Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder


I want to start off by apologizing.  It has been over a month since I have posted and for anyone looking for a new posts to come here and find none I am sorry.  Life has been very busy and sadly I haven’t had the time to get online to write a post.

Now that the summer is winding down and autumn is on the horizon, things will start to slow down a little.  Work has been very very busy but after September all will quiet down there.  At home, I am still doing board of director stuff and again, in October that might slow down also.

One thing I want to talk about while I have the chance is diet.  As many of you know, weight has been an issue with me.  I have talked about my journey with weight loss and doing a diet through Weight Watchers.  This past year had me so busy that I stopped going to meetings and eventually stopped the program.  I had hoped that I would finally be ok and keep the weight off.  Sadly, I am now back in the boat of weight gain.  It is slowly coming back and like Crohn’s…it is annoying the F out of me.Weight

Like IBD which can flare up at any time, weight gain comes when it wants.  So I am back with my demons trying to figure out what to do.  I am still Gluten Free and that makes my diet issues even worse.  I feel so loss on what to eat and what to do.  As anyone knows, when you feel loss you feel stress.  Stress then causes me to eat and the vicious cycle starts.  Stress also makes IBD worse and causes flares.

Overall, I am still doing well with my CD.  I see my GI in just over a week and I know it will be an uneventful meeting.  He will probably won’t have me return for 6 months (I hope) which means my next visit after this could be the colonoscopy time.  Ugh!!  I am still on LDN though so I am curious how it is affecting my insides and if it has helped in the healing processes any.  I feel great so I hope there is some significant healing.

But back to the diet.  I went into a very big IBD chat group on Facebook to find out what other overweight IBDers have done as far as diets.  Sadly, I didn’t get the answers I was hoping for.  I did get some good advice, but overall it wasn’t what I was really looking for.  A big advice was to cut back on carbs, which I will try.  It isn’t easy as I have realized that I have an addiction to carbs.  The other big advice was to increase protein.  It was recommended that for breakfast, instead of cereal to eat leftover dinner protein.  Um….no.  That may be fine for some people and for some foods I can maybe do that…but overall, no.  When I eat breakfast, I am still half asleep and so are my taste buds.  They don’t need a shock of BBQ sauce or Teriyaki  in the morning.

What I am curious, and I hope some people will feel ok to open up, what do some of you with IBD do to lose weight.  I know most automatically lose weight, but for those of you that are like me and still have weight issues, what do you do.  What works and what doesn’t.  Feel free to leave a comment or even email me.  I would love help from everyone and I really could use some direction.

 

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Recipe for Success – Repost


I was looking over past post’s and I saw this one  from August 2012 and thought I had to repost it.  I also thought that since I have lost some of my way in life, that rereading this would maybe help me get back on track.

 

“Two weeks ago at my Weight Watchers meeting we were talking about recipes.  We were encouraged to bring in a recipe to swap with everyone.  When it was my leaders turn, she gave us a recipe…but not for food.  I looked it over and thought, this isn’t just relevent to food…this is good for life.  So, I decided to share the wisdom of my leader and give you…The Recipe for Success

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Vision         1 Cup Commitment         1 Cup Discipline       1 Cup Self-Control    1 Cup Sacrifice   1 Cup Conviction              1 Cup Imagination

Directions:

In a large part of your life, add 1 cup of vision.  Make up your mind which direction to go and strive for it everyday.  Add 1 cup commitment.  Commit yourself every day to reaching your goal.    Add 1 cup discipline.  Discipline yourself to do what you must to keep the committment and hold on to the vision.  Add 1 cup of self-control.  No matter what temptation comes, remember you have a choice.  Add 1 cup of sacrifice.  Be willing to give up bad habits for good habits.  Add 1 cup conviction.

Have the courage to stand your ground knowing that you are mixing the right ingredients together in your life.  Add 1 cup of imagination.  Imagine what all this cooking will achieve in the end.  Bring all of these things to a boil.  Now pour it all into the rest of your life and you have the recipe for success.  Keep it always on simmer.

As I read this in the meeting, I was no longer thinking about food.  I know she gave this to us to help us stay on course and keep up with our weight loss.  But I saw a bigger picture.  Living with a chronic illness will do that to you.  I didn’t just see food…I saw a recipe to beat an illness.  I saw a recipe for me to get through life.

I know at times life with Crohn’s or Colitis can be hard.  Sometimes we want to just throw in the towel and say I quit.  But that is when we need this recipe.  Sometimes, we need to alter a recipe and add a little more spice to it.  There are days we might need 2 cups of self-control.  Maybe we need a gallon of vision because all we see is our blanket covering our eyes.  Whatever the day…keep this recipe close at hand.  Make it your first meal.  Make it your last.  Make a big batch of it on the weekend for the whole week.  Whatever you do…make sure to make it at least once a week.”

