Sunday, November 18, 2012


I have come across the term "antinutrient" quite a bit recently. I remember laughing the first time I saw this word because I really couldn't understand what it meant. As I have read more, I have understood more of the meaning and the application of "antinutrient." There are two concepts surrounding this term that are important as pertains to my Crohn's and I thought I would share.

Our bodies need vitamins and minerals in order to function properly. We eat foods in an attempt to get to these essential components into our system. What most people do not realize, myself included, is that foods we eat can actually remove nutrients from our body. If a particular food mist have iron and Vitamin C in order to be properly processed, then when you eat that food your body WILL have those nutrients to process the food. It will either get the nutrients from the rest of the meal you are eating, the first place your body looks, or it will go to the next available source, itself.

The human body tries to act like a nutrient bank so that we don't have to worry so much about balancing every minute iota of food we consume. Whenever there are excess nutrients, they are stored in different parts of the body for future usage and emergencies. What the body never factored in was that it would only ever receive foods that were lacking in a large number of nutrients needed for processing. The continual consuming of antinutrients has made many of our bodies nutritionally bankrupt.

How can we expect our bodies to work properly if we are only eating antinutrients? Foods that are processed, homogenized, and overly pasteurized become antinutrients. Commercially farmed produce and commercially raised protein are on the precipice. Artificial components are the worst.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Month to Die For

I've been a fairly bad boy this past month. I cheated and ate things I haven't eaten in years. So many people have asked, "...but a little bit of this wouldn't hurt, would it?" recently that I felt compelled to actually test it out. I'd be lying if I said this was entirely altruistic. While I was apprehensive, I was more excited to break this fast than worried.

I did set some ground rules for myself so that I did not put myself in the hospital, I.e. at most, only one meal per day for cheating. I really wanted to see for myself just how much one cheat would affect my Crohn's and my overall health. I am not going to detail every poor decision I made. What I will say is that every small item I ate during an otherwise legal day usually had a noticeable effect on my body.

My biggest cheats were cupcakes and dinner at an Italian Restaurant. I haven't eaten cupcakes in years. I found this little cupcakery and tried one and then another and another. I gorged myself on more than six cupcakes before I stopped myself. I experienced such a decadent sugar rush from the sweets. Within the hour I was experiencing the after effects. As much as I loved the flavors of the cupcakes, I doubt I would make them a habit.

I don't eat at many Italian restaurants due to the preponderance of noodles and breading in most of them. I decided to wave all inhibitions away and had a traditional Italian-American meal on a Thursday night. I had chicken noodle soup, fried mozzarella, garlic bread, baked penne in a tomato-cheese sauce, and hazelnut cookies. Again, things that I haven't had in such a long time. It was amazing just how much I enjoyed the flavor. I didn't feel wonderful the next few days, but I figured that proved I should stay away in the long run. On the following Monday I was in such pain that I couldn't eat the entire day. It took two days for me to recover.

Two weeks later we returned to that Italian restaurant and I ate the same things. This time it was on a Friday. Lo and behold, the same thing happened with my health. I have never experienced a delayed secondary response like this before, but the fact that the same thing happened both times only proved in my mind that pasta, bread, processed cheeses, and sweets are anathema to me. This experience also showed me that there can be multi-tiered and delayed responses with the secondary responses being much worse than the primary.

All of my experiences during this past month only helped to solidify in my mind that diet truly is important to making certain that my life doesn't spin out of control. I can also answer the question, "...but will just a little bit affect me?" Without a doubt, that answer is, "Yes!"

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I have been so busy the past month. I haven't had time for very much and I am craving a small break at this point. I haven't really had time to change or experiment with my diet. The last thing I want to do is cause a flare up during a particularly stressful time. I have been training a lot of people at work and 4 of them are starting to show potential, maybe I will have some time to write again soon.

Friday, August 17, 2012


I am now fully decaffeinated. I'd be lying if I said it was easy or a cake-walk to go cold turkey. I have been fighting through my lack of energy and the craving I have for coffee and tea. It doesn't help that I actually enjoy the flavor of black coffee and tea. According to several books, it takes at least three weeks for your body to expel all caffeine from your system and to reattenuate to a normal hormonal regimen.

At the four week mark, I can say that I am finally starting to feel my energy return. I am starting my workouts again and am surprised at how alert I am at the end of the day without any caffeine. In the mornings, I no longer have that shadow of sluggishness. The only time that I feel the day beating on me is around lunch time, and I still feel compelled to get some tea. I will let my body adjust to this new equilibrium, though.

I can see people scowling as I talk about my self-immolation. Why would I do such a thing? Why would I put myself through this hell when I have so many other health issue to attend to? It is because of my other issues that I am doing this. My breathing is better. My allergies don't feel as bad. And I don't like prednisone. Caffeine stimulates your body in a very similar way to prednisone and causes many of the same issues. That was my biggest motivator.

I won't go into nuance, but I do know that the differences in my body and attitude are already perceptible. I will continue on this path and build my energy reserves back to their previous heights.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chronically Malnourished

Our food sustains our bodies. If our bodies cannot process that food, then we become malnourished, get sick and waste away. This series of thoughts is very prevalent in IBD. Everyone "knows" that in the past my Crohn's has kept me from absorbing nutrients thus causing a downward spiral into flare-ups and pain. I am at a point that I am questioning this paradigm. I am asking myself, "What if the entire reason I have Crohn's Disease is because of the fact that I have been chronically malnourished my entire life?"

In the past century, our foods have become processed more and more. Everything is overcooked, extruded, or stripped down to a singular defined purpose. Our original foods were synergistic containing many natural nutrients that worked together in our bodies well. When we destroy most of the nutritional merit of our food through processing, it means we must eat that much more just to get a base minimum in order to survive. Couple this with the added artificial vitamins and minerals that our bodies cannot process as well as their natural counterparts, and we have an issue.

I remember growing up and always having soda, sugar, and other boxed confections continually throughout a given day. Eating this way for so long, and being told by the governing bodies that it is okay, would have depleted so much of my bodies resources and capacity.

I am going to see what happens. My body is a bank for vitamins, minerals, and energy and I currently have little to no savings.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Entities that evolve are able to move forward while those that stay the same eventually die-out. There must always be some form of evolution in how we live our lives, otherwise we aren't really living our lives. I am always reading, always learning, always testing my boundaries. My evolution through time has very little room for absolutes. In reality, there are very few absolutes that stand the test of time. When I read Breaking the Vicious Cycle, the one thing that always disturbed me about Elaine's arguments was the finality of it all. It was all so perfect and absolute. I was already so close to Specific Carbohydrate perfection, that I decided to use the diet as a stepping stone to allow me to do more research without having to worry about whether or not I was going to set-off a Crohn's flare.

Over a year later, I am still doing rather well with my health. The diet I have followed has been a beginners step allowing me to do much research into many different methods of food preparation and into myriad different types of food. I am at the point where I think I need to put theory into practice to see what my body tells me. I am hoping that my research into probiotics, fermentation, phytic acid, organic foods, enzymes, caffeine, etc. will help me take a step beyond. I am not afraid of failure, though. The worst that could happen is that I go back to a strict Specific Carbohydrate Diet. 

