It’s a new Hope Warrior Wednesday!
I’m so happy I get to share a little bit of Kristen’s story and how she copes with having a chronic illness. She’s a busy gal, but was able to answer a few questions. Make sure to check out her website Living Loving Paleo and her instagram @livinglovingpaleo for some mouthwatering food photography and her life with Crohn’s Disease.
I was checking out your story on your website (I will link it here), and boy have you been on an unbelievable journey. I know you were young when you were first diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, but do you remember how you felt when you received the diagnosis?
Being diagnosed with a chronic disease isn’t something that I could fullyunderstand as a kid, which in some ways, made it easier to cope with. My parents immediately took full responsibility for my health, but at the same time, I did have to grow up quickly.
Taking 96 pills a week at age 12 is a lot to swallow, no pun intended. What would you tell a pre-teen going through something similar right now?
I would tell a pre-teen that no matter what, they should never, ever give up. It may feel like your world is falling apart, but if you allow it, your illness can actually become your greatest gift.
It is really frustrating when I feel like some doctors are not hearing me. It sounds like you went through something similar. How do you advocate for yourself now?
I’ve found a practitioner outside of conventional medicine who really listens, and that’s made all the difference. Thankfully I’m healthy enough now that I don’t need any sort of outside intervention.
What is your current treatment plan? (Natural and pharmaceutical if applicable)
After spending many, many years on medications, I’m now able to control my disease completely through diet and lifestyle. I eat what makes me feel good and live a life that I love.
Your website has lots of delish Paleo recipes. What inspired you to start Living Loving Paleo?
I wanted a place where I could share my journey (outside of social media) as well as my recipes, so a blog felt like the perfect format.
How do you balance working full time with managing your chronic condition and spending time with your family?
While I have Crohn’s Disease, it’s thankfully no longer something that I need to manage. I work from home and accomplish much of what I need to get done while my husband’s away at work (he works 48 hour shifts as a fire fighter), so that when he’s home, we can spend much of our time together.
You talk about the fatigue, waking up tired and going to bed tired when fighting infections and the ongoing battle an autoimmune disease fights with your body. Do you still have days like these? What do you to conserve energy?
My health is by far the best it’s ever been, so thankfully those days are VERY far and few between! If I do come down with a cold or the flu, I simply set everything else aside and completely focus on my health. My immune system is fully functioning now, so I’m very rarely sick for more than a couple days.
We went to San Francisco on our honeymoon and feel in love with the city. I am so jealous that you get to live near a city with the best coffee and some awesome food options! Eating at a restaurant can be difficult for IBDers who are afraid or embarrassed to ask their food to be cooked in ways specific to their needs. Do you have any tips for handling these scenarios?
I have a great dining out guide where I’ve shared all my best tips and tricks! It
can be found here – http://livinglovingpaleo.com/2016/06/15/tips-dining-
I truly believe that our environment can play a huge part in healing. Do you have an area in your home that helps you gives you the hope you need to keep fighting? What does it look like?
I really do my best to keep my entire house filled with calm, healing energy.
How do you treat yourself when you want to indulge?
I get a mani/pedi or a massage and take myself out to lunch!
What are some of your favorite books and or music/podcasts?
I love reading and have too many books that I’ve enjoyed to list off. As for podcasts I love Balanced Bites, The Sessions With Sean Croxton and The Tim Ferriss Show.
If someone were to ask you to tell your story in one sentence, what would it say?
Although my journey hasn’t always been easy, it’s given me the most beautiful life I could ever imagine.
Do you have a mantra or an image that you use to give you strength or encouragement?
I recently heard Tony Robbins talk about achievement versus fulfillment, and it really stuck with me. I don’t have a specific mantra or image, but I believe in filling my own cup up before I can give to anyone else. When I’m fulfilled and loving life, I put out my best work.
What are some of your hobbies and activities you enjoy?
Cooking, reading and being outside with my husband and dogs.
Where are some of your favorite places to travel?
Hawaii for sure!
Who gives you hope? Do you have any “Hope Warriors” that inspire you?
While my husband has always been my number one supporter, he’s taught me to love and cherish myself first, so I’ve become my own “hope warrior.”
Thank you so much for sharing, Kristen! I’m so glad you’re doing well and enjoying a beautiful life. Love your story, and I’m honored to share it.
Happy Wednesday Folks!