The Great Experiment Part 2


Last January I was in a nasty flare.  I was going to the bathroom 30 times a day.  I was obese with high cholesterol and high blood sugar.  My body was a mess and I wasn’t treating it nicely.  So, I decided to make some changes as many of you already know.  I joined Weight Watchers to lose weight, which I was pretty good with.  For the year I lost about 30 lbs.  I also went Gluten-Free to help with my Crohn’s.  I wanted to give my intestines a rest from the harsh fiber of wheat.  Also, this was supposed to help in reducing my blood sugar levels.  Lastly, and this happened later in the year, I switched meds.  I went off Humira and started Low Dose Naltrexone.

For the most part everything was working well.  I achieved what seemed like remission.  I lost weight.  I feel good and healthier.  I was finally on the right track.  And then it all came to a crashing halt.  The Dreaded Holidays!!!   Anyone that knows me knows I like to eat.  Well, the holidays give me that opportunity.  Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate covered anything.  With New Years Eve, there is a lot of eating, then some drinking, then some more eating and yes, more drinking.

Well, it is now January 2013.  My weight has been fine and I don’t think I have gained too much weight back as my clothes still fit.  However, the past week or so I have been going to the bathroom more.  I am not feeling as healthy as I should and I know the reason.  I have been putting garbage into my body again and have completely looked away from eating right.  I am now paying for it.

So now I know that diet most definitely plays a part in IBD.  Today is Friday night.  This weekend is my last hurrah.  As of Monday I start up my experiment with nutrition and IBD and get back to eating correctly.  I am going back onto the Weight Watchers plan.  I am going to stop putting nasty chemicals into my body.  I am going to start treating my body like it should be treated.

A lot of people still say that nutrition means nothing when it comes to IBD.  I think I might have proven this past year that it does.  When I ate healthy with all natural products I was doing great.  When I started eating junk again, I felt like I was on the verge of a flare.  I have learned a lot in 2012 and I know that I need to stop NOW.  I need to practice what I preach.

So I will continue on my journey come Monday.  I won’t look back.  I won’t second guess myself and I won’t regret it for one minute.  I want to be completely healthy.  I want others to look and me and say, “If he can do it, then anyone can” because I couldn’t do it for so many years.  I denied the nutrition connection and ignored my weight. 

The holidays are done.  My denial is over.  I had my fill and now I need to continue my journey and my experiment.  Welcome to Jeff 2.0.  Time to take all I have learned and put it into practice.  And there is nothing better on a journey than some company…so Who Is With Me?

Gluten Free Mac & Cheese


I wanted to share with you another recipe I have that is gluten-free.  I started making this recipe a couple of years ago when I was on Weight Watchers for the 2nd time.  This is one of their recipes but I have modified it a little.  Originally this wasn’t a gluten-free recipe but as my lifestyle changes, so do my recipes.  For any vegans, you can also modify this using a dairy free cheese and soy or almond milk.

Gluten Free Macaroni & Cheese – Serves 2

  1. 6 oz Uncooked Gluten Free Elbow Macaroni – you can use whatever brand you like
  2. 1 cup Fat Free Milk (can be lactose free, soy, almond, or regular)
  3. 1/8 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  4. 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  5. 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  6. 1/2 cup Low Fat Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Cook pasta in water according to package.  Drain and return to pot.

While pasta is cooking, in a large saucepan, whisk together milk, flour, salt and onion powder until blended.  Bring to a boil on a medium – low heat, whisking frequently.  Reduce to a low heat and simmer, stirring often, until thickened (about 2 minutes).  Remove from heat and whisk in the cheese.

Add sauce to the cooked pasta, toss to coat, and serve.
I sometimes add cooked broccoli to this.  You can also add meat to this dish like cubed ham.  If you do, I would reduce the amount of pasta to 4 oz then.

 

Feel free to play with this recipe as  there are a lot of things you can do with it.  Some people add hot sauce or red pepper flakes.  Some will add bread crumbs and bake it.  Whatever you do, enjoy it like I always do.

 

 

Gluten Free Diet Update


It has been seven months now since I have gone gluten-free in hopes of calming my colon to help get me in remission.  I figured I would update you to show just how important diet is to treating your IBD.

Back in January I weighed around 240 lbs.  I was going to the bathroom 30 times a day with a lot of cramping and having a lot of intestinal pain.  I knew I had to change my way of life.  So I decided to go on Weight Watchers and go gluten-free.  This would be a big change for me as I love my gluten 🙂

Here it is 7 months later.  I am happy to say, it is working beautifully.  I am down 25 lbs.  Best of all, my Crohn’s is just about in remission.  I am only going to the bathroom 3-4 times a day.  Still more than normal, but I can live with that.  My blood sugar and cholesterol have also come down but still not to acceptable levels.  Overall, I have made a real impact on my health for the better.

