Reversing Crohn’s disease

I saw this post from Melanie yesterday, in response to an old blog of mine. I thought it warranted front-and-center attention. It’s especially on my mind after a convo after my Lehi, UT class last night with a mother of a young (20-ish) Crohn’s patient who eats no fiber.

That’s the problem with Crohn’s patients, is that high-fiber foods are what they desperately need, and also what irritates their inflamed gut tissues. I’ve reconsidered my statement that Crohn’s is difficult to turn around after talking to a few docs in recent months who say with proper treatment, Crohn’s is one of the easier conditions to treat. I am not a practitioner, and I recommend sufferers get competent, EXPERIENCED, holistic help—such as from Dr. Gaetano Morello in Vancouver, who works with people remotely via phone.

Here’s what Melanie had to say, which folks with this and other inflammatory gut diseases may find encouraging:

“I just wanted to comment on your comment about Crohn’s disease being difficult to reverse with diet. I know in some severe cases, it might be, but I wanted to give a story of success and maybe hope for some people. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s in July of last year. The doctor wrote me a prescription for a steroid and told me to take it INDEFINITELY! I handed her back the prescription, and said “No, this is not going to be my life. I will not take steroids!”

And after two days of intense research and crying, I threw myself head first into a raw, organic, grain-free vegan diet. If it didn’t fall into that category, it didn’t go into my mouth. I lost about 35 lbs. (which I needed to) and within just 2 weeks I was able to go off of both of the prescription meds I was on for the reactive arthritis caused by the inflammation in my body due to the Crohn’s.

Within about a month, all of my Crohn’s symptoms (intestinal cramping, anal fissures, cracked skin on my hands, too frequent bowel movements, hair falling out) were either much lessened or GONE! When I went back for a check-up in October (I had a bet with my doctor – if I wasn’t better by then, steroids it was!), my small bowel series of xrays indicated that I had NO bowel strictures, no inflammation, no irregular fold patterns, no wall thickening!

The doctor said it looks like I’d never had Crohn’s in the first place and that I was in the clear! I will admit that after the ‘all clear’ I thought I could add some things back into my diet – cheese, some fish, rice – and I started getting pain in my joints again. So, now that I eat about 90-95% raw, I am maintaining my good health, and my husband and I are currently trying for baby #2 – something I didn’t think I’d ever be able to have with Crohn’s!”

Thank you for your story, Melanie. Of course, Jordin Rubens (The Maker’s Diet) is a fantastic example of a man who was nearly dead of Crohn’s at 19, and now 20 years later is extremely healthy simple because he changed his diet. I know soil organisms and probiotics had a HUGE place in his healing. Those topics are covered in Step 8 of my 12 Steps to Whole Foods.

Oasis of Hope, Tijuana (Contreras Clinic)

Oasis of Hope in Tijuana is inpatient, with all meals served to you. It is very much a hospital—not a medical spa like in Irvine, or a detox retreat like Creative Health Institute or Hippocrates Health Institute. It’s a small hospital, but they have an emergency room, a pharmacy, radiology, the works.

The food is radically different from “normal” hospital food. You can ask them for lots of green juice (I had some from the buffet, see the juices in this photo), and dictate your own nutrition protocol if you want. The meals are 95% vegan (occasionally they serve a little fish or chicken although I never saw any) because their patients want it, and some demand it). Meals are an organic, varied, gluten free buffet—delicious, and although it’s not 100% raw, there is lots of raw plant food.

I was very impressed by the food, actually. It isn’t “detox food” like you’d get at Creative Health Institute or Optimum Health Institute, but you can easily eat raw and vegan there, and it’s all really yummy.

I was told stories of patients who bring in bags of junk food. This would never fly at other places I have been. Oasis of Hope’s philosophy seems to be that while they aren’t going to provide it, they also aren’t going to be the Food Gestapo for their patients either.

But the culture there is very much Latin American. That is, it’s very respectful of you, your wants, your spirit, your individuality. Rosa, the nutritionist, is Dr. Contreras’ daughter and has an American master’s degree. She is happy to teach nutrition to patients one-on-one, but the Latin tendency is clear: that they are not dogmatic or pushy or militant, as some clinics are in the U.S. (I personally respond just fine to nutritional militancy, even appreciate it, LOL! However, some don’t.)

