Before I start, this is a gushing post. You’ve been warned!
I’m documenting the ultimate cornerstone to my entire liquid diet journey. This post in fact deserves the biggest chapter heading in the tale of Bryony Hopkins. Last week, I had my first doctors appointment with my specialist consultant since I finished my liquid diet. The same consultant who was determined that steroids were my only option and I opted for the complete opposite – a month intense liquid diet.
I have to say I was extremely nervous for the consultation. I worked it up in my head and the very thought of it reduced me to a near tearful wreck. Why you might ask? I obviously feel 1000x better than I did before the liquid diet, but the

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At the start of the liquid diet, April 2016

fact is, that not all of my symptoms have completely 100% disappeared, like I thought they miraculously would. What I didn’t know was that this is part of a longer healing process and as my consultant pointed out to me today, I am in a million times better place than I was before. I am pain free and able to control this through my diet. I am able to work full time, I am fulfilling all my social plans AND I’m training for a 10k. Pre liquid diet, I was just about able to get out of bed without being doubled over in pain. Yet I had completely forgotten how bad things were before until I sat in front of my consultant. He said ‘last time you came here Bryony you said you couldn’t carry on like this. You were at your wits end’. And I was – I had just forgotten. I was so focused on the fact I wasn’t completely ‘cured’ that I lost sight of the journey I’ve had and the transformation my body has gone through. The transformation that I allowed my body to go through and the work I have done to get it here.
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I can still eat deliciously good food! Black bean brownie and matcha latte courtesy of Ethos Foods.

It feels amazing. I actually can’t stop smiling. After I chose the liquid diet, I was rife with uncertainty. I had absolute no clue that I was doing the right thing or just being a stubborn cow. I am just over the moon it has worked out and been recognised by the most hard to please doctor! Whilst I am still on adlimumab injections, I am wholly optimistic that one day I could be drug free. It’s hard to believe how much things have changed just through one month of pure elemental.
For anyone who also suffers with Crohns & Colitis, I urge you to give the liquid diet a try if you’re ever at a treatment crossroad. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’ll mentally challenge you in ways you couldn’t have ever imagined. Yes, you’ll be hungry and angry for a few days. But my god – is it worth it! It’s a clean way to let your body heal – no chemicals, no side effects. Just you and your willpower.
My journeIMG_3837y is by no means over. I still have many food groups to reintroduce (this has all slightly stalled since I started a new job which is completely exhausting) and I have a job on my hands to manage my stress levels to keep my pain at bay. But the point is that’s all in my hands. I’m back in control.
This makes me even more determined to raise as much money as possible for Crohns & Colitis UK in my 10k run this Sunday. If you have any pennies to spare, I would be so eternally grateful – every pound means more than I can put into words! Click here to donate.
I feel like celebrating with a gluten free and dairy free brownie!!!!!
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It’s day 14 and I’M HALFWAY BABY! The worst part is over (apparently) and the only way is up! The only way is to the food that will be filling my belly in TWO WEEKS! To celebrate, I went for a run. I know, I really know how to party.

I’m not going to lie, given the recent hunger situation, I was very apprehensive a run was a good idea. Before telling my flatmate to send out a search party if I didn’t return – I stepped out on my first run since everything with my health went a bit pete tong. I signed up for a 10k run in January, when I was feeling post Christmas optimistic and fabulous. Let’s just put this into context – I don’t run. I have never run. I am not a natural runner. So I really was starting at zero. By end of Feb I was running 5k pretty comfortably… I ran 5k today and it was HARD. I left the house having consumed 7 cartons, which at 215 calories a pop, is 1,505 calories in total. So that’s enough to last a run on right? Let me talk you through it…

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At the beginning of the run – I’m a running machine!

Start of run: Right, this is great. I feel great. I am a one woman running machine. I am the queen of running. I can run whilst not eating, totally.
10 minutes into run: OH GOD I am so hungry. How is it possible to be this hungry?
15 minutes into run: HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO FEEL SICK AND FEEL HUNGRY? Maybe I should stop.. oh wait, is that a burger van? I could just run to that..
16 minutes into run: oh no, that’s just a large white van. No burgers. Keep running.
20 minutes into run: Let me just fill my mind with the amazing dinner I’m going to eat when I return. Oh wait..
25 minutes into run: I really feel quite faint. Maybe 1505 wasn’t enough calories to set off on. Hmmm, should have packed a shake in my bumbag
26 minutes into run: Except I don’t have a bum bag. Do people wear a bumbag when their running? Do people still wear bumbags full stop???
28 minutes into run: Still thinking about bumbags and whether I should invest.
30 minutes into run: Oh god I think I need to stop. Really am going to pass out.
35 minutes into run: Final stretch. I CAN DO THIS. Someone line up a shake at my front door!
38 minutes into run: I can see my front door.
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So hungry on my return, I was eating my lip.

