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🎧 “What I’m eating now; update on my diet with IBD and IgAN”
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It’s been a while since I’ve talked about my diet, specifically about what and how I’m eating. Those of you who have followed me over the years have watched me navigate my diet as it went from low-carb to keto, then to drinking raw milk and fermenting my own vegetables, then a detour into full carnivore, introducing fasting, and then just focusing on real food. So, I thought it was time to share what I’ve been eating lately and how I’ve been eating. Partly for the benefit of sharing with others, and partly for my own benefit that I’ll have the ability to refer back to this blog in 10 years to remember what it was I did!
Scrolling back through my own blog posts (unless I missed something or mentioned food as an afterthought), it’s actually been a couple of years since I’ve talked about my diet. I’ve shared quite a bit recently in my book, but not here in the blog. So here we are.
How I’m eating:
At the end of 2017 and early 2018, I was getting back into fasting (something I thought was impossible the first time I tried it around 2011). But on the second go round, I started slowly and eased myself into it. I ended up doing some longer fasts (up to 42 hours) around 2019, but then circled back into a 16:8 protocol of intermittent fasting around 2020. My gut health was good and I didn’t feel the need for longer fasts anymore, but intermittent fasting became a way of life for me. So much so that I still do intermittent fasting today.
What I’m eating:
For the past few years, intermittent fasting has been the most consistent thing about my diet. I find the gut rest to be beneficial for my overall health and keeping inflammation down, which leads to better gut health. During the hours that I am eating (usually somewhere around 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.), I start off with a Huel Meal Replacement shake and banana chips. Oftentimes, I’ll have some Welch’s fruit snacks. I know they are processed and closer to junk food than health food, but I have a terrible sweet tooth and those are just right to satisfy it without eating a bunch of candy bars!
For dinner, I’ll usually have some kimchi and a low-carb wrap with either tuna fish or lunch meat. If I have lunch meat, I’ll include avocado and banana peppers in the wrap. My husband and I will usually split a Caesar salad as well, and if I need a snack, I’ll eat Nature’s Bakery fig bars or chips and salsa. Bagels and cream cheese also make the snack list quite often these days!
We usually go out to eat at least once each weekend, which ends up being anything from hamburgers and fries to coconut shrimp and fried calamari. And if we’re hanging out with friends and someone brings dessert, I’m all in!
Is it working?
As you can tell from above, I’m not as strict as I once was with food. While I don’t go out to eat for every meal, there are plenty of processed foods and sugar in my diet these days. While I don’t have any evidence, I think the years during which I was extremely focused on rebuilding my gut health through fasting and diet—focusing on real, whole foods; raw milk; and fermented foods—truly reset my gut microbiome. For the past few years my gut has been good to me. With the exception of last summer (2022), which was filled with incredible stress and intestinal bleeding, I haven’t had any other Crohn’s symptoms.
As far as supplements go, I take Sugarbear Women’s Multi vitamins and desiccated beef liver capsules. My hemoglobin and hematocrit levels have been low recently on my blood tests, so my primary care doctor told me to go ahead and increase the amount of liver capsules I’m taking if I wasn’t already at the max dose (which I wasn’t). Beef liver is a supplement I’ve taken many times before and I told my doctor I was taking it to try and increase my iron levels; it’s rich in heme iron, the most easily absorbable form, and other nutrients. When I have my labs done in a few months, we’ll be able to check to see if the beef liver is helping and by how much.
With my good (but not great) diet and daily fasting routine, I feel healthy and happy overall. I still battle fatigue, but it’s not the same crushing fatigue I had years ago. So I just move about my day steadily and enjoy the bursts of energy when I have them. I never did get a definitive answer as to what caused or is still causing my fatigue, but my new primary care doctor thinks it’s mostly likely anemia of chronic disease (also called anemia of inflammation).1 With my low hemoglobin levels and having multiple chronic immune conditions, I fit the profile.
I don’t foresee myself making any big changes to my diet anytime soon, but I’ll be sure to give an update when I do. For now, I’ll keep fasting and enjoying the foods I eat while I can. We’ll see what tomorrow brings, but so far so good!
Until next time, be strong, be grateful, and keep going!
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