Since being diagnosed with Crohns I’ve started to change many aspects of my lifestyle. The most drastic change I’ve made has been adopting a plant-based diet. I know many people think this is a crazy diet to follow or that it can’t be helping me fight my symptoms. I agree it can be challenging in some situations to follow, but it’s not crazy. I totally disagree that it isn’t actually helping me fight Crohns. I have come across many people in all my research that are following the same type of diet in an effort to relieve their symptoms.
This is going to make me sound selfish and heartless, you might even gasp in horror, but here’s the truth… I’m not eating a plant-based diet to save the environment or because I feel bad for the little piggy’s and cows out there. I’m also not doing it to try to lose weight or be “hipster”. Point blank, I’m doing it because it seems to help my body not go to the bathroom so much! I’m having less stomach pains and I feel healthy. Now that being said, yes, it is nice that this lifestyle is helping the environment and saving those little chickens too. It’s a nice added bonus. We all win!
When Ryan and I first decided to go “vegan” we tried to be just like those die hard vegans. (Ry has adopted this new diet to support me, yeaaaa.. he’s pretty sweet huh) I give those people all the credit in the world. Living by a strict vegan diet is no easy task. They have the will power of a super hero. I on the other hand, do not. I think I would go insane if I didn’t give myself “cheat” moments. So, instead of driving ourselves crazy, we go by the 20% -80% rule. At least 80% of the time we eat a strict vegan diet. The other 20% of the time we allow ourselves to eat whatever it is we are craving, in moderation. Some weeks are better than others, but that’s ok as long as we stay within the 20% – 80% ratio.
I read a tweet today from Jorden and Steve, digestive disease specialists, that stated, “The diet that brings you true health won’t have a name… it’s custom to your body.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement. I’m not a vegan in the truest sense of the word, but I have modified this diet to make it work for me. Another example, fish doesn’t seem to cause me problems at all, so occasionally I incorporate it into my diet.
I also listened to a lady called Anupy Singla on an NPR podcast last week and absolutely loved her view on healthy eating. She calls herself veganish because she doesn’t like food labels or boxing oneself into one type of eating. Instead she loves spreading the word about different types of healthy foods and recipes people can make to feel better. She has a new book out and I can’t wait to read it.
There are still some foods I have to stay away from completely. Dairy is my archenemy and it breaks my heart that I can no longer gobble down pints of ice cream. If you know me at all, you know how devastating this is for me. I worked at the UNH Dairy Bar when I was in college, had ice cream every single day I was there, and NEVER got sick of it. I LOVE ice cream, but I love not running to the bathroom with painful bowl movements even more. So, farewell sweet sweet ice cream. It was nice while it lasted.
Ok, I’m being a little melodramatic. There are ice cream substitutes out there that are pretty good. There’s even a new dairy free ice cream shop that opened in Allston called FoMu! And truthfully, I don’t feel like I’m deprived of any food in my life. If anything, I’ve been introduced to a whole new array of wonderful foods that I normally wouldn’t have touched. I’ve even started liking tofu.
Looks like real scrambled eggs, doesn’t it?! It’s really scrambled tofu! Don’t start gagging! It’s actually super good and I swear you would barely be able to tell the difference. It’s also easy to make!
This past weekend was my birthday and I had a BBQ with my friends and family. The only meat product we had there were hamburgers for a few people. Besides that everything was vegan! And not a single person complained! We had fruit salad, chips and salsa and guacamole, Smart Dogs, veggie kebabs and these brownies I made from this wonderful blog called Chocolate Covered Katie.
It may take a little more effort, but eating a plant-based diet really is doable!