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It’s Thursday 19th May and it’s World IBD Day. A day of raising awareness of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Even if you don’t know much about it, chances are you know someone who suffers from it! Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, affecting more than 300,000 people in the UK – that’s a lot!! To learn more about IBD and Crohn’s Disease, click here Day 13: Let’s get medical.
Of course – I’m doing my bit to raise awareness (apart from always writing about it!).In July, I will be running the London British Vitality 10k for Crohn’s and Colitis UK. It’s not a marathon, or even a half marathon – but given everything my body has been through, it’s a pretty big deal to me! If you have a penny to spare, visit my Justgiving page- Bryony & Josh run 10k.

world IBD day

Find more information of IBD at Crohns and Colitis UK, website above

Today we’re facing the truths of the LOFFLEX Diet. I’ve been back on solid food for nearly three weeks now, yet I am ploughing through the LOFFLEX diet at a snails pace. Literally. The LOFFLEX Diet stands for Low Fat Reduced Fibre Diet, so we’re talking bland. Bland bland bland. The plan initially was to just stay on the LOFFLEX diet for two weeks after the liquid diet (elemental is still living strong btw!). Here’s a snapshot of my current yes list -foods that I’m tolerating well:
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I am totally coco for coconut at the moment

  • White fish and salmon
  • Prawns and crayfish. All other shellfish okay
  • Chicken
  • Olive oil
  • Lightly salted kettle chips
  • Vegetables – carrot, kale, courgette, green beans, butternut squash, ginger, red cabbage, aubergine, herbs (dry or fresh)
  • Salad – lettuce, cucumber, pepper, avocado, beetroot
  • Soya butter
  • Rice cakes, rice, rice based thins, rice noodles
  • Tamari (wheat free soya sauce)
  • Humus
  • Potato – mashed, boiled, jacket, fried
  • Sweet potato – jacket, baked
  • Coconut milk, yogurt and coconut pieces
  • Cacao
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Seedless jam
  • Mint tea

Foods that haven’t gone well so far:

  • Quinoa flakes
  • Apple
  • Alcohol! 🙁

As I sent this list of to my fabulous dietician auntie ahead of our catch up, I knew I wasn’t ready to start trying the more difficult foods (we’re talking dairy, gluten, oats). As she rightly pointed out, I hadn’t even tried half the other foods included in the LOFFLEX diet manual (lamb, beef, duck etc). For the full diet booklet, click here.
‘Are you scared?’ she asked me. I suddenly realised I was. Having now experienced first hand that I have some control over whether I am in pain, I am EXTREMELY reluctant to try anything new. Because let’s face it, when is actually a good time to have terrible stomach pain? This is a fairly ridiculous way to continue, I’m scared of food??! I didn’t see that one coming – given the volumes I would consume before. In light of this severely low fat diet, I have also lost 5 lbs. Whilst this may signal a woohooo for many – this is not a good sign. Especially as I train for a 10k run! So the elemental intake increases! And I have been tasked with trying four new things: tomato, garlic, lamb and a boiled egg. I know – my life is pretty rock and roll right now.

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Does this girl with A BIB on look scared of food?!!?

So the roller coaster continues, and I’m still having good days and bad days. Despite the blandness of my current diet, it has forced me to be creative with what I can eat. Look out for the next blog post where I’ll be sharing some of my LOFFLEX hints, tips and recipes.IMG_3107
 

bryonyhopkins

HELLO strangers! This post is well overdue – as I promised the blog will live on, and it does! It’s been a roller coaster two weeks to be honest, with my birthday falling slap bang in the middle of it and so I have been entirely consumed with enjoying my new found zest for life (and eating, obvs).

