5 People You Meet When You Have A Chronic Illness

So you’ve been diagnosed with an invisible illness. Maybe you have Lupus, Crohn’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or any other serious illness that may go unnoticed by anyone that isn’t you. No matter what disease you have, there are always people that want to give you an opinion on what you are going through. These are the five types of people you can undoubtedly expect to encounter when navigating life with an invisible illness.

1. The person that is skeptical about your disease.

Having a chronic disease will sometimes lead to cancelled plans. As the person suffering from your illness, you know exactly how hard it can be to even get out of bed. Your friends and family may not. This can be extremely frustrating. People will make statements such as, “But you were fine yesterday! You even went to the gym!”, or even, “You don’t look sick.”

Do not put your body through anything it is not prepared for just to satisfy the skeptics. There will be people who cannot even begin to grasp the discomfort you are in, but the people worth spending time with are the ones who try their best to understand.

2. The person who scolds you for using disability services.

Seeing is believing. It didn’t take me long after being diagnosed to realize how many people live by this statement. I often hear people berate those who park in handicapped spots that do not appear to need the spot. The key word in that sentence is appear. If they cannot see that you are disabled it does not exist to them. So when they see someone who parks in handicapped spots that does not appear to be sick or elderly, they don’t rationalize that the person they are criticizing may need to be as close to the restroom as possible to ensure that they make it in time or that their arthritis will flare if they walk too far. People often need these concepts broken down for them, and even then, be prepared for them to still doubt the necessity of your accommodations, whatever they may be.

3. The person who assumes that you are feeling ill if you act even slightly different than normal.

Last year I went through a small flare up towards the end of the spring semester of my freshman year. Unfortunately, this led to me missing a few too many morning classes. Luckily, I had a very understanding History professor. One day I was supposed to attend her office hours after class to discuss my absences. Instead, I decided that I would rather go home and take a nap. Naturally, I ran into her on my way out. Before I could even begin to explain she said, “Are you going home? I understand, you looked putrid in class today!” I was relieved that I no longer had to make an excuse but somewhat confused as I was feeling better than usual, I was just simply bored. Once she knew that I had Crohn’s Disease she automatically dismissed any of my disinterest in class as a symptom.

You may read this story and interpret it as a blessing, and it definitely can be in some situations. The problem is when people constantly blame your disease for your attitude and therefore dismiss important feelings.

4. The person who knows nothing about your disease but thinks that they know how to cure you.

Undoubtedly, the most obnoxious type of person you will encounter is the self-proclaimed know it all that actually knows nothing about your disease. These are only a few of the delightful pieces of advice you will be given from complete strangers:

“Oh, you have Fibromyalgia? My sister’s boyfriend’s cousin has that! She started juicing and it put her into remission”

“Gluten causes so many problems, you should probably give it up, I think it’ll help get your Ulcerative Colitis under control.”

And my personally favorite: “How do you know you really even have a disease? Maybe this is a ploy from big pharma!”

While this can be extremely annoying, many of these people are simply trying to help make you feel better, try to remember this before you scream at them (which you will definitely feel like doing).

5. The people who know exactly what you are going through.

It’s easy to feel alone in your suffering. Especially when you rarely meet another person with the same disease. The thing to remember is that there are people that feel the exact same way as you do. Believe it or not, those cheesy support groups your doctor encourages you to join or talk to online can actually make all the difference. That is where you meet the people that understand. There are some that have been in your situation and excelled. It’s where you meet the person who is at the exact same point as you and will always be up for a venting session. Sometimes you even meet people that are worse off then you. This is where you meet the inspiring people, the ones who still show up to the fight day in and day out despite being in unimaginable physical and emotional pain. This is where you discover just how inspiring and strong you are, and use your experience to help other people find the inspiration that is so important when fighting an invisible illness.

5 Ways I Keep My Sanity While Battling Infertility

Drew Wilson (Instagram)<

I don’t think I’m unique in saying that I spent my teens and early twenties obsessively worrying about an accidental pregnancy and therefore enacting all of the necessary precautions, and then some (think: plan A, B, and C). I had a picture of my life and being the true-to-scale Type A personality that I am, I would follow it to perfection: Graduate college, get a job, meet a guy, fall in love with said guy, get married, buy a home, start a family. Oh and dogs, I had to have two dogs. In equal parts dumb luck and ambition, I’ve somehow managed to make almost all of those things happen for myself. Almost. In a cruel twist of irony, I’ve learned in my late 20s that becoming pregnant will not come naturally to me.

If you’ve ever experienced infertility, you can understand the incredibly complex and maddening emotions that accompany the condition. If you haven’t experienced infertility, I am simultaneously ecstatic for you and completely bitter toward you. That’s the type of emotional complexity that infertility serves up hot. There have been times in my journey trying to conceive that I’ve read a pregnancy announcement and felt a surge of uninhibited joy, muddled almost immediately by crushing anger. My husband has found me in a puddle of tears as I tell him through heaving sobs how guilty I feel for a terrible thought I’ve had about someone I know who is expecting. Yes, it is as exhausting as it sounds.

Our journey to a family began casually and graduated to more intentional. I charted my BBT every morning, took daily OPK’s (most days more than once), and we made sure to have sex every other day at least. Soon, the romantic idea I’d had of bringing a child into the world from our happy marriage was traded in for a more mechanical and scientific version. And then began the poking, prodding, transvaginal ultrasounds, testing of semen samples, the painful process to clear my fallopian tubes, medications that gave me severe diarrhea and robbed me entirely of my appetite, and finally a diagnosis. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS for short. Sure it wasn’t a definite “no way, never” but it certainly presented a challenging road and one that we couldn’t travel without further treatment. So we added the popular drug “Clomid” to the mix. Hot flashes and mood swings, be damned.
In between all of this, the arrival of my monthly period over and over. Each month it flattened me. Each month I lost a little more hope. Each month I resigned myself to my lack of control in the only missing link on my life’s roadmap and the idea that I may never get the brood of babies I’d always hoped for. Each month I learned some hard lessons.

