I figured with so many serious topics being discussed, it was time to include a more light hearted post. Life isn't always sunshine and roses, but I choose to live life the half full kind of way. My diagnosis has faced me with incredible challenges I never thought I'd have to deal with, but I truly believe we're only dealt what we can handle. Everything happens for a reason type of philosophy I suppose. Call it a coping mechanism if you will, but it works for me, so I'm sticking to it.
The above picture is a candid shot (or should be an outtake rather) my husband snapped of me in Italy on our honeymoon. Normally, I HATE when he takes my picture, but we were having fun, so I gave him a break. I swear, he has an entire collection of derp photos of me. He has forever blackmail material hanging over my head at all times, haha. Anyways, I digress. The point I want to drive home here is to "Treat yo self." Like anything in life, there has to be balance for all of the moving pieces to work. This goes for everyone, not just those of us with chronic conditions.
Crohn's, however, can be very restrictive, and one of those limiting factors is food. Sigh. Try enjoying yourself when food is the enemy. Impossible, right? Boring? For sure. Does food directly cause Crohn's disease? No, but it can exacerbate symptoms if you're amidst a flare. If I'm flaring, I'm not going to eat greasy pizza, a giant cheeseburger, or drink red wine. Do I like all of those things? Of course, but just once and awhile. I prefer to eat pretty clean, not only for my Crohn's, but for my overall well being. This is where it gets tricky though. What's considered "healthy" for most isn't necessarily healthy for me. For example, I LOVE fruits and vegetables, and consume them daily, but not when I'm flaring. It might sound counterintuitive, but the acidity content, skins and roughage are hard to digest, and can cause inflammation among other things. What about dairy? Nope. I love milk, cheese, and ice cream, but it has to be a very special occasion to risk a potential night in the bathroom, followed by a rough day or two. I stick to almond milk. I will devote a separate post to what I eat in a day since many of you have asked. Some people, even doctors don't feel there's a correlation between food and this disease, but I strongly oppose that viewpoint. How else can you explain that some patients are able to achieve remission by adapting to a low residue diet, SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) and other constrictive diets?
All this being said, I eat healthy, and what's healthy for my disease, BUT, I am not going to deny myself good food when the opportunity presents itself. By "good" food, I'm talking about the stuff with fat in it. Moderation is key, after all. Again, back to our honeymoon. They had all of my favorites on every corner. It was if they knew we were coming. Cheese, prosciutto, gelato, red wine, espresso, oh my! As with all our vacations, I knew our honeymoon trip was also going to be pretty tough on my GI system, but I planned for it, suffered the consequences, and adjusted when we got home.
So, pull a Donna and Tom (Parks and Recreation), pick a day, or week and Treat yo self!
Indulge in your favorite foods, pamper yourself for a day, do whatever makes you happy. You deserve it! Also, Friday is Valentine's Day, so it's the ideal time to, say it with me this time, "Treat yo self" and the ones you love. I know my husband and girlies will be getting some special sweets and treats from yours truly. Plus, I am 37 weeks pregnant, HUGE at the moment and happen to love chocolate, so it's perfect timing. I also can't reach my swollen feet, so I'm thinking a pedicure sounds lovely too. Yes, "Heart's Day (as our little Alice says)" is considered a cheesy hallmark holiday to many, but any extra chance I get to shower my babies and main squeeze with love, I take it! I have my own mother to thank for instilling her genuine love for ALL holidays in both my sister and I. To this day, she still gives us goodie bags on Valentine's Day......and I'm 40 years old:) It's time to feel all the feels people. What's better than that? In my opinion, the world needs a little extra love right now anyways.
Do those of you with Crohn's disease allow yourself to cheat once and while, or do you keep things pretty strict? I want to hear from you.