Another year has flown by. More milestones have been met, anniversaries of Crohns and non Crohns things have past and new goals have been set.s.
2017 has seen me mark my 2 years since I had my Sigmoid Colon removed. My insides we outside and then went back inside again through a temporary Stoma. This is something that has genuinely been a life changing event for me in more than one way. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve had Gastro / Crohns related pains, infections or flare ups and even then I’d still have a few fingers left to spare.
For me this is really significant. Two full years, post op of no medication. Controlling my remission and disease via diet; which is by no means as clean as it can / should be! Stress management and having good people around me. And of course my best friend, the Gym.
Let me expand a bit further on diet and why I think this has been a really important area for me. When I reflect, before late 2015 my diet was at best average. Very little nutrient dense foods and any micro-nutrients that were in there were not at the levels that they needed to be and my body was screaming out for them! I was stuck in a high carb, high fat and probably medium protein level cycle and probably not hitting my daily calorie intake. Even though I’m pretty handy in the kitchen, I’d opt for something easy, I’d order in, or if I cooked the portion control would be outrageous.
This was also when I was living in London. I guesstimate that I easily wasted enough money over 7 years to put a deposit on a house. On reflection, LIVID. Even now it annoys me, given how much I like to cook and eat. Overall, probably not a good way of helping my then very active Crohns! Too much processed food, very rarely eating good, nutritious food, nor was I timing it correctly to coincide with what used to be absolutely pathetic workouts.
Now I have a much more positive tale on my dietary exploits. Hurrah! Macro nutrient wise my diet is cleaner. Carbs come from the right places and are timed well to fit into my day and training schedule. I’m much more aware of what carbs my now shorter gut can tolerate; back off Brown Rice! Good fats are back with a bang. I need to plant an avocado tree in my garden to combat my addiction…
I run this risk of stating the obvious, but I implore anyone who suffers with Crohns, Colitis or IBS to look at your diet. If it doesn’t have good, dense nutritional foods in there then shove them in by the bucket load; I’m pretty surest registered dietitians would attest to this. Compared to what I used to feel like and how low my energy levels used to be, I now feel like Iron Man on ProPlus.
Also, a slightly more recent discovery I have made (via the medium of the internet) has been about Multi-vitamins. I used to be the guy that would opt for the well-known brand and pay bit more because I thought I was getting a better product due to the price. Wrong! That multivitamin came in a compressed tablet form. And although it claimed it delivered over 100% of some RDA’s they actually have an incredibly low bioavailability. Basically your body absorbs between 10-20% of the ‘claimed’ percentage. Now, I’m taking a multivitamin suspended in Cod Liver Oil.
Why? These have much greater bioavailability – allowing your body to take up closer to 80-90% of the listed RDA’s on vitamins and elements! Genuinely, I have started to notice a difference.
I don’t want to come across like the sun shines out of my ass and I eat 100% clean all day every day. Because I don’t. Once a week I have a big fat re-feed. I know my body and digestive systems limits so I think this is acceptable. Plus who doesn’t like a big fat cheese & pepperoni pizza?
Stress is a well documented pest to Crohns sufferers. My worst flare up’s came when I was in a fairly demanding and stressful job; the sinful life of recruitment. Probably not the best industry to move into for anyone who suffers from IBD / IBS. Don’t get me wrong, it can be an incredibly rewarding job and I met some cracking people along the way. But it is fraught with stress.
Moving back to Devon and eventual leaving that industry have, in my opinion pretty much eradicated a lot of the stresses and strains that I had put my body under. Really, it’s something that I should have done 1-2 years earlier. Stress is a little bitch, regardless of what job you work in and the state of your general health.
I still have stress in my life, but this is good stress. Stress that is in my control.Setting up Personally Training and starting a business from scratch has been damn hard! I hope it continues to be so as it drives me and I am in control of it.
From experience, if you have the ability to cut out even a small amount of stress from your life, then do it! The relief is almost instantaneous.
I mentioned one other aspect at the top of this post, that is people. I am genuinely blessed to have the people around me that I do. People that I am lucky enough to have known since Primary School (to put into context, I’m a withered 30 year old), people who I met at University that I want in my life for its remainder and also family. Moving back to Devon really stressed to me how vital these people are and seeing them most weeks is beyond cool. Oh, and I also met Yolanda when I moved home — save the best till last, eh?!
Sometimes its just good to get things down on paper (or screen) to remember whats changed for the good and help you remember who and what you’re grateful for and plan for bigger and better things over the coming months and years. I’m a lucky guy, I’m blessed to be where I am and consider myself hugely fortunate.
A bit of self-reflection never did anyone any harm…