Don't misunderstand my intent, either. I am not going to be going back to sugars, potatoes, and breads. Those foods are addictive drugs on their own. I decided that my full decaffeination would be that transition point. As of today, I am fully free of caffeine. I haven't had anything with caffeine for three weeks. Let's see where this goes.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hospital Sleep

It's been so long since I have been in the hospital, that I forgot just how little a patient gets. One of the biggest contributors to any recovery is ample rest and especially sleep. You would think that doctors and nurses would know this and so let people sleep. Instead, patients are poked and prodded throughout the night as a means to supplement the very uncomfortable bed and the noisy, belligerent roommate that wants attention from everyone. I wasn't even the one spending the full night in the hospital this time, and I was drained.

I would hope that at some point, the establishment would realize that they would do better to let us sleep through the night when we are interred so that we might get better faster. Then again, if we recuperated at a faster speed, the hospitals wouldn't be able to charge our insurance like they do.

Monday, August 6, 2012


I love Pedialyte and I extol the benefits of drinking it to just about anyone around me. It is a very delicate electrolyte solution that also replaces zinc lost when we have diarrhea. It is made for babies, so it is still a little harsh on our sensitive systems. I always have two bottles in my home at any given time for an emergency situation. If I am fasting, I will use Pedialyte to help maintain balance. If I find that I have eaten something inappropriate and need to let it pass through my system, I can always rely on Pedialyte to help keep me going when I cannot eat anything else. I am fan.

Last week, I found myself purchasing Pedialyte again since I had caught a bug and was having extensive diarrhea. In the past I have always purchased the original, clear version of the drink; but there was another that was partaking and so he asked that I get one of the flavored bottles. Having only ever drank the clear I had only ever checked the label on the clear. As I was purchasing the fruit flavored variety, I decided to check out the label. I was amazed to find that it had sucralose in it. On a following trip to get more Pedialyte I checked all of the flavored varieties and found that they all have sucralose. I was amazed that such a noxious anti-sugar was incorporated into something that is purportedly made for babies.

In case you have missed my feelings concerning fake sugars: I hate them. They cause so many issues with my system that I stay away from them no matter what. Why would anyone want to use a fake sugar that was originally intended to be an insecticide? Regardless, I still find the clear Pedialyte to be a great help in staving off dehydration and keeping me on the side of the living.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Dehydration is a looming issue for anyone with Crohn's Disease and is a very dangerous thing. This past week, I was able to see first hand what can happen when someone is dehydrated. Dehydration follows a very linear path as someone loses the water and electrolytes in their body to different bodily functions while neglecting to replenish them at a commensurate rate. That means that you not only have to replenish the water expelled, but the sodium and potassium salts that are lost during urination, sweating, and breathing. This is very important to acknowledge for anyone with any form of IBD due to the excessive amounts of diarrhea we experience.

We lose a lot of water. We lose a lot of salts. We lose a lot minerals, especially zinc, when we have diarrhea. If you are just drinking water rather than electrolyte solutions, that fatigue you are experiencing is the first sign of dehydration. If nothing is done to remedy the dehydration, then you will eventually be unable to get out of bed and lose your mental faculties. I saw all of this occur first-hand. If you find that your mouth is dry, it is really hot out, or that you have even mild diarrhea, make certain that you are drinking a pediatric electrolyte solution. Don't drink the flavored varieties, just the clear ones.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Hospital Food

I have been in the hospital quite a bit the past few days. I have my computers with me, my iPad and many different phones. I don't think I have ever been patient support in such a capacity before. I already know, and am used to, the general public's lack of understanding of Crohn's Disease especially when it comes to dietary requirements. As this is my first time in a hospital where I am semi-conscious and able to remember my surroundings, I find it very disheartening to listen to the dietitians as they speak to other patients. As I covertly listened to what was being said between "professional" and patient, I think I finally understand the general mantra that most dietitians follow: 1. The patient must eat the dictated meal in order to live. 2. Give the patient whatever drugs is necessary to facilitate number one.

A great example of this was the diabetic that was rushed to the emergency room alongside us and then would up in the same room with us. I know what diabetes is, generally speaking. I know that when someone has diabetes that they must change their diet every bit as much as someone with Crohn's Disease. In fact, most people with diabetes, in my lay opinion, would benefit greatly from following the Specific Carb Diet. Instead, what I saw was the dietitian feeding the patient carbohydrates and sugars in astonishingly large amounts and then administering insulin in order to deal with all of the inappropriate food. Let me put this another way, this is like giving someone a known poison that tastes good because the antidote is handy in large quantities at bedside. What kind of stupidity is this?

It is no wonder that people with any form of IBD have so many issues trying to find some semblance of a real life while trying to find a diet that doesn't cause some form of pain. There is little to no attempt in the mainstream dietary establishment to cater to or construct a dietary plan for patients. The only person that even seemed to realize she shouldn't give the patient sugar was the CNA. Wow... 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

To The Hospital I Go

It's not what you think. I have never been on this side of the equation before. The tremulous shaking and worry that I feel right now is ridiculous. The hospital won't let me in to see him yet, so I am trying to pass some time while calming myself down. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Down and Out

This past week has been a tad difficult for me. Not only did I sprain my left foot, but I also started a caffeine detox regimen to reduce my caffeine intake to 100mg/day. I have finished my first week of the detox, but it takes three to four weeks for anyone addicted to coffee to fully acclimate and for the hormonal imbalance we impose on our bodies to rebalance. Anyone that has gone through "die-off" knows a little about how this feels. Regardless of the situation I am in, the lethargy I am fighting, and the headaches I am feeling I find that after this first week I am starting to feel different. Knowing a definitive timeline for my body to rebalance has truly helped me keep on track. I have had a cup of coffee in front of me every morning just so that I knew I had the willpower to deny the addiction rather than just staying away from coffee altogether. I still allow myself tea (hot and iced) throughout the day, but the amount of caffeine in the tea does not go over my goal threshold. 

I may be absent from much of the world while my mind clears. Today is the first day in a week that my mind has been clear and I have not had a headache.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Dangers of Health

I don't know exactly what I did to my left foot, but it really hurts like hell. I cannot put much weight on it at all. The pain began this past Friday and grew through Saturday. I did a bunch of research and found that the area that was hurt was my midfoot and that it is actually very common for runners and joggers to sprain or break a bone in this part of the foot. After several self exams, I came to the conclusion that nothing was broken. If my midfoot was broken, pressure would have caused pain and it did not. I can only assume that my long job on Wednesday of last week came back to haunt me on Friday. Regardless, I have been inactive while I have been letting my foot rest. Today I was actually able to put some pressure on it in the afternoon without my foot feeling like it was going to fall off. 

No running for me for four to six weeks.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

De Stress

Find a way to remove excess mental anguish from your life. I think that I am going to do that. I am going to take an electronic time-out in order to do live some. I am hoping that it helps with those things that punching a wall or working out cannot remove.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Biggest Organ

Our skin is so important. It protects our insides from the outside world and it keeps all of our vital fluids and organs from leaking all of the place. There are so many other things that our skin does and most of us just take it for granted because it never asks for anything in return. For some of us, though, our skin can be a great cause of pain, discomfort, and stress. I used to think that my skin was not perfect because of all of the issues that I have had. Like others with an auto-immune disorder, I suffered from eczema, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, etc. I have wrote this previously, but let me reiterate the fact that when you have one auto-immune disorder, the chances of you getting secondary and tertiary disorders jumps exponentially. 

I am certain that many of you have felt some form of uncontrollable itching on your bodies, some form of cracking of the skin, some form of scaling of your skin. None of these things are pleasant. I loved the feel of using Irish Spring soap on my body for so many years. I would use a washcloth saturated with Irish Spring and scrub every single part of my body in extra-hot water. My skin would feel so tight and refreshing after I finished my cleansing routine...for about an hour. For the rest of the day my skin would itch so bad that I could swear I was covered in bees and fire ants stinging me at the same time. For as long as I could remember, that is always what my skin had felt like. I figured that everyone else always felt the same way.