40 minutes into run: SOMEONE GET MY DINNER, I WILL EAT ANYONE AND ANYTHING.
I have just inhaled 3 cartons consecutively – topping me up with another 645 calories. I can categorically say, it’s no where near as satisfying as a proper post run dinner (my fave is Lean in 15 prawn thai green curry – yummm)
To keep me motivated (to run and to not eat!), I will be running the British Vitality 10k run for Crohn’s and Colitis UK– a really fantastic charity that funds vital research into IBD. A shameless plug here but any spare dollar feel free to visit my Justgiving page. Bryony and Josh run 10k (first ever share!). It may not be a marathon, but would mean the world to me to raise as much money as poss!
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Crohn’s – I’m kicking your arse.

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I’m nearly at the half way point… and I wish I could give some really poignant words at this point about how normal not eating has become. Unfortunately, I am still hungry. And food is still leaving a gaping hole in my life. The biggest pizza shaped hole.

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I still can’t get on board with the fact this is my dinner. And lunch, and breakfast! And it makes a rubbish Insta pic..

Despite this, physically I am feeling so much better. Whilst some of my symptoms continue to niggle, I am barely in any pain. Which really is amazing after spending the past 6 months pretty much in constant pain.

Since writing this blog and opening up this part of my life, I’ve found people have so many questions – what exactly is Crohn’s? Are you really sick? Is this liquid diet a cure? Being such an undignified illness in so many ways, people are often afraid to talk openly about it, but with 300,000 people in the UK suffering from IBD, it’s time to start talking. So I thought today’s blog should be dedicated to all things medical. To answer all the who, hows and whys of Crohns Disease. I hope you come away feeling educated after this post!

What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s Disease is an autoimmune disease. This means your body attacks your own healthy cells during the digestion process. Crohn’s Disease falls under the umbrella of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (often referred to as IBD). The disease can cause inflammation and ulceration anywhere in the digestive tract – from mouth to rectum. The areas of inflammation are often patchy, and can be a few centimetres long to a whole length of the gut (for example, the whole large intestine). Every persons disease will be completely different. Ulcerative Colitis is another form of IBD which you may often hear referred to along with Crohns. Colitis is very similar – the symptoms are almost identical, however Colitis will only affect the colon (large intestine).
What are the symptoms?
Typical Crohn’s symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhoea, loss of blood, fatigue, severe nausea, sickness, loss of appetite and weight. Someone with Crohn’s may suffer one or all of these during a time of relapse and symptoms will range in severity depending on the intensity of the flare up.
Is there a cure?
Crohn’s Disease is a chronic illness, which means it’s ongoing and lifelong. A person may experience periods where they have no symptoms at all, when they are in ‘remission’. A relapse or ‘flare up’ could occur at any time and there are a number of drugs and surgical procedures which can provide people with longterm periods of wellness.
Why do people get it?
Unfortunately, it isn’t known why people get it! Bad pot luck I guess! Whilst scientists have poured time and money into lots of research with no definitive answer, it is thought there may be a genetic predisposition to the illness plus an abnormal reaction of your immune system to certain bacteria in your intestines.
How will this liquid diet help?
The idea of the liquid diet is to give my intestine a rest. At the moment it is tired and inflamed; drinking pre-digested shakes means my gut has to do absolutely no work whatsoever. All the nutrients are being absorbed straight into my digestive walls and into my body, meaning my body has time to heal. Imagine it like a cut on your hand. You cover the cut with a plaster to protect it from the world to let it heal. If you take the plaster off or itch your cut, it gets angry and sore and the healing process takes longer. That’s exactly what’s happening inside my body – this liquid diet is my plaster.
What happen’s once you’ve finished the liquid diet?
To be completely honest… I don’t know yet! I am continuing to take Adlimumab – a weekly injection I have been on for the past 5 years (which has, until now, kept me well!) At the same time I started this liquid diet, I also started azathioprine. A slow acting long term drug – that would, if it worked, keep me well beyond finishing this liquid diet. However, on discovering in the last few days that these tablets contain lactose and being severely lactose intolerant.. I am in a quandary of how things will move forward now. There are a few drugs left I could try…yet, I’m feeling uplifted and excited about the possibility of finding a diet that keeps me well. Whether that is juicing, elemental, vegetarian, gluten free… vegan! If this elemental can work so efficiently, I’m convinced drugs aren’t the only way. This is a another long (and hopefully exciting!) journey I’m embarking on…!