Nothing will ever eradicate the deep sadness that another negative pregnancy test presents or the frustration that overcomes your consciousness as you look toward another month of trying; but I have come to learn that I cannot forfeit my sanity in its entirety as my husband and I press on in our quest for a family. In keeping with my Type A tendencies, I slowly began compiling a list of things that I noticed were bringing me levity in the wake of the heartache and implementing them into a regular practice. As with any time in life when the water gets choppy, finding a life raft to cling to can be the difference between drowning and floating through to calmer waters.

1. Running.

I began to set goals and challenges for myself physically, as a sort of reminder that I’m not entirely powerless in my life’s direction. This summer, I registered for my first 15k (9.3 miles) and followed a strict training map to successfully compete in the race. With each week and each added mile, my confidence, ambition, optimistic outlook on life, and general mental health began to improve, subtly at first and then more and more obviously. Suddenly, another month of trying didn’t look so insurmountable, so hopeless. It looked like a hurdle we’d face together and would overcome with patience and commitment.

2. Taking Back the Time.

My husband and I decided that instead of putting our life on hold because we “might be pregnant by then” we’d reclaim this time as our own. So we began to travel. In January we explored Belize, Honduras, and Mexico. In August we rafted the Grand Canyon, hiked our way through Zion, overlooked Horseshoe Bend, and ended with a tour through Vegas. In October, we’ll venture out to La Jolla and in March, we’ll meet my parents in Aspen to ski. There is something about travel that renews the soul, reminds you how vast and beautiful the world is, and presents the bigger picture in the most sincere fashion. It also allowed my husband and I to leave behind the heaviness of what we were coping with and focus on each other. Of course, not everyone can travel extensively, but day trips to nearby cities to experience the food, drink, music, and shopping can be the perfect remedy for the no-baby-blues. Simply put, don’t let the battle of trying to conceive make you forget how to experience life.
3. Hiking.

We live just outside the Adirondacks in Upstate New York and it is one of our holy places. Hiking has become the closest thing to a cure-all that we have found. Unplugging from the pains of another baby announcement on social media, removing the background noise from our consciousness, and walking through a serenely quiet forest to reach views that man could never create, provides proof that miracles are happening every day. Mother Nature often works quietly and slowly, but she is diligent and her work is breathtaking. A perfect sentiment to remind myself to combat the frustrations of another unsuccessful month.

4. Talk. Talk, talk, talk.

I am a chronic oversharer, my husband is a chronic undersharer, and together it somehow works. But I don’t just talk to him; I seek out other women who understand the struggle of infertility through support groups, friends of friends, and sometimes in the most unexpected places like the family planning aisle of the grocery store. I have also sought refuge through therapy and writing. I have found by putting the feelings, words, thoughts, and emotions into the universe in the gentlest and kindest way that I can (okay, so it’s not always so dainty, but I try!), I’ve received amazing support in response. That can be the difference between giving up altogether and remembering there is always another month.

5. Four-Legged Love.

I am a born dog lover, it is written in my DNA. That being said, I know that’s not the case for everyone; however, I think that there is something profoundly comforting about animals that we cannot find through other avenues. On my hardest days, I cuddle up with tea and squeeze both of my big, goofy Goldendoodles on either side of me. My husband and I swear that they have some understanding of what’s going on because on these days especially, they are tender, patient, and extra loving to me. They serve as a reminder that there is always more love to give to myself, to my body, to my journey, and to the world. I’ve also been known to watch YouTube videos of sea otters, baby goats, and cats in the moments that feel the most unbearable. There is more than one way to let the innocence, unconditional love, and pure joy of animals permeate into your life.

No one can tell my husband and I when, if ever, we will conclude this journey, but it doesn’t have to define us, our relationship, or the way we spend our days. Sure, I’ll probably always engage in excessive symptom spotting, every negative test will likely knock the wind out of me for a day or so, and Facebook pregnancy announcements will always make my throat tighten. I didn’t plan this route for my husband and I, but if I have to travel it I am going to do my best to keep my hope alive, make the most of all of the moments it offers, and remember that the world is big and full of promise and nothing is ever written in stone.

10 Interesting Facts About Weight Loss Surgery*

1. The cost of obese society. In the UK 26.1 % of adults are obese and this number is growing each year. One of the problems associated with overweight is the increase in medical expenditures. In the UK it reaches 2.3 billion pounds. It is expected that in 2050 this number will be three times higher. By introducing health programmes which might be helpful to decrease the prevalence of obesity we can reduce expenses and collect significant amounts of money which can be used for other purposes.

2. The youngest patient. The youngest patient who had weight loss surgery was a 12-year-old girl. It may sound extreme, but in some cases it is the only way to treat obesity and comorbidities which are likely to develop as the overweight is progressing to adulthood. You may ask whether it is not interfering with maturation. Usually, obese children mature in younger age as the hormones associated with the enhancement of such processes are produced in the fat tissue. The main factors used to evaluate maturity are menarche (the first period for girls), height and bone density. If a child matches the criteria it, weight loss surgery will not interfere with natural ageing.

3. Different types of weight loss surgeries. There are two groups of weight loss surgery – restrictive and restrictive/malabsorptive procedures. The aim of restrictive surgeries is to decrease the size of the stomach. It results in significantly reduced food intake as it becomes physically impossible to overeat, and slower digestion. Gastric band and gastric sleeve are the examples of restrictive surgery. On the other hand, restrictive/malabsorptive surgeries have a double effect.  In addition to shortening the gastrointestinal tract, it reduces the amount of food which can be absorbed. As such surgeries have the greatest effect on weight loss today, it is the top choice for patients. Besides, restrictive/malabsorptive procedures are known as gastric bypass.