At some point my fingers, eyes, ear lobes, and elbow creases started to dry out and crack. No matter what I did, I couldn't keep them from cracking. Add in scaling and cracking on my scalp and I was not a very happy person. When it was just my skin itching, no one would know what was going on, but when my parents saw the cracking in my skin they started to question what was going on. The conclusion was that my skin was as sensitive as my mother's. I was told that I needed to start using non-soap cleansers since they weren't as harsh on my skin and that I should start using lotion as well to keep my skin hydrated. I was also told that I needed to lower the temperature in my showers since the hot water pulls moisture out of my skin. Like any good little boy, I tried this regime for a day and then went back to what I was previously doing. I didn't feel "clean" when using my mother's products. I found that in addition to having very dry skin I also had very oily skin. This combination makes one very susceptible to eczema and psoriasis. 

Over time, I learned that I needed to stick with the cleansers my mother gave me. To keep my skin from drying out I stuck with the non-soap, turned down the heat on the water considerably, stopped scrubbing, and started using a non-oil based lotion. I had no idea that my skin was so ashen for so many years. As I stuck with the new cleaning regime, the oiliness of my skin lessened quite a bit. I learned from a dermatologist that when you dry out your skin your body uses oil as a means to replenish your skin's vitality by keeping moisture in; oil production goes into overdrive. I was washing my face several times a day because of the oil production. When I learned this new fact, I started using a soft warm cloth to remove excess oil from my skin throughout the day. I was amazed that the amount of oil my body produced went down even further.

I continued to refine my cleansing rituals and the care I put into my skin over the years. I only use Oil of Olay cleansing bars when I shower and I use it at most once a day on my face. I only use a wash cloth with warm water to remove oils and dirt from my face; I never scrub. After a shower, I always use a non-oil, oatmeal based colloidal lotion to keep moisture in my skin. I no longer feel that overall sense of itching anymore. My ear lobes, eyes, fingers, etc, no longer crack the way they used to. I no longer have scaling of my skin. And the wonderful thing is that this regime works VERY well at keeping my skin under control when I have been on prednisone in the past; I just increase the number of light, warm wash cloth wipings. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Big Hot Fudge Sundae with Nuts and Whipped Cream

I have been craving a big hot fudge sundae with nuts and whipped cream for days now. I refuse to break my "vows" and eat one, though. There are just too many things that go wrong when I eat so many offending foods at once. I really miss the layered experience I get from a really well made sundae. I love the hot fudge with the cold ice cream. The fluffiness of the whipped cream, the crunch nuts, the creamy ice cream, and the smooth chocolate. Even after all these years I still have such a vivid memory of the sundae. 

Cravings out of thin air are nothing new for me, but to have one linger for so long is truly tormenting. I live so close to a Dairy Queen and I almost ordered the sundae yesterday. The poor after-effects keep me from going that far, though. If the craving keeps on hammering me, I may break around day eight.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Joints Creak

I can remember my knees being sore and/or painful when I was as young as 14. The joints in my hands and elbows have been sore for a tad longer. Apparently, the pain and soreness I feel in my joints is a mild form of arthritis. It may seem obvious what it is, but for the longest time it was not obvious to me. I knew about arthritis and what it was; but I also knew that it usually only affected aged individuals. I was still young and invincible and so the thought that I might have inflammation of the joints never even crossed my mind. As I have read more over the years, though, I have come to the conclusion that the arthritis has always been there and it is not going away.

As we all know by now, Crohn's Disease is an autoimmune disorder. A person with one autoimmune disorder is more likely to suffer from other such disorders, even if on a lesser level than others. Arthritis is also an autoimmune disorder. I didn't just read this in place. I read it in many places. The correlations and direct relationships that were drawn were amazing. It was probably good that I read about the relationship because it allowed me to start taking some sort of action to help my joints. I started to strengthen the muscles around my joints during my workouts. I listen for snaps and pops in my joints when I am moving, and they happen quite a bit. I always make full-sweep motions to keep my range of motion intact. I try to make certain that I keep my diet in a proper place for my Crohn's since I am certain it is also affecting my arthritis. 

As I get older, though, I am going to have to take a much more direct approach to my creaking joints. My right knee is sore almost every day now and I have to be care when standing after sitting. I refuse to use my arms to boost me out of my seat since I want to keep as much strength in my legs as necessary. Luckily, I have access to large bodies of water where I can keep my body moving and get that full range of motion work-out happening whilst taking off a large bit of the load caused by my weight. I know that I should be able to get cortisone shots, but steroids really are the VERY LAST thing I want to put in my body due to my wonderful past experiences. 

Let the search begin for foods that replace joint lubrication.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fresh Salsa

I made some fresh salsa and, while it was not piquant, it really tasted good. Not only was the salsa SCD legal, but it was also my first attempt at natural fermentation of food. I was rather apprehensive, but am pleasantly surprised by the results. I am not going to go further into the topic of fermentation in this post since I plan on creating a post solely dedicated to the topic. I will post the recipe for the salsa as soon as I have finished tweaking the recipe. The minimum time for fermentation is 12 hours, so I am waiting to see what happens along the way. 
Majority of the Ingredients
All Ingredients Prepared and Mixed Together
After 12 hours of Fermentation and Topping Avocado

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I Reserve the Right

Before posting anything on my blog, I always do a lot or research, testing, self-evaluation, and more research. It is always important that what is immortalized in writing has a sound backing. Most of the time I write in specifics about diet, work out, symptoms, etc., but every now and then I write in a fairly general tone. The general tone is reserved for how I see the world, how my thoughts color my actions, and for topics where I am researching an item yet have not determined a clear set of rules. The topics usually tell about what I experience and why I stay away from that particular item or action.

Unlike many of the "established" researchers, I know and accept the fact that I am still learning about my condition and how it affects my life. While, at times, it may appear as though I am taking a 180 degree turn on a topic, in actuality it is me breaking the code for that particular topic. In many of those cases I am moving from shunning an item altogether to implementing rules that allow me to partake of at least a small part of a given item.

I have added a lot of knowledge recently that has given me some "Ah ha!" moments with previously verboten foods. I have been able to start differentiating some once monolithic items by creating subcategories for the items and have been pleasantly surprised by the results.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What About Bob?

I might be showing my age a bit by referencing "What About Bob?," but I don't care. If you haven't seen the movie, you should. It is a funny movie starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus. The reason for the reference is due to the mantra that was espoused during the entire movie: "Baby Steps." There was never really a moment where I thought, "Wow, this is a great mantra that I can use to get through my life." Looking back, though, it is what I have always done. I have taken just one moment at a time -- a snippet of a task. There are just so many tasks and situations that occur that feel overwhelming. So overwhelming that you just want to shut down and not deal with the world any longer. I am certain we have all had those situations where there has been a big mountain looming overhead with no end in sight. Any time that I have worried or agonized about that mountain, I have never been able to get around it or climb to the top. The times that I didn't think about the enormity nor the magnitude of the mountain, I was able to overcome the obstacle simply by taking one step at a time.

