Just about seven years ago, I started the ‘Breaking the Vicious Cycle’ diet. But I’m getting way ahead of myself, let me give you a little back ground. I’ve always been a skinny minney , we never thought much of it until I was in fourth grade ,around September-October, suddenly I became very sick, I would throw up once a day and I felt pretty miserable. I went to our local family Doctor ,who was not very helpful, he said that I was probably allergic to something and gave us a long list of possibilities of triggering food. Time passed and it seemed I wasn’t doing so bad, occasionally I would get a tummy-ache or throw up but it didn’t happen often enough to work up a fuss. This lasted for a couple months, I seemed to be normal but Gradually I was getting sicker and sicker ,I would come back from School totally exhausted and I was getting thinner.
My Mom found another Doctor who was Gastroenterologist and took me to him the Doctor ,after looking at my blood test results and hearing my symptoms, said it sounded to him like Crohn’s, but we would need to do an Xray on my Gl tract and a colonoscopy before he diagnosed me. He also said I should start drinking Ensure(!!), the Doctor I had then was amazing and he was so sweet but giving me Ensure is one of the worse things to give a patient with an Inflamed bowel! Sadly we didn’t know that back then and we bought a whole darn crate of those nasties! Ok I’m exaggerating but we bought at least thirty of them. They were AWFUL! I just looked up the website to make sure I spelled the name right and just looking at them made me shutter (BTW don’t believe any one of their claims and false promises about the Ensure that stuff is horrible for you! I’ll go into more detail why later I just couldn’t believe so many people are drinking it and thinking it’s doing them good!) I forgot to mention that I used to be very picky, ok so my Mom looks at me funny every time I say I used to be picky I wouldn’t call myself picky it’s more I’m a bit of a food snob but just a bit;), well I absolutely hated the Ensure! They would have to force me to drink just a 1/4 of a can and that 1/4 of a can barely got gagged down, in away it’s a good thing I didn’t drink oodles of it all the sugar,corn syrup,milk and hydrogenated oils would have caused even more inflammation! Funny thing is my brothers loved that stuff so none of the Ensure got ‘wasted’.
So I took the X Ray and colonoscopy both were very unpleasant experiences. I remember waking up from the colonoscopy and being amazed and grateful that I was alive, it wasn’t that I was afraid I was going to die from the colonoscopy I just looked at it as if it was some major surgery or something. The results proved that the Doctor was right I had Crohn’s. My Mom threw herself into researching and many late nights reading books, there were some really weird theories out there like one was saying that you should get most of your water intake from fruits and veggies and only a little straight water?! At the same time the Doctor wanted me to go on Ensure full time as a meal substitute except on shabbat on Shabbat I could eat whatever I wanted, I was filled with dread at the thought of such an extreme diet. My Parents kept searching and praying for an answer. Finally we were given the book ‘Breaking the Vicious Cycle’, my parents started to read it and stuff started to make sense. It would be a very strict diet but I was in a very bad state, I was extremely pale,had no energy whatsoever, I could hardly smile because I was so weak, I had a very sickly posture that was always hunched over, I had stomach pains, I never seemed to be able to get full and I was extremely skinny .
A week or so after Pesach, seven years ago, I started the ‘Breaking the Vicious Cycle’ diet , my Parents told me that I would just try it out for a couple weeks and see what would happen, thinking that I would be back to my normal food in two weeks(not knowing it would become a two year journey!) I jumped in full time, sugar,milk and all carbs went out the door. Instead I had honey and lotsa almond flour based baked goods that hardly had any structure whatsoever,(my poor Mom and Savta they worked so hard to make me somewhat edible food!). It was hard no doubt about it, I cried many times when I was stuck eating my chicken while everybody ate Pizza and candy but it payed off. Life started trickling back into me, I suddenly had more energy, I wasn’t exhausted after chopping a simple salad instead I was making huge gorgeous salads and just after two weeks I had gained a whooping 2kg (about five pounds) the next week I gained another 2 kg! it was a miracle! God breathed life back into me and I was a totally new person. From being sick and tired all the time I became healthy and strong, even my personality changed I used to always be very quiet, somewhat shy and I always went strictly by the rules I was kinda sober you could say, instead I became full of life I became lively,energetic and extremely happy.
Everybody noticed the changes in me, my friends would say how much funner I was and then they would ask if they could try some of that weird food, surprisingly my picky friends loved my food! I would always bring extra for everybody else, funny memory I had a friend who would always pick out the pecans out of my trail mixes leaving me with all the almonds and walnuts! My classmates were extremely sweet and considerate with all the food I couldn’t eat, whenever I would go to one of their houses they were always determined to find something I could eat (even if it was an old rotting carrot:) or when there would be a class party they would buy me the Apple chips I always ate, man I grew so tired of those chips! My family was extremely supportive through this time with them praying without ceasing and how hard all of them tried to make and buy food that I could eat!
God was so faithful to me through this whole time, I’m so thankful for the amazing lessons he taught me through these trails and that I learned them at such a young age (I was ten years old). Lessons of trust, hope and self control. Because of my Crohns I have such an amazing relationship with him.
This is actually just the beginning of my journey with crohns, we still need to cover five more years of the Crohns journey:) I hope this encourages you in whatever trial that you are in, there is hope!