So what have I learned from this experience.  Well, you can definitely live a gluten-free life.  There are some hurdles every now and then but nothing that I can’t handle.  The biggest challenge so far was travelling to another country to an all-inclusive resort.  The food choices were a challenge, and I didn’t eat too much..but I was able to stick to my gluten-free diet.

Now for anyone thinking about going gluten-free but is worried about taste…don’t be.  There are a lot of tasty GF products out there.  Depending on where you live,  your selection might be different from mine but I am sure that you will find some tasty treats.  Here are some of the brands I use.

Bread – I have tried a number of GF breads and have found Udi’s Whole Grain to be my favorite.  Glutino also a good whole grain but their white bread isn’t as good.  Schar’s Deli Style bread reminds me of a Jewish Rye which makes a real good sandwich.

Cereal – I have been sticking with Chex for now as they have a number of different flavors to choose from.  Nature’s Path also makes some really good cereal’s but is a little harder to find.

Pasta – I have been sticking to Schar brand pasta but they are limited in their variety.  Tinkyada makes a good brown rice pasta also.  I recently made a lasagna with their noodles and you couldn’t tell it was gluten-free.

Snacks – This one is going to vary depending on what you are looking for in sweets.  I have been sticking to Schar’s Vanilla or Chocolate Wafers.  Glutino also makes good wafers but you get more per serving size with Schar.  For crunchy snacks, I find myself ignoring potato chips which are usually greasy and have been eating Pirate Booty.  They have a number of different flavors and styles.  I also have been eating more popcorn.  Not only is popcorn GF but it is a whole grain and has recently be found to have more antioxidants than some fruits and vegetables.  For my desert’s, I have been eating ZenSoy chocolate puddings.  They are dairy free and more delicious than Jell-O brand.

Frozen meals – Now of course home-made is healthier than frozen but sometimes you just have to do it.  I have found Amy’s brand has some really good meals.  I especially like their Spinach Lasagna.   Another pasta I like which is frozen is Caesar’s brand gnocchi.  I used to love gnocchi and this is one item I can still eat.  For pizza, I have been eating Glutino’s Pepperoni pizza.  Amy’s makes a good vegetable one that has no cheese.  My selection to frozen meals is limited as I can only find GF ones in Whole Foods.

As for meals, most natural foods are gluten-free.  Chicken, beef, vegetables, etc.  All you have to do is find some good recipes and use your imagination.   A simple meal like grilling a beef tenderloin, baked potato and some steamed broccoli is delicious, wholesome, and gluten-free.

So, my journey continues.  I am down 25 lbs with another 50 to go.  I have a long road ahead and my current medicine is making the journey a little harder but it is still a great learning experience.  I think as I come across them, I will post some recipes for anyone looking for some.  I recently found a great eggplant recipe that is GF and Dairy free.  I will post that real soon.  And if anyone has some they would like to share, let me know.

Recipe for Success


Two weeks ago at my Weight Watchers meeting we were talking about recipes.  We were encouraged to bring in a recipe to swap with everyone.  When it was my leaders turn, she gave us a recipe…but not for food.  I looked it over and thought, this isn’t just relevent to food…this is good for life.  So, I decided to share the wisdom of my leader and give you…The Recipe for Success

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Vision         1 Cup Commitment         1 Cup Discipline       1 Cup Self-Control    1 Cup Sacrifice   1 Cup Conviction              1 Cup Imagination

Directions:

In a large part of your life, add 1 cup of vision.  Make up your mind which direction to go and strive for it everyday.  Add 1 cup commitment.  Commit yourself every day to reaching your goal.    Add 1 cup discipline.  Discipline yourself to do what you must to keep the committment and hold on to the vision.  Add 1 cup of self-control.  No matter what temptation comes, remember you have a choice.  Add 1 cup of sacrifice.  Be willing to give up bad habits for good habits.  Add 1 cup conviction.

Have the courage to stand your ground knowing that you are mixing the right ingredients together in your life.  Add 1 cup of imagination.  Imagine what all this cooking will achieve in the end.  Bring all of these things to a boil.  Now pour it all into the rest of your life and you have the recipe for success.  Keep it always on simmer.

As I read this in the meeting, I was no longer thinking about food.  I know she gave this to us to help us stay on course and keep up with our weight loss.  But I saw a bigger picture.  Living with a chronic illness will do that to you.  I didn’t just see food…I saw a recipe to beat an illness.  I saw a recipe for me to get through life.

I know at times life with Crohn’s or Colitis can be hard.  Sometimes we want to just throw in the towel and say I quit.  But that is when we need this recipe.  Sometimes, we need to alter a recipe and add a little more spice to it.  There are days we might need 2 cups of self-control.  Maybe we need a gallon of vision because all we see is our blanket covering our eyes.  Whatever the day…keep this recipe close at hand.  Make it your first meal.  Make it your last.  Make a big batch of it on the weekend for the whole week.  Whatever you do…make sure to make it at least once a week.