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No Crying in the Kitchen

Randi the Chef with ColitisIntroduction:

Hello all! My name is Randi and I have UC. Ok, let’s rewind a little bit. I am 20 years old, proudly from Minnesota and I was diagnosed a little under two years ago while I was in culinary school. Also, I love pugs with my whole heart. No shame, they’re freaking cute.

Colitis Symptoms:

My fellow UCers know the drill… Frequent bathroom visits, blood, mucus, gas pains!! I also have significant joint pain from the remicade. Currently, I am in the middle of a flare up. One of my worst. I am getting remicade every 4 weeks paired with Imuran and asacol. I am afraid that a prednisone taper is in my near future as well. I don’t know about the rest of you but I get the WORST gas pains later in the evening, around 8 pm.  My symptoms seem to be elevated in the morning tenfold. I had my gallbladder removed a few months ago which made my Ulcerative Colitis worse because there was nothing to help break down my food.

My Story:

I am a certified chef and I work in a setting that teaches special needs teenagers and handicapped adults how to cook! I LOVE my job. Due to my UC I had to quit the restaurant scene, hardcore chefs weren’t really enthused with my frequent bathroom visits… Even though the culinary world and UC don’t match up too well, I am happy to be in the field I am today.

I was 18 when I was diagnosed with UC. At first I really didn’t think it would be a huge deal. One quick round of antibiotics and I would be fine!! Right? Think again. It took a few weeks of doctors visits before I was referred to a specialist and was immediately diagnosed. I started a serious course of prednisone, rowasa enemas and asacol immediately. After about 5 weeks I felt so much better! Instead of running to the bathroom 15+ times a day, it was down to 2. I hadn’t remembered feeling that well in a long time. I stayed in remission only for a few weeks before I was hit again. I was started on an even more serious dose of prednisone, and I was in remission in just a few weeks. The longest I have ever been in remission for is 4 months. In a matter of a year, I had 4 colonoscopies to try to see just how far my UC had spread. The last colonoscopy revealed that it is most likely Ulcerative Pancolitis and 2 polyps were found as well. It is scary to hear, but I can’t change my outcome or this path so you just have to take it in stride. I have tried the SCD diet, but with my profession, sticking to it is nearly impossible. I also don’t have the best support from the fam. They just don’t understand how debilitating this disease can be- not only physically but emotionally and mentally. The biggest part is that they are trying, and that means the world.
Anyone follow the SCD diet? If so, any tips? Please tell me what you would normally eat in a day, as an example!!

Where I’d Like to be in 1 Year:

Fully committed to the SCD diet and in remission.

Colitis Meds:

Remicade- started as a miracle drug. The positive aspects are slowly disappearing.
Imuran- Paired with the remicade it seems to work well. I am currently on a remicade, imuran cocktail with minimal luck.
Asacol- 4 pills 2 times a day.
Prednisone- Disliked this pill more than anything. I got a moon face like you have never seen. I also had a huge problem with hair loss and significant weight gain on this one as well.

written by Chef Randi

submitted in the Colitis Venting Area

Tags: chef, gallbladder





11 Responses to “No Crying in the Kitchen”

  1. AdamMay 20, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    How’s it going Chef Randi,

    hey, thanks for adding your story.

    Here is a link with a bunch of food ideas I eat:

    http://www.ihaveuc.com/category/personal-stories/good-meals-for-ulcerative-colitis/

    They are for the most part SCD legal foods, but for example, the corn tortillas on one of the postings is NOT part of the “SCD” food.

    I wish you the best of luck with however you move past your UC, and the same goes to you and your awesome sounding life as a chef doing what you love! Way cool that you found your passion in life so early.

    Adam

  2. Wendy
    WendyMay 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    I’m sorry to hear about your illness. I understand about the family not understanding what it is like. It is difficult to understand what it is like even when you have UC yourself! In 2009 I was diagnosed after a year of bloody washroom visits and I couldn’t even leave the toilet towards the ending. All it took was one prednisone pill and I was better almost immediately. At the end of the prednisone treatments I was 100% for two years. I didn’t think UC was a big deal. Then, in October 2011 I had an attack so bad I couldn’t even sip water without terrible pain. It took a week of IV steroids in the hospital before I could get food in my mouth even water without horrible pain. It is now 21st of May 2012 and i am still not totally recovered and I’m thinking of removing my colon. My illness that time was so bad I thought I would have to call 911 after I was out of the hospital and tried going to the washroom on my own. It was bad for a long time and took very long for me to be able to eat. Great for weight loss though! Anyway, I can see how people wouldn’t be able to understand what UC is like. Even when I had it before the bad flare-up I didn’t get it.