I find that taking "baby steps" has definitely helped with my Crohn's Disease. Before, I tried to tackle anything and everything in one fell swoop. There was no mountain too big nor too wide. That mentality found me crashing and burning far too many times where my illness was concerned. Crohn's Disease is the biggest mountain I have ever had to climb and I am still climbing it. There is no going around it. We must all make our way to top of this mountain one step at a time all the way to the top. I figure by the time I make it to the top I will be in perfect health, the world will eat and live like me, and I won't have to worry about my dark passenger. In the interim, I will continue to break daunting goals and unrealistic tasks into little snippets so that I can "baby step" to the completion line. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I Cannot Control The World

Situations don't create stress, they create unresolved emotions due to their outcomes, or lack thereof. It is these unresolved emotions that create stress. I can remember so many times where I would agonize over something; I would just sit there thinking about what went wrong with the situation and how I could have changed something to better benefit myself. I remember how I agonized over the imminent lack of insurance I was about the experience. I remember how I tried to figure out how I could have changed something about my life so that my liver wouldn't fail. I remember so many situations where my emotions were so out of control and undirected that the stress the emotions caused would literally put me in the hospital. One day I realized that stress is mostly just a byproduct of wasted energy. Our unresolved and undirected emotions are wasted energy. The day that I realized this was the day that I asked my partner a question -- the content of the question is moot -- and his answer was, "I don't know. I don't care. I cannot control the world. Let me focus on what I can control."

This careless statement got me thinking. How much energy had I spent on items that I had no control over? How many times could I have redirected my anger, sadness, or other emotion toward something constructive and under my control. This perspective helped me change my life from one that was fairly negative to one that was a tad more positive. Rather than lamenting the loss of my current insurance, I found a loophole that allowed me to acquire a new insurance. I accepted that I might need a liver transplant and used that energy from worry to change my diet only to later find that my liver miraculously rebounded. The progression and change was anything but easy. Most of us learn to be loathsome of change from an early age, but I learned to harness that emotion as a potent form of energy.

Many years later, I still use my mantra to keep myself focused and to redirect my energy toward constructive tasks that help me. I make good things happen from bad situations. If you have been reading my blog, you will have read about my work out regime and its progress. The progress with my work outs is directly related to my ability to redirect my anger. So many things in my current life make me frequently anger. It is amazing how powerful these raw, unbridled emotions can be and how much energy they carry with them. Rather than punch a wall or lament over a fantasy killing, I would channel that anger into a work out. After the work out there was no more bottled up anger to create undue stress on my body plus I progressed in making my body stronger. 

I cannot control the world, but I can focus on what I CAN control.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pain and Discomfort

As I get older, I expect to feel more pain and discomfort. Why wouldn't I expect this? I hear so many people older than me complaining about how their joints ache, how this body part is not working, or how that body part is always in pain. I got to thinking today and something dawned on me, I have been experiencing these minor aches and pains my entire life and they are the same things that people complain about later in life. The joint pains have been plaguing me since I was 15. My knees still hurt if I sit wrong too long.

At the age of 15, I had the body of a a 45 year old. That is amazing. The pains haven't gone away nor gotten worse, per se. They have remained consistent so long as I keep myself on a proper diet and moving. It does get me to thinking further, though; if people whine this much about such innocuous and minimal things, how would they ever handle what we feel with Crohn's? It's no wonder so many people think we can take a pill and feel better. Many people's worst pain barely compares to our base living conditions.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Weight Not, Want Not

I wrote about my journey with working out in a very general and positive manner. I thought that it would also be good to put in some tips, beyond stretching, for anyone starting a new work out that would help them follow through and remain dedicated.

1 Proper Form
Proper form in exercises is very important. One of the many reasons that I chose the regime I use is that I work out nude at home without anyone to spot me. My endurance training allows me to keep an eye on my form without having the need of another person to correct what I might be doing wrong. I am able to keep my motions going in the proper directions; make certain you research position and direction before starting. A mirror and/or a recording devise are wonderful tools in making certain you are using proper positioning and direction.

Form is more than just direction and position, though. Form is also about control and speed. You cannot move so fast that you lose control; an accident is bound to happen. You are in control of your work out so long as you are able to keep your movements smooth, full and fluid. If at any point your motions become jerky or lack the proper breadth of motion, then it is a fairly good indicator that you have lost control due to too much weight, speed, or usage. A general rule of thumb for speed is that the lifting motion should always take an equal or shorter amount of time than the releasing motion. Never use the releasing motion as a slingshot to build momentum for a lifting motion. It is something many are tempted into due to the lure of gravity, but the potential damage is not worth it. If you are unbalanced, reduce the weight so your speed throughout is equal again.

2. Rest
Workouts only work if you give the muscles time to rest and rebuild. If you continually wear your muscles out without allowing them rest or giving them proper nourishment to rebuild then you will only make your life painful. If you are barely fatiguing your muscles, you can perform an exercise with a particular group two to three times a week. If you are going to the point of failure and beyond with your workouts, you MUST let those muscles rest for at least a week between workouts.

3. Soreness and New Exercises
When starting a new exercise you will find that those muscles will become rather sore rather quick. The initial thought is to let these muscles rest because of how sore they might become after their first work out. While rest for those muscles that we're just initiated into your workout regime is good, not moving them at all can have dire consequences. You must continually stretch muscles and move them in full fluid motions after an initial workout. If you don't move those muscles willingly, soon they will bind up to the point that you will not be able to move any muscles in that set for some time. Incorporate stretching during and after the workouts.

4. Pushing Too Far
Pushing oneself to the limit is a strategy that only works when done properly. There is a yin and yang component to everything; the more you push yourself, the more you must rest to reap the full benefit. If you don't keep that balance one of two things will happen: you will damage your muscles beyond repair or you will have a flare up. Either way you will end up in the hospital.

5. Location
The last thing to consider is where you workout. I am much happier working out at home. I have the capacity and ability to manage my workouts without the need for machines -- at the moment. There was a point I had a gym membership, but I never went due to the hours I spent working and traveling. You might find you do better at a gym than at home. Perhaps a friend's condo has a gym you can use or there is a public park nearby that just makes it easy for you to not only start working out, but continue working out. You need to find that location that becomes your zen spot, if it feels like work rather than a workout then chances are you won't stick with it

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I hate the fact that I experience insomnia. For the past two weeks my sleep schedule has been completely ruined. I am rather happy today, though, due to the fact that I was actually able to sleep through the night. I still haven't figured out why it happens, but I am still trying. The insomnia wouldn't be such a bother if I didn't have Crohns. I would just use the extra hours to be productive.

The issue with insomnia is that it tends to coincide with blockages. For some reason, the lack of sleep causes my intestine to stop functioning at optimum capacity, and I have experienced pain already. Luckily I have learned from past experience to switch to a low residue diet with minimal overall food intake. Not only do I get to feel an unending sleeplessness, but I also get to feel continually famished since I refuse to eat my fill. Just another reason that I must be ever vigilant even though I am technically in remission.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I Am Not A Body Builder

My endurance training took some time, but I finally made enough strides with basic exercises. I was easily getting fifty reps per set in four sets. I figured it was time to implement the final phase of my workouts: augmenting my strength by adding weight. I am not going to lie, I thought that I was going to be able to pick up forty pound dumbells at this point. With all of the big, buff people throwing around the weights they use, forty seemed like nothing. To be safe, though, I purchased a set of ten pound dumbells to use. It was amazing; I was still a weakling that could barely lift them. I had to go back to Sports Authority and purchase two-and-a-half pound weights to use.

