You know when you keep hearing about something in a really short timeframe that you have never paid attention to before but all of a sudden it seems like everyone is talking about it and you don't know how you've lived your life without knowing about it?
That is how I feel about the Keto diet. Within a few day timespan I heard about it through two people randomly at work, randomly on social media, and through Matt's mom. Coincidence? I think not.
After some research I realized that this has been a "thing" for quite some time now and it isn't just a fad diet that is used to drop pounds quickly. It has been used to treat serious medical conditions such as epilepsy and migraines, and overall has proven to decrease inflammation in the digestive system. Have I been living under a freaking rock?
No. But sort of.
If you have been too then here is a rundown on what Keto actually is.
I usually try and steer myself away from getting to engrossed in different eating patterns due to 1. my sensitive digestive system and 2. my past with an eating disorder. After years of ongoing cognitive behavioral therapy telling you that diets are silly and counterproductive, there has been nothing to really stir the pot like Crohn's Disease. Having Crohn's means you 100% have to change up your diet in at least someway and be way more aware of what you are putting in your body. For the past couple of years I have just been adhering to a strict gluten free diet which has helped but at the same time not gotten me into remission yet. I made a conscious effort to eat decently healthy but carbs, sugars, and unnatural crap still littered my diet probably more than it should have.
When I went in for my Remicade infustion the other day, I was completely at my wits end about what to do. I saw a different doctor than usual and she made a suggestion that spurred a serious realization for me. She said that if I want to stay off of steroids on top of my Remicade I should just really try and buckle down and watch my diet. I always just convinced myself that I was doing enough when it came to diet but this conversation was enough to make me realize maybe I wasn't.
She suggested that I cut out dairy if that is something that seems to be an issue and to go back to following the low FODMAP diet. All of this seemed irritating but necessary. I figured I would mention to her a Ketogenic Diet instead just to see what she thought about it. She said that is definitely an option and we sort of left it at that.
I continued to Google and research everything about dairy free/low FODMAP diets and a Ketogenic Diet. Keto just seemed to make sense. It eliminates/limits so many inflammatory foods, how could it not be good for my situation? The problem I kept debating was the dairy piece of it. Is dairy really my problem? Or is it all of the other crap that I'm ingesting. Who. Freaking. Knows.
What I did decide is that SOMETHING needs to change. Clearly whatever I am doing isn't working for me. I've decided that I think I'm going to go for it and make that change. Not necessarily hardcore Keto because with the lifestyle I have, let's be real, I am never going to be able to follow it perfectly. I like to think it is more of a Keto inspired situation. I talked to Matt and got his nursing expertise. He said that a trial period can't hurt and if the dairy seems to be negatively effecting things then we reevaluate and if not then we keep going. Over these past few years I have grown continuously more in tune with my symptoms so I am using this as an experiment and gauging my response. I'm making a conscious effort to decrease sugars, processed foods, and unnecessary carbs. Carbs and Crohn's can be a rough situation. I crave starchy things when my stomach feels acidic and during my liquid diets I often resort to processed soups which contain additives and often times hidden sugars. These things are completely counter productive to my end goal. While I am limiting these things I will be upping my healthy fats, protein, and veggies (cooked of course to save my stomach!).
I know it seems a bit extreme to be on a Keto Diet long term so I'm not planning on doing that by any means. I'm really just trying to find an eating style that works for my situation and that I can adopt long term. I think that doing a type of lower carb and sugar stint will help me determine if these are things I should implement long term. Like I said, this is an experiment that hopefully I can come to some conclusions from. I am all about balance and adhering to such a strict diet can take some of the fun out of life. Coming from a place of unbalanced eating this can definitely be a challenge. I am an all or nothing kind of person. There is no 'sort of' with me, it either it is or it isn't. That being said, life is a huge gray area and I find that completely terrifying. If I box myself into "good days" and "bad days" I just start a downward spiral of judgement and frustration. That is why I am taking a fun approach to this. I am striving for more balance, more mindfulness, and more compassion for my own body. I shared my concerns with Matt and he is committed to hold me accountable if I get too crazy into this. That is a great partner right there, thanks babe!
No matter what I conclude from this shift in mindset and new health journey, I see this as being a positive experience. It is forcing me to reconnect with what I am putting in my body and really making sure I am doing everything I can, and more, to combat Crohn's the best way I know how.
This is the second day I have implemented my lifestyle change and I actually feel like I have more energy. It could be just the good weather or who knows... this thing really could work. I haven't been craving starchy things, just sugar, and I have been extremely thirsty but that has forced me to drink probably twice the amount of water (if not more) than I usually drink each day. As for stomach issues... absolutely NONE the past two days. Coincidence? Placebo effect? We shall wait and see.....
I will continue to keep you all updated on my progress through this and I would love to hear from anyone who has done Keto or has suffered with Crohn's and what styles of eating they have adopted. Any of the above! As always, your thoughts are always greatly appreciated.
SPOILER ALERT: Crohnically Blonde has an awesome guest post coming up that couldn't have happened at a more perfect time. Right in the middle of my food crisis, we are lucky enough to have a blogger whose job it is to deal with food crises on a daily basis! All of her knowledge will be featured on the blog later this week so STAY TUNED.
Blonde babe. Maryland native. Crohn's crushing puppy mother to two sweet rescues.
Welcome to my unfiltered commentary on crushing chronic illness in your 20's and everything that goes along with that.