Tuesday, January 31, 2012

: Make certain you make disclaimers about your mood and medications to everyone. Not everyone is naturally an asshole like I am.

Monday, January 30, 2012

: You now have Crohns, your body's gauges no longer work the same as before. You are responsible for installing the new 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

: If you aren't having a flare, never skip a meal. That's the fastest way to make yourself worse. If nothing else, have Pedialyte

Saturday, January 28, 2012

: Learn whether your body does better with gradual transitions or instantaneous transitions. Use that info to change your life.

All Night Long...

My sleep schedule used to be so messed up. To say that I had insomnia would be the same as calling a hurricane a light summer shower. Before the Crohn's manifestation, I could sleep full nights with no issues. Even when I lived in Alaska and the sun was up almost 24 hours, all I had to do was close the shades and I could get a good "nights" sleep. When the Crohn's Disease hit, that is when everything changed. It wasn't an instantaneous change, but a gradual change in my night-time routine.

The first thing to disrupt my sleep was the pain. We have all been there. A great dream in a deep sleep is occurring when out of no where something releases that 50-ton wrecking ball with spikes in your gut. If you can show me anyone that can sleep through that, I will show you a dog that teaches collegiate English Literature. Hyperboles aside, that pain caused the start of my sleep deficit. I can't tell anyone just how tired I was, I would pass out only to be jolted awake by the pain. Then I was finally diagnosed with Crohn's Disease.

Many people blame the medications as the cause of their insomnia; they are only partially correct. I really do believe that the pain is the initial cause of any sleep problems, everything after that just compounds the issue. The medications helped with the pain, but I had never paid back that sleep deficit. Even with the pain somewhat managed, the medications were now playing havoc with my system. Sleep was still an elusive commodity that my body couldn't seem to acquire. Before the medicine, I was able to at least fall asleep -- or pass out from exhaustion -- for a small amount of time. After the medicine, no matter how tired I felt and no matter how much I lay down, my body wouldn't even sleep for a short amount of time. I found myself awake until 2am-3am in the morning doing homework or odd tasks around the home trying to make certain that I didn't wake any of the other 5 people in my family. I would eventually fall out at that time, but then I would have to be up for high school around 6am. The mental and physical fatigue was over-bearing. I was at a point where I needed something to help with the situation.

At this point, I started to add stimulants, like caffeine, into my diet. I started drinking a lot of Coca-Cola throughout the day in order to keep me moving. The sugar and caffeine high kept me moving and helped me to ignore the need for sleep to a point. The stress of no sleep was too much for my body and I found myself having a lot of mini-flare-ups all the time. I would curl up on the floor in some of my high school classes due to the pain that I would experience or just lay down in random places because of the pain and sleep deficit. Had I not been at the top of my class, I am sure I would have been labeled more of a trouble-maker instead of just a mental-case.

This layering of treatments for symptoms continued for years. There were two events that changed my perspective and illustrated to me my need to change. The first was my resectioning. I knew at that point that I had to change something and get more sleep. The second event was the near-failure of my liver in 2004. The doctors were all looking for ways to treat the symptoms that their tests showed; but after research I could see that a lot of the problem was also on me. The caffeine/sugar overload, the lack of sleep, and a specific reaction my body was having with a certain drug had all come together to a crux. My doctor had found a means to negate the reaction with medication I was taking, but the rest was up to me.

It was at this point that I cut the majority of the caffeine and sugar out of my diet. I was in HELL! The insomnia was still plaguing me and I was insufferable to be around due to the withdrawal. I was always laying down trying to sleep and it just wasn't working. I was reading so much on insomnia at this time and how to correct it. I read several things that stuck with me: 
  1. Lay down at the same time every night, get up if you don't fall asleep within 30 minutes.
  2. Wake up at the same time every morning without fail no matter how tired you are.
  3. Make the room COMPLETELY black.
  4. No caffeine after 2pm if you drink caffeine in any form.
  5. No naps allowed until the sleep has regularized.

I started following these rules to the letter. To say that my life got much worse before getting better was a ridiculously large understatement. I was at a point where I was useless. I couldn't tell if it was working, but I refused to give up. I decided to take an extreme measure and I stayed awake through one night. I then went to bed at 9pm almost 48 hours after I woke. I slept through for the first time in years. I kept with my schedule and followed my rules. I finally started to see results; I was sleeping a somewhat normal schedule. This took me over 6 months and there were times that my Crohn's would revolt. 

