Best Blogs for IBD

Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 11.55.41 AMThese days, many people blog about their personal experiences, and blogs about IBD, IBS, and other autoimmune disorders are common. While they all have something to offer, I would like to highlight six blogs that helped me when I was struggling after being diagnosed.

 

  1. Girl in Healing

This blog is great for general tips about how to take care of yourself if you have IBD, specifically if you have Crohn’s disease.

https://girlinhealing.com/

 

  1. Colitis Ninja

This blog showed me that I’m not alone and that IBD isn’t a weakness. Reading the blogger’s posts gave me a much-needed confidence boost.

http://colitisninja.com/

 

  1. Heal Me in the Kitchen

As someone who has had to follow a strict diet for years, it’s nice to know I’m in good company. This blog is full of great ideas about cooking for a paleo diet.

http://www.healmeinthekitchen.com/p/httpsstatic.html

 

  1. Ali on the Run

Through her blog, Ali shows that you can be an athlete even when you’re dealing with IBD. Her blog is extremely inspirational, and it will show you that anything is possible.

http://www.aliontherunblog.com/

 

  1. Lights Camera Crohn’s

This blog is also great for general tips and for understanding someone else’s personal experience with the disease.

Home

 

  1. It Could Be Worse

True to its lighthearted title, this blog has helped me to stay positiveeven during difficult times.

Published Work

 

I followed these blogs when I was first diagnosed, and I still keep up with some of them now. They are informative and inspirational, and, most importantly, they let me know I am not alone. I hope these blog recommendations will help you as much as they helped me


Natural Help or Medication

When it comes to IBD, natural remedies versus medication is a complicated but interesting topic. Both have been effective for members of my family. I have ulcerative colitis and my uncle has Crohn’s disease, and we handled our diseases in completely different ways. I am in remission because of medication and a healthy diet, and my uncle is in remission because of fitness and a healthy diet.

My uncle had difficulty accepting his diagnosis, and he refused to take medication. However, he still had serious symptoms. He discovered that running eases his symptoms. In fact, running helped him so much that he has been in remission for more than twenty years. By running marathons and maintaining a healthy diet, he has avoided flare-ups.

I, on the other hand, began taking medication as soon as I received my diagnosis. I have taken multiple different medications, some of which have been more effective than others. Eventually, I found that Humira and a modified version of the paleo diet work best for me.

It may be confusing that my uncle and I took vastly different routes to achieving remission, and it may seem that there are no real solutions to IBD and that treatment is just a guessing game. But this is actually great, as it means you can achieve remission in different ways. Everyone’s body responds in a distinctive way, and what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, there will always be hope for remission because there is a “cure” for each person out there.

If you are still experiencing a flare-up, you just haven’t found the right medications, routines, diet, and so on. Achieving remission is difficult, but you will one day find the best strategy for you.

 

If you are confused as to how to use natural remedies to treat IBD, here is an article that may help you: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317744.php

 


Anger and IBD

It’s common to feel angry when diagnosed with IBD, and even for years afterwards. When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t understand the disease well, and I didn’t realize how it would affect my life. I knew I would no longer be able to eat the foods I loved. I would no longer be able to dance, and suddenly losing an activity I had loved since childhood made me feel lost and angry. I would have to spend less time with my friends, and when I went on trips I was constantly on edge, worrying that I would make a mistake and eat something that caused a flare-up. Over time, all these emotions have settled, and I’ve realized that the disease is manageable.

Even if you’re angry and frustrated about the situation, there isn’t much you can do but accept it. You have to experiment with medications, listen to doctors, and change your diet and fitness routine. You have to learn to lean on others because you can’t do it by yourself. You can’t shut people out. I used to spend most of my day in my room with the door shut because I wanted to avoid being around people. My anger made me want to lash out at those around me. My parents would hover over me as if I had become fragile, something they had never done before. My friends distanced themselves from me because they didn’t know what to do or how to comfort me. I could feel that everyone was nervous, and they were treating me differently than before.

This feeling will eventually pass. Your family and friends will become used to the disease and will stop asking you questions all the time. If you learn to accept the disease yourself, then they will too. The disease affects your body, so they will trust you when you tell them that you are okay.

Although I can’t give you advice about dealing with your anger when you are having a hard time accepting your disease, I can tell you you’re not alone. I’ve been through it as well. I sometimes still feel angry when I think about my situation, but I know there’s nothing I can do about it. I just have to try my best to get on with my day. This disease has become a part of my life: It doesn’t feel abnormal to have ulcerative colitis; it feels like it’s a part of me. Sometimes, accepting the anger is the only way to move forward.

