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

Meet the Makers of Food As Medicine

This week we wanted to give you a little more of our story and some of our motivation in pursuing this project. After reading our stories we are hoping also to inspire others who have been using food to heal illness to come forward and share their stories with us.

While working on the last documentary project, Time As Money: A Documentary Film About Time Banking, Director, Lenore Eklund, began experiencing symptoms of Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune disease she was diagnosed with in 2000. Lenore had felt empowered being prescription-free since 2005, but was now facing uncontrolled symptoms and a 6-month waiting period to have a colonoscopy; She was feeling desperate and helpless.

On a chance Internet search, Lenore’s husband came across a video of a man pleading for all Crohn’s suffers to try the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, a diet that eliminates grains, soy, potatoes, corn, and sugar. Lenore began a new way of eating resulting in no more symptoms and nothing to report on the colonoscopy results that happened 6 months later.

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I also was feeling frustrated with a lack of empowerment to control my health as I struggled with Ulcerative Colitis. Similar to Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis is an autoimmune disorder mainly affecting the large intestine. Facing the decision about whether to step up to stronger medications I decided to look for alternatives. After coming across the book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle,” which introduces the Specific Carbohydrate Diet I committed myself to a food-based approach. Now 6 months in I find my symptoms much improved, and while not completely healed yet, I am hopeful and grateful to have control of my health back.

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This approach is not without its pain, suffering and frustrations. The decision to make radical diet changes takes a lot of support. We were elated when we discovered a local support group for those addressing their Crohn’s and Colitis through the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. It was here that we met. How great to have a friend who not only understands my disease but also the intricacies of my diet restrictions, for example why I can eat honey but not table sugar!

The diet has been a journey of health independence and support. Many people are turning to food to heal various illnesses and disease ranging from diabetes to colitis and insomnia. Making the decision to heal using food can be a challenge, including loss of convenience, lifestyle change, and deviation from conventional medicine. As we’ve started to become immersed in this project we have been excited by the network of health professionals, business owners and patients who are advocating for nutrition-based approaches to health.

If you are beginning to heal through food, live in the Portland, Oregon area, and would like to be an inspiration to others through your experience, please contact us at: thisasthat@gmail.com