November 8, 2016 marks the three year anniversary of having my colon removed. After years of struggling with ulcerative colitis, I had a 3-step J-pouch surgery and am now living pain-free and enjoying life to its fullest. Every year I like to reflect on what this year has brought me and how I am feeling. This year wasn't much different from the last... busy, busy with two kids and just trying to balance it all. But most importantly, I am healthy.
I had a "pouchoscopy" back in June that showed mild inflammation in my J-pouch.
This sent me on a worried spiral of "what ifs." My doctor had started me on high dose probiotics to help the issues, and my inflammation numbers returned to normal. Phew. I did start to have some mild issues again this past September. My insurance decided to stop covering my probiotics and during the fight to get them covered again, my stomach started acting up. Nowhere near as bad as it was back in the day, but just some minor, out of the norm issues. My insurance did not end up covering the probiotics, so I started taking a new one and just upped the dose they suggest. Since doing this, I'm back to no issues at all. In fact, it only took 5 days of high dose probiotics for my body to start acting normal again. I truly believe in probiotics and I have seen them work with my own eyes.
I'm seeing my GI this week for a routine check-up. She'll probably do some blood work and grill me on how I am doing. Hopefully my numbers are still in range because I’m feeling great. I have a lot of energy and find it easy to keep up with two kids. I am exhausted at the end of the day, but during the day, I don't find it hard to keep up. I don't use any caffeine or stimulants, so I have to believe it's my diet and lifestyle.
Speaking of keeping it healthy… since Baby S was born, I've been all about eating what makes me happy.
I always keep it vegan, but not necessarily always healthy. I was sick of being so careful with what I ate for too long, that it was time to just relax. I dropped my ideals of eating “high raw” or “all raw” and starting enjoying food again. In the past couple of weeks I‘m finding myself drawn back to veggies and salads, but I'm not looking to be perfect, just nourishing my body with clean foods and less processed stuff.
Here's what I'm following (and aiming to follow) right now:
- I drink lemon water with turmeric and cayenne pepper as soon as I wake up.
- Super Nutrient Dense smoothies with lots of greens, superfoods and herbs.
- Probiotic rich foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi.
- Salads with veggie burgers (I like Hilary's for the best ingredients).
- Drinking lots of purified water from my Big Berkey Filter.
- Coconut water or Nettle Tea base for smoothies.
- Tonics made with herbs and medicinal mushrooms. I also like adding Dandy Blend and Coco Mojo.
- Fresh Seasonal Fruit (right now I'm into apples, pears and persimmons).
- Dark Chocolate with pure ingredients. I like Sacred Chocolate but it's hard to find, so I buy HuKitchen chocolate a lot (at Whole Foods).
- Quinoa is my grain of choice but I do partake in brown rice and millet too just not as often.
- Fresh Juice.
- Lara Bars, Square Bars, dried fruit. These aren't ideal, but good for when I need a snack during the day.
- Superfood, super powered, super magical smoothie bowls.
- Immune boosters like Elderberry syrup, turmeric powder, Vitamin C powder every day.
- Oatmeal bowls with gluten free oats, fruit, dried fruit and almond butter.
- Dinners made up of veggies, beans or sprouted tempeh or tofu, and gluten free grains topped with tahini sauce.
- Homegrown sprouts to add a nutrient punch to my meals.
That being said, I'm still enjoyed treats too. I'm not perfect, but this list is what I’m aiming to be the bulk of my diet. I'm also including exercise and a few relaxing rituals. These are some rituals I have been doing and some that I am getting back to doing:
- I always work out 4-5 days a week and an extra activity day (hiking, walk, bike ride).
- I'm stretching and doing yoga before bed. Taking the time to remember to breath.
- Being conscious of what chatter is going on in my head and shutting it down before I start to worry, and taking deep breathes throughout the day.
- I take a shower before bed and rinse with cold water to help my lymph system and to lower my body temp.
- I also use my rebounder as often as possible.
- I put lavender oil on at night and diffuse lavender essential oil. In the morning I diffuse wild orange or grapefruit to lift our spirits.
- I body brush every other day.
Cheers to another year of health! I hope to have many, many, many more. I have a beautiful life to live and I want to live it with gusto!
A version of this post originally appeared November 7, 2016 on Naturally Lauren.