Monday, June 10, 2013

Mayo Visit

There were many thoughts going through my head as I woke up at 6 AM to get my blood tested at the Mayo Clinic. The most dominant though was, would all the sacrifices I’ve made for the last two months be for nothing? I would get the results at my appointment with my doctor at 2 but first I had to get my blood drawn and then off to get scoped from multiple directions. To be honest I was anxious sitting in the lobby waiting to see my doctor. Finally, my pager went off and I was ready to hear the news. I know that I had been feeling better and that my energy had increased to levels that I haven’t experienced in years but somehow the results coming from the blood test meant more than how I felt. I guess it was a desire for them to reflect how great I felt.
Dr. Loftus starts going over my blood markers, saying everything looks normal but then he gets to my CRP (c-reactive protein) which measures the level of inflammation in your body…and says that it is in the normal range as well. This is the first time that it has been normal since 2006 when I was diagnosed. That is a huge deal. I’ve been taking the same medicine and the same dose but now it changed. What had I done to make the change, you might ask? The only logical explanation in my mind and the only change that I’ve made is switching to the Paleo diet. Dr. Loftus wasn’t going to say that it was the sole reason that my CRP changed but admitted that it might have been a tipping point that helped the medicine work better. All in all he said it was a mixed bag because the Crohns is still active to a mild degree in my small intestine but the blood markers were very encouraging!
Gena and I were elated that only after eating Paleo for 2 months and doing it 80% of the time was already paying dividends. I would have been devastated if nothing had changed. Without Gena doing this with me and making it a lifestyle change for our family I don’t think it would have been possible. This last weekend, Claire was baptized and we even managed to feed everyone on a Paleo diet with the exception of some burrito shells that some had for their fajitas. Here are some of Gena’s favorite recipes from the weekend.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Crohns and Paleo : How being on the Paleo diet has affected my symptoms

In this entry I am going to talk about how the Paleo diet has affected my Crohns symptoms from an all-encompassing perspective from stomach pain, intestinal blockage and stoma output just to name a few. Just wanted to throw that out there. In my next post I’ll put some more food recipes but didn’t want to mix the two.

Before starting the Paleo diet the symptoms from Crohns that I experienced where fatigue, cramping in my abdomen, the occasional intestinal blockage and uncontrollable stoma output at times which led to a high probability of me being easily irritated. I’m absolutely sure there are more symptoms that are escaping me right now but those are the ones that affected me the most. Gena might think otherwise… I’ll attack the symptoms one by one in efforts to shed light on how the Paleo diet has affected each one.

Fatigue – I touched on this one in a previous post. I was a pretty sedentary person even before winter and haven’t done much in the way of exercise except golfing and walking. I couldn’t mow our whole yard in one day without feeling woefully tired and needing a nap. Not just a cat nap but a big boy nap. Three weeks into the Paleo diet and I had the energy to not only mow the lawn, trim the ornamental grass ( we have 5 big clumps) and rose bush and go to a birthday party at Monkey Bizness. I had no problem chasing Lydia up and down the inflatables and through mesh mazes. I was completely surprised and a little sore the next day. If you would have asked me that morning if I could have done all those things consecutively in one day I would have thought you were crazy.

Cramping – Abdomen cramping has stopped completely. I don’t know what to attribute this too but know it isn’t a reflection of my hydration level because I still occasionally get cramps in my legs and toes at night because of lack of hydration. I’ve been trying to counteract them by drinking coconut water and rubbing magnesium gel on my legs when they happen. Maybe the Paleo diet has helped increase my nutrient levels or maybe the cramping was due to a sensitivity to gluten. Questions to be asked when I am up in Mayo.

Intestinal blockages (YAY?) – Out of all the symptoms this one is the one that I am most happy about that I haven’t experienced in a month. The doubling over in pain because something won’t pass through your intestine is probably one of the most horrific things someone can experience. In my case it sends me spiraling out of control, confined to my bed for two sometimes three days and missing work, significant weight loss of 10-15 and everything even the simplest thing is physically and emotionally exhausting. Since doing Paleo for a month I have tried a couple things out of bravery that I knew use to cause blockage and clogging but I was able to let out a huge sigh of relief when they gave me no problems. I completely attribute this to the diet because nothing else has changed in my life. The only variable has been what I consume. I still have a list of no-no’s that I wouldn’t even attempt but am glad the list isn’t as vast as it once was due to the Paleo diet.

