I am so excited to share with you this post by Alexa Federico from Girl in Healing! She is sharing her story of how she changed her eating habits to treat her Crohn’s disease and how much it has helped her!
Eating for Crohn’s Disease
Food. We need it to survive, to sustain us. It gives us energy and nutrients. But, the wrong foods can also hurt us. They can cause inflammation, pain, and fatigue.
When I learned that drastically changing my lifestyle was the only way to begin healing my Crohn’s disease, I was devastated. I was only thirteen years old and one year before I was given my diagnosis. I had been following the diet that my gastroenterologists advised me to eat, which was comprised of white bread, bagels, crackers, plain meats, and little to no fiber. But, I had no progress to show for it. I couldn’t control my flare-ups. My parents knew there had to be some missing puzzle piece we weren’t getting. Even though they persistently asked the doctors if food could be the culprit, they denied that what I was eating was resulting in my symptoms.
When another doctor tested me for food sensitivities, my world turned upside down. It was the best thing that has happened to me since being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
When I am strict, I am in my best health. In my day-to-day meals I don’t include gluten, most cow dairy, refined sugar, corn, soy, peanuts, tomato, and most nuts in my diet. When I am feeling good and I can deem one of those foods a valid “cheat,” I will indulge. Some foods bother me more than others, but creating a balanced system where I treat myself once in a while works best for me. It sounds very limited at first, and people often gawk when I tell them what I cannot eat. But in reality, there is so much I can eat.
My diet is comprised of high quality meats, eggs, most fruits and vegetables, some gluten free grains such as millet and white rice, and brown rice pasta. I use olive, coconut, and avocado oils and grass-fed butter and spices to flavor my food. If I need a sweetener, I use raw organic honey, real maple syrup, or coconut sugar. I also buy organic foods as much as possible. I feel that my body has to work extra hard already, so eating conventionally grown foods with pesticides will only add extra stress to my system.
Although a nourishing, anti-inflammatory diet is a huge part of staying well, I have learned that taking time for myself is just as important.
Resting is crucial for people with autoimmune diseases because we can tire easily. Sometimes I need to say “no” to certain tasks or activities. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but it’s definitely the right thing for my body. Listening to my body is key.
I take time to write what I am thankful for in my gratitude journal weekly. I try to include light exercise when my energy is up. Reading, crocheting, and coloring in a coloring book are some of my favorite relaxation activities and are also great if I am not feeling well.
I think that there are many, many, conditions that are affected by the SAD (Standard American Diet), which ironically, is sad! My hope everyday is to reach more people through my blog to encourage everyone to go back to the basics of simple, real food.
My Top 3 Most Popular Recipes
Eating natural, clean foods does not have to be complicated or very expensive. I make recipes that are doable for any level home cook or baker. Below are my three most popular recipes on my blog!
My Golden Milk recipe rapidly took the lead as my most popular recipe.
Golden Milk is a healing, anti-inflammatory drink. Dairy free milk and ground turmeric are the stars of this recipe, but other spices and healing foods can take it up a notch! Turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory spice that is bright orange in color. It has been most widely used in Indian cooking and as a healing remedy for years.
I mimic Bulletproof coffee in my version to enhance it with healthy fats.
Think of it as a healthier hot chocolate. (You could even add in cocoa powder and I won’t tell!).
I’m not surprised that my Grain Free Cherry Amaretto Cookies are my second most popular recipe.
The combination of cherries and amaretto makes them taste and smell like the perfect holiday cookie. These cookies are chewy and light and best of all they do not crumble. My family requested that I make these for Christmas Eve, and of course I had to oblige!
If someone is looking for an easy to prepare recipe that can be taken on the go, I recommend my blueberry muffins. Sweet breakfast items are something I missed a lot after transitioning to a gluten free/paleo lifestyle. I am so happy with how this recipe turned out. They are sweet enough but they don’t use refined sugar!
When I make a batch, I leave some on my counter and freeze the rest. I will let one defrost over night to have for breakfast the next day or add them to my lunch box!
I hope my story and tips come in handy for you. Let me know if you try any of the recipes!
Alexa Federico was born and raised in the Boston area. She is an avid reader and green tea drinker. She blogs at Girl in Healing, where she creates healthy recipes and shares her life experiences living with Crohn’s disease, a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which there is currently no cure for. She is a firm believer that “food is medicine.” You can follow Alexa on Facebook and Instagram.