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Diet Changes Have Helped Me Achieve Remission

Meet Marisa:

Just diagnosed with UC in March 2013. I was bleeding constantly when going to the bathroom for 2 weeks before I got for a colonoscopy and was diagnosed with pancolitis immediately after. It all came on very suddenly. I am 39 years old and have always been lactose intolerant but never had any serious digestive issues until this year.

Some more about me:

I work in the newspaper industry and also own my own all natural bath and body product craft business. I like to travel, hike and love spending time with my puppy. I try to be a good friend and good all around person who wants to leave the world better than I found it.

My Symptoms:

Currently am in remission (going on about 6 weeks). Before that I had bloody diarreha about 25 times per day and couldn’t leave the house or even really rest. After my colonoscopy and starting meds, it took about a week to get some relief.

Diet Changes Have Helped Me Achieve Remission

I am writing this post because I have had quite a bit of success drastically changing my diet as a lot of people on th site have. When I was initially diagnosed, I started a course of prednisone which I responded to well and also Lialda which I have had good success with so far. Now that I have finished the prednisone an have cut back to two Lialda a day, I am supplementing this with a strrict diet. I very strongly believe the things I was eating pre-diagnosis were affecting me without even knowing it! I would drink diet seltzer a lot, some caffiene and Lactaid products which I did not realize had ingredients that were not agreeing with me.

I have cut out any and all things artificial, any MSG, any products with high fructose corn syrup, any carragenan, dairy and anything hard to digest or high in fiber. It defenitly cuts out a lot of things but it has made a HUGE difference. I find I have to cook almost everything I eat but it’s worth it to feel good again! I also spend a lot of time now at the grocerry store reading labels in great detail. It’s amazing how many things have carragenan, high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar etc…hidden in them. I use this list of the 10 things to avoid when I shop: http://myhealingkitchen.com/featured-articles/the-10-worst-food-ingredients/. I am not saying this is the answer for everyone but it has been a good guide for me. I hope someone else finds it useful.

I have definetly felt very alone and find it hard to talk to people about my disease. People have been nice and ask how I am doing but it’s hard for them to relate. People certainly like to offer advice of what I should be doing! Or they ask “should you be eating that?” or “have you tried…?”. I try to remember people are trying to help but I love how everyone thinks they have the secret answer!

I also love when I tell people I have colitis and explain what it is, and they say “Oh – I have that too – it’s no big deal”. But when I ask them more about it, it turns out they don’t actually have colitis – they just eat junk food and it doesn’t sit well with them. They have never actually talked to a doctor about it. People like to self diagnose I guess! But it makes me feel small and that they think I am making a big deal of something that isn’t.

So we’ll see how things progress but I am feeling optimistic. I do always have a sense of fear though that at any second, all my symptoms will come back. I am trying to just get on with my life and not worry so much as I know it doesn’t do me any good!

I consider myself a success story (at least right now!). I just have to stay the course with my diet and hopefully things continue on the upswing!

Medications:

I started on 4 Lialda (two in the morning and two at night) and am now on a maintenance dose of 2. I did a 4 week course of prednisone initially after being diagnosed and finished that about 6 weeks ago. I also take a daily multi-vitamin.

written by Marisa




6 Responses to Diet Changes Have Helped Me Achieve Remission

  1. Franck May 31, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    Hey Marisa, great to hear you got better quick. Do you have any specific meals or diet components you mind sharing? I am still not in remission but I can tell my colon responds immediately either well or not well dpending on what I ear, and I am looking for new options to try. Thanks in advance!

    • Marisa June 2, 2013 at 7:14 am #

      Hello! So here is what I typically eat. I am certainly no expert and still live through trial and error but here is what works for me.

      Breakfast: Usually have cherrios with EdenSoy vailla soy milk during the week. I can’t seem to digest anything with more than 4g of fiber so I look for low fiber things. And Eden Soy is one of the only soy milks I have found without carrageenan which some believe causes stomach inflammation (I believe it). On the weekends I will have eggs with turkey bacon and white bread (without high fuctose).

      Midday snack: Almost always egg salad I make with Earth Balance mayo. Sometimes I will have mango that I cook ahead of time so it’s easier to diges or apples that I have peeled and baked with some cinnamon.

