Raina O’Dell: Ulcerative Colitis Warrior finding the silver lining in every day (E61)

In today’s Crohn’s Fitness Food podcast interview, Raina O’Dell shares her journey with Ulcerative Colitis, talks about the growth and transformation in her life from @rainavsfood to @its.just.raina, and how she’s been able to stay positive – always searching for the silver lining.

While Raina struggled with symptoms for about a year before diagnosis, she found herself pushing through and just attributing the symptoms to either nutrition or stress. Finally, in the early part of 2016, she started searching for a doctor who could give her answers and eventually found one who performed a colonoscopy. She immediately came away with a diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis, medication, and no knowledge of what IBD was.

After returning home from the hospital, she poured over research and learned as much as she could about what was happening with her body. Drawing upon her background and experience as a health and fitness coach, she was determined to help her body heal without the use of medications. She refocused her efforts in diet and exercise, using the tools and knowledge she had, and succeeded in achieving remission by October of that year – just over six months after being diagnosed. She stuck to the foods that made her feel good (“eat good, feel good” was her mindset), cut out inflammatory foods, and took the same approach with fitness.

But remission didn’t last and the stress in her life wreaked havoc on her IBD. Her previous efforts of diet and fitness were not enough to overcome the stress and flare up this time. Her IBD journey escalated quickly and in February of 2017, she was in the hospital. A few months later in May, she had a total colectomy and temporary ileostomy. In July, she went in for the j-pouch surgery, but knew immediately it wasn’t working. Despite knowing what her body was telling her, she left the hospital that summer and was back in February of 2018 with abscesses on her j-pouch and an infection. The next step was a permanent ileostomy.

But two and a half years later, she’s more vibrant, healthier than ever, and thriving. She’s spent the last few years focusing on reducing stress, becoming more mindful, and using movement and nutrition to intentionally care for her body and become her best self. Both meditation and mindfulness help to reduce the noise in life and allow her to take a breath and slow down. During her flare ups and surgeries, she took the time to listen to her body and allowed it two full years to heal, unable to even do yoga as she battled fatigue. Fast forward to today and there’s nothing she can’t do now. With the green light from her doctor to workout again after her last surgery, she slowly and steadily built up her strength and she loved every aspect of getting back into fitness. From bodyweight workouts and lifting to fitness bands and yoga, you won’t find her skipping a day of movement now!

Today, she finds the silver lining in being able to serve as an inspiration to others. Her journey has made her stronger and being able to help just one person to feel better keeps her motivated to do more, share more, and enjoy life more. To everyone out there with an ostomy, IBD, or anything else that might currently be holding them back, she dares you to talk about it and to search for the silver lining in every single day.

@its.just.raina
@letsputtheradinradical
https://www.instagram.com/its.just.raina/
https://www.instagram.com/letsputtheradinradical/

Want to get the shorts she wears when working out:
https://honeyathletica.com/
Use code: raina10

Angie Venetos: Crohn’s, perspective, and compassion (E60)

In today’s episode, Angie Venetos shares her Crohn’s Disease journey and how it’s impacted not just the way she views IBD, but life overall. From learning to adapt her workouts by listening to her body, to seeing how strong her support network is from the love of her family and friends, she’s rewriting the story of Crohn’s Disease in her life and is working to share a message of hope, compassion, and awareness.

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Bec Simson: Family, IBD, and Rugby (E59)

In today’s episode on the Crohn’s Fitness Food podcast, Bec Simpson shares her journey with Crohn’s Disease and how she balances life, competitive sports, work, and family. Her journey began almost a decade ago when she struggled with symptoms that she thought were due to IBS, which was common in her family. But in 2011, after running out from the class she was teaching with an urgent need for the restroom, she knew she needed to see a gastroenterologist. 

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New fave food: Gut Happy Cookies

Steph with Gut Happy Cookies

I’m always on the hunt for gut-friendly foods made with high-quality ingredients…and even more so when they’re low carb and keto friendly 🙂 A couple of weeks ago, I took an honest look at what I’ve been eating for the past 6-9 months. And the truth is, when I’m following an alternate day fasting schedule, I can tolerate a much wider variety of foods than I ever could before (excluding my pre-Crohn’s days…I could eat anything before IBD came into my life!). 

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Crohn’s Fitness…Fasting!

Crohn’s Fitness Food…it’s how you know me on my blog, Instagram, Facebook, and podcast…but sometimes, I feel like it should be Crohn’s Fitness Fasting. It’s been almost two months since I switched back to an alternate day fasting (ADF) schedule and I wanted to share some of the positives that have happened since then and why I continue to love and promote the benefits of fasting for better health. 

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Nicole Candelaria: IBD Journey Part 2 (E58)

Crohn's Fitness Food podcast cover with Nicole Candelaria part 2

In today’s episode, we continue Nicole Candelaria’s story from her decision to begin traveling to and from New York to see a gastroenterologist who specializes in IBD. Everything happened quickly as her new doctor was determined to not let her suffer any longer, but she quickly became weary of the travel and the reluctance of her doctors in Florida to cooperate. 

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Nicole Candelaria: Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and Perianal Crohn’s (E57)

In today’s episode, Nicole Candelaria shares her IBD journey that began in 2007 during her first semester in college. After ignoring the symptoms for a few months–attributing them to stress–she finally went to the hospital and a colonoscopy revealed both Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. From there, life became a roller coaster. 

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Coronavirus thoughts…and my quarantine look

Steph at home in her quarantine look
My quarantine look 🙂

I thought it was time that I sit down and write up my thoughts on the Coronavirus situation…not because I feel that I have some sort of great wisdom or knowledge, but simply because sometimes, it just helps to know that we’re not alone in how we’re feeling or what we’re facing.

More days than not, I feel good–strong, healthy, as if I didn’t have any chronic illnesses to battle. I prioritize my health and focus on avoiding processed foods, workout daily, and have been medication free for about four years now (though I do take a few supplements, including CBD, an anti-inflammatory, and a probiotic). When I’m thriving in my little bubble, not focused on things I can’t have and living pain free, I mostly forget that my immune system has gone awry–my kidneys needing to be watched and Crohn’s just waiting to rear its ugly head.

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Ryanne Sullivan, Crohn’s Warrior finding remission through diet and lifestyle (E56)

In today’s episode, Ryanne Sullivan, shares her 20-year journey with IBD. Diagnosed with both Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, she’s learned to manage her symptoms and achieve remission through nutrition and lifestyle. At age 14, she started treatment with medications, like many others, using steroids and 6MP to try and control inflammation and symptoms. But, she often found the side effects of medications to be worse than the IBD itself. 

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Jackie Robbins, Ulcerative Colitis Warrior on a mission to help others become fearless! (E55)

Podcast cover of Jackie M Robbins for the Crohn's Fitness Food podcast

In today’s episode Jackie Robbins shares her 30 year IBD journey. Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at age 8, she spent most of her childhood feeling alone and angry. 

Once diagnosed, she was immediately started on prednisone that helped control her symptoms, but caused her to gain weight and eventually wreak havoc on her body image. Her symptoms never fully went away, however, and she spent her entire childhood going into flares. In 1998, at age 17, she had her colon removed and a temporary ileostomy made. Then in 1999 she had her reversal surgery, but things didn’t get better. 

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