo
    Mollie
    http://www.thealmondflower.com
    Tumblewild.etsy.com

    Reply
  66. Ashley|

    I got really sick about a month and a half ago. I've been through a battery of tests and now I'm being sent to a GI doctor. My MD strongly suspects Crohn's. I'm very scared and unsure of even where to begin. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  67. Virginia|

    I am 19 and it's been a year since I was diagnosed with crohns however I dealt with the extreme pains and symptoms for the past 5 or 6 years. I can totally relate to your story, Im a big fan of natural remedies and treatments. Raw fruits and Veggies make me sick but I love to incorporate them into smoothies, soup, and stir fry I have really been impressed with how much Aloe Vera Juice has helped. I thought you might want to try it out. You can pick it up from any Walmart. Thank you for sharing your experience. It's nice to know there are people out there dealing with the same issues.

    Reply
  68. Courtney|

    Sarah—
    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I have been considering going to a vegan diet ( and even the macrobiotic diet eventually), due to my own health problems. I have had issues with my gall bladder since I was in high school, but this year I have been having issues in another part of my body. I have a pain in my right abdomen that comes and goes, but is frequent. It isn't a menstrual issue, because it happens so randomly that the doctors can't trace it. They've done all kinds of tests and MRIs on me and I have ended up in the ER twice this year with it because the pain was so bad for days I couldn't do anything. Sometimes I throw up, but most times I don't. It isn't ovarian cysts, they say my ovaries are fine. I am always tired, and it seems like there is no hope for a diagnoses. It makes you feel crazy when everyone keeps telling you that you are fine.

    So this week, I swapped out the chicken I usually buy for beans, chocolate for tangerines, and Ranch for Apple Cider Vinegar. I've made a pretty rocking dressing that Ranch can't compete with.

    Thanks for giving me hope that it can stop. I may never know what my issues are. But, I don't have to. I can take control of my life and mend my broken body. I start today.

    —Courtney

    Reply
  69. Steph|

    Hey I just wanna remain anon… but wanted to say that I completely understand what you went through. I had a very very similar experience with Crohn's, with the whole hospitalization for a while sores in intestines bad pain++ thing. Luckily I've only had it once. I still do keep eating crappy though. This has inspired me to change my diet! If anything, just to keep it from coming back.

    Reply
  70. Linda|

    I just found this blog and I'm so inspired by everything you do!!! One thing I was very curious was the Crohn's Disease page here. I am sorry to hear that you had to go through that experience. I too 100% believe that we are what we eat. Throughout high school, I ate tons of dairy, processed foods, and carbs, most of which contained soy and corn. What was funny was that everyone said I always ate healthy because the things I ate were all "low-fat." But this diet made me feel so tired and sleepy after eating, with occasional stomach bloating. I figured it was all normal.

    In college, the stress from projects and my poor diet was really taking its toll on me. I started getting a lot of stomach problems nearly everyday that affected my performance at school and my internships. It wasn't until my last two years of college that I started to figure things out. I took a Tai Chi class in school and my professor talked highly of homeopathy and naturopathy for health problems, saying Western medicine covers up the symptoms instead of taking care of the root cause. Following his recommendation, I saw a naturopath who told me drink Green Vibrance (powdered green juice) for a few months and see what happens. Miraculously, my stomach was back to normal. It was amazing!! I eventually I stopped drinking Green Vibrance since I couldn't stand the taste (and it was expensive to keep up for a college student). I started eliminating a lot of processed foods from my diet since then, but it has been a bumpy trial-and-error journey figuring out what works and what doesn't for my body.

    Since then, I have graduated, and I am still learning, but I have nearly eliminated my diet of dairy, sugar, wheat/gluten, and processed foods. I now lead a diet of mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, little meat and seafood, eggs, nuts and seeds, and a moderate amount of non-gluten grains. No longer have stomach problems, I have more energy, and a bonus I no longer get acne except the occasional zit from stress:) Just yesterday I had chia seed pudding and two hard-boiled eggs for breakfast and it was the most amazing energizing meal to start off the day.

