Sunday, January 26, 2014

8 Things that Worsen Inflammation!

Below is my first article for The Crohn's Journey Foundation. I'll post the link once it's published on their site.

Did you know that the body creates inflammation as a way to help you heal? In the case of Crohn’s, generally, toxic matter poisons the gut and the immune system creates inflammation as a way to purify the area.  Once the area is purified, you heal, and then the inflammation goes away.
Inflammation is caused when the body sends elements of the immune system, white blood cells or T cells, to the affected area. These T cells produce antibodies, which bind toxins and leads to healing.  The last thing we need to do is interrupt this healing process by aggravating the situation.  
There are things we eat and do every day that can either help our gut heal, or throw us into a full-fledged flare up.

Raw Vegetables
Vegetables are great for us, and essential in assisting with healthy iron levels, which is often a challenge for people who suffer from Crohn’s. However, eating raw vegetables and salads can irritate the bowel since they are difficult to digest. Avoid eating them when your gut is inflamed. Drink them instead by including them in your favorite juice or smoothie.

Fatty Foods
Your body is impaired when you’re inflamed and fatty foods cannot be digested properly. Avoid all fatty foods including meats, dairy, oils, avocados, olives, and especially nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are difficult to digest even when you’re healthy, and depending upon your type of Crohn’s, they may be indigestible when you’re inflamed, and hard undigested particles can create complications like fistulas. Ultimately, stay away from fatty foods. Even the good fatty foods are not good for you when inflammation is present.

Citrus Fruits
High acid citrus fruits and tomatoes also must be avoided. They’re too harsh for a healing gut. Lemons and limes are the worse as they are extremely acidic and for those with Crohn’s, even during healthy times, should always be used in moderation, diluted with other juices or water, or used with other ingredients. Avoid them entirely and stick with sweet fruits instead when you’re inflamed.

Acid Forming Foods
This is a tough one, because it encompassed sooo many foods we love to eat, but it is well worth the effort in results. Our GI tract’s ideal state for healing and health is slightly alkaline, except the colon, which is slightly acidic. However, the only way to accomplish this is to eat predominately alkaline forming foods. Creating a highly acidic GI tract is problematic and will perpetuate your inflammation. Acid forming foods include all meats, dairy, beans, most grains, nuts and seeds, sugar, soft drinks, coffee, and alcohol.

Spicy Foods
Any food or drink that is spicy hot to the palate or makes your eyes water is an aggravant to the gut. Garlic, cayenne pepper, onions, leeks, etc. can create additional unneeded irritation. Avoid them during times when your gut is inflamed.

An overloaded bowel is an overworked and stressed bowel, which will worsen an inflamed bowel. Don’t stuff yourself.

In addition to changing your eating habits there are a couple of other things you should consider when it comes to healing your inflammation.

Your nerve energy plays a significant role in healing. If you have ample, you are more likely to heal sooner than later. But if your gut is deprived of nerve energy, your inflammation is apt to worsen.

At the beginning of each day you are filled with nerve energy and you use it up throughout the day. The more you physically, mentally and emotionally do and handle, the more nerve energy you use. 
Nerve energy to your gut comes from your celiac plexus. Your celiac plexus is the largest plexus, or network of nerves and arteries in the body. It connects and regulates many of your organs, including the stomach, pancreas, liver, small and large intestines.

When your celiac plexus expands, it is radiating nerve energy throughout this network.  For this reason, the celiac plexus is often also referred to as your solar plexus. When it is contracts, it is depriving its network of the nerve energy it needs, and this will certainly make healing difficult, if not impossible.

So what makes your solar plexus contract instead of expand? What things do you do that wastes nerve energy?

Stress and Other Negative Feelings
Your ability to manage negative emotions is essential to healing for several reasons. First, negative emotions and disempowering thoughts wastes nerve energy. You need your nerve energy focused on healing, not on stressful situations.  You only get so much nerve energy a day. Do you want to use your nerve energy for healing or for managing useless emotions?

Second, when you are stressed, unhappy, depressed, or have any negative feelings, your celiac plexus contracts. Often your blood pressure and pulse rise. You may begin to breathe faster. Ultimately, the physical changes that negative emotions bring to your body over time simply are not healthy.

“Stress doesn’t only make us feel awful emotionally,” says Jay Winner MD, author of Take the Stress Out of Your Life. “It can also exacerbate just about any health condition you can think of.”

Managing stress and other negative emotions is challenging at times, especially if you’re not feeling well due to your Crohn’s symptoms, but get the stinking thinking out of your head if you want to accelerate your healing.

Lack of Sleep
Your nerve energy is only rejuvenated when you sleep. If you use up all of your nerve energy before you get to the end of your day, there is nothing left for healing. No organ can function properly without a supply of nerve energy. Therefore, lack of sleep is problematic.

You must get plenty of rest. The lack of appropriate nerve energy to heal will only make matters worse. Listen to your body. It tells you how much sleep you need.  If you’re fatigued or tired during times of inflammation or any other illness, you should sleep. You can never get too much sleep when it comes to healing.

I take a holistic approach to managing illnesses in my life, and this has required me to make massive changes in my lifestyle as a result of my Crohn’s diagnosis. I am learning every day better ways to manage my disease, and know that learning how to live a healthy life with Crohn’s is a process. I also know that change is not easy.  Yet one thing is abundantly clear to me. Eliminating these eight things during times of inflammation has been essential to managing my disease without medication and living a healthy life.

Ultimately, the items above are inflammatory. I regularly tell myself that a temporary pleasure of the palate is not worth the repercussions that could lead to a month or more of unpleasant symptoms. Even during healthy times when my gut is 100%, moderation is the key.

I realize that each of us is uniquely different and our bodies react to our actions individually. I’m hopeful that my experience and suggestions will help you, and I recommend that if you have any of these eight things in your life, you also make some changes. I hope that by eliminating these eight inflammatory things, you too will get as much comfort in your gut as I.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Raw Stuffed Portobello and Chocolate Mouse... Yum!

If you can eat delicious food that's raw, it's easier on your digestive tract than eating cooked foods and it's more nutritious. The enzymes in the food help with digestion which gives your own GI tract a little break from having to do all the work itself. Give these a try. They're delicious and good for you too!

Organic Raw Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
All ingredients are raw. Start with a couple portobello mushrooms. I marinated the portobello in sesame seed oil, balsamic vinegar and some spices for about 30 minutes. The spices included cilantro, oregano, rosemary, Himalayan salt and pepper. The stuffing ingredients are as flows:

  • Juice from one lime
  • 1/2 cup of cashews soaked for a couple hours or over night
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • A few basil leaves
  • A couple pinches of Himalayan salt

The stuffing ingredients are blended together.  All three dishes are placed in a dehydrator for about 30 minutes. Then remove the dishes, stuff the mushrooms, and place back in the dehydrator for about an hour.

Raw Chocolate Mouse
I had left over soaked cashews and cashew cream added to raw chocolate pudding makes a great mouse. There was about 1 cup of soaked cashers remaining, so I blended them with water to make a cream. I added two avocados, a heaping table spoon of raw cocoa and some agave syrup to taste. Yum yum.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Crohn's Journey Foundation

Today I've agreed to become a writing with a 6 month contract for The Crohn's Journey Foundation. You can view the site at I'm excited!

On another note, my gut has not been 100% and I've been a little fatigued. I've been needing more sleep that when I'm at my best. So I have to do some mitigation again. I'll go to my juicing routine if my healing diet doesn't get things back under control within a few days.

Wish me luck and make sure to check out The Crohn's Journey Foundation page.