I can now sleep through the night. I do have hiccups every now and again where I experience some form of insomnia, but it is because I broke some of my rules during that or the previous day. I very rarely ever drink coffee after 2pm and drink mainly water and tea. One thing to add to this, something I learned through several theses I wrote on color and light, is to be careful of light in the blue and green spectrum. This light approximates daytime to your body and can actually keep you awake. Yellow lights are better since they approximate a light of dusk or dawn, but can still keep you awake. If you must have a nightlight, try purple or pink on very low wattages; these will be less likely to register on your body's sleep machinery.

Friday, January 27, 2012

: We all hate NPO; but many times when we are in flare mode that is the MOST efficient way to help yourself: self-imposed NPO

Thursday, January 26, 2012

: Animal fat is difficult for a normal body to process. Eat lean, well-marbled meats and always remove visible excess fat.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

: Watch your weight! "Too much weight" is subjective and based on each person. Too little weight is obvious and can send you to ER

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

: Hit by the need? Don't run, it works it out faster. A controlled and steady pace is your best bet.

I Lost It

I weighed myself a day ago and found that I had lost another 5 pounds. I weigh myself at least twice a month to make certain that I am staying at a uniform weight -- no abnormal ups or downs. So that makes a loss of 30 pounds since November/December 2011. I feel fine, but I am keeping a fairly close eye on my weight now. The last thing I want is to put myself in an uncontrolled downward spiral. I started out at a size 38 waist and am currently at a size 32 waist, in case you were wondering.

I think my increased activity with work outs has had some impact. I also think that my incorporation of more whole vegetables has something to do with this. Whole vegetables are not as calorie dense as so many of the other foods we eat on a daily basis.

Caffeine...and that Damn Juicer Returns

This past weekend was a very good weekend for me. Not because I wasn't tired, but because I didn't feel fatigued, drained, worn out, or any other form of tired I normally feel. I was sleepy from time to time, but it was nothing a nap didn't fix. I cannot tell you the last time I invigorated like this. The biggest part of it was that I didn't have a whole lot of caffeine. In fact, one day I had absolutely no caffeine; I woke up at 7:30 in the morning and went the entire day feeling "normal." 

I know that doctors cringe when I talk about experimenting with my health and body, but I learn so much about my body's tolerances and abilities. When I restarted the juicing, there was a burning sensation that moved throughout my body for the next 48 hours. I could feel the change occurring in my body, I could feel the growing energy and I could feel the change in my mood. The best way for me to convey what I was feeling is through the metaphor of a clear sky versus a cloudy sky. There are many "clouds" that position themselves over and around different parts of my body. Some of these "clouds" are layered over other "clouds." The "clouds" over my mind were dissipating. It had gotten to the point where I needed to drink a 12oz cup of coffee with 2 shots of espresso in order to break through some of the "clouds" that covered my body. 

Coffee is one of those commodities that many people drink. They do so to get themselves going; it is their "liquid sleep" or "instant energy." Add some cream and sugar and most of those people can drink coffee and no longer cringe. I actually like the flavor of black coffee and straight shots; but we all know what happens when we drink too much. Between the impending stomach cramps and the instantaneous need for the toilet, it is a precarious balancing act in finding the right amount of coffee to drink at any given instance. There was a point when I drank coffee four or more times a day with at least two shots of espresso in every cup. As I juiced more, I didn't realize that I had actually cut out A LOT of the coffee I was drinking. The past two weeks put this in perspective. I had found a new balance. I was drinking coffee more for the taste than for the need to energize myself.

I have found that when I am properly juicing, 6-8 ounces of coffee in the morning is more than enough to give me that flavor that I enjoy while also giving my mind an extra jolt of clarity in the morning. And I am not taking any espresso shots in the coffee. I am really trying to keep from being fanatical about certain topics, but the more I think on it, the more I realize just how much I have learned. As of the writing of this post, I have come to a conclusion as to why the juicing is so much more potent than the fresh vegetables -- the juice is raw. Heat corrupts and destroys nutrients in fruits and vegetables.

