Day 28 and I’VE DONE IT. I’ve completed the month… and oh my god. It feels AMAZING! I would apologise unreservedly for the delay in this blog post – but I’ve been enjoying my first weekend of (some) food far far too much!
On Friday evening I had my first solid food and the first taste really was the sweetest. I have to be honest – I was worried about starting to eat again. The devil in my brain was telling me that as soon as I started eating again everything would instantly unravel. Once I had that first mouthful, I literally didn’t care. I died and went to potato heaven! I have never ever appreciated how fluffy and warm the inside of a potato could be!
Before we all get over excited – the diet I’m on now is bland with a capital B. And I haven’t quite waved goodbye to my beloved Elemental, it remains a staple snack for now. This next part of food introduction is absolutely crucial to remaining well. For the next two weeks I will be eating something called a LOFFLEX diet – the Low Fat Fibre Limited Exclusion Diet. Which in layman’s terms, means I’m on a diet of peeled veg and rice cakes! (Not that I’m complaining!!) The diet was formulated by dieticians working at Addenbrookes NHS Trust in Cambridge, were they poured tonnes of money and resources into the effectiveness of an exclusive elemental diet for Crohn’s patients. The LOFFLEX diet excludes typically troublesome foods (wheat, dairy) and also products which are hard to digest (heavily fibrous foods like lentils, beans, veg with pips, sweetcorn etc). After doing this for two weeks – and everything is still going well – you introduce other foods and see if you get a reaction – such as eggs, onion, oats, wheat, alcohol (booo!).. the list goes on and on! So I could well end up with a completely different diet at the end of this… For more information on the LOFFLEX diet, click here.
Now we’ve got the boring medical stuff out of the way, let’s talk about the amazing things I did eat AND appreciate this weekend! (No juicy steaks or Starbucks here unfortunately) Saturday morning I enjoyed a gorgeous Pukka mint tea with rice cakes (which I am surprisingly enjoying!).
Unfortunately, the Elemental lives on for now. It’s the perfect way to bridge the gaps between some of my meals in the early stages of food introduction – and keep the hunger at bay when I’m out and about and don’t have a rice cake or peeled potato to hand!
Yesterday I went to an actual restaurant. I went to an actual restaurant with actual people and sat down for a meal – something I haven’t done in far too long! Navigating my way around the menu was a total minefield, as I don’t fall into any single category like gluten free, vegan or vegetarian. I finally selected a salad, but still had to be the person who said ‘can I have it without the nuts, and without the dressing, and without the pumpkin seeds… in fact, can I jut have a plate of lettuce??!!’ My stomach has shrunk to the size of a pea, so I only managed half of this plateful. I relished every mouthful though!!
Interestingly, I have felt noticeably more relaxed this weekend. I didn’t even realise how tense I felt all the time, constantly making sure I didn’t give in to the temptation of food. Willpower is tiring! Of course, not being in pain is also a massive relaxant!
As I said above, my journey is nowhere near over. I’m not saying this liquid diet will keep me well for years, maybe not even months, (Crohn’s has a habit of sneaking up when you least expect it), but I feel extremely optimistic. It has opened my eyes up to so much more – more than I ever could have imagined. After the appointment with my consultant where I took matter into my own hands, by putting the liquid diet on the table and refusing steroids, I called my Mum in floods of tears. Have I made the right decision?! What if it doesn’t work??!! Why am I taking matter into my own hands when I’m not even a doctor!? Now I know I 100% made the right decision. I am reading books I never thought I’d read (list of recommended reads below) and I’m finding new ways to keep my symptoms at bay without being at the mercy of toxic drugs – something I felt only 4 weeks ago.
If you’re reading this with Crohn’s or Colitis and are suffering a bad flare – I would urge you to suggest a liquid diet to your consultant. It is not used widely in adults as patients often struggle with compliance. Yes, it requires a hell of a lot of willpower. But the results are so worth it – without any nasty side effects. Read on below for a list of books which will totally get you thinking in a different way.
Lots of people have asked me if the blog will continue past the liquid diet – and the answer is of course YES! I’ve loved writing the blog and seeing the positive feedback from sharing my story. I will continue to write through this transitional period and share any hints and tips I pick up along the way! After that, thefoodfree blog will change guise – so watch this space!!
I also must say a big thank you to everyone who has been following my journey. Thank you for the love and support (and donations!) – I can’t even put into words how much it means to me.
Love, (a very happy and healthy)
- Mind over Medicine by Dr Lissa Rankin – will completely change your thinking towards your illness
- Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr – hear from amazing Kris Carr, cancer survivor and wellness warrior
- Deliciously Ella Everyday – tonnes of fabulous plant based recipes for Eleanor Woodward, who ate herself back to health
- Get The Glow by Madeleine Shaw – more amazing healthy recipes
- Juice by Liz Earle – the beginners guide to juicing