4. Most obese country in the world. You might assume that the most obese country is the USA. But you are wrong here, the first place belongs to Nauru (an island in South Pacific) where 94.5 % of population is overweight. While in the USA 30 % of people have a BMI higher than 30. Mexico and the United Kingdom are also among the most obese countries. The least obese countries are Japan and South Korea. Increasing prevalence of obesity can be explained by the culturally different beauty conceptions. Compared with 1970 today the average weight is 20 kilograms higher.


5. What is the effect of the surgery? It is the main question that patient wants to find the answer to. Gastric bypass surgery is considered to have the most significant effect on obese people, as more than 60 % of excess weight is lost in first year following the procedure. Although the data for long-term results is yet insufficient, after 5 years excessive weight loss reaches 75 %. Of course, other weight loss surgeries are beneficial as well. The adjustable gastric band shows results more gradually, but in two years you might lose 50-60 % of excessive mass, after gastric sleeve more than 40 %.

6. Celebrities who had weight loss surgeries. Although celebrities look stunning on TV shows or magazines, it does not mean that they were born this way.Sharon Osbourne, Randy Jackson, “The help” starlet Octavia Spencer and others took the opportunity to improve their external features by performing gastric bypass surgery. The results were significant, over 50 kilograms lost without exhaustive diets. However, a healthy diet is very important. For instance, the high-calorie food lover Octavia Spencer lost 2 times less.

7. 25 weight loss surgeries per hour. The newest data concerning bariatric surgery shows that in 2008 nearly 350,000 weight loss surgeries were performed worldwide. There was an increase in numbers of all types of surgeries except biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. As much as 90 % of the surgeries were performed laparoscopically – a minimally invasive method. The most popular types of bariatric surgery are gastric bypass and gastric banding. In the USA/Canada 25 weight loss surgeries are performed each hour, in Europe this number is 7,6, in Asian countries 1,5.

8. The history of obesity surgery. There is no data about the need to treat obesity in ancient times. The reason is healthy eating habits and high prevalence of parasites which consumed extra calories as well as food reserves. The first attempts to perform weight loss surgery were described in the ancient Greece. The patient was a tyrant, extravagant man named Dionysius. As the source implies the origin of obesity

was lifestyle habits, which were treated by applying long needles through hips and belly. In 1954 the traditional weight loss surgeries were introduced marking a change in obesity treatment.

9. Price differences worldwide. A part of obese patients struggle to lose weight by keeping up with various diets and exercising because they cannot afford the surgery. The price for weight loss surgery in the USA ranges from 35,000 to 53,000 euro, in the UK 12,000 to 28,000euro. What is more, the cost of bariatric surgeries in Mexico, Thailand or EasternEurope is 60-70 % lower and ranges from 5,000 to 6,500 euro.

10.The biggest weight loss after surgery. Paul Mason was one of the heaviest men in the world. He weighted over 450 kilograms before the decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery. Today he says that it was the only option to survive. Paul had breathing difficulties while sleeping, consumed huge amounts of food and eventually he was in need of someone to look after the entire time. After the bariatric surgery Paul had lost almost 130 kilograms and it is not yet the finish line.


Cannabis Can Help Treat Anorexia by Increasing Appetite


For most, eating is a really pleasurable activity. Humans are evolved to experience euphoria when we eat something that we like. Yet, some people suffer fear and anxiety if they eat food. This may sound weird, but it’s true.

Patients suffering with anorexia nervosa feel terribly anxious just at the sight of food. They tend to try to reduce their anxiety by completely avoiding food. Despite their best efforts, however, they cannot take their minds off of food, as our brain is overtly wired with food thoughts.

After all, eating is a basic biological need to survive, and our brain gives the pleasure (reward pathway) if we eat. So, if one suffers disconnect between this innate pleasure and eating, it is really a matter of concern.

Anorexia nervosa is a psychiatric disorder characterized by abnormal food restriction, poor eating habits with self-inflicted weight loss and associated lack of self-esteem. Most of the patients suffer anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. Anorexia nervosa occurs mostly in adolescent girls, but also in adults and males. Medical experts believe anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa occur due to the imbalance of certain brain chemicals, which influence the endocannabinoid system associated neurotransmitters.

Most of these patients never seek medical help, maybe because they suffer shame and/or guilt. Depending on the clinical symptoms, anorexia nervosa is usually treated with nutritional therapy, anti-depressant drugs and cognitive behavioral therapy. In the long run, patients have to suffer the severe side effects of antidepressant drugs. Anything that has the potential to safely treat the underlying cause of this psychiatric disorder would be very beneficial.

Endocannabinoids and Eating Disorders

Endocannabinoid system receptors are widely distributed all over the body and have organ-specific physiological roles. The endogenous cannabinoids, such as 2-Arachidonyl-glycerol (2AG) and anandamide, stimulate CB1 and CB2 receptors and help the body to function normally in response to metabolic requirements and changes. Endocannabinoidsplay a key role in the regulation of appetite and body weight by acting at the brain’s CB1 receptors. These receptors are associated with ingestive behaviors, stimulation of appetite and regulation of feedback signals associated with appetite.

The main brain structures, such as hypothalamic nuclei and nucleus accumbens, are sensitive to endocannabinoid action, and the chemical activity varies greatly depending on nutritional status and feeding behaviors. Endocannabinoids increase eating motivation via the reward pathway, and also by pleasure induction after food ingestion. Additionally, endocannabinoids can modulate energy metabolism and storage. Nucleus accumbens is also associated with mood perceptions and memory.