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Need I say anymore!

Here’s a list of resources:
www.crohnsandme.com
www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk
www.crohnsupport.com
www.crohns.org.uk
Keep following my journey, as I attempt to eat myself well…
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Two weeks is turning to four… and that’s okay. Whilst I’m already feeling so much better in myself, I’m not completely out of the woods yet. Here’s hoping one whole golden month will do the trick!

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Showing the Elemental some love

In light of this news, I’ve made a very comprehensive list of the pros of not eating (surprisingly, there are quite a few!)

Pro’s of not eating

  • I’m saving a tonne of money – I literally haven’t spent a penny since Sunday. In central London, this is astounding
  • I am giving my body a total detox and rest
  • I am curing my own pain… which is a weirdly satisfying feeling
  • I am testing my willpower to the absolute MAX – after this, I reckon I could do anything
  • Did I mention I’m saving a load money?
  • My bikini bod is going to need very limited work (this is probably a good time to say that for the record, I am not doing this diet for weight loss reasons! A few pounds shed is merely a bonus)
  • This blog – despite the subject matter, I am actually really loving writing this blog
  • I am raising awareness for Crohns and Colitis – and helping people understand these cruel conditions. (No, I did not get Crohns because I eat badly! Yes, someone has actually asked me that.)
  • Oh yeah, and I’m saving loads of money.

Unfortunately, there are also some cons to not eating…

  • Not eating is actually quite a major con in itself
  • As is not drinking (especially Starbucks and alcohol)
  • People keep asking me ‘Are you ok?’, with a sympathetic head tilt that you reserve for people you feel sorry for. It gets rather annoying after a while
  • I keep accidentally staring at people when they eat. Strangers, colleagues, friends… anyone really. Which has resulted in some very awkward eye contact moments.

So really, there are actually more pros than cons. Apparently…

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No, that’s not a typo. I’m talking about the hunger induced anger – the hanger. It’s probably the most volatile anger out there, when you’re grumpy because you need to eat. And I am experiencing this on another level: specifically around mealtimes. Lunch time or dinner time, I’m one grumpy girl. Hanger is also prompted by delicious treats which make their way into the office.

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I mean… SERIOUSLY!!

Stepping away from delicious patisserie treats, I watched an amazing documentary this weekend given to me by a friend from work. ‘Super Juice Me’ documents 8 individuals, with 22 diseases between them, follow a strict 28 day pure juice diet. Living at ‘Juicy Oasis’, owned by Jason Vale, they underwent a fitness and wellbeing programme to help cure their medical problems. These ranged from obesity, heart disease, asthma to Crohns Disease. Whilst they struggled at the beginning, by day 28 they all looked amazing, felt great and more impressively, were weening off their medication. A young girl, Sarah, with Crohns featured in the film and took adalimumab, like me (a injection widely used by Crohns patients). By the end of the 28 days, she was off the injections and completely symptom free… I think that result speaks for itself. To learn more about Super Juice Me – click here.

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I further started reading up on Deliciously Ella – a huge London food blogger and writer that cured her Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, another autoimmune disease, with diet. Overnight she eliminated meat, dairy, sugar, gluten and any processed foods with additives – and now eats all plant based foods. Over the process of a year, she ate herself to full health, and continues to keep her condition under control with her diet. More about Ella, click here.

It really got me thinking about what I’m going to eat/drink when I finish this diet. I’ve always been aware of what I eat, which is why I completely eliminated dairy, after finding it to be an irritant. As a child, I tried eliminating all sorts, to no particular avail. Despite having 3 major abdominal operations for bowel obstructions, this is actually the first active Crohns Disease I’ve had in my gut since I had my large intestine removed when I was 12. Surely there must be an answer in diet?! Watching the results of Sarah and Ella has filled me with optimism – if I can feel so much better in 7 days, surely there must be a fix that isn’t big drugs with hideous side effects and surgery.

And here’s something really weird… I’m now craving kale, avocado and courgetti!! I have a feeling my journey will continue past this liquid diet…

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To learn more about my Crohns story, click here!

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