About a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (proctitis). Since then I’ve been trying to figure out what foods I need to avoid. The pills I was taking to relieve my symptoms had stopped working so I was kind of desperate to figure out triggers for my illness. I told myself three years ago, as long as I can stay vegan I will. But when I got the diagnose I started eating salmon to see if it would help relieve my symptoms. I only ate fish for a couple of weeks, but then I came across a blog post by Jill Collett from Pamela Popper’s website, The Wellness Forum. Jill’s story was almost identical to mine, except I had just had my disease for a little over a year and she had it for 20 years. Once I started following her advice, after three weeks my symptoms reversed. I no longer bleed, I no longer have to run to the bathroom or have pain eating spicy foods. Here is what I did.
“You can never let dairy or gluten touch your lips again” was the words Pamela said to Jill. Since going vegan three years ago, I’ve been eating some mock meats that are made from seitan (wheat gluten). I also loooooooove bread, so much to the point where I can eat half of a bread and still want more! Three people in my family have celiac disease (a disease where you get sick from eating gluten), so I figured maybe I have a slight allergy to gluten. I put the advice from Pam to the test and I just keep getting better and better, day by day.
I’ve been to a ton of forums and blogs where people talk about this disease just to see if I can find a way to relieve my symptoms, but they all say different things. Also, so-called “experts” claim that food has nothing to do with the disease, which is just ridiculous because as soon as I consume coffee, alcohol and (before) spicy food, I get sick. So in other words, I know for a fact that they are flat out wrong. Therefore I tried to find information from my favorite vegan doctor, Pamela Popper from The Wellness Forum, and boy was she right! TWF is not your typical health organization. It doesn’t follow the mainstream health care advice. They are very critical to eating animal products and if you’re going to eat it, it should be very limited. However, all their advice are evidence based and nothing is left to chance. They’re all about informed decision making. Since I was already vegan I didn’t know what else to do, but it seems like one thing was (not) missing from my diet and that was gluten.
In the beginning when I went vegan I heard other vegans say: “I’m vegan AND gluten free” which kind of pissed me off and I thought of them as hippies. It’s probably because I’ve seen how sick people with celiac disease in my family gets when they eat gluten. It’s no joke, so when people just go gluten free because it’s “hip”, I remember getting secretly angry. Now that I went gluten free and my bleeding stopped and symptoms are reversing, I think a little bit different. Whatever makes you feel good, you live according to your values and you’re not harming anyone, go for it!
Since the UN recommends a vegetarian diet (because producing plants causes less harm than animal products), I believe that inspiring people to eat vegan through social media is the way for me. If going gluten free will not work for me for some reason in the future, then I will probably experiment with animal products again in order to relieve my symptoms. However, I’ll hopefully always only promote vegan recipes, even if I potentially eat animal products.
All right, I’ll keep you posted and let you know if the symptoms completely reverse. Thanks for reading!!