Based on this evidence, we have enough information to understand that the body’s endocannabinoid system has mood-altering abilities and also influences one’s mood in response to food. Anorexia nervosa patients tend to suffer from under-active endocannabinoid systems in which the pleasure of eating might be blunted. As anorexia nervosa pathogenesis involves nucleus accumbens and reward pathway neurochemicals, the onset of mood disorders are inevitable.

Now it all makes sense – the basis of treating eating disorders, weight regulation and obesity should be focused on endocannabinoid targeting. Additionally, the mood disorders associated with eating disorders must be treated accordingly.

Phytocannabinoids can stimulate both CB1 and CB2 receptors and help us to maintain optimal feeding behavior, energy metabolism and body weight.

It has been shown that THC can naturally stimulate CB1 receptors responsible for taste and smell with the concomitant induction of hunger and dopamine levels. Meaning, THC stimulates certain brain areas that provide euphoric reward pleasure as a response to food eating. By this way, one can feel eating as a pleasurable task that relieves depression and anxiety.

This is why you’re getting the munchies after smoking pot!

These benefits of cannabinoids could help anorexia nervosa patients to relieve mood problems, while eating and gaining weight in a healthy way.

THC also targets anandamide, which is one of the members of the group of lipid mediators (fatty acid ethanolamides). These lipid mediators are involved in the regulation of eating and body weight. In experimental animals, anandamide promotes overeating behavior by the activation of cannabinoid receptors. This specific property could be exploited as a therapeutic option to treat anorexia nervosa and body weight disorders.

Not just anorexia nervosa, cannabis has therapeutic ability to treat co-existing mood disorders including anxiety and depression by influencing the emotional processing in the higher centre.

Clinical Trial Evidence

Cannabinoids improve eating behaviors by influencing the brain and intestinal system. Although several studies have demonstrated the orexigenic properties of cannabinoids, the number of human clinical trials on anorexia nervosa treatment is not up to the mark.

Still, dronabinol has been approved for treatment of anorexia associated weight loss (cachexia) based on clinical trials. I’m sure these patients might experience better caloric intake and weight gain if they use medical marijuana as an appetizer.

For the first time, a 3 year study has confirmed that THC may help anorexia nervosa sufferers to gain weight without causing significant side effects. The study reported small but significant improvement in weight gain among anorexia nervosa patients. While cannabis naturally increases appetite, this study has confirmed the efficacy of synthetic THC in the treatment of eating disorders.

The smaller sample size and the THC used, which was a synthetic version (dronabinol), are the limitations of this study. We are well aware of the differences between synthetic versions of THC and natural cannabis. In cannabis, some of the undesirable effects of THC are blunted by CBD, which is unlikely in synthetic versions of THC. Mother Nature nurtures us better than anything else on this planet!

One radiological study on bulimic and anorexic patients concluded that global CB1R upregulation in anorexic patients is a possible, prolonged compensatory mechanism of a dysfunctional ECS in anorexia patients. A similar pattern of CB1R dysfunction was observed in the insular cortex of anorexic and bulimic patients. The insula is a regulatory center for body perception, gustatory information, reward and emotion processing. The research team employed positron emission tomography (PET imaging) to examine brain regions in healthy women and gender-matched eating disorder patients.

For anorexia nervosa patients, a case of the munchies can do wonders; but this is ruinous for bulimia patients. Clearly, cannabis is not a magic bullet for all eating disorders, despite the fact that most of these patients suffer depression and anxiety as co-morbidity. For anorexia nervosa patients with or without anxiety or depression, cannabis works great. Just one puff of cannabis is enough to effectively stimulate appetite. Make sure to take regular breaks from weed use to avoid causing your body’s dependence on weed to make you hungry.

Cannabis use faces heavy resistance when it comes to psychiatric disorder treatment, including anorexia nervosa. As more countries embrace and concede the medicinal benefits of cannabis, the therapeutic potential will be recognized and old stigmas will erode.

Worth repeating: medical marijuana defeats Crohn’s Disease

Medical marijuana can manage and sometimes cause the complete remission of Crohn’s Disease symptoms like pain, inflammation, cramping and nausea.

Thousands of medical cannabis patients will tell you medical marijuana can treat and suppress the pain, inflammation, cramping and nausea of Crohn’s Disease. New studies come out every year backing up the evidence for use of the herb to treat the widespread gut ailment, whether by smoking, vaping, edibles, and other options. Patients are saying there is an alternative to toxic prescription drugs, and access to it is expanding.

The case for medical marijuana for Crohn’s Disease

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America — which notes that opioids are a treatment for Crohn’s pain — doesn’t mention the word “marijuana” or “cannabis” on their web site once.

Which is strange, because the medical history, as well as cell, animal and human trials make a rock-solid case for cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. Medical cannabis is legal in some form in 35 states, as well as several countries.

The auto-immune related disease of the digestive system is thought incurable and can often result in surgery. About 1.4 million Americans are thought to have some form of IBD, and a range of anti-inflammatories and narcotic painkillers are often prescribed.

Treating and stopping inflammatory bowel disease with existing drugs is “currently one of the biggest challenges in the field of gastroenterology,” researchers note.

Researchers noted in 2011, that “A significant number of patients with IBD currently use marijuana. Most patients find it very helpful for symptom control, including patients with ulcerative colitis.”

Lab evidence for marijuana for Crohn’s

The evidence is indisputable, cannabis’ active ingredients — the cannabinoids — interact like keys in a lock with receptors on nerve cells — primarily in the brain, but also in the gut.

cannabis for crohn's disease illustration

CB1 and CB2 receptor concentrations are high in the brain and gut. (Pharmacology, 2014)

Researchers wrote for a paper in Pharmacology in 2014 that “In ancient medicine, cannabis has been widely used to cure disturbances and inflammation of the bowel. … In a prospective placebo-controlled study, it has been shown what has been largely anticipated from anecdotal reports, i.e. that cannabis produces significant clinical benefits in patients with Crohn’s disease. The mechanisms involved are not yet clear but most likely include peripheral actions on cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2, and may also include central actions.”