There is a deep focus on spirituality. Dr. Contreras and the other practitioners at his hospital feel that healing is impossible if you do not BELIEVE in the treatment, if your attitude is negative, if you are not an active participant in recovery. His father, Dr. Ernesto, greeted each patient as they arrived, and played his guitar and sang for them when they left. The staff at Oasis Tijuana is very gentle and even kitchen staff hugs the patients every day. They are openly Christian, while inclusive and welcoming to those of other faiths. Attending a daily devotional, and worshiping or meditating in the beautiful chapel, is an important part of treatment.

Texas, part 6 of 7: Kaye in Houston, Kaye in San Antonio

Here’s a photo of me with Kaye Barnard, whom we also met in Houston. She eats almost 100% raw vegan, which she calls “God’s way,” and credits that lifestyle with her current health, despite not one, but multiple, STAGE IV cancer diagnoses in the past!

Dr. Lodi and I spoke last Saturday morning in Mesa, and his talk was about “HOW TO STOP MAKING CANCER.” The more I study, and the more people I meet like Kaye, the more I believe that principle. That while there are “no guarantees” with cancer, we CAN stop feeding cancer cells, and we can stop manufacturing more of them, with correct nutrition and other healing therapies that support a strong immune system.

In San Antonio, I met another Kaye, who has been following GreenSmoothieGirl.com since the very beginning, 4 years ago. She cured her 15 year old daughter of severe lupus with nothing more or less than raw plant foods. Her daughter is now 19 and had to work, so I didn’t meet her—she was too busy living her wonderful life. I want nothing less for Kaye’s daughter, and for you!

My friend Matthew and I decided only three things matter (in no particular order): your health, your relationships, your finances. We choose not to concern ourselves much with anything outside of those three core areas. (That’s why I don’t watch TV—it contributes to none of those things.) So we focus our efforts there. And every time we do something in our day that enhances any of those areas, we call it a success.

Cheryl says green smoothies were her catalyst for a fabulous life!

I recently received this inspiring letter (edited for length) and photo from GSG Cheryl. You’re going to love reading it!

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:

I met you at the Portland conference, and had you sign my book after the talk. I know you meet a lot of people and probably don’t remember me, but I was there with my mom, and told you about how Costco hooked me up with GreenSmoothieGirl.com when I purchased my blender.

I am 5’6″ and weighed 155 pounds when I came back from our home in Arizona in May 2011. When my husband and I returned to our home in Washington, we went to our local Costco for food. I told my husband that if the blender road show was there, THIS was the year I was going to take the plunge. Lo and behold, the BlendTec guy was there and I became the proud owner of a high-speed blender. The demo guy gave me a paper with three recipes, and the URL GreenSmoothieGirl.com.

I came home that day with my blender, spinach and fruit. The first thing I did was go to GSG on the web and my life was transformed from that day forward.

I have been making green smoothies daily since May. I’m now 100% vegan and eat mostly raw. I have lost over 23 pounds and have no desire to eat bad foods anymore. My taste buds have been reprogrammed to the beautiful plant foods offered by nature and I now love myself too much to use my body as a garbage can.

Once you learn how good real food tastes, you can’t go back to the SAD (Standard American Diet) way of dying (it’s certainly not living).

Robyn, you were my catalyst for change along with my own will for a better life. I am eternally grateful that you are there to spread the message about how we can all benefit from changes in our food. I am now sharing your message with people that ask me what I’ve done to look so great and feel so fabulous. I’m proud to call myself part of the “green team.”

Sincerely,

Cheryl Ulrich

Creative Health Institute, part 2 of 5

Here’s a video of our teacher, Madeleine, talking about Rejuvelac, and a great idea for green smoothies—and the “banya” by the Coldwater Creek that is my favorite part of the CHI experience.

If ALL you got at CHI was any two of the following things, the experience is well worth the money–and of course, you get all five:

1. The education in the form of classes every morning and afternoon, and the chance to learn from Bobby Morgan. (He was unfortunately not there when I was, as his daughter got married; however, I heard 100% good things about his knowledge base, teaching style, and overall nurturing personality.) I had Madeleine instead, and I’m so crazy about her I’m talking to her about co-teaching a retreat next summer. You’ll learn about everything from affirmations, to genetically modified foods, to how to stimulate peristalsis in the colon. I did a guest lecture and so did our scholar-monk (another guest at CHI), Bhante. You’ll get lots of food demos: how to make Rejuvelac (an enzyme-rich probiotic drink from sprouted wheat or quinoa), seed cheese, almond milk, raw treats, sauerkraut, and more.

