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

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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

Should we really be celebrating sugar?

An important holiday is coming up this week. It stands as the marker to the beginning of a two-month long American sugar binge. I realize this makes me sounds like a bit of a Grinch. I love Halloween for the costumes, the creativity, and the spookiness. I don’t love it for the emphasis on sugar. As John Oliver points out in his brilliant monologue, it would be one thing if we didn’t already overeat sugar all year round but the fact is, we do. If we’re each eating, as Oliver puts it, Michael Cera’s body weight in sugar every year, then all the “treats” at Halloween aren’t really even treats anymore. When we are a nation with a growing waistline, and ever increasing rates of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease sugar does not deserve its own holiday.

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I am a self-admitted Food Network addict. Although, after watching some of the programming lately, I have to say this may be coming to an end. While I appreciate the work they have done in raising the public’s awareness of the culinary arts and the value of home-cooked meals, I can’t get over their complete lack of any nutritional guidance. Even just watching their Halloween and holiday programming puts me in a sugar coma. They promote all kinds of Halloween treats with no regard to the fact that looking for more creative ways to consume sugar is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. For example, I shuddered watching Alton Brown make his candied apples for trick-or-treaters as he dumped corn syrup, sugar, and molasses into a big pot. He briefly mentioned the research on artificial food colorings and ADHD in children and then decided to dump the red coloring into his concoction anyway. That is when I turned the TV off.

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In terms of our health I think it’s important that we start celebrating what really matters during this slew of holidays rather than making them a worship of sugar and gluttony. These times should be a celebration of creativity, family, and gratitude. In order to fully be present and enjoy the holidays, we can’t forget to use food to nourish our health and our spirit. It is more difficult to enjoy these celebrations when you are sick. We are, after all, also entering into peak flu and cold season, and maybe it’s not such a coincidence that this happens during our nationally condoned two-month sugar fest.

If you didn’t get enough with my rant, watch this one from John Oliver.

At least one politician who gets it!

I was excited to come across this new book written by Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan. The book, The Real Food Revolution, reviews our food systems, explores the negative impacts on our health and the planet due to our current food practices, proposes changes to the current farm bill and outlines action steps that readers can take. Watch his video here about more of the inspiration behind the book.

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This book follows his previous publication, A Mindful Nation, about the powers of the mind and meditation. Kudos to Congressman Tim Ryan! We need more forward thinking politicians like him. The state of our abysmal nutrition and faltering health truly needs to be at the forefront of the political agenda. If you need any convincing about the urgency of this issue in terms of not only our personal and environmental health but also our future economic stability and national security then take a look at Dr. Mark Hyman’s review of The Real Food Revolution.