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Reversing Crohn’s disease

Robyn Openshaw - Feb 10, 2012 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

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.

Posted in: Health Concerns, Tools & Products

9 thoughts on “Reversing Crohn’s disease”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    My adult neighbor who was diagnosed with Crohns when he was 12, has seen a study that the consumption of milk can be a main cause of Crohns. According to him, the steroids did him no favors.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, I started making my own probiotics in the form of water kefir about 6-8 months ago. I also make sourkrout. I’ve been having such horrible gas and cant figure out why. Im about 60-80% raw mostly vegan for over a year now. Do you think it could be the water kefir? I dont drink alcohol very often and am down to half a cup of coffee in the morning. I juice 1-2 times every day and have a green smoothie most days and a big green salad most days. I also eat hummus or beans everyday. Gave up wheat on the 26th of January due to my son finding out he was allergic to wheat bran. I’ve also started taking digestive enzymes. Is this just something I am going to have to live with to be healthy? Usually my problem is in the evening. Any suggestions?

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Jennifer, help from a competent naturopathic doctor will be more effective than a pat answer on the internet, but could it be the cabbage (sauerkraut)? It causes problems for some in its unchanged state, though I would think the breakdown in the fermentation process would help rather than hurt. It sounds like a chronic gut issue. Take some calming fats with your probiotic-rich foods, like avocado, coconut oil, flax oil? But it sounds like you need to completely eliminate gluten and then see if a good holistic doc can help.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Where can I get information on your detox diet plan? Would it be in your 12 steps book?

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Courtney, it’s in development, and I expect it to be done in the next month. 🙂

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just saw you speak in Orlando last weekend- great presentation– very inspiring. I thought you said that your typical green smoothie was about 180 calories but I must have misunderstood. My math tells me the banana is 105 and the flax seed oil (which your recipe calls for 2-3 T.) is 120 per Tablespoon. So without the greens (which are very low calorie) or any additional fruit you’re already at about 350 calories. I don’t mean to complain as I enjoy the smoothie and it keeps me full for some time. Just wondering where you got your numbers on this! Sandee (P.S. Do you use it as a meal replacement or snack?)

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Sandee, 188 cals for a quart is my basic recipe with greens and fruit. Keep in mind that 1-2 bananas is for an entire blender jar, which makes 3 quarts. Adding flaxseed would add calories but it’s good fats that you need, brain food and omega 3’s that your body cannot manufacture. I eat it as part of a meal. Sometimes a whole meal if I’m not very hungry.

  5. KE Grant says:

    Hi Robin,
    I was just recently diagnosed with Crohn’s – like, exactly a week ago kind of recent. I was browsing the internet for Crohny friendly smoothies (if they exist???) and fell in love with this article! I was wondering if there’s a way you could hook Melanie and I up? I have a few questions and would LOVE to feel even just a little better again.
    Thank you!

    1. Gretchen Harder says:

      Check out the book and website, “Breaking the Vicious Cycle,” by Elaine Gottschall. Also the website that helps put the plan into practical daily life. Dr. Tom O’Bryan’s book, “The Autoimmune Fix is also excellent. Diet matters! Crohns is an autoimmune disease and you have to get the substance causing the inflammation out of your system. I know people that have carefully followed this protocol and have few problems now. Also, see the website, “” or just google Coltyn Turner. He is a teenager that was on the edge of life with Crohn’s. He has been taking cannabis oil for 3 years and testing now shows no signs of Crohns. He is the picture of health, has grown several inches and gained weight. Be cautious if you are prescribed immune suppressant drugs (Azathioprine, Remicade, Humira, Enbrel, etc.). Susceptible patients (especially young men ages 20-30 yrs old) are dying of an aggressive lymphoma (HSTCL) linked to these drugs. It is fast and fatal. My 24 yr old son died of it 7 years ago after being on azathiaprine to treat UC. The doctors still tell you diet has nothing to do with it and are oblivious to the cancer threat.

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