With all of the kicks to my pride, this one was nothing. I was at a point where I figured I just had to add a couple more steps into the process. I started using my new weights and, for consistency with my goals, kept with my standard fifty reps in a series of four sets. It took me about six months of working out without weights to get to benchmarks. When I started using my first set of weights, it took me about four months before I started to hit the benchmarks I had set in different exercises. I moved on to the ten pound weights I had previously purchased and maxed myself put after three months. Talk about an adrenaline rush to realize that my muscles were gaining strength at a quicker and quicker rate. I moved to twenty, thirty, and then forty in the weights I was using. My body's progress had hit its limit though. At twenty pounds and above, I was finding that it was taking me about two months to hit my benchmarks.

When I made the two month mark with the forty pound weights and still hadn't passed twenty reps, I knew something was wrong. My muscles had become complacent and had hit a road block. I didn't have anyone to help with workouts, so I had to be careful with my safety. With all of my knowledge and research, I knew this point would come but I figured I would be bench pressing 250 pounds at that point rather than eighty. I decided to implement some new techniques. The first thing I did was relegate certain muscles to once or twice a week only. I needed to let my muscles fully rest. The second was to start using many more lesser used exercises that directly targeted secondary and tertiary muscles for strength in those muscles. After a few weeks, I had passed the twenty rep mark in several exercises with the forty pound weights.

The third technique that I incorporated was negative reps. This refers to doing as many reps as you can per set without a set number of sets. I then went further with it by downgrading the weight in the negative reps. What does all of that mean? Using the press as an example, I would press eighty pounds until failure wait a few minutes and then press eighty pounds again until failure. I would keep this up until I couldn't press more than ten in a set. I would then pick up half the weight and continue to failure and so on until I was just making the pressing motions. You do NOT want to do this more than once a week!

I am still working on those forty pound dumbells, but I have made it up to fifty reps in at least two of the sets. I have added more exercises to create a synergy. Sometimes, I may not perform a certain exercise for two weeks, but I experience no lack of strength and in some cases come back with double the capacity. The best part about all of this tedium is that my body never feels fatigued under normal conditions anymore. My mind is an entirely different matter.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Giving up

What does it mean to you? I would imagine it means a lot of different things to different people. I have seen a lot of recent talk from IBD afflicted individuals concerning giving up were the intonation is suicide or wasting away. They talk about giving up their life. Anyone that has been through what many of us are going through would have to be made of stone physically and mentally to not have thought in this manner at least once. I am not going to lie, ending my own life was a thought that has crossed my mind more than once in the distant past. Pain, suffering, and harsh criticism my unknowing people can lead us there. There were two realizations I had in my life that changed my definition of "giving up."

The first swift kick in the ass I received that gave me greater perspective was when I started Remicade. Remicade was administered in the oncology ward and I was able to see many other people that were also receiving infusions. Their infusions were taking eight to twelve hours to administer compared to my paltry three to four hour drip. These people were actually dying in front of me from cancer and other unknown diseases. They were out of energy like me, but they were happy and positive. The lynch pin was when a five year old girl going through chemo got out of her chair after her infusion and started playing. How could these people be stronger than me?

The second realization for me was that sometimes giving up means giving up more than initially intended. In other words, certain things are tied together. The epiphany was that giving up was a conscious decision to remove something from this world that impacted my life. The times I wanted to give up on my life made me think about the fact that I would also have to give up my family and friends. I really didn't want to give up either of those things. With that in mind I decided to give up items that didn't actively bring something positive to my life or items that damaged my body. I must admit that giving up singular items is much easier than giving up pluralistic ones. 

In the end, I did give up. Just not in the manner that everyone assumes when using that phrase.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Which Step Have You Reached Today?

I think this particular drawing from Facebook Art is quite illustrative of what those with an auto-immune disease go through on a daily basis. I remember when the person that shared this with me posted this. I remembered when I could never make it to the top of the ladder. At this point, I always make it to the top without fail. There are some days that it is more difficult, but I push myself through. That first step -- for me that is getting out of bed -- is always the hardest no matter what state of remission I am in.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


The day I hit the benchmark allowing me to add more exercises was a happy day for me. My core was getting stronger and I could see and feel it. I added in a few other abdominal exercises and continued with them until I had fulfilled the same rule as before: fifty reps in four sets. I was at a place in my workouts where I felt comfortable moving to tasks that focused more of my extremities. This is where I started to implement the second aspect of my strategy. There are a lot of different ways to work out. Everyone has different names for these methods. In my own words and understanding, I would place them into five categories: cardio, circuit training, mass building, toning, and endurance.

Each of these categories has a general overlying process as well as a specific goal. The goal of cardio is to elevate your heart rate (to keep your heart and circulatory strong), to lose weight, and to lose fat in certain areas, i.e. love handles. Any activity that raises your standing heart rate 30% or more can fall into this category. (This number will change depending on where you look and all that really matters is that you elevate your heart a bit over your standing rate for around thirty minutes.) I knew I would have to incorporate some cardio in to my workouts for the sake of my heart, but the last thing I wanted to do was lose a lot of weight.

Circuit training is the easiest method and requires the least amount of thought. A series of machines (a circuit) is arranged and you follow from point one to the end; and you perform between ten to twelve reps at each machine. It focuses on a few large muscles and purports to be a full-body workout to keep you in shape. It is the fast food of workouts and works to fatigue your muscles, but rarely will one ever push to failure. From this point, I will reference weight as a percentage of capacity. Your maximum capacity is the greatest amount of weight you can lift in one rep. So if you can lift 100lbs one time before failure, that is your maximum capacity at the moment. If you can do two reps at 100lbs, you would need to increase the weight slightly to find your maximum capacity.

Those that follow a mass building regime are trying to build as large a muscle as they can. They do this by focusing on the strength of primary muscles through the use of very high weight added weight (75%-95% of capacity), between three to eight reps, and always pushing to failure. This breaks down the muscles rapidly and with proper attention they rebuild stronger. This was not a good strategy for me. My muscles were weak and I was not one to heal quickly for multiple reasons. Beyond building mass, there is toning. Toning is used to build definition in the muscles by wearing out primary muscles for the purpose of working on secondary muscles. Those people that have a very "cut" physique usually have a toning regime that they follow. With toning, one uses a low to mid weight added weight (40%-70% of capacity), between fifteen to thirty reps, and usually pushing more for muscle fatigue than muscle failure. I could see myself using a toning regime with some modifications, but after trying it I found that the weights were still too heavy for my current strength.

I finally came to endurance training in my search. This method of training uses the lowest added weight (0% - 30% of capacity), the number of reps is usually over forty, and you are pushing your muscles to the point of critical failure. Like toning, with endurance the primary muscles are fatigued to the point where secondary muscles take a more prominent role. Additionally, the secondary muscles are fatigued to the point where tertiary muscles come into play (when present). The purpose of endurance training is to help someone increase their body's overall efficiency and to increase the base energy levels resulting in a change in the muscle's fatigue, failure, and critical failure levels to allow for longer usage of the muscle. It also has a mental component that allows one to push beyond failure and while learning to stop just short of critical failure.

As I pushed into my endurance regime, I found that I was able to keep up with it with no added weight. I figured that I would be able to do fifty reps of any movement without any added weight and I was wrong. In some cases I was able to get to twenty reps, but on average I was only able to get to fifteen reps of any given movement. Since I had already set four sets of fifty reps for my core exercises, I decided to remain consistent. Using common exercises minus the weight, I set out on my next task.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

If You Have Nothing Nice to Say...