This article gives four different ways to help cope with the anger that sometimes comes with IBD.

 


Healthy Paleo Snacks

Over the years, I have found a few favorite snacks that I would recommend to everyone, but especially to those suffering from IBD. Not all of these snacks are paleo or SCD friendly, but none of them have bothered my stomach. Please note that I do not consume these snacks when I am in a flare – during a flare, I try to follow the more basic form of the SCD diet.

1. Smartcakes 

These are muffins that come in four different flavors: chocolate, cinnamon, tangerine, and coconut. My personal favorite is cinnamon.

2. Fatsnax

These are keto-friendly cookies. They come in multiple different flavors, but my favorite flavor is chocolate chip.

3. Lentil Chips

Lentil chips can be found in most grocery stores now, and they are a great replacement for other types of potato chips or corn chips.

4. Beef Sticks

Organic beef sticks without any sugar are great as protein snacks.

5. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Honey Mints

These chocolates are SCD, and they are one of the first desserts that I was able to eat. They are only available at Trader Joe’s.

6. Lara Bars

Lara Bars are available pretty much everywhere and are great protein bars. My favorite flavor is peanut butter.

7. Snapea Crisps

These crisps are amazing, and you can even find them at the airport, so they are great for traveling.

 


Flying with IBD

 

If you have IBD, you may be concerned about traveling long distances by plane. Even though you may be worried and feel that it’s impossible for you to travel, there are ways for you to prepare for long journeys.  

 

Medication

  • Make sure to bring an adequate amount of medication to last for the entire trip, as you don’t want to end up without any medication.  
  • Bring your prescription forms just in case you do run out of your medication, so you can get it refilled as soon as possible.  
  • Keep your medication close by, preferably in whatever bag you may be holding. Do not keep it in a checked bag if you are traveling- your luggage may get lost. 
  • Take over-the-counter medications with you to help manage milder symptoms. 

 

Documents

  • Keep some form of your medical history with you while traveling. 
  • Keep your doctor’s phone number saved in your phone for emergencies. 
  • Keep your insurance card with you at all times. 

 

 

Booking and Preparing  

  • When booking your flight, try and find a seat available in the aisle and close to a bathroom. 
  • Book a specific meal plan for your flight ahead of time, so you can eat on the plane. 
  • Bring snacks that are appropriate for your specific diet needs. It’s better to bring them from home than it is to buy them at the airport. 
  • Buy a water as soon as you arrive at the airport, so you don’t become dehydrated on the flight.  

 

 

Asking Questions  

  • See if you can find a map of the airport or ask an employee where all of the bathrooms are located. 
  • There are cards available that allow you to skip the line in the bathroom if you let the airport know ahead of time. 
  • Ask if you can upgrade your seat to a more comfortable area if possible. 

 

Being Safe 

  • Get all of your vaccinations ahead of time, especially if you are leaving the country. 
  • Don’t travel if you feel like you are getting sick. It could make your symptoms worse. 
  • Be careful with eating. Airport food is not always the freshest or the healthiest, and it could potentially harm your digestive system.  
  • Get travel insurance to cover your IBD problems if possible. Make sure that you are fully covered before flying.  

 

It is fairly easy to fly with IBD after you do it a few times.  Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask the employees’ questions if necessary. Don’t let yourself suffer in silence. Traveling is meant to be fun not to feel like torture.  

 


Diet or Nutritional Supplements

Along with taking medication, many Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) patients either adopt specific diets or take nutritional supplements to help manage their symptoms. Going on a diet or taking nutritional supplements can both help with IBD, so it’s difficult to choose whether one or the other is best.  The best option is to do both.

 

Going on a diet can seem daunting, especially when looking at long lists of foods you can no longer eat. Diets can, however, help manage your IBD alongside medication.  Eliminating foods that cause you to feel sick or in pain, such as gluten or sugar, will reduce symptoms and make your life easier. On the other hand, removing too many foods from your diet can seem complicated.  One dieting strategy is to try a diet for a week or two just to see whether it affects your symptoms at all. If you find that your symptoms have improved by dieting, you should stick with it.

 

Taking nutritional supplements, such as vitamins or probiotics, is also crucial when dealing with painful symptoms.  Supplements can improve your overall gut health and digestion, and they can give you more energy, which IBD patients tend to lack. Taking supplements in addition to medication can have a serious and positive impact on your day-to-day life.