In 2002, researchers noted that THC “modulates the immune response of T lymphocytes” to decrease pro-inflammatory reactions. “This may explain why THC is effective against inflammation … in multiple sclerosis, CROHN’s disease and arthritis.”

German researchers noted in 2004 that “the cannabinoid system plays an important role in inflammation of the large intestine (colon). A synthetic cannabinoid and endocannabinoids prevented experimental inflammation of the colon in mice.”

In 2013, researchers noted that pot molecule cannabidiol appears to be a gut protectant. CBD interrupts runaway inflammation in the bowel, by reducing the damage to bowel muscosa from the pro-inflammatory substance interleukin 17A.

And in 2014, researchers noted that boosting the bodies’ endocannabinoid system stopped ulcerative colitis in mice. Researchers used a custom anandamide inhibitor in the lab. Pot smoke contains anandamide analog THC.

Human Proof

A 2011 questionnaire of 291 Israeli patients found “cannabis use is common amongst patients with IBD for symptom relief, particularly amongst those with a history of abdominal surgery, chronic abdominal pain and/or a low quality of life index. … 33 per cent of patients with colitis ulcerosa and 50 per cent of patients with CROHN’s disease have used [cannabis] to relieve symptoms related to inflammatory bowel disease, including abdominal pain, diarrhoea and reduced appetite.”

A small human trial in Israel in 2011 found that “Of the 30 patients 21 improved significantly after treatment with cannabis. The average Harvey Bradshaw index improved from 14 to 7. The need for other medication was significantly reduced. Thus, before cannabis use 26 patients used corticosteroids, but only 4 after start of the cannabis therapy. Fifteen of the patients had 19 surgeries during an average period of 9 years before cannabis use, but only 2 required surgery during an average period of 3 years of cannabis use.” Authors concluded that “this is the first report of cannabis use in CROHN’s disease in humans. The results indicate that cannabis may have a positive effect on disease activity, as reflected by reduction in disease activity index and in the need for other drugs and surgery.”

In 2013, researchers reported “complete remission” of Crohn’s Disease Activity in 5 of 11 cannabis test subjects in a prospective 21-person placebo-controlled study. Eight weeks of THC-rich cannabis “produced significant clinical, steroid-free benefits to 10 of 11 patients with active Crohn’s disease, compared with placebo, without side effects. Further studies, with larger patient groups and a nonsmoking mode of intake, are warranted.”

And patients aren’t just smoking pot to help regulate the ECS in the gut. They’re vaping, dabbing, or taking low-dose edibles, and suppositories

As for smoking, researchers in the 2013 trial, reported that “no significant side effects” were associated with cannabis inhalation. Test subjects reported improved appetite and sleep compared to placebo group.

Patients also report learning to tolerate the side effects, as well as take high-CBD, low-THC formulations. Cannabis is also far less addictive that opioids and doesn’t damage the liver like long-term use of many NSAIDs.

Cannabis is medically legal in 23 states and CBD is legal in 12 more, and counting, and patients in pain aren’t waiting for more medical proof. That’s why it’s worth repeating: medical marijuana helps treat Crohn’s Disease.

120 Zero Carb Foods List & 4 Day Zero Carb Meal plan &Tips for Going Zero Carb and Best Weight Loss Program

Imagine a zero carb world where nervous counting doesn’t exist. If you’re starting low carb, speeding up ketosis or in Atkins Induction, no carb foods will set you free.

  • Tips for going zero carb
  • How to read no carb food labels
  • Real life zero carb food experience and 6 week food log
  • Printable list of no carb foods
  • 4 Day no carb meal plan

The list of low carb foods is HUGE. Zero carb foods are more limited, especially in the fruit and veggie area. But there are still over 100 choices for rich satisfying meals.

no carb food list mushroom cap

Finding foods with zero carbs isn’t hard. Use our zero carb and (almost) zero carb food lists, read package labels carefully and be pleasantly surprised at all the options.

Using the No Carb Foods List

Technically speaking, fats are the only foods that are completely zero carb. Even meats and seafood have trace amounts.

The foods on this list have very minor amounts of net carbs – fractions of a gram. These foods are so close to zero, most low carbers consider them ‘no carb foods.’

The “almost” zero carb foods are a bit higher, but a single serving from the list is still under 1 net carb.

The only warning: Track your servings. Trace amounts of carbs add up.

Tips for Going Zero Carb

You’ve decided to go low – really low. These three easy tips simplify starting a zero carb diet.

1. Give yourself a few days to prepare.

Check your fridge and cabinets, move any higher carb foods to the side, and fill the space with your favorite no carb foods.

Plan a zero carb grocery trip and stock up!

2. Focus on what you ARE allowed to eat.

Zero carb foods are savory and delicious. You won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself.

3. Have fun. Try new things.

If you are eating foods with no carbs, you are cooking more often. Having some fun with your food is a good way to build positive associations.

Chef-Pro Silicone Gloves

Tired of bulky oven mitts? Chef-Pro’s silicone oven gloves are ultra-convenient for grilling, BBQ, cooking and baking. Insulated & waterproof.

Real Life Zero Carb Food Log

What’s it really like to go zero carb? Rebecca Latham of Low Carb Better Health went zero carb, keeping food logs for six weeks:

Rebecca-zero-carb-foods    I am eating meat, a small amount of dairy, some healthy fats and I am drinking water only.

I have also been eating Fat Bombs, which contain almond butter, cocoa power and Stevia.

I am carefully tracking what I am eating. Here is what I have learned so far about how my blood sugar reacts to food.

No Carb Food Labels

Many food labels list foods as having zero carbs. Labeling laws allow food companies to print “zero grams” on the label if the food has less than one gram of carbs.

