Lauren is a wife, mother, domestic goddess, blogger, plant-based foodie living life to the fullest after suffering for years with IBD. I’ve been a fan of her blog since the summer, and I love her recipes and her “what they ate” posts!
Tell us how you came to have a j-pouch.
I have a j-pouch after 8 years of struggling with IBD. All medications stopped working. I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and was treated for Crohn’s up until September 2013. After seeing a new specialist in NYC, and many tests, I was told I had UC and many pre-cancer cells on my colon. I needed it removed ASAP. In November 2013, I had my whole colon removed. I had an ileostomy for 7 months with a second surgery in February and my take down in June 2014.
How long have you been following a plant-based lifestyle?
I started following a plant-based diet shortly after I was diagnosed, so around 8 years ago. After lots of diet trial and error, this diet made me feel best with the least amount of symptoms.
Did you have any concerns about eating this way with IBD or a j-pouch? Were you able to overcome those concerns? How?
No, I never had concerns. I supplement as well to make sure all my nutrition bases are covered.
What was your biggest challenge when moving to a plant-based diet?
Biggest challenge was going to parties where I didn’t want to announce how I eat. I also try to bring along something I can eat if all else fails. You wouldn’t believe the amount of parties I have been to where the garnish on the plate was my dinner. Haha!
Have you noticed any health benefits since starting a plant-based diet?
Yes, my skin is better and brighter, I sleep very well, I have loads of energy and I recovered very fast following my surgeries.
How did your family/friends react to your decision to eat only plants? Have their attitudes changed over the years?
At first they were a little worried I would get enough protein, etc. but over the years they have seen how much the diet has helped me and some of them have even started eating this way or having days that are all plant-based. I even got my Father, who is a stubborn meat and cheese eating Italian, to eat more organic fruits and vegetables.
What do you eat in a typical day? Any supplements?
A few days a week I will oil pull with coconut oil and turmeric drops.
After that, I always start off with warm water with lemon, cayenne and turmeric. Followed by a big smoothie with raw vegan protein powder (I like Sunwarrior a lot). I take my supplements then too: VSL3 probiotics which I take at dinner as well, Bone Up calcium with vitamin k2, iron, b12 spray, omega zen 3 with EPA, and a multivitamin. I also wear a small vitamin d patch that I change every other day.
I usually workout for 30-45 min a little later. I will have a snack after that which is usually a Vega bar, fresh fruit, or pressed juice (green or orange juice). For lunch I will make a salad with a veggie burger. I like Hilary’s burgers and Sunshine Burgers. I add a ton of goodies to my salad like olives, raw sauerkraut, cucumbers, hummus and some olive oil. For dinner I usually make a big soup. Either all veggie, or some kind of bean soup like lentils. Another dinner is lots of veggies with quinoa. Or roasted sweet potatoes with a big salad. All depends on the season and how I’m feeling! I finish my day with a piece of raw chocolate! That’s a daily must!
Do you have any advice for other people with IBD or a j-pouch who might be interested in transitioning to a plant-based diet?
Take it slow! Try added a little fiber at a time to see how you react. Don’t jump from no fiber to 40 grams a day!
Do you have any advice for someone living with IBD?
Live your life the way you want too. Don’t let anything hold you back from being happy. Sometimes it’s hard to be positive but make each day an adventure. Even when you are couch ridden, find a good book to read, or movie to watch. Or binge watch your favorite tv show! Episodes of Friends always cheer me up!
What’s your favorite food?
My favorite food is chocolate! Like I said, I don’t go a day without! ;)
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