One more bit of information about my juicing, I have been talking to a lot of people about how they prepare their juices in comparison to how I prepare mine. A lot of people use blenders to create their juices. This leaves all of the pulp and fiber in the juice. My juicer removes quite a bit of this roughage. I am still a firm believer that most of us cannot handle all of that fiber for quite some time, I know that my body still has issues over a certain allotment. If you are going to juice, try to find a way to strain out all of that roughage.

Monday, January 23, 2012

: The immune system is more active & efficient when the body is hotter. Our bodies are already out of control. Why make it worse?
: Hot showers feel great, but aren't your friend. They cause skin dryness and swelling, joint swelling and other issues. How? ...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

: Medications cause insomnia and weight fluctuation. Staying active helps mediate the highs and lows. Two stories? Take the steps.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

: Drink water. Don't stop drinking water. Water helps keep your bowels moving. Just don't overdo it.

Forks Over Knives

I have recently come across and watched another documentary movie. I think this movie has a lot of great raw data that anyone with IBD can use to their advantage. While the raw data presented is rather wonderful, the conclusions that are drawn are somewhat general and short sighted in relation to anyone with some form of IBD. The name of the movie is "Forks Over Knives" and is a movie that I would recommend anyone to see. I will be using the raw data presented and incorporating it into my own set of rules. 

For anyone that follows the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and has read the book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle, you will find that there are many similarities. You will also notice that where the two strains of thought differ, they differ greatly. Like the other movies I have recommended, it is easily found on Netflix.

Friday, January 20, 2012

: Don't eat until stuffed. Many smaller meals will allow your bowels to process items better. Less likely to get a blockage, too.

Juicing is No Longer a Fad, It's a Part of My Life.

I am always a very skeptical person when it comes to assertations that people make about topics that just seem too good to be true. After having watched the movie "Fat Sick and Nearly Dead" I started wondering if maybe I had become one of those zealots -- someone that was so entrenched in a belief that they would overlook valid proof that contradicts that belief. After the twentieth surprised reaction -- among other reactions -- I decided that I needed to make certain that I wasn't just a zealot and that this was actually working for me and helping my health. I knew that I couldn't do the test right away, so I waited until after I had at least passed the 6 month mark for juicing. 

By this point, I was actually eating whole fruits and vegetables that I hadn't been able to eat in over a decade. I told myself that when I could eat whole broccoli with no ill feelings in my gut, that I would proceed with the experiment. I figured at that point I would still be getting the necessary nutrients, even if it was in smaller quantities since I still must watch my roughage and fiber intake. I passed my milestone for being able to eat whole broccoli in late November of 2011. On January 5, 2012, I decided it was time to put my experiment into full force. I stopped juicing. 

I was still eating the whole vegetables and I was loving that I could do so without pain. Two weeks later, though, I look back and I have an entirely new perspective. I started juicing again on January 20,2012. My energy levels were so low. What I have found is that my body still has issues with the uptake of nutrients from the whole fruits and vegetables. An hour after drinking my Chard, Apple and Lime juice, I was surprised to find that I was getting my energy back. The build-up of that energy over the past couple of months was noticeable to me, but I had no idea that I got that much out of the juicing. In one of my previous posts I wrote, "Juicing is my new fad." At this point, I must say that I am certain that juicing is not a fad. It makes the nutrients in the vegetables and fruits so easy for my body to absorb. I can still feel the wave going through my body.

There was a cloud that was hanging over my mind that is slowly receding and I am starting to feel the pangs of energy in my body again that had slowly withered away. It is the same feeling that I get when I haven't taken my B12 for a long period of time. I don't think I am going to discontinue my juicing anywhere in the near or foreseeable future. I just feel so much better, have more energy, and my outlook is so much better. Anyone with Crohns Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, or any form of IBD should really consider juicing. 
: Caffiene triggers your bowels instantaneously. Make certain the distance to the toilet gets shorter as the coffee gets stronger.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

: Don't worry about your weight. First manage your Crohns. When it's under control, then you can sculpt your body
: Stress causes flare-ups. Situations don't cause stress. It's how one responds to those situations that might cause stress.
: Only get rid of clothing that is broken or stained. I have pant sizes ranging from 30-40. A month ago I was at 38, now at 34.