Sugar substitutes, cheeses, eggs and spices are common examples of this situation. If you’re being extra cautious, count them as .5 net carbs per serving.

List of No Carb Foods

There are zero carb foods in almost every food group, so it’s easy to enjoy a variety of foods when going no carb.

Below are foods that have zero carbs based on the National Nutrient Database published by the US Department of Agriculture.

Zero Carb Meat

High in protein and vitamins, most natural meats have zero carbs.

Packaged, cured and processed meats (sausage, hot dogs, deli meat, bacon, etc.) have some carbs due to added flavoring, preservatives or starchy binders.

Be sure to check the labels.

These natural meats have no carbs:

  • Beef
  • Veal
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Fowl (turkey, chicken, duck, goose, hen, quail)
  • Organ Meats (brains, tongue, liver, heart, kidneys)
  • Game Meats (venison, bison, ostrich, caribou, elk)
  • Exotic Meats (such as ostrich and emu)

Zero Carb Seafood

Fresh (unprocessed) seafood is zero carb:

  • Cod
  • Flounder
  • Sole
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Sardine
  • Swordfish
  • Tuna
  • Trout
  • Salmon
  • Catfish
  • Bass
  • Crab
  • Shrimp
  • Lobster
  • Squid
  • Oysters
  • Mussels
  • Clams

Zero Carb Dairy

  • Butter
  • Whipped Cream (check each label)
  • Heavy Cream (check each label)

It’s possible to find zero carb cheese, particularly hard cheese. Most cheese is low carb, ranging from 0 to .5 net carbs per ounce (complete list below).

Zero Carb Seasoning

Flavoring zero carb foods makes them much more palatable.

There are over 60 low carb spices to choose from – and eight of them speed up fat loss.

  • Salt and Pepper
  • Vinegar
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Most Hot Sauces
  • Pre-mixed Seasonings (check the label)
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Dill weed
  • Chives

Zero Carb Oils and Fats

The following fats and oils have zero carbs:

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • MCT oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Fish oil
  • Animal Fats (including lard)
  • Butter (particularly grass-fed)

Less healthy, yet zero carb oils:

  • Mayonnaise (check each label)
  • Vegetable Shortening
  • Canola oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil

Organic Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is high in Medium Chain Triglycerides, or (MCT) fatty acids. These fats are metabolized differently. Coconut oil is used immediately for energy – not stored.

Organic Coconut Oil

Carrington farms organic coconut oil is gluten free, non-GMO, free of hydrogenated and trans fats, Kosher and zero carb.

High Performance MCT Oil

Left Coast’s pure MCT oil blend is easier to absorb and digest. MCT converts into energy faster than other oils, ignites your body’s metabolic rate and helps maintain healthy levels of cholesterol.

MCT oil is an easy way to increase your healthy fats. Add to salads, smoothies or Bulletproof coffee for immediate, all day energy.

bulletproof coffee best MCT Oil

Triple filtered, pharmaceutical grade, BPA-free container, USA-made, identical quality to the ‘Bulletproof’ brand.

Zero Carb Binders

Dry Gelatin and Pork Rinds

Unflavored, powdered gelatin is a high protein, zero carb food. Gelatin strengthens hair and nails, helps skin stay elastic and helps with sleep.

Low carb guru, Dana Carpender has excellent ideas for adding gelatin:

Dana Carpender zero carb foods    “I intend to start adding gelatin to things, too. In particular, I plan to mix gelatin into ground meat dishes, from burgers to meat loaves to chili.

Why not? It’s flavorless. I’m betting in the burgers and meat loaves it holds moisture, and acts as a binder.

I’ve also started adding pork rind crumbs to a lot of ground meat recipes, not only for flavor, but for the gelatin.”

– from Hold The Toast “Gelatin Blowing My Mind”)

Use zero carb gelatin as a binder for ground meat, or add to lemonade for a filling, protein boost.

Zero Carb Beverages

These beverages are zero carb:

  • Water
  • Sparkling Water
  • Club Soda
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Diet Soda (watch the artificial sweetener)

Zero Carb Sweeteners

Companies advertise aspartame, sucralose, saccharine and stevia as no carb sugar substitutes. However – the powder and granular ones usually contain trace amounts of carbohydrate fillers.

It only takes a little to go a long way. Use a sprinkle.

Note: Artificial sweeteners can affect insulin the same way sugar does, so watch your progress, use sparingly and with caution.

Liquid Sucralose Sweetener

EZ-Sweetz liquid sweetener is made of sucralose and has no bitter aftertaste. Zero carb, zero calories, zero impact.

EzSweetz Soul Bread sucralose

Liquid De-Bittered Stevia

EZ-Sweetz’s de-bittered stevia blend has no unpleasant aftertaste. This blend has none of the characteristic bitterness of typical stevia sweeteners.

EZ-Sweetz Liquid De-Bittered Stevia

Zero Carb Alcohol

Use alcohol with caution. Your body burns alcohol before it burns fat for fuel. When you have metabolized all the alcohol, your body will return to burning fat.

Alcohol knocks some low carbers out of ketosis for several days after drinking alcohol. Everyone is different, so watch your progress and adjust if necessary.

  • Gin
  • Rum (unflavored)
  • Vodka (unflavored)
  • Whiskey
  • Tequila
  • Scotch

zero carb food greens cheese seeds

(Almost) Zero Carb Foods

This list of almost zero carb foods really expands your options without compromising your plan.

A single serving of these foods contains less than 1 net carb. Measure carefully and spread your extra carbs throughout the day.

Almost Zero Carb Fruits and Veggies

Many of the leafy green vegetables (spinach, lettuce, celery, kale, turnip greens) are great choices for going zero carb.

Although commonly thought of as vegetables, avocados are fruit, almost zero carb and a source of healthy fat.

Raspberries are high in fiber and are great to sprinkle over a salad or top with whipped cream.