 

Going on a diet and taking nutritional supplements alongside medication can, in some cases, make a person with IBD seem to forget that he or she has a disease at all due to reduced symptoms. If you aren’t comfortable going on a strict diet, then you can just take supplements; likewise, if you aren’t comfortable with taking supplements, you can try a variety of diets. Many people still suffer from IBD symptoms even while taking medication, which shows that medication may not be doing enough for them. If you are one of those people, you should seriously consider going on a diet or taking nutritional supplements as an added strategy to ease your symptoms. While dieting and taking supplements together represents the best option, even trying just one or the other could help you greatly.


How to Eat Out on the SCD or Paleo Diet

If you’re on the SCD diet or the Paleo diet, understanding how to order off a menu at a restaurant can be very difficult. I know that I struggled to find things to eat when I was first on the SCD diet.

The SCD diet is limited to only grain-free, sugar-free, starch-free, and unprocessed foods. The Paleo diet, on the other hand, is based on the idea that humans were meant to eat a certain way – like they did when they were cavemen. The Paleo diet consists of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit. Dairy (optional), grain, and processed foods are not allowed. These diets are good for people in general, but especially for patients suffering from IBD.

The SCD diet was actually created to treat Ulcerative Colitis. The idea was that the healthy foods would starve out the bad bacteria in the colon. This diet can also be used to treat Crohn’s.

Because the diets are highly restrictive, finding something to order off of a menu without going off the diet can feel impossible. But with time and practice, learning how to read menus with these diets in mind, the process eventually gets much easier.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

 

1) Always look for the protein first.

 

The main part of your meal will most likely be some type of protein. Looking for proteins such as fish, beef, or chicken that are grilled, sautéed, or blackened is key. Make sure to check whether the meat is breaded or not. If the menu doesn’t specify, you can look online to see whether the type of food you’re looking at is normally breaded. And if you’re still unsure, you can always ask your waiter. He or she is there to help you get the meal you want.

 

2) Be wary of carbs.

 

Make sure the carbs you are ordering don’t contain bread or anything that you know is super sweet. If the selection is sweet, chances are it contains sugar. I have added many foods to my diet over the years, and I rely on potatoes, sweet potatoes, and plantains for carbs at restaurants.

 

3) Extra veggies!

 

If you don’t think you can get any carbs because the menu is limited, always ask for extra vegetables. Filling up your plate helps ensure you actually have some substance to your meal.

 

4) You can get dessert.

 

Most desserts at restaurants tend to be cake or ice cream, and, at first, I felt sad because I have a sweet tooth. I felt as though I couldn’t enjoy sweets at restaurants anymore. Recently, I’ve learned this is not true. At most restaurants, you can get berries and cream. I know this isn’t the equivalent of a chocolate cake, but it’s definitely better than nothing.

 

5) Never be afraid to ask the waiter.

 

Waiters are there to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask a question about a certain item of food – or even to tell them about your diet. They can talk to the chef and get you a meal that is safe and delicious.

 

6) Do your best!

 

We all make mistakes sometimes, and accidentally ordering something that doesn’t fit our diets isn’t the end of the world. Make your best guesses and don’t give up.

 

I hope I helped give some insight into how you can order food at a restaurant and maintain an SCD or Paleo diet. Eating at restaurants won’t be easy, but with these tips, I hope you discover that doing so is definitely possible.

 

 

 

 


The Aftermath of Prednisone

One of the medications that I have been given in the past is Prednisone. If you aren’t familiar with the drug, it is a steroid that must be prescribed, and it treats many conditions and diseases, specifically those that are associated with inflammation. Basically, it helps the inflammation go down, which is why it is often used when treating Crohn’s and UC.

There are lots of side effects that occur when taking Prednisone. For most people, the longer you’ve been on the drug, the longer it takes to get out of your system. My doctor says that for however long you are taking it, it takes twice as long to get out of your system. I was prescribed the drug in September, and I finally went off of it in November. It is still in my system. I wanted to share with you some of the side effects that I have gotten from the steroid.

The first side effect I have is called “Moon Face”. Prednisone makes you retain a lot of water weight. Moon Face is when your face becomes puffy from the medication. You lose the definition of your cheekbones and jawline. For young people who suffer from IBD, this is a very difficult side effect because we tend to be focused on how we look. However, it has gone down for me slightly. I can promise you that this will go away, and if you wear makeup, you can definitely contour your face to look more sculpted than it actually is. Otherwise, I wouldn’t worry about it. No one cares or even notices except you and maybe your family.