Stoma output – If you don’t like to talk about pooh you should probably stop reading now! My stoma output has greatly reduced and gained more consistency since the Paleo diet. The trips to the bathroom have been reduced by almost in half and I’m digesting my food better (when you have a stoma you can see everything). It’s amazing how your diet directly effects your output, if I slip up and eat like I was two months ago the first place I notice it is in my stoma output.

Hope this reaches someone so they can see how the Paleo diet has impacted my Crohns disease.

Stay blessed,


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Full-Speed Ahead

If someone would have told me that I would have mowed and edged our yard in the same day a month ago, I don’t know if I would have believed them. Then added that I also cut down the ornamental grasses, trimmed the rosebush and still had more than enough energy to chase Lydia around Monkey Bizness for a birthday party. I most definitely would have called you crazy. This Sunday I did all of these things and still had energy at the end of the day. What a significant difference our new lifestyle has had on my overall health. It makes me wonder at times when I fight this internal battle to give in but ultimately most of the time I reflect on how great I feel and want that to continue.

This weekend we tried numerous new recipes. The key for us is that we signed up for e-meals, paleo dinner plan, which has given us new ideas and takes the guessing out of what’s for dinner. It is also very helpful because every week it gives you your shopping list at the grocery store. I try to sprinkle in little treats here and there from the web (mostly from or Today we are exactly one month away from my Mayo appointments. Here are some of our favorites from the week.

Huevos Rancheros (we used hot Italian sausage instead of chorizo)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 lb raw chorizo, casing removed
12 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chorizo to pan. Cook 8 minutes or until done, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a paper towel-lined pan. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium heat. Add eggs, salt and pepper to pan. Cook 4 minutes, stirring gently, or until just set. Stir in cilantro. Serve eggs over chorizo.

Shrimp Scampi
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
15 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
¼ cup minced green onion
3 tablespoons minced chives
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and garlic to pan. Cook 3 minutes. Add wine, lemon zest and lemon juice. Cook 1 minute. Stir in onion, chives, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.

Gena really liked the following recipe.

Wilted Spinach with Pine Nuts
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 (5 oz) bags baby spinach
½ cup pine nuts
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; saute 4 minutes or until slightly softened. Add spinach and pine nuts. Saute 5 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Stir in salt and pepper.

On Saturday as a treat I made these banana pancakes from They were delicious. Lydia couldn’t get enough!

I can’t tell you how much the Paleo diet is changing my lifestyle, day by day I am feeling a difference. My crohn's feels under control and isn't dictating my life as much as it has in the past.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Temptation lurks around every corner when you are doing the Paleo diet. I’ve realized that no matter where we are soda and bread are everywhere. They are strategically placed throughout the store to get you to buy it. This weekend at the Royals game I totally would have ate the bun on my dog if it hadn’t fallen apart and I did scarf down the Fritos like a mad man even though I don't ever recall enjoying them. I still avoided soda though. In fact the last soda I had was on Easter but I’ll admit I want to have one when I see it on a billboard, sign or when someone else is drinking one.

I did okay on Sunday which was Gena’s birthday. We like the way one of our friends expressed how he does Paleo/Primal and that is by the 80/20 rule. This means that 80% of the time you eat Paleo and 20% of the time you let things slide. I’m only saying this because on Sunday I used the 20% for the hash browns at breakfast, the tortillas for fajitas at dinner and the Italian birthday cake.

Here is one of the testomonials that really spoke to me. Maybe it will speak to you the same way if you are experiencing Crohns too.

We made some pretty good recipes this weekend that were super easy and tasted really good. The below are two of my favorites. T-4 days until I can tell you how our first brew of kombucha taste!

Chicken and Kale Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 (14-oz) cans organic chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1 bunch kale, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt
and pepper. Add chicken to skillet; cook 3 minutes per side or until browned. Transfer to a
5- to 7-quart slow cooker. Stir in broth, wine, onion, garlic and bay leaf. Cover and cook on
low heat 5 hours. Stir in kale and parsley. Cook an additional 1 hour. Shred chicken with 2 forks
before serving.