Almost Zero Carb Fruits and Veggies:

Serving size: 1/2 cup

  • Spinach .2
  • Parsley .4
  • Avocado .5
  • Radish .5
  • Lettuce .25
  • Bok Choy .7
  • Celery .8

Serving size: 1/4 cup

  • Mushrooms .5
  • Garlic (1/2 clove) .5
  • Pokeberry Shoots .5
  • Cabbage .5
  • Asparagus (3 pieces) .6
  • Coconut .5
  • Yellow Squash .7
  • Raspberries .7
  • Cauliflower .7
  • Broccoli .8
  • Cucumber .9

Almost Zero Carb Dairy

Eggs are so versatile: fried, scrambled, omelets, quiche, boiled, deviled and of course – egg salad.

  • Eggs .2 to .7 (check the carton)

Eggs are almost zero carb, ranging from .2 to 1 net carb per egg. Organic, free-range, cage-free, etc. eggs have larger yolks, making them lower in carbs. Be sure to check each carton.

Almost Zero Carb Cheese

Most natural, unprocessed cheeses (no added flavors or ingredients) are 0 to 1 net carb per serving. Hard cheeses will be the lowest; softer, creamy cheeses will be the highest.

The following cheeses and net carb amounts are from FatSecret, Popular Cheeses. When in doubt, check each label.

Almost Zero Carb Cheeses:

Serving size: 1 oz = 1″ cube = 1/4 cup grated (approx.)

  • Asiago .9
  • Blue .6
  • Brie .1
  • Camembert .1
  • Cheddar .3
  • Colby .7
  • Edam .4
  • Fontina .4
  • Goats .6
  • Gouda .6
  • Gruyère .1
  • Havarti .7
  • Mexican Blend Cheese .5
  • Monterey .1
  • Mozzarella .6
  • Muenster .3
  • Neufchatel .1 to .8
  • Parmesan .9
  • Provolone .6
  • Ricotta .8

* This list goes on and on… Be adventurous and try something new!

Printable No Carb Foods List

list of foods with no carbs

(Select image to view, print or save. Opens in a new window.)

4 Day No Carb Meal Plan

Frequent Sun Exposure Lowers Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk


Understanding RA

According to the Arthritis Foundation, about 1.5 million Americans have rheumatoid arthritis. It affects almost three times as many women as men. In females, RA begins most often between ages 30 and 60. Men tend to develop it later in life.

Normally, your body’s immune system protects you from foreign substances like bacteria and viruses. But it attacks your joints when you have rheumatoid arthritis. This abnormal immune response causes chronic inflammation that can damage joints and organs including your heart. It also can lead to the bone erosion of osteoporosis.

Disease severity varies between patients with symptoms changing from one day to the next. You may experience inflammation, pain, fatigue and warm, swollen, reddish joints in both wrists and hands. Long periods of morning stiffness are common. Flares, or sudden symptom and illness increases, can last for days or months.

Direct Sunlight Proves Protective

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology monitored two large groups of female nurses for a study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases journal. They checked over 120,000 women between the ages of 30 and 55 from 1976 to 2008. Between 1989 and 2009, they followed 115,500 women ranging from 25 and 32. The study team estimated ultraviolet B (UV-B shortwave) radiation levels according to each subject’s home state climate.

Older women in the first set with the highest direct sun exposure were 21 percent less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those with the lowest levels. Younger women in the second group demonstrated no correlation between ultraviolet radiation exposure and decreased rheumatoid arthritis risks. The study authors believe that’s because younger women knew to shield themselves from the sun by using sunscreen or avoiding exposure altogether from young ages.

The Vitamin D Factor

Multiple studies have shown that RA patients have lower vitamin D levels, compared to healthy controls. Research has determined that vitamin D works with the immune system by regulating cells that produce cytokines, inflammatory or anti-inflammatory proteins. A new study published in the Rheumatology journal compared 130 RA patients from a hospital in China against 80 healthy people from the local community. The research team classified all RA patients into low, moderate and severe groups, according to their Disease Activity Scores in 28 joints.

Statistical analyses showed that RA patients had significantly lower vitamin D levels compared to those in the control group. This deficiency occurred with increased RA Disease Activity Scores, morning stiffness times, tender joint counts, swollen joint counts, joint pain degrees, Health Assessment Questionnaire scores, inflammatory cytokine levels, erythrocyte sedimentation rates and platelets. RA patients with osteopenia or osteoporosis had significantly lower vitamin D levels than those with normal bone mineral densities.

Treatment Options

RA is an incurable disease, but early diagnosis and prompt treatment are key to preventing joint destruction and organ damage. A rheumatologist, an arthritis specialist, can prescribe medications like Imuran (Azathioprine) to help ease your symptoms, reduce inflammation and slow RA’s progression. No single drug works for everyone, but many patients benefit from very effective treatment plans.

Countless research has shown that sunscreen blocks vitamin D production. Also known as the sunshine vitamin, it’s vital for bone health, muscle movement, nerve communication, regulating your immune system and fighting inflammation. Since vitamin D deficiencies can lead to rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders, osteoporosis and depression, anyone who lacks direct sun exposure by using sunscreen or staying indoors might suffer from these conditions over the long term. Taking vitamin D supplements is a good way to replace the advantages of unprotected sunlight without risking sunburn. Consult your doctor for the appropriate dosage. Save money by ordering your prescription and over-the-counter medications from a Canadian pharmacy.

The goal of RA treatment is remission, when inflammation is gone or very low. Schedule regular medical exams and blood tests to monitor your disease activity, or inflammation, levels. Your doctor may add to or change your medications or adjust your dosages after a few months, if your disease remains active.

