3 Years on this Journey

About this time 3 years ago, I started my journey to heal Crohn’s Disease with food.  It was sometime after Thanksgiving and before the December holidays that I was into my second month of experiencing a flare when my husband found some information for a diet called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for people with Crohn’s, colitis, celiac disease, and other gastrointestinal diseases.

I wished I would have recorded that date, but to be honest, I didn’t think that the diet would work, and I didn’t think it would ever change me as much as it has.  I had tried going gluten-free for a month prior with no improvement in my symptoms.  I had already been vegetarian for 10 years, so I thought I was eating pretty healthy to begin with.  Plus, I was living in Los Angeles at that time, and I didn’t want to be yet another person on a crazy diet.

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Three years ago, mourning the loss of traditional foods that come with this time of year.  We kept laughing to keep me from crying.

However, my husband pushed me to give it one month.  And, I couldn’t say no because he was going to join me on the diet.  I’ll say that month was not graceful.  At my lowest point, I was laying in front of the refrigerator crying my eyes out because I was too tired and too hungry to make anything and my usual solution of running to the burger joint across the street to grab a grilled cheese was crushed.  I made it through my one month trial, and I was actually seeing improvement.  By the time I had my scheduled colonoscopy, the results came back clean!

 

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My journey will always continue, but now I have the strength, knowledge and rhythm to make sure I’m always on the right path.

Although I didn’t film any of my journey, I owe a lot of gratitude to the 3 people I have been following since the beginning of their journeys for this documentary.  From behind the camera, I sympathize with their frustrations when they fall of their protocols, busy schedules that leave no time to cook, and isolation felt from social gatherings around food.  Through this year, I have admired their persistence and strength to keep battling forward, which I don’t think they know how much that has inspired me.  I feel truly honored to be part of their triumphs as they have been reclaiming their health, victory by victory.

Healing is a journey.  When you look back at one month, 3 years or 50 years, the reflection of how far you come is a reward as sweet as good health!

-Lenore

So much to celebrate on National Kale Day!

Happy National Kale Day, everybody!  We are celebrating so many things today.  In addition to celebrating a favorite of the cruciferous family, we are celebrating passing the 75% point in our Kickstarter campaign!  We are thrilled to know that so many others believe in the healing effect of food and think it’s a message worth spreading!  Thank you all for the support and sharing.

I’m also celebrating my sister’s wedding anniversary.  15 years ago today, she was holding my hand as I cried and told me how beautiful I was.  I was 3 months into my diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease and on a high dosage of Prednisone.  The bridesmaid dress we picked out 6 months before no longer fit as one of the many side effects of this medication was water retention, which made me go up many dress sizes.  As my mom lovingly sewed up the zipper closure and wrapped me in a sweater, my sister told me how much she loved me and wanted me by her side as she said her wedding vows.

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Through the years, my sister has supported me on all my adventures – food and non-food related, alike.  When I told her I was starting an unfamiliar (to anyone in our family, at least) diet called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet to manage my flare-up, she didn’t pass so much as a blink of judgement.  She may not fully understand what I’m doing, but she’s been my #1 cheerleader to get the word out about this film I’m working on, posting on social media more than I have.  With love, encouragement, and support, she’s sent me this “complete guide to the world’s most powerful superfood” today.  Thank you, Jen, for being an amazing big sister!  Happy anniversary!  I love you!

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We wish all of you a happy, healthy, and fun National Kale Day!!

-Lenore

The Campaign for Food As Medicine is on! You can help!

Healing is a journey.  As you get ready to embark on your way to better health, you arm yourself with as much information as you can and stock up on food staples that will nourish you.  When you begin down the path, the adventures are full of new discoveries and beautiful scenery.  But, things are not easy on this trail.  You might experience a setback when you realized you went down the wrong route and you have to start over.  Or, the process might take longer than you expected.  Hopefully, you meet many others on the way who are also taking this journey that will give you support.  This journey to heal will change you.

The process of making a documentary is another kind of journey.  We have met some amazing people along the way who are healing themselves and working to heal their communities.  We have put together a team to carry the message over the distance.  At this point in our process, we need your support to get us there.

Please support us on Kickstarter, if you can!  You can also help us by sharing the campaign with your friends.  You can even share it with your doctor!  Thank you for all of your continued support!

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The adventures of sticking to a restrictive diet while on the road

I love journeys!  Anywhere that involves a passport or car full of camping gear gets me really excited.  I think it’s the prospect of adventuring into the unknown and knowing I’ll come out on the other side with stories, life experience, and happy memories that easily get me ready to embark on a quest.  When I began my food journey, I had no idea it was going to be an adventure so similar to the traveling kind.  It started as going into the unknown and I came out with so many tales to tell.

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This weekend’s tale was a very literal food journey as we traveled 516+ miles on our production, which definitely was a quest while being on a restrictive diet that manages my Crohn’s Disease.  It took some planning (see our last blog post about road food preparation) and creativity, but I managed to come home with a happy belly!  Here are some food highlights from the road:

One of the joys of traveling during the summer is stopping for farmers markets!  It’s the perfect time to stock up on fruits and veggies on the road, and also scope out what’s going on in that community’s food culture.  We hit a farmers market at dinner time in Manzanita, Oregon, and they were definitely food-focused with organic and food sensitivity conscious vendors.  There were gluten-free desserts (but I can’t have sugar), crepes made with organic fillings (but I can’t have grains), and BBQ with pastured meats (but I can’t have nightshades).  I did find one vendor who was selling shrimp boats, which was shrimp (hold the sauce for me) in an avocado half, and that was absolutely perfect!

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Next stop: Bend, Oregon to check in with one of our participants we’ve been following since she started her food journey.  Since we last checked in with her, she’s started to find community with other people who are also healing with food.  When we stopped in, our participant and one of her friends from the healing community were making gut-healing gummy snacks together.  Her friend is Beth of the blog Real Food Inspired Me, which is definitely inspiring to read about her journey!  We totally appreciated being sent on the road with some snacks that held us over while dinner cooked on the campfire!

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Another one of our strategies while traveling besides packing snacks, was to camp and cookout over the campfire.  When I was a girl scout, we used to make something called Hobo Stew, which was a meatball, potato, and veggies wrapped up in a foil packet and cooked over the coals.  We did a version of that with salmon, yams, mushrooms, and zucchini.  It was decided that this was one of the best campfire dinners ever!

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This journey wasn’t without a roadblock along the way.  While dining with some new friends, my dinner came with some peppers cooked into my plate, even though I thought I did a good job communicating to the server what I didn’t want.  Other people are better about sending food back until it’s right, which is how it should be, but we were in a time crunch and I didn’t have the energy to pick that battle.  Luckily, I came prepared with activated charcoal so that I wouldn’t have to deal with itchy rashes for the next 2 weeks.

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So, enjoy the journey be it the traveling or eating kind.  Don’t let your disease hold you back from the adventure!  Weather a logger blocks the road and makes you 30 minutes late to your appointment after camping, or you eat something you shouldn’t, remember that it’s part of the journey!  Use your creativity, patience, and planning to get to where you need to go.  And, most importantly, have fun along the way!

-LE