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Birthday joy

Since my last blog post, I have been slowly weaning myself back onto food. I have been on something called the LOFFLEX diet – Low Fat Fibre Reduced Exclusion Diet. This diet was developed by nutritional researchers at Addensbrooke University in Cambridge, and excludes foods which have been found to aggravate Crohn’s. You are recommended to follow this diet for two weeks after finishing the liquid diet, before introducing other foods. The LOFFLEX excludes all the staples that I used to eat – goodbye wheat, goodbye all oats and grains, goodbye citrus fruits and goodbye all fortified sugars (ALL SWEETS AND CHOCOLATE!) Of course that’s totally doable, but I also cannot eat any nuts, dried fruit, any gluten free products, eggs, sesame… basically anything fun.
Here is what I’ve eaten on a typical day: 
Breakfast – 1 carton of elemental. 2 ricecakes with seedless jam/honey/soya spread
Morning snack – Mint tea or elemental. 2 more ricecakes if hungry!
Lunch – lettuce, cucumber, avocado and prawn salad. Drizzled in olive oil.
Afternoon snack – 1 carton of elemental
Dinner – mash potato or jacket potato, with olive oil or soya spread. A piece of white fish and veg (carrots/kale/courgette peeled)
So as you can see the elemental lives on… and I think it will do for a while. I’ve come to find it to be my security blanket when I’ve eaten something that doesn’t agree with me. It’s also the only thing I feel 100% safe about putting in my body – it’s amazing how much trust I have in it. I’ve focused a lot on the positives throughout this blog and I can’t lie, the benefits have been tenfold. I want to get real for a moment though – for all the fellow Crohnies out there who have been following my journey through the liquid diet and who may go through the same themselves. It’s not all roses the garden. What I’m coming to understand is that Crohn’s are is far more complex than I ever could have imagined. It’s clever and it’s fierce – and it reacts to the things you least expect…
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Currently living off veg, veg and more veg

I have been keeping a strict food and symptom diary to document how my body reacts to various foods. Since introducing food 13 days ago, I have had 3 ‘elemental days’. These have followed a day where I’ve consumed something that clearly isn’t my friend. As you can see above, I have kept it pretty bland – but on days where I’ve felt brave, I have introduced something new. Last week, I decided to introduce a fresh fruit juice for my breakfast – one of the juices I prepped in my previous blog post – Day 23: The juicy epiphanyIt was delicious – so refreshing and filling. I followed it with lunch and dinner that I had trialled and tested before…
Later that day I experienced a solid 4/10 pain. Let me put this into context – this is NOWHERE near the pain I was getting before. I was easily on 8/9 before I started the liquid diet. However, I’ve gone from, no pain, to some pain. Hmmm. Looking back at the LOFFLEX I realised apple was a known irritant and the juice contained 3 whole apples. I had the culprit. I followed this with 2 elemental days – where I reverted to feeling grumpy and fed up. The pain did ease though.
Furthermore, yesterday I had a gorgeous breakfast of quinoa flakes, soya yogurt and maple syrup. It was unreal to eat something with actual flavour. Whilst on my sugar high, I experienced a 6/10 on the pain scale. Hmmm!! I will have to go back to figure out which element of that breakfast was the irritant (praying it wasn’t quinoa!) And so, you see, the trial and error continues. At times it is frustrating – especially when I am eating the same things day in day out and I am feel nervous about what to eat. I haven’t even reached the reintroduction stage where I try the more difficult foods – I’m still hopscotching around step 1!
Revamping your diet is HARD. It’s a total lifestyle change. I know it will all be worth it though. How do I know I hear you ask?! The proof is in the pudding (or lack of pudding…). Watching this totally gave me the boost I needed – Kris Carr Super Soul Sessions with Oprah
Life is for LIVVVINGGG and last weekend I enjoyed my 24th lap around the sun in the best possible way. Just five weeks ago, I wouldn’t have been equipped to celebrate in any way. Least of all with one dinner, two lunches and a night dancing in a club! So while I still can’t eat a plethora of interesting foods – at least I am eating. I am LIVVVINGG with the power in my hands. I can take some control some of my healing process.
BUT I HAVE SO MUCH TO LEARN! Anyone embarking on a dramatic diet will vouch for this – it’s overwhelming at times. I hope that following my journey will help many of you. I’ve read tonnes of books where I’m told to eat this/eat that but I just end up asking myself, HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT? I am learning, condensing and translating for you.
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bryonyhopkins