The second side effect I have is weight gain. When I first got home from the hospital, I had lost a significant amount of weight. For two weeks, I stayed that way. Then, I began to gain weight rapidly. I am the heaviest I have ever been in my entire life. I have been struggling to lose the weight, but nothing is working. The only thing that even remotely works is eating approximately 200 calories a day and working out (which is not healthy and really difficult when you’re weak and dizzy all the time). What I recommend in order to stay sane, is just waiting for the drug to get out of your system. However, DO NOT BINGE BECAUSE YOU CANNOT LOSE THE WEIGHT ANYWAY. I have gone back and forth with dieting and then binging (I’ll talk about this issue another time), and I think the best thing for me to do is to eat intuitively. I pay attention to when I am truly hungry and when I am truly full, and I keep my weight balanced. Once the drug is out of my body, I will lose the weight more easily. Do not worry about it for now. I spent so long worrying, and I had no self-love. It’s not fun to live like that.

The third side effect I have is acne. I’m the type of teenager that has what a lot of people call “baby skin”. I’ve always had clear skin, and I don’t know what it’s like to deal with acne. When the Prednisone finally kicked in, my skin started breaking out badly. My entire face was covered in it (specifically forehead and chin area). I went to the dermatologist, and I was prescribed retinol, which I have been taking for a few weeks now. It has dried out my skin, and my breakouts have not cleared up yet. However, I have taken Prednisone before, and I have had breakouts caused by it before, and I know they will eventually go away. Again, this type of thing is difficult for young people who are suffering from IBD because it has to do with what we look like. Try not to touch your skin, and if you have gone to the dermatologist, follow their instructions on what to do.  Also, drink water! It has really helped me. I promise that it will go away once the drug is out of your system.

Prednisone is not a fun drug to take. There are lots of side effects, and in general, it just doesn’t make you feel well. I know that my advice wasn’t really on how to get rid of these side effects and more about being patient, but that’s all the advice that I can really give. There are so many people that are in the same boat as you and I are, so you don’t have to feel alone. Let me know in the comments what side effects you’ve experienced and how you’ve dealt with them.

Lisey


Thanksgiving (Paleo/AIP)

Happy Thanksgiving! I probably should have posted this before Thanksgiving, but I totally forgot. It’s a hectic time of the year, so I hope that you can forgive me. I also would like to apologize for not posting for so long. I started school again, and I’ve been busy trying to catch up on all my work.

I am on the SCD diet for my UC, and I know some people have some issues with the diet and others love it, but that’s beside the point. I have added in a few things to the diet, so I am not as strict as I could be with it. Last year, my mom made all my food for Thanksgiving, and I know that it was stressful for her to make my food in addition to the normal Thanksgiving food. However, she managed to pull it off, and it was very good.

This year, my mom decided to try something different. She found a website called Paleo on the Go, and they offered a Thanksgiving dinner along with many, many other products. My mom ordered the Thanksgiving Feast (serves 4, Paleo/AIP), which includes Herb Roasted Pasture Raised Turkey – Non GMO, soy free organically raised, grass fed, no hormones or antibiotics, pesticide free. (32 ounces), Southern Homestyle Gravy, Cranberry Orange Sweet Potato Casserole, Rosemary & Sage Pork Stuffing with Apples and Cherries, Spiced Triple Squash Medley, Mixed Braise Greens, and Cinnamon Apple Crisp. It was pretty amazing! I did not eat the turkey and the gravy, as my mom had already cooked a turkey and gravy, and it was fine for me to eat anyway. The only thing that I did not enjoy was the stuffing, as it just kind of tasted like meat and not like stuffing.

My mom also ordered Pumpkin Spice Paleo Tarts, which are kind of like Poptarts. I thought those tasted pretty good too. I actually had one for breakfast this morning. In addition to the Thanksgiving Feast, my mom ordered a Paleo Carrot Cake and a Paleo Pumpkin Pie. My favorites were the Carrot Cake and the Apple Crisp. They were delicious!

I also had some Coconut Bliss Ice Cream with my dessert. I bought three flavors: Cherry Amaretto, Coconut, and Chocolate Walnut Brownie. They are all amazing, and I love that I can still have ice cream that tastes like ice cream.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and I am so happy that I can still enjoy the food that I love. Hopefully, this website can help you out a little bit if you are paleo or like me. I hope that you all had an amazing Thanksgiving with your families!

 

 

Lisey

 

Side Note: I will be posting about my 2nd and 3rd Remicade infusions soon! Sorry that it has taken so long.