  3. MaggieMay 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    Zucchini cut length-wise makes great noodles cooked “al dente.” Tonight I had meatballs made with parmesan cheese, hard cheeses are allowed. I’ve been vegetarian most of my life, I’m 61, and I try to eat meat but it has to taste good. It seems the scd diet is very restrictive but with the help of scd cookbooks and imagination, a lot can be accomplished. You have an advantage studying to be a chef. I would love to hear about some good recipes that you can come up with. I’ve had a hard time adhering to the diet cuz like everybody else, I love to eat! Good luck!

  4. claudia andersonMay 21, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    So glad you are a chef! It is time for someone to open up a restaurant for people with UC, Crohns, Celiacs, & all those Paleo, GAPS, SCD, & Maker’s diets! The SCDiet is so important & absolutely works (if you follow it religiously with help from others who are on it) & a very challenging & rewarding experience! People with gut issues right now are like the proverbial “canary in the coal mine”–just the tip of the iceberg–because for whatever reason, the people that can not tolerate regular diets is growing at an alarming rate. Within the next decade there will be (unfortunately) many more people joining the ranks of those who can no longer eat “normally”. The possibilities are endless. Luckily I like to cook, so I have been experimenting & learning so much of what is available on the SC Diet–I guess I daydream about opening a restaurant that my husband & I can go to & not have to stress about what will be available that we can eat! Don’t think your life is over—make an opportunity out of what you think of as failure….Wish you only the best!

  5. Randi
    RandiMay 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    I must just have a mental road block! Even after reading tons of people saying that the SCD diet works 100%, I still can’t bring myself to completely follow it!! I will one day very soon.

    Wendy, your experience sounds very similar to mine. Unfortunately I just started a prednisone taper today… Last time I was on a taper I gained 30 pounds!!

    Thank you all for the ideas, I really appreciate the tips!!

  6. Paul WilloughbyMay 22, 2012 at 3:47 am #

    Hey Randi,
    my symptoms are worse in the morning as well and from what I understand, that is true of most people. Even in remission, it’s hard to overcome the morning difficulties. I’ve learned to get up extra early for work and any other time I have to leave the house. Imodium AD is my friend.

    Paul

  7. slingshotMay 22, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    Day one
    —————————
    Breakfast:
    – Small plate of sauerkraut
    – Banana pancakes
    AM break (in swedish we have a special word for break to take a cup of coffee and a snack “Fika”):
    – Fruit
    Lunch:
    – Raw food lasagne (http://therawchef.com/therawchefblog/lasagne-recipe)
    PM “Fika”:
    – Home made juice of 50% cabbage / 50% juice
    Dinner:
    – Fish soup
    —————————
    Day two
    Breakfast:
    – Nut porridge
    (http://www.rawfoodrecept.com/2012/04/notgrot.html)
    (http://www.rawfoodrecipesonline.com/2011/09/22/raw-vegan-porridge-absolute-comfort-food-raw-food-recipe/)
    AM “Fika”:
    Apple with homemade SCD yoghurt
    Lunch:
    chicken + fried zucchini + green beans
    PM “Fika”:
    Bun with Brie (3eggs, 1/2 coconut oil, almoundflour, left over “dry carrot” from juice centrifuge, coconut flour, spices) 150C oven 30-40 min, another Egg brushed on top is good as well. The “bread” keeps well in refrigerator for a week
    Dinner:
    Roasted Duck in oven!!! :D
    With a fresh sallad

    SCD life is totally worth it. I love food, I love my new lifestyle, I love that I read the book.
    Buy one of the “Books Breaking the Vicious Cycle – by – Elaine Gloria Gottschall” or “Gut and Psychology syndrome – by – Natasha Campbell-McBride”

    Good luck!
    Have fun!
    Live life!

  8. NicoleMay 22, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    Hi Randi!
    I’m not a chef, but a home cook, food enthusiast and I run a food blog for fun (the blog will be all-SCD soon and I’ll share the link at a later date). I also have UC. I was diagnosed 12 years ago. In the past, I took Asacol, Remicade and Lialda, and did the enemas. They were all temporary fixes and put me into remission for awhile, but once my body got used to the drugs, they all became ineffective.

