Hi I’m Andrew and moved to Canada in 1999 from Scotland. I currently live in Vernon, British Columbia with my wife and dog, Maverick. I am a coach and fitness trainer.
Some more about me:
I’m into many sports including skiing, training, biking. I raced for the national ski team in my youth and coached the Canadian ski team for 3 years, including at the 2010 Olympics. I also enjoy playing guitar when I have time.
Currently, I am going into remission after 7 months of being symptomatic, at times it was quite severe.
Food Allergy Testing and Colitis Remission
I wanted to write on this blog because it may be of help to those of you struggling with a flare up with no end in sight. I have felt like this many times over the past 6 month and often in despair. I was diagnosed with UC back in 2009 following colonoscopy. The previous 6 months, I had noticed blood in my stool and abdominal cramping. The specialist put me on a 5 ASA and within a few weeks I was normal again. In fact, I remained in remission for the best part of 4 years.
My BIG flare up started in July 2013. I had been under a lot of stress, was not eating super well and likely drinking too much. It started with loose, bloody stools. I tried the VSL#3 probiotic and this gave me a short remission.
In October, I had a nose infection and dumbly went to a walk in and got anti-biotics, knowing they were no good for UC. I even told the doc I had UC and he still gave me a cocktail of anti-biotics. My nose was so swollen, I looked like the elephant man! Anyway, my nose cleared up and I stayed UC symptom free for a few weeks. That’s when the s##t really hit the fan! Really bad blood and many visits to the toilet over the course of the next month. I even went to the ER a couple of times due to blood loss and large ‘roids!
At ER, I was put on my first course of prednisone. This was likely the darkest phase of my UC. The prednisone did not work and gave me terrible anxiety which I dealt with for a solid month as I had to taper off it. At this stage, I had a new family doctor who got me into a specialist and prescribed the nightly enemas. This was a turning point – getting good medical care was important in my recovery. With the enemas, I again achieved a short remission lasting 1 month.
My specialist knows medicine, that’s for sure. He immediately told me that likely I would need to go on immuno-suppressants and if this didn’t work, then surgery. It was the first time I heard the word ‘surgery’ and so very scary. I have seen him several times now and he has no interest in my diet. But, I am maintaining this relationship because I believe that I will need both medical and natural interventions over the course of my life. During the 5 years I have had colitis, I have seen three specialists and each of them told me changes in diet were unlikely to help. The problem here that, in a clinical sense, they know that drugs usually work despite the side effects. Unfortunately, they are not trained in nutrition and as a result do not know how to prescribe a diet or how to test. This is a huge gap in the treatment of UC.
I became convinced that diet was a key factor in UC right after Xmas 2013. I had gone back to spend xmas with my wife’s family and had eaten and drank a whole lot of garbage. When I returned home, there was blood in my stool again, which quickly turned to 5-10 visits to the toilet per day and cramps/upset belly. This is when I joined IhaveUC and bought Adams book. I also read Wheat Belly and the SCD book. I started by cutting back on caffeine and then removing gluten and alcohol from the diet. This improved things a bit, but I was still having really bad days. It was kind of a guessing game which I was frustrated with. I had also become very anemic, to the point where I looked very pale, had super low energy and really felt the cold.
My turning point came in early february when I decided to go see a naturopath. This lady was a breath of fresh air and knew my condition well. She was totally on board with treating me with herbal remedies and by changing my diet. At first, I spent 4 weeks on an elimination diet. However, I still had some diary and also eggs in there which I thought were totally fine. At my first appointment, she took blood to do a food allergy test. She also put me on a daily supplement of aloe vera gel and Wise Woman Herbal GI capsules, as well as a different probiotic.
I got the results of the food allergy test last week. I was shocked to find out I am severely allergic to eggs and whey protein, as well as diary and gluten. Eggs and whey were part of my staple and things I thought I could tolerate. I have taken these things out of my diet now and, 3 days later THIS MORNING I PRODUCED A MASSIVE, FIRM DUMP! Yay for me…………then, 30 minutes later I PRODUCED ANOTHER MASSIVE, FIRM DUMP! Yay for me again, must have been backed up……….these have been my first solid morning bowel movements in 10 weeks.
The naturopath has, in addition to the GI caps and the aloe vera, put me on an iron supplement. Here are the things I now do in my diet which I felt led to me feeling better:
No dairy – use almond and cococut products instead.
No gluten/wheat – I get gluten free bread (I am not allergic to yeast) and eat a lot of oats, rice, potatoes and quinoa for carbs.
Nightshades – I only eat potatoes for now, but once I feel I am fully in the clear I’ll introduce tomatoe and peppers again,
No eggs – no real substitute, but i can have bacon and sausage (pork based) for breakfast.
No cows meat – I eat bison for red meat.
Low caffiene – 1 cup of tea, 1 decaf coffee p/day.
No alcohol – I’m building up to a glass of wine, but not yet. I will never drink beer again
I also now use a pea protein shake product by Isagenix which is why/gluten/diary and lactose free. This is helping me build back muscle (pretty important for a fitness trainer!)
I’m continuing with the meds, using mesevant daily and the enemas occasionally. My main reason for writing this post was to underline to important factors in recovery 1) Seek out medical support. A good GP and referral to a specialist is kind of key. 2) You need to know your individual sensitivities. Following a generic diet for UC may lead to success, but in my case it didn’t lead to full resolution. I was totally shocked to find out that eggs were a huge problem for me. So, although it is expensive, seeing a naturopath who understands UC and getting the food allergy test done was a huge step for me. Alternatively, go full elimination diet (no eggs, no gluten, no diary, no whey) and then follow the procedure for reintroduction of foods. This actually the gold standard according to www.precisionnutrition.com
Good luck to all of you!
“Hey Adam – I’ve been reading you site regularly and your book and writings are what led me to diet as treatment for UC. Thank you very much and keep up the good work!”
What up Andrew!
Thanks so much for the update, and congrats for finding your way to health!
Best of luck to you moving forward, and keep us updated if you have a few moments in-between sets with the heavy weights:)