I try to keep a positive demeanor in everything I say and do; in those instances where I cannot be positive, I try to at least be constructive in what I say or do. Negativity in thought and action is like a plague: it is very easy to catch, it multiplies inside you, and it spreads like wildfire. I used to be ridiculously negative in everything I said and did -- it was so easy. Some perspective helped me see that sometimes the glass is half empty, sometimes it is half full, and sometimes that glass is holding 50% of capacity.

I see and hear a lot of people that are stuck in the doldrums and are very negative because of it. We all pass through that stage; but at some point we need to get beyond the continuous negativity. I am not saying one should put on "rose colored glasses" to view the world. There ARE bad things that happen in this world just as there are good things that happen. More often than not, though, what occurs is neutral and it is our perspective that will make what transpired a bane or a boon.

There was a point when I realized that my Crohn's wasn't a bad thing. I realized that it was, for lack of a better term, a plot device for my life. It would influence my decisions and keep my life moving in a novel manner. It was neutral.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I really enjoy fresh mangos. This is just a pictorial viewing of one. You should try.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Red In! Red Out!

I have been wanting to try beets for a very long time. I have been wanting to juice them for almost the same amount of time. I finally gathered enough courage to be able to buy some beets and to juice them. I kept the roots separate from the stalks since I have had chard in the past and new it to be somewhat bitter and didn't want to ruin the root juice just in case the stalk juice was too bitter. That was a very good call on my part. The juice was okay, nothing I would ever crave. 

The real surprise, for me came later that day when I went to the bathroom. When I was preparing the juice, it stained everything blood red and looked just like blood. I must say that what the beets stains going in, they also stain on the way out. My poop and pee were both tinged with red. Had I not thought about the color of the beet juice nor studied the color, I would have been really worried and thought that I had internal bleeding. This discoloration lasted for quite some time. Regardless of whether or not I expected the coloring or knew what caused the discoloration, it was still quite disconcerting to see that color in the toilet again. I would suggest for those with Crohn's or Colitis to abstain from beet juice unless you are in full remission. You never know what you might miss.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Another's Perception

As I was eating breakfast yesterday morning, my partner looked at me and said, "I am amazed you are eating broccoli with no issues. I remember for years how you couldn't touch that vegetable without getting sick."

It got me to thinking about just how far I've come and how much my health has improved. It is one thing to look at yourself in the mirror and see the changes, it is something entirely different to hear a spouse verbalize the changes. It does make me happy to know that the changes are noticeable to others and that those close to me see that the effort I put in is having tangible effects.

I am also happy I can eat broccoli and bacon together. I crave that flavor combination.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Something Lost, Something Gained

Over a year ago, I published a blog post concerning exercise with a rather dour view on my own progress with the physical world. In that time, I have done a lot of documentation and observation of myself as I began to make visible strides and progress. The first step in this progress was being able to disseminate, differentiate, and take advantage of the different signals my body gave me. The next step was to overcome the mental barrier I had put in place, and it was a big one.

Over the years of inactivity it became VERY easy to not do anything physical. Our bodies are hardwired to be efficient and will always default to the lowest energy state. My muscles had atrophied, my overall energy was stable, but low, and my weight was going up and gaining momentum. Like so many with issues keeping weight on, I was more than happy to let it pile on. As a precaution, I did set a benchmark for myself. I told myself that if I ever had to purchase a size 38 waist, that I had probably put on enough weight in proportion to my height. I hit that benchmark in between October and November of 2010.

True to my word, I started working out more often. I failed -- miserably. When all one sees is a cut man or woman bench pressing 1000lbs anywhere in the media, it does get rather discouraging when I couldn't even lift 5lbs more than a few times. I stopped and started several times. After three attempts, I knew I had to change the way I viewed work outs and what was possible for me. True to being me, I went into research mode and starting rereading about workouts and finding out more than what I learned in college. Yes, I actually took classes in college. Chalk this bit of good luck up to required summer classes and me not wanting to think too hard. Surprisingly, there is a lot of solid theory to all of it. This reaquaintance of information laid the foundation for my new and current workout regime strategy: core, endurance, strength.

In this day of instant information and data bombardment, I would think that most people have heard the term "core" in relation to working out. To put it simply, your core is the part of your body that you will use when performing any simple, mid-level, or advanced training exercises. If you need a visual, think of the core as your body as it connects your arms, legs, and head. There are many different exercises that can be used to strengthen your core depending on your personal goals. I was just looking to get myself moving, increase physical energy, and increase my strength; definition and toning were not of great importance. To that end and to keep life simple, I chose to focus on my abdominal muscles with basic sit-ups.

In my failures, I learned that I needed to focus on one task at a time and that I needed to make certain that I felt like I was accomplishing something. I told myself that I could only add new items once I had fulfilled certain rules with what I was already doing. I also took a very different attitude to the work out than most of the people I will call "gym rats" and "gym bunnies," I took the stance, "Thanks, don't care." What that meant to me was that if I worked out, then I was doing great since I was reaching toward a goal. On the converse, if I missed a day or two...or three or four...then I wasn't going to stress about it, I wasn't going to get down, and that I could always go back to it. 

The new plan of action with a new thought process helped me stick with my workout plan. I set my sit-up rule so that I could only add another exercise when I could do 50 standard sit-ups four times in a row. Sounds like a lot, but it isn't. It did take me about 9 months to get to that point, but I eventually did and it felt good and I could tell the difference in my core strength. I realize I have only written about core and left out the other two strategies from this blog post. That was intentional. Core comes first, I will write about endurance and strength later.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Do I look too thin?

Facets of Energy or the Lack Thereof

Are you drained? Fatigued? Tired? Weary? Worn out? Wiped out? Exhausted? Chances are if you have Crohn's, Colitis, or some form of IBD you have used all of the terms above. No matter what you do, you cannot seem to get any extra energy.

Is it mental or physical? Ask any bystander that has been around you or anyone else with IBD and their first thought is most likely mental. If someone has good health and ample amounts of energy, they cannot fathom someone actually being devoid for so long. The truth is that those bystanders are half right.

Now that I have dispensed with the information that any pain management expert already knows, let me move on to the real intent of this blog post: not all energy is the same. Sometimes the obvious needs to be said aloud or stated in a blunt manner to fully hit home. Too many people use the same sentence to describe every single type of lack of energy, "I'm tired." It's no wonder the rest of the world thinks we are slacking off and should get more sleep rather than playing around. That sentence, while it does describe a lack of energy, relates directly to a necessary bodily process: sleep. If you think your lack of energy due to Crohn's or Colitis can be cured by sleep, please continue to use that overused, catch-all sentence. Otherwise, learn to differentiate the different ways your energy is lacking.

If that seems a tad cryptic, let me go on with my own perceptions and how I describe my lack of energy on a daily basis. First and foremost, I only say, "I'm tired." when I need sleep. It is a bit difficult to be so pointed at first, but with practice it can be done. If my body is not requiring sleep, I think about the following:
- Does it feel like a lack of energy or not enough energy?
- Can I move freely?
- Can I perform a work task?
- Can I perform a fun task?
- Do my muscles hurt?
- Is my mind clouded?

These questions help me figure out what is going on. That first question is a tad odd, but it does set the tone. I started to think of very esoteric items in very concrete terms so that I could better diagnose myself. Translated: if your body is a glass that holds energy as a liquid, is the glass empty or is the glass too small. The glass being too small is the easy option. It means you can get up, move, perform tasks, but after a short span of time you become worn out since you have used all available energy. This only requires you to get a bigger glass. Having determination to move beyond this state of being worn out causes your glass to fatigue. Done properly, your body will rebuild you a slightly bigger glass every time. If only our lives were so easy and singularly layered. If your glass is empty, though, you are drained and must find a way to refill it. This is not caused by a lack of sleep, this is caused by a lack of proper nutrition. Your body is not absorbing anything and you need to figure out some way to get nutrients to your body. In the beginning, most of us will say both rather than one or the other.