      Lunch: Turkey sandwich (Hormel makes a good all natural kind) on white bread with Earth Balance mayo and a tomato that I have peeled and de-seeded. Or I’ll have pasta with Earth Balance butter with cooked squash in it. On the side I’ll have Stacy’s pita chips. Tuna and chicken salad are also good.

      Dinner: chicken, fish like mahi-mahi, sea bass (no shell fish), lean pork loin, pasta, chicken sausage….And all natural bbq sauce or organic marinades work for me so I can add some flavor. I’ll have some kind of cooked vegtable like zuchinni (which I have peeled and sauteed) or canned something like green beans. And I try to have a starch like white rice or sweet potato.

      Sweets: I don’t have too many but I try to stick to my homemade “ice cream” that I make with soy milk or a dairy free cookie I get from a bakery where I live.

      Drinks: I only drink water or iced tea I have made myself from herbal tea bags.

      I stay stay away from high fibers foods as I mentioned above and corn, peas, mushrooms and carrots seem to really bother me.

      I bascially prepare things for the week on Sundays so having things for work and to grab quick isn’t as hard. It still exhausts me but I can’t argue with the results!

      Thanks so much to everyone for your support. Helps me feel not as alone!

  2. Caroline
    Caroline June 1, 2013 at 4:29 am #

    Glad you are feeling better! I have had a similar experience with people that think they have “practically the same thing”. The only way to make them really understand that it isn’t is to ask them if they fill toilet bowls with blood but that just feels a little aggressive….haha. :)

    Here everyone knows what UC is and that it can definitely be a big deal – I hope you continue to feel better.

    Caroline

  3. Sharon June 1, 2013 at 4:54 am #

    Well Marisa, welcome to the club:) I must say you are extremely lucky to find your way to this website so early in your journey. I have had UC for 23 years and over the years had searched and begged for information but finally quit looking. I stumbled on here a few weeks ago and have learned a few things I never knew. I have of course had my own trials and errors but love being in a community like this.

    Congrats on being able to lower your meds and paying attention to your diet. The one thing I would like to caution you on is getting so stressed out about every food that you put into mouth. I have never had ANY food sensitivities during remission. Having said that, I wish I had been more diligent about making healthy choices. Somewhere in the middle, is something called balance. I have a UC friend who is “always on the verge of a flare” and completely obsessed with food. My colitis is actually more active than hers but her stress over it is 100 times higher. For me, that is no way to live. You will find that a lot of people on here follow some pretty strict diets which seems to work very well for them. From what I understand they learn what they can and can’t eat, keep a list handy, cook and plan ahead, but continue to enjoy life. You have UC but it does not need to become your identity. Many people in our country have allergies, diabetes, celiac, etc. which means that more options are available in the grocery stores and people are more understanding than ever. I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m just saying to keep all things in perspective.

    Sharon

  4. joanna June 1, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    marisa, so what do you eat on a normal day?

    I’ve been doing SCD for a while now but still no remission. I know something needs tweeked but not sure what.

    • Caroline
      Caroline June 2, 2013 at 3:59 am #

      Joanna, I know what you mean. I started on the paleo autoimmune protocol, which is just paleo minus nightshades, nuts, and eggs. I kept a detailed food diary to try to figure out what worked and what didn’t – I was sure that nuts weren’t a problem for me so I added those back in gradually with no apparent issues, but I wasn’t continuing to get better. I randomly figured out that starchy veggies and sweet potatoes don’t agree with me – that was a bummer! I would say I felt about 80% in remission up until a month ago – still having some mild symptoms but definitely could enjoy life again.

      I ran out of the sunbutter I put in my breakfast smoothies every day and left it out since I couldn’t get to the store – by the end of that day, my bloating was gone and I had very little mucus. The last bit of bleeding went away as well. So glad I figured that tweak out – it’s not always the things you think it’s going to be. I was so sure nuts and seeds were fine for me -one thing my naturopath said was that if there was a food you felt particularly attached to and hesitant to give up, that may be something you are sensitive to.

      Keep trying – I know it is frustrating but I am sure you will figure it out! Hang in there!

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