In today’s episode, Yovani Gonzalez shares his IBD journey from rapid onset and diagnosis to turning down surgery and finding the right balance of medication, diet, and lifestyle changes to take back his health.
Before Yovani’s diagnosis, he was an active 26 year old working 12-hour shifts, hitting the gym hard, and enjoying everything in life–including great food and watching the game with a beer. But when he had his first sudden flare up and immediate Crohn’s diagnosis, his life turned upside down.
Steroids helped with the initial inflammation and then he started Remicade treatments. But his mindset was one of “let’s take a drug to fix this and go on with my life.” Young and stubborn, as he described himself, he wasn’t ready to make any lifestyle changes. But, Remicade eventually lost its effectiveness and he found himself back in the hospital. He switched medications to Entyvio and later to Humira.
At the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018, Yovani faced his worst years yet. His weight dropped from around 170 lbs. to 138 lbs. and it was then that he decided he needed to do more than just take medications.
Yovani took a look at all areas of his life and with the support of his friends, family, and girlfriend (now fiancé), he made some significant changes. He took a new role at work that was less stressful, he began changing his diet and workout routine, and sought the help of a holistic doctor.
Yovani focused his workouts on endurance and started incorporating new activities, including yoga, which helped him slow down both physically and mentally. He focused on sleep and changed his priorities–allowing him to focus on his health. For his diet, he gave up beer (though he still has an occasional glass of wine or cocktail), learned what he tolerated and what he didn’t, and adopted the Autoimmune Paleo diet as his way of eating.
Over the years, he’s kept his positive outlook and tends to look at new hurdles as challenges that he can take on and overcome. He adapts to what life throws his way, looks at problems from new angles, and is grateful for the support of his friends and family around him.
One of the biggest life changes that Yovani and his girlfriend recently made was moving to Palm Springs. With long-term health as their focus, they wanted a quieter place that would allow them to be outdoors more with less traffic and stress. Throughout his journey, Yovani has always kept a focus on his roots–what drives him and what anchors him.
His focus on remaining true to his roots, combined with a passion for clothing and fashion, led him to start Purple Roots Clothing just over a year ago. His line is focused on clothing for active lifestyles that raises awareness and supports a cause (Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation), while at the same time being approachable and wearable by anyone–not just those with IBD. Purple Roots Clothing is about finding your roots–your anchors in life–and remaining true to those.
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