Asking oneself if they can move freely is a way of determining just how physical or mental the energy deficiency is. If you can move but your muscles are sore then you are not lacking for mental energy and we move back to your body being overly fatigued. Rest your muscles to allow them to rebuild and continue the process of breakdown and rebuild. If you can move slightly but it is difficult to concentrate to keep them moving, your mind is exhausted. Yes, I am saying it is mental. Yes, I am saying there is something wrong with you. No, I am not saying you have a mental illness. Your brain is the biggest consumer of resources in your body. If it isn't getting nutrients or calories, then it is not going to work. If it is over stressed with worry, pain, or doctors visits, then it is going to give out. This is why you aren't sleepy; it has nothing to do with your body needing sleep.

Work, in this context, can be a job, career, chores or any sort of necessary responsibility. In asking myself if I can work, I am looking mostly at my mental energy and slightly at my physical energy. If I can work, then I do so. When I find that I cannot work, I see if I can perform a fun task. Anything fun relates to anything that  lacks responsibility, is for relaxation, or done for personal enjoyment. Whenever I find myself unable to perform a work task but able to perform a fun task, I know that my mind has become weary from lack of energy.

After getting through all the harder questions, I ask myself if my muscles are hurting when I am moving around. I may have touched on this previously, but it is important to know if your muscles require more attention. In most cases, your muscles will be fatigued due to over exertion. This starts a downward spiral for us since we will do less which means our muscles atrophy which causes us to wear out and fatigue much sooner.

Finally I ask myself if my mind is clouded or not. I try to ask myself the easiest question last so that I can make it through all of the harder questions. If my mind is cloudy, it takes quite a bit of willpower to push through the cloud. In this state, I could sit and watch the wall for hours without once feeling tired; my mental energy has been wiped out.

I would love to say that we only experience one of these at a time, but the truth of the matter is that we experience several at a time. Having the mental fortitude to push through any of them is tough but a necessary quality that can only be accomplished by learning to differentiate and tackle each lack of energy on its own terms. I can see some people getting mad at reading this. People that say, "You can't think or push your way through everything like a bull in a china shop." I completely agree with this; sometimes the best plan-of-action with a certain lack of energy is inaction. If your muscles are worn out, you can mentally push through it. If your muscles are fatigued, though, mentally pushing through is possible but you may cause more damage than good.

Learning to push through any lack of energy is a necessary skill that all of us must acquire in order to live in this world. What must also be learned -- at the same time -- is when we must stop. There are always going to be natural limiters on anyones body so that they don't do themselves harm. When you hit these natural limiters, you are at failure or near zero energy. You can push through this with enough mental fortitude, I have done it. I don't recommend this, though, since you can hit catastrophic failure. When your muscles or your mind are in a state of catastrophic failure, they are at absolute zero energy. There is no way to push through this and you actually do yourself harm when you hit this level. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Inflamed and Untamed (REPOST)

What you are reading below was not written by me; but it spoke so much to me that I had to repost it. It is not often that I read something where I agree with and approve of the content 100%. That is saying something considering how opinionated I am. As I don't think I can improve on what was said, I have copied the post below (with Sara's permission) in it's entirety. 


I put my heart and soul into this blog. Into every sentence I write, into everything I do…
About once a week I wake up to find someone has stolen something of mine whether it be an idea or copied a project or word for word copied and pasted my blog onto their own and are therefore using it as their own original work when it is not. 
Today I woke up to find someones twitter who word for word took my description of myself and used it has his. When I investigated further I found that he also took most of my biography on my  about me  page and used it as his own.  It was a biography that I sat down and took time to write thinking about who I am as a person and what I do and he just copied it and used it as his own. 
This is frustrating beyond words and I’m not sure if people like this really know how much it hurts to have things you work so hard on stolen.  The internet makes it so easy for people to steal the words right out of your mouth in a way. 
Since I have started this blog I have found people selling Inflamed & Untamed wristbands, I have found a blog who copied and pasted an entire post I wrote and used it as his own, I have found what I mentioned above, I have watched videos I worked really hard at making being copied a week later, and so on.  
While I LOVE that there is so much activism out there right now it hurts a lot to put your heart and soul into something and watch someone else take that from you. I put so much effort into this blog and into all my other projects and I do it with originality, creativity, and most importantly love for you guys and what I do.  Where has originality gone these days? Come up with your own ideas and projects and definitely do not plagiarize someone else’s words. You have to be original! You have to be YOU!  Why are you trying to be me or anyone else besides you? Every blog that I have written, every video that I have done, has been something that I have thought up on my own based on my own experiences and what I want to say to the world. I would never dream of copy/pasting someone elses words and using them as my own because they simply are not. 
So if you have a blog, if you have a website, a facebook page, a twitter, etc. please put your own heart and soul into your work and not my own. If it’s fame you’re looking for then you are not in this for the right reasons anyway. And if you for some reason have the misconception that you should copy me because what I am doing works, it works because I am being myself and I am being an original. So have a voice because that’s awesome, and if you want to be an activist then do it. But do it your own way and not by copying someone else.  
I’m just really saddened today and not sure how much more I can handle people stealing my work. I take pictures to document these things and I tell the people that I hope that they will take it down or stop doing it. After that I don’t know what I can do…post the pictures I guess and expose the people doing this. Sorry you guys, this just happens to upset me a lot to find my words being used on other peoples things. 

The original posting by Sara can be found here.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Juicing Video

As you can see, the bulk of the fiber and the juice are separated. If you use a blender, you get all of the fiber which can be somewhat painful.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hermetic Box

These days, we are all taught that our bodies are temples that should be kept in pristine condition. That usually means keeping anything bad away from your body while only putting in things that are good. This thought process has progressed to the point of OCD and hypochondria, in some, as we try to keep our bodies sterile and shut-off from the rest of the world. The more I read and the more I experience, though, the more I ask myself: Are we slowly killing ourselves? Who defines what is good and bad and just how reliable is there information?

Did I mention I am quite obsessive-compulsive?

It has been very difficult for me to question this dogma that has been ingrained into me from such a young age. I have always questioned new and old alike in my mind, but when it came to keeping my body "pristine" the question is where it stopped. I had to keep all of the germs out of and off my body. I would shower two or three times a day with harsh soaps. All foods had to pasteurized and properly cooked. Any food that was 1% questionable was thrown away. Massive amounts of deodorants and perfumes always encompassed by body and god forbid my feet ever touched anything but my socks or the shower floor. My body was a hermetic box that was completely cut off from the rest of the world. I had attained the separation of world from body and was happy to keep it that way.

My world was turned upside down when my Crohn's kicked in. Needles going into my body. "Things" coming out of my body. No longer in control. I had to change. The only option was to break myself of my compulsions. The only way to do that was to research and replace innuendo and propaganda with information from many different sources. I was very slow at this since I really didn't want to change the way I lived my life. When my intestines gave out and I had my resectioning/appendectomy I knew that I had to make a change.