    Bless you and wish you happiness and success<3

    Linda

    Reply
  71. Lucy|

    Sarah,
    Thank you for sharing your story!!! It is so refreshing to see someone writing about autoimmune diseases, as I agree that many western doctors don't yet fully understand.
    I was diagnosed with a very rare autoimmune disease a year ago, after 4 solid years of tests, steroids and the threat of chemotherapy to turn off my immune system. My disease presents as a horrible red rash all over my body but yet I am never sick or itchy (pytiarisis Lichenoides Chronica). None of my specialists knew what was wrong. Eventually found a nutritionist who recommended a gluten and dairy free diet to control my leaky gut and within 1 week my skin receded and I've not looked back! I am a major supporter of foods healing, and love your approach too.
    Thanks for writing this in public and helping educate about this bizarre and misunderstood subject!
    Thanks, Lucy

    Reply
  72. emilee|

    Wow, this really hit home for me! I've been struggling with Crohn's disease for almost 4 years now and thought my battle would never end. I've had 2 bowel resections, multiple visits to Mayo, hospitals stays, and a myriad of other complications. Last year I really hit my low and thought I would never see the light at the end of the tunnel. I forgot what feeling healthy felt like and I was constantly getting misinformed on what really helped. With my GI doctor it felt like every few months we'd try some new scary steroid because the last one wouldn't work, and he also told me diet had nothing to do with it and to stick to carbs and cheese "soft foods." I really struggled with trying to live a normal life when constantly feeling bad and dealing with the unpleasant (sometimes embarrassing) side effects. I felt alone a lot and like I had to hide this battle from my friends and co-workers. Really don't think I could have gotten through it without my family. As my last straw, I began going to an integrative medicine doctor to start an all natural diet and get my body back in balance. I have always been a foodie and a terrible pill taker, so changing my diet and taking supplements every hour was something I was not looking forward to. With that said, I have been completely over-joyed with the effects. I am on a gluten free, dairy free, corn free, sugar free diet and trust me it's hard but soooo worth it! I am looking forward to reading 'controlling crohn's disease the natural way.' Thank you for opening up and sharing your story, it's nice to know we're not alone!

    Reply
  73. Marcus|

    Terrifying to read and relive so many memories of shared experience. I was diagnosed 12 years ago, and at one point was up to 42 pills a day (is that the highest you've heard? Do I win something?). I finally had to have surgery last year, it was basically an emergency surgery to keep my gut from perforating, and it's improved my quality of life by at least a million percent. I lived everyday of my 20's in extreme pain and didn't even realize it until post-surgery. Wild. Thankfully, I had an amazing GI and he stuck with me and was very concerned and responsive to how I felt as a patient. I can't imagine a doctor ever saying that stress and diet have nothing to do with Crohn's.. that is ENTIRELY what crohn's living is, a balance of those two things! Anywho, glad you are doing better and keep fighting the good fight!

    Reply
  74. Heather|

    I just found your blog today, and I feel compelled to leave a comment because I can totally relate to your experience. While I don't have Crohn's, I do have Ulcerative Colitis (a mild/moderate case, so not anywhere near as bad as yours; my flare-ups are pretty terrible, though, so I can only imagine what yours are like), and my diagnosis was very much like yours: I was super sick for about a month, the doctor didn't have any answers, I finally went to the ER and spent three or four days in the hospital, and after lots and lots of blood tests, they finally figured out what was going on. As in your case, all of my doctors have said that diet has no correlation to my symptoms, and they will not listen to me when I try to suggest otherwise (even though I know for a fact that refined sugar triggers flare-ups for me.) I'm so glad you're feeling better, and I can't wait to peruse your blog more and try out some of your delicious looking recipes :) Thanks for publishing such a personal post, as I know IBD isn't the easiest thing to talk about!

    Reply
  75. Nicki|

    I have UC, and although my teenage years were rough, I have (thankfully) been in remission for over a decade. Chrohn’s is such a BEAR, from what I understand. How wonderful that you found a healthy way to keep it under control. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and recipes. I am always trying to learn more about clean eating. I have some friends that are interested in this subject as well, and I will definitely pass this blog address on to them. Best wishes for continued health!!

    Reply