2. The wheat grass juice. You get three 2-oz. shots a day, 8 oz. to put in your bath every other night, 8 oz. twice a day as an “implant” (I will explain in a minute), wheat grass face masks, and more. While I was there, our lung-cancer patient was given poultices for his chest. Our eye-infection patient put it in her eye. Someone with a foot fungal infection was offered foot baths. If you’ve ever juiced wheat grass, you know it’s highly time consuming, requiring special equipment. You are getting about 30 oz. a day, which would cost you about $60 if you called in an order to your health food store or Jamba Juice! You’ll be treated to a tour of the wheatgrass greenhouse, and they teach you to grow your own.

Their grass tastes sweeter and far better than what I get here in Utah. In fact, despite a 15-year aversion to the stuff (it’s a long story), I did fine taking three shots a day, putting it on my face, and even in my bath. When I got home I got a 4-oz. shot at my health food store, and I gagged at the taste like I usually do—far more bitter and….I don’t know, yucky!

3. Raw-food meals (and Rejuvelac that you drink 16 oz. of daily) made for you. The first three days are raw red-cabbage sauerkraut, and “Energy Soup” (you add flaxseed and kelp or dulse) only. Energy Soup is like green smoothie, only no fruit, and you eat it with a spoon. On Day 4 forward, they offer you salads, sprouts, fruit, and some gourmet raw dishes and even an occasional treat. The chef, B.J., is very solicitous, and you can make a special request if you want. I didn’t, but I saw Chris got blueberries every morning, and other guests’ requests were honored.

4. The social atmosphere. It was amazing how emotional it was to leave the 15 others participating in the Detox and Rebuild program because we’d bonded so much. My detox symptoms consisted of one zit I got that lasted a day. I got up early in the morning and went for my usual run, though much shorter than I do at home, partly to get back in time for the 30 min. rebounding class. But other guests were experiencing headaches, nausea including vomiting, depression, and loss of energy. They usually lasted a day and the next day the guest’s eyes cleared and he or she felt better. But the shared experience–camaraderie, humor, wide diversity of age, health, race, religion, and goals—made the whole experience enjoyable and even fun as well as physically rewarding.

5. The detox protocols. The most important one, IMO, is enemas followed by a wheat-grass implant, and while you do them yourself morning and night, you’re given the equipment and careful instruction and support. This is invaluable, because it’s a lost art in modern culture, and it’s critically important. Coffee enemas or wheat-grass enemas are widely used by the alt-docs I am studying, including Nick Gonzalez, Hippocrates Institute, and the Gerson Therapy.

But another fun amenity at CHI is the “banya” or Russian sauna that Victoria Boutenko and her family built. It was my favorite part of my experience at CHI, getting in there half-naked with Melinda and Ed-and-Ed and whoever else every night. Then I’d leave, plunge into Coldwater Creek 10 steps away, and go back to the banya for more sweat-lodge therapy. Hot-and-cold practices like this are health practices followed by many around the world. You can get a professional colonic or massage or reflexology session at CHI as well (not included, but affordable). You do skin brushing and use the Chi machine. You do a bentonite-clay-and-wheat-grass mask on your face in the morning. You do yoga and meditation sessions. You participate in a half hour of rebounding, lymphatic massage, and EFT tapping every morning together. You are asked to get in the sun at least 15 minutes, and the grounds are beautiful, on the bank of a creek, so the outdoors will draw you out.

Stacy tells us what happens to inflammation and fibromyalgia when you EAT GREEN.

This sweet little 28-year old mom of 4 kids waited a long time to chat with me in Mesa, Arizona and got so emotional telling me her story. Why? Because this is our LIVES we’re talking about–the consequences of the fuel we choose color every aspect of our existence.

It was hard for her to decide to go on film telling you her story—but she decided she wanted y’all to know what powerful medicine food can be!

In this video, she tells me in 3 minutes how dramatically eating raw plant foods affected her pain and inflammation (fibromyalgia symptoms). Eat crap, inflammation up! Eat green, inflammation down. And unlike drugs, no side effects except MORE happy health benefits.

If you’re reading…..so proud of you, Stacy. The rest of you, please enjoy her story here.