The appendix is a funny thing. Many professionals say that it is a vestigial organ -- something that is of no use to the human body. When the appendix bursts, it lets out large amounts of bacteria into a usually sterile environment in the body. Mine had not burst, but it was situated in the center of an area of intestine that had to be removed. I was lucky to get a bonus appendectomy according to doctors and nurses. I was still feeling betrayal at the medical community at this time; I had done everything they had said and I was still going through massive amounts of pain and surgery. This spark of betrayal made me wonder, "Is the appendix really vestigial?" As I looked more into functionality and the like, I started to come across terms that I had never heard before: probiotic and intestinal flora. My research on the appendix had come to a dead end and so I moved on to looking at the other terms that had come up.

My research took me from the appendix as a hotbed of bacteria and vestigial organ to the bacteria that live in (intestinal flora), on and around our bodies and putting bacteria into our guts (probiotics). Queue the unease I felt at the thought of actually adding bacteria to my body. As I read more and more about what our native bacteria do in our body, I became less and less apprehensive while also starting to see why I might be experiencing certain vitamin or mineral deficiencies or having excessive amounts of diarrhea. What put a lynch pin into how I was thinking was an article that I read about the appendix. The appendix was a hotbed of bacteria, but here we had the novel idea that the appendix produced good bacteri. With those of us that are constantly on antibiotics or have had some form of appendectomy, a picture had formed in my mind. The appendix was our body's digestive backup -- an emergency digestive reset.

I came to the realization that my body could no longer be an entity apart from the rest of the world. I had to find a way to reactivate my digestive tract as my backup disk had been destroyed. A couple of years later I am still learning what I can do to reactivate my body's natural mechanisms and keep them in top working order. I see my body as part of a larger process in this world where all of my needs come from some part of the world around me and that every byproduct that comes from me needs to find a way back into the cycle. What comes in must go out. What goes out must come in.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Denial of Self

I posted a photo of an art project and received a comment that I have never received before: GROSS. I made a rule about this blog and so will not be writing a general diatribe about nudity and nudism. Instead, I will be a tad more pointed with my vantage on nudity and how it affects and helps my life as pertains to my Crohn's Disease. I waited some time in writing, formulating and posting this particular article; I wanted to make certain that as little emotion was included as possible. The only warning that I would give is that if you are looking for sexual innuendo, sleeziness, pedophilia, and general lack of decency to inflame your morals to the point that you must speak out then you will have to go to another blog; this has nothing to do with any of those topics and never will.

Let me start by giving a situation that everyone with Crohn's Disease or some sort of IBD has experienced. The setting is the doctor's office. There has been an appointment set and both sides have held up their end of the bargain by showing up. This is where most people's sense of normalcy ends. In many cases, we are asked to incorporate some stage of undress in our visit. The dread and the stress that comes along with trying to accommodate our modesty has a deleterious effect on us. We accommodate the doctor so that we can make certain that our health is not deteriorating. Everyone knows this situation, right? What about those hospital visits that we have all had to experience? I don't think anyone can say that they have had a hospital stay where their modesty and privacy hasn't been intruded upon by nurses, staff, doctors, or cell mates. The threadbare gown that they give us to wear doesn't even keep us warm, let alone cover us; but I don't care. I have seen so many people that worry about having some other person see some part of their body and just stress over it; but I really don't care. I don't even bother to wear the gowns anymore; it's not like the people that work there haven't already seen everything; I just don't care. Before this mentality of mine kicked in, I was always scrambling to cover up; afterwards, so much stress was removed from the situation. As we all know, stress is a big factor in our flare-ups and getting better.

What I also found, though, is that we all get varying amounts of pressure around our abdominal area. I am fairly certain that most of us have either worn pants/shorts that are several sizes too large or unbuttoned the clothing just to find comfort from the pressure. There are even times when that extra pressure on your abdomen can propagate a flare-up due to a blockage. I don't experience that any more. A slight change in the pressure on my abdomen usually goes unnoticed since there is nothing to press back. There are times where I must remain clothed for longer periods of time. It is these days where I start to feel a slight discomfort in my abdominal area. As soon as I remove the waistbands the discomfort goes away within the hour.

I can see the commentary that might come from others with Crohn's or Colitis: what about the cleanliness or accidents? These are both valid concerns, but I don't believe they are warranted. Many people use their clothing as a way to keep from cleaning themselves fully. Even with the most heinous of assplosions, one can still take the time to clean up in the shower. There are wash cloths and wet wipes that we all have available to us. It only takes a little more time to go that extra mile when cleaning yourself. In the long run, your pants and undergarments will thank you for that extra time.

What of the accidents, though? Go back and read my posting about accidents. Clothes do nothing to shield you from accidents happening. In fact, all they do is make the mess worse. The mess is now smeared all over you. It still got on the floor. It still got on the couch where you were sitting. And, most likely, you have to throw away some ruined clothing. That clothing has lulled you into a false sense of security since you think it will "catch" whatever might come forth. I have found that I am more keen in understanding and feeling any urges my body may send forth, no matter how small. I am more attuned to my body.

In the end -- pun intended -- I had to be more vigilant and more responsive. I also had to come to grips with my Crohn's and how it wove itself through my body. It is one thing to think you understand. It is another thing to see the small changes in your natural form as you tweak your diet, as you exercise more or less, the slight growth of your belly an hour before any pain starts. It was a good step in me accepting myself wholly so that I could make constructive changes.


A little extra reading for those interested:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Out of Gas?

This is not the euphemism you are thinking of...

I wish I was out of gas, unfortunately it is one of those things I must deal with on a daily basis. I could handle being the gassy, "old fart" if the exterior aspect was all I had to handle. What many people never think on is the interior aspect of gas, especially the effect it has on those of us that have Crohn's or have had some form of intestinal surgery. The sad truth is that someone can be in remission and still experience discomfort or pain due to gas.

Gas in our bodies occurs due to fermentation caused by incomplete digestion of food. The reason your body isn't absorbing the food doesn't matter, just the fact that it remains for opportunistic bacteria to feed on. The gas accumulates in your system. It causes pressure. We are already tender in so much of our digestive tract that the gas pressure only exasperates and magnifies any pain that may be present. It can actually create discomfort, potentially pain, in those of us that may not show any visible symptoms.

Fibrous foods are a very big culprit of gas. Grains of any kind and dairy will produce unwanted gas. These are all facts that many should already know. What many don't realize is that many vegetables can also contribute to your pain. I can hear the commentary, "Duh...veggies have fiber." It is more than that, though. Some vegetables are just difficult to digest. A great example of this is the onion. A raw, yellow onion is very difficult for anyones body to digest regardless of the fiber involved -- a double-whammy food. If you can handle the flavor, try eating some raw onion if you don't believe me.

That last sentence isn't meant as a dare, but it does hint at a way to mediate some of the causes of gas. The most obvious way is to abstain from consuming the offending item. Unfortunately, that would restrict our diets to the point of air and water. A more realistic approach would be preparation of that item. I love onions as a food, as an example, and as a metaphor since they have so many layers -- I can now add pun to that list.

Preparing a food item can be so much more than just rote methods. Changing the form and size of an item may make the difference between hazardous and safe for your body. Soaking an item can change the consistency or remove indigestable components. The depth of cooking can be the difference between pain and no pain. Let's go back to the onions. Raw onions are harsh on anyones system. The way most people cook the onion is simply to get them warm or hot in a couple of seconds. When I cook onions, I let them cook for quite some time; onions are translucent when I am done with them. I no longer have issues with onions.

There are many foods that become edible if at least one of the methods above is used. Unfortunately there are certain foods, like dairy, that will cause issues no matter what you do. Keep gas in mind when you are eating. It will change the way you eat.