We even experimented with making our first Paleo cracker and they were good too!

Almond Flax Crackers

1 cup almond meal (or almond flour)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine almond and flaxseed meals in a medium bowl. Stir in
oil, eggs, baking powder and salt until well blended. Roll dough into an 8 x 10-inch rectangle on a large baking sheet lightly sprinkle with almond meal. Use a knife to score dough into 12 equal crackers, marking the surface of the dough without cutting through completely. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly browned. Cool on baking sheet 5 to 10 minutes or until crisp. Break into crackers.

Whole Grain Dijon Salmon

6 (6-oz) salmon fillets
2 tablespoons whole grain or regular Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat broiler. Brush salmon with mustard.Place on a baking sheet rubbed with oil.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil 6 to 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Quick Sauteed Swiss Chard

2 bunches Swiss chard, cleaned and trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Coarsely chop chard into 1-inch pieces. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add garlic and chard to pan. Saute 5 minutes or just until chard wilts. Stir in salt and pepper.

Even Lydia liked these. One thing that I can say is that we are learning about new veggies and enjoying it. It is good to cook in abundance with meals while doing Paleo so you always have leftovers. An easy way to trip up is if you need something quick but don’t have anything on hand. I’ve learned this from experiences that we’ve had. It’s a lot easier to through a pizza in the oven than cook. To combat this we’ve stalked up on dried fruit, nuts and jerky for snacks.

Gena and I went and saw 42 last night. It was phenomenal. I highly recommend it even to those who are not fans of baseball. My one and only slip-up was the popcorn at the movie theatre. Typically I can’t digest it and it gives me problems but I haven’t experienced that yet so it makes me believe that the diet is working and healing my gut! This has me excited!

As far as my health, I am feeling better with more energy. My fatigue is not as much now and am able to stay up later than 9:30 which I’m sure Gena enjoys!


“Most people will not reach their potential without somebody else believing in them. Is there someone you can encourage today?” ~ Joel Osteen

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Paleo and Crohn’s

So it has been a while since we have updated the blog. Actually I have never updated it , not even once. I might have conveyed some thoughts to Gena but it has been all her. Recently we’ve been researching and trying to implement the paleo diet into our lives as there are numerous testimonials on how it has helped those with some kind of IBD or auto immune disease. It initially started by me giving up any type of restaurant that had a drive thru and committing to eating 3 to 4 paleo meals during lent. Since lent I have also given up soda although with any old habit it is hard to kick. I admit that I do slip up and drink a soda every now and then but I’m no longer pounding a 32 oz back every day. The increase in energy, mental focus and the way my gut reacted convinced us that as a family we needed to do this all the time for not only my health but everyone’s. Hopefully when we go to Mayo at the end of May we will be able to see the results of how our new lifestyle has impacted our lifes.

My goal is to impact someone else’s life who has Crohn’s or any other disease through showing them my struggles and how I try to overcome them. I’m going to share how I am feeling, what I am eating and a bunch of other things hopefully if the idea in my head comes to fruition. Hopefully I can also put some pictures and recipe’s of the food we make to show everyone that eating paleo is very doable.

Last night we made curried skirt steak w/ creamy mashed carrots and it was absolutely delicious. Who would have known that carrots could taste that good!

Curried Skirt Steak
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
.5 teaspoon pepper
.5 teaspoon minced garlic
2 lb beef skirt steak

Preheat broiler. Combine oil, curry powder, salt,
pepper and garlic in a small bowl. Rub mixture
evenly over both sides of steak. Place on a
roasting rack in a pan. Broil 4 to 5 minutes per
side or until desired degree of doneness. Let
stand 5 minutes before slicing thinly across the


Creamy Mashed Carrots
1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped
14 oz can coconut milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Place carrots in a large saucepan; cover with
water. Bring to a boil; cook 18 minutes or until
tender. Drain and return to pot over medium
heat; add coconut milk, salt and pepper. Mash
with a potato masher until creamy and heated

We have even started to brew kombucha. Here is our first attempt of blueberry-pomegranate kombucha.