High Country Arizona Needs Help with Diet!

Michelle from Arizona with Colitis

Michelle with her Husband

I am a 48 year old stay at home mom living in the high country of Arizona. I was diagnosed in May of 2011 by colonoscopy after 6 months of symptoms. I love to hike, do pilates and spend time with my husband and two boys ages 14 and 12.
My Symptoms:
After being mostly symptom free since October, I am currently in the midst of a flare. I have been using Canasa suppositories for 2 days and the crampy, bloody and bloating stuff is improving.

My Story:

After “lurking” this site for about a year I have decided to share my story and hopefully get some tips from others. After being diagnosed last May I scoured the internet for information. I was confused to see all of the contradictory stories about how diet does or does not play a role in UC. My GI physician of course does not believe that diet is any factor in this disease. My husband, however, is an anesthesiologist- a MD- and encouraged me to research how diet can help or hurt me. I somehow found myself at a Paleo diet site and learned how dairy can be a culprit in all kinds of colitis- like conditions so I went dairy free last October. This seemed the easiest thing for me to try and the good news is that it worked! I truly felt that I had found something that worked for me and basically have been feeling great. Fast forward to June of 2012. Two weeks in Italy where of course I had gelatto at least once a day and ate pizza (with cheese!) and quite a bit of pasta. Returning home My CSA (community shared agriculture) share started and became inundated with vegetables that I was determined to use! One of the toughest concepts for me to wrap my head around is that some of the things that I think are “good” because conventional wisdom claims that they are so healthy- may not be “good” for me and my colon. I probably over consumed my share of pea pods, zucchini, etc. etc. and now find myself scratching my head why my symptoms returned.

Could I have over vegetabled myself in to a flare?

So now I am asking for some dietary advice. I ordered the SCD book and downloaded Adam’s book as well. I also just need to know that there are others that have experienced what I have.

Where I’d like to be in 1 year:
Symptom free! Enjoying life! Helping others with the knowledge that I have gained on my UC journey.

Colitis Medications:
I only have experience with the Canasa suppositories. I haven’t had to use any other meds.

written by Michelle

submitted in the colitis venting area

11 thoughts on “High Country Arizona Needs Help with Diet!”

  1. Yep, that “good for everybody else, but not for UC” is a toughie. I have that problem too. Especially with raw vegetables, but I have to be careful with cooked too, as well as dairy. Eating socially is one of the toughest things; I seem to have messed up my colon that way this past week…

    BTW, I’m a 47-yo female with UC since my early 30’s… but have had more trouble in the past couple years. Appears to be related to hormonal changes – the meds the Gyn has me on for the related girl-stuff seem to also be helping my colon.

  2. Hi Michelle,

    I also live in Arizona but in Phoenix. Recently, I had some store bought yogurt and it really bothered me. So I have cut out dairy products. I do drink Almond milk and that doesn’t seem to bother me. I have also cut out meat and my GI physician told me to stay away from spicy foods. I’m on Lialda (1 a day) and Hydrocortisone enemas (1 at night). I’m not in a flare right now so all is good. However, I do think diet does play a part in UC. Everyone is different and you have to find out what you can tolerate. I wish you all the best. I also think stress can cause symptoms.

    1. Thanks for the information. Besides dietary changes the last month has been particularly stressful, so I am sure that also played a role in this latest flare. Take care and thanks again!

  3. Hi Michelle. I was a CRNA in Cottonwood from 2006-10. Flag is a beautiful place and I love northern AZ. Anyway, I think you are on the right path with the info you are looking into. I don’t eat dairy and follow an SCD/Paleo esk diet pretty closely with the rare occasional treat depending on how I’m doing. It does help. I won’t get into specifics as I don’t want to overwhelm you with things that I have tried and tell you what has worked/hasn’t worked for me. Besides, I already think the resources your are looking into are a great start. The one thing I will tell you with diet is that for many people with IBD–diet alone might not take you as far as you want to go with getting back to health. It definitely helps (I know dietary changes have helped me) and I think its great what you are doing. I guess I’m just saying if you end up following the most strict diet in the world (like eating nothing but organic meats and vegetables and drinking only water for a month) and it’s still not enough don’t beat yourself up. If the diet fails you it doesn’t mean you are a failure. OK :) SCDlifestyle.com is a great website to look into if you haven’t checked that one already. Best of Luck Michelle and Kudos to your husband for encouraging you to take charge of your health.

    1. Thanks for the message! I also love living in this area of the world. Of course right now we are eagerly awaiting rain! I checked out that SCD website and think it will be helpful along with the Paleo diet info. It seems that diet can be extremely specific according to each person and what can be tolerated and not tolerated. Thanks again for the help-having this UC website has been very helpful.

  4. Hi Michelle,

    I wonder about what Hopskotch said about hormones. I am 49, and I’ve had the worst time with UC these past few years. I was diagnosed a long time back in my mid 30s as well, but it was always semi mild, until my mid 40s. Then, it seemed like all hell broke loose! (I’m female, by the way!!)

    As for diet…well, yes, it does appear to play quite a role. Those raw veggies, almonds, and heavy milk products, like cream, do give me problems. What a drag that vecetables are such a culprit for some of us, as they are so healthy a food. I love how you put it…’could I have vegetabled myself into a flare?’…love it!!

    I guess us ‘mature’ ladies just have to work through this whole hormonal thing in our UC, where men and younger gals don’t have to. Oh joy, right?!

    Bev, in Canada:)

    1. Thanks Bev! I am sure that the hormones play a role-just one more issue to deal with! haha I’m fairly optimistic about diet-of course this is relatively new to me so I am not tired of eating the same “safe” foods over and over. I have a check-up with my gynecologist coming up so I am sure this will all come up. Thanks again for your comment!

      1. …and thank you too, Michelle, for joining us, and reading my comment!

        I truly think that hormones play a role in alot of things in our bodies, including whatever disease we may have. I mean, they have to, don’t they? They are powerful little things, those hormones.

        Welcome to the UC family…lol


  5. Hi Michelle! I hope all is well. I am curious how you are doing now? Have you been able to eat veggies again without trouble? Either way, If you are currently doing anything to help yourself, what is it? Just curious because I would like to know if you found a cause for what happened with you, etc. Hope to hear from you and again, hope all is well with you. And everyone here!

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