    It wasn’t until I stumbled upon Adam’s amazing IHaveUC.com website, which subsequently led me to the “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” book and the SCD diet, that I went into real remission–and for real this time! In just 1 week of being on the specific carbohydrate diet, I saw drastic improvement. I was only going to the bathroom twice a day (it used to be upward of 12 times a day) and my insides were feeling fantastic! Best yet, no more Remicade.

    Now, being a food lover and loving to cook, I admit I was skeptical of SCD at first too and worried that cooking (and eating) wouldn’t be as fun anymore. But what I found was exactly the opposite. I actually love dreaming up SCD recipes and cooking them. My boyfriend, who doesn’t have UC (and loves to brag about his “perfect” poops), LOVES eating SCD too. In fact, he begs me to make SCD muffins (made with almond flour, honey and various fruits). He prefers them to regular muffins. He doesn’t even have to eat this way, but he loves the food I make and finds it to be not only tasty, but satisfying and super healthy, of course.

    You asked about what us SCDers typically eat in a day. Variety is key for me, so every Saturday morning I take about 30 minutes to create a meal plan for the week that includes all different kinds of foods. Then I do all my shopping for the week and get things organized. I cut up just about every fruit known to man so it’s all ready to go (I even freeze some of it for smoothies). And I bake a batch or two of SCD-legal muffins. The meal plan literally hangs on my fridge and I refer to it daily to know what I’m going to be cooking for each meal (including prepping snacks and things to take while I’m out and about — snacks are key; never let yourself get hungry and you won’t cheat!). On the meal plan for today is:

    BREAKFAST: Veggie and egg fritatta (with spinach, red peppers, a little pecorino romano cheese and asparagus), 1 SCD zucchini muffin (made with almond flour and honey), and a coconut milk, banana, pineapple and mango smoothie

    SNACK: SCD-legal almond butter with sliced Bosc pears and strawberries

    LUNCH: Grilled chicken, green beans with shallots, roasted golden beets with oregano, and a peach.

    SNACK: Sliced SCD-legal cheese and sliced avocado

    DINNER: “Spaghetti” (made with spaghetti squash for noodles) and meat sauce (ground organic, free-range chicken, olive oil, chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh basil, fresh garlic and shallots). For dessert, I’ll make banana-cinnamon “soft serve” in my food processor. It’s just frozen bananas and a dash of cinnamon. So yummy!

    You are so lucky that you are a professional chef! You always have access to a kitchen, which is fantastic. I know in the middle of a lunch or dinner rush, it’s tough to stop and cook your own SCD food, but you can prep stuff in advance and make it work! I know you can do it. I work a desk job and have to be able to microwave my stuff throughout the workweek. People call me the “container girl” at work because I bring at least eight different containers of food with me daily. Ha, ha! I make my lunches and snacks the night before so I’m never in a stressed situation where I’ve got to run out the door without having my food prepped. It’s become a way of life (and a great one at that!) and I don’t see it as a chore. It’s fun. And you know what? I don’t even miss “illegal” things I ate in the past. SCD food can be so good that you won’t either. Trust me on that!

    I wish I had access to a full kitchen at my job! You are so, so lucky you work in the profession you do. This is your wheelhouse!! Talk to your coworkers and tell them you have to follow this diet. I am positive they will be supportive and find ways to even help you make it work.

    Now go and dream up at least five SCD recipes and share them with the rest of us, chef! :) Best of luck to you! :)

    -Nicole

  9. Randi
    RandiMay 23, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    Nicole, do you have a recipe for those SCD muffins?? They sound wonderful! I really love you you make this fun by keeping it interesting. I will definitely have to commit when I get this flare up under control. I started prednisone today and have another colonscopy on Friday! So hopefully I can start this diet sooner than later!!

  10. Polly
    PollyMay 30, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    Hey Randi,

    How did the colonoscopy go???
    I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been having such a rough time lately.

    I am at the end of my 6 week medical leave from work (heading back to work on Friday — and I’m nerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrvous about it!).
    I am heading back to Minnesota this evening (I’ve been at my parent’s house in Wisconsin).
    Hopefully I can come and visit you sometime in the next couple of weeks! Looking forward to meeting you (a fellow UCer!)

    Hang in there, lots of hugs,
    Polly

  11. Randi
    RandiMay 30, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    Hey Polly!! Great to hear. My colonoscopy revealed active colitis throughout my whole colon.. So I started the cort enemas and those only exasperated my symptoms! So yesterday I started prednisone… Hello moon face!! But I am feeling less tired, thank gosh!!! Shoot me an email Polly, I’d love to meet you soon! How was your medical leave?

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