On Wednesdays we meet warriors. This idea of sparking a little more hope in the world isn’t just something I can always find from within myself. I’ve found that the spark grows more when there are others out there you can draw inspiration from, relate to, who provide a sense of humor, a little support and a whole lot of light when you’re reaching for the stars in the darkness.
Laura and I were diagnosed with ulcerative colitis close to the same time, and her Instagram (@mangiapaleo – follow her!) account displaying how she was using food as medicine to fight her disease into remission was so reassuring to me. Plus she displays the best sense of humor and doesn’t hide about the difficulties and frustrations the disease can cause. When we could laugh about poop together, even through cell phone screens and laptops hundreds of miles apart, I knew I had found an IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) family member. I wouldn’t have gotten through my hospital stay with a good attitude and faced recovery without having her cheers and healing vibes.
So meet Laura, a true IBD Warrior. She has some great recipes and info about ulcerative colitis on her blog as well!
What’s the number one thing you’ve learned about yourself since your diagnosis?
I’ve learned that I am more resilient than I would have ever known. It also surprised me that I took a negative diagnosis and turned it into something that, hopefully, instills inspiration and strength in others.
I think you definitely do that with all of your efforts. When were you diagnosed?
What are your current medications/what lifestyle changes have you made to treat your IBD?
Immediately after my diagnosis I began the paleo diet lifestyle. My diet excludes grain, gluten, dairy, legumes, sugar and anything processed. I am currently taking a maintenance drug but do not believe it contributes positively to my health-or at all. *shrug* My diagnosis was just last spring, so I’m still experimenting with what I can and can’t eat or do with my ulcerative colitis.
How do you keep your mental health intact while dealing with the symptoms/changes from the disease?
A huge part of why I stay strong is my accountability from my blog. I feel a sense of purpose when I post new recipes or health information. Upon being diagnosed I also believe I was given an obligation to raise awareness and help others in their journey. Being an advocate for IBD is a reminder that I am in control of my disease and that my diagnosis brought me to a healthier way of living.
What do you struggle with the most? What are you doing to overcome it?
My independence is something I really value, but I can get lonely occassionally. My friends and famiy have been an amazing support, but sometimes you just want someone to surprise-pack a healthy lunch for your or ask how your day was and give you a hug when you come home.
Having IBD is one of those diseases where it is easy to seclude yourself and believe that no one understands what you are going through. But I have overcome that by speaking out about it.
Since I have been very open, honest and candid about my disease I have met some amazing people through my journey. You’d be surprised how many people/acquaintances in your life have Crohn’s an colitis!
Any advice for the newly diagnosed?
I have 3 pieces of advice:
Even though you may not feel like it, you are in control. You own your body.
Do your research on health and nutrition.
Talk about it. Raise awareness and help the average person better understand our illness. It’s a great way to build a network of support, too.
Rules to live by?
Always bite your tongue when you hear someone without IBD tell you they have a stomach ache. Oh, and eat clean and get plenty of sleep!
Quote you turn to when you need to be uplifted:
“Every day may not be goo, but there is something good in every day.”
Love it! Musice/Song: “Three Little Birds”- Bob Marley
I also have a short Spotify playlist called “IBD Flare.”
Go to snack when flaring: Bone broth and roasted carrots with turmeric and ginger.
Activity that lifts your spirits: Cooking, CrossFit, and doing anything outside in beautiful weather.
Your philosophy/mantra that you’d like others to know about you:
I always keep my sense of humor.