Extra Ways to Manage Your Condition

Staying physically active is the key to keeping your joints flexible. Too little movement can lead to joint stiffness, and strong muscles protect joints. Studies show that even just three hours of physical therapy over six weeks provide lasting RA improvement. Strike a good balance between rest to reduce inflammation and activity to relieve stiffness and weakness.

Eat a well-balanced diet with approximately two-thirds coming from fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fill your other third with fat-free or low-fat dairy products and lean protein. Good sources of vitamin D include fortified breads, cereals, eggs and low-fat milk. Recent studies found that the omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, mackerel and herring alleviate RA inflammation, tender joints and morning stiffness. Other studies show that adding fiber lowers levels of the C-reactive protein (CRP) that’s an inflammation indicator. Making these lifestyle modifications and following your medication regimen can help you control your RA symptoms and improve your quality of life.

7 Things Crohn’s disease taught me about life You Should Know

Chronic disease is difficult, it involves; complete lifestyle changes, hardships of every kind, mental and emotional challenges, all placed in situations you never knew existed. There are a lot of downsides to focus on, but chronic disease can also be helpful by forcing you to become a better person. Creating a new outlook and perspective on life through challenging everything you ever thought you knew about pain, both emotional and physical. My journey has been travelled by many and under many different names. Auto immune diseases, disabilities, and disorders can be a few of those names.  Although the specifics and extremity of each disease or challenge may differ, the journey can be compared. Your challenges will not feel like anyone has ever, or could ever, deal with them. It’s true only you can feel what you feel, but there is no harm to hear someone else’s chosen path and thoughts, to use and apply to your own adventure.

Here is just 7 of the many things my journey has taught me so far:

(1) Life Is Not Fair.
Life is not the same for everyone; it is completely different for every person on this planet, comparing lives is useless. Fairness and justice should be practiced by everyone, but situations of one’s life are infinite and often do not follow that theory. Expecting anything from this world or thinking it owes you, will leave you right where you are, when you think like that, unhappy and defeated. You may be sick, you may not be a millionaire, you may not have what you want, doesn’t matter. You control your destiny and your direction in life. You did not choose the situation and body you were born into but that was just your starting point. You took over the wheel of life and can drive where ever you let yourself. Sitting in the backseat and complaining won’t get you out of the parking lot, grab the keys to life, smash the gas pedal and run free to where you want to go. You may encounter flat tires and fried piston rings; these can be fixed and overcome if you are willing. These problems are also a great excuse to upgrade to drag slicks and forged pistons, to travel even faster towards your goals.

(2) Go To The Doctor.
That weird thing happening to your arm, that odd feeling in your stomach, or in my case that toilet full of blood and vomit, means you should probably go to the person how knows what it means. Our best guess and self-diagnosis are not an acceptable cure. Even if you feel you do know what is going on, you should double check your answers with someone formally educated. Doctors and medicine are there to help. You can create excuses all day to mask your fear but doctors became doctors to help people. If you feel yours specialist isn’t there to help, go find one who you feel does care about you and your best interests. Hospitals are not scary places, everything they do is to help you get better and get out of there. The hospital is the best place to be when sick, every test they do is necessary and should be welcomed. Always remember there are a lot of people sick and the medical field is full of real people, not perfect robots. Instead of trusting everything they do, keep track of your treatment, ask questions, and call out anything you feel is forgot or wrong. Care takers cannot read your mind, you have to voice your opinion and it is not their fault if you do not tell them the treatment they pick, might not be right for you. How do they, or could they know. The doctors and hospitals need to be a happy place and frequent part of your life, if you have chronic issues, not places you avoid because it reminds you of bad memories or out of fear of what might happen. You are strong; you can deal with it, so go deal with it.

(3) Shadow Boxing.
The person you spend the most time with is unfortunately you. Might as well make that person the most interesting and well-rounded person you can. Challenge and compete with THAT person, not anyone else. Your life is unique; comparing yourself to anyone else is a waste of time for variables of life are infinitely different. When I compete with my bicycle or write an article, I push myself and I push against the last time I jumped on my bike or the last article I wrote, not anyone else’s tricks or writing. Using other people for energy, ideas, or motivation can be very helpful, but make sure you are never competing against them. Just seeing where you stand among someone else’s journey, then using that to beat yourself and your best time, not theirs. Try it; it will change your life.

(4) Health Is Life.
Feeling good is the best thing in the world. If you are healthy you tend to forget that quickly. All of a sudden escaping your reality and hurting your health becomes as fun thing to do. If I had normal health I would probably do the same because you can’t imagine the challenges life can throw your way in the blink of an eye. Getting drunk can be a fun time and make me dance, but why am I afraid to dance and be sociable without a drink? I challenge myself in every way I can.  If I’m scared, unsure or even annoyed by something, I try my best to understand it, instead of turning and running away. I run into the things that offset me and knock down those small bumps of fears and problems before they become walls. I gain a lot of knowledge, wisdom and understanding in the process.  So I’m going dancing, not drinking, and will embarrass myself and have a sober mind to deal with it. Challenging myself makes me stronger and able to perform under a lot of adverse situations. THC for some people can take away your pain, stress, reality and make you creative. I will never pay for my creativity. I would rather force myself to think outside of the box and try new things than to let a chemical do it for me. Pain is part of my life I should probably learn to deal with it instead of running away and hiding behind a release. I know enough about chemicals to figure out I will need more and more of those chemicals to make me feel the same. My body stops producing chemicals naturally after abuse, when I come back to reality those chemicals will be missing and the pain is going to hurt 10x as much. Of course when you feel good you feel GOOD! So realize that and if I was healthy I might indulge in those things, if I didn’t see the uglier side of life. Like shadow boxing, don’t judge people who do enjoy their chosen releases responsibly because you have no idea of the journey they are on and their priorities, so be healthy as possible for yourself and enjoy the days you feel even a little bit better than the last.

(5) Family.
Go hug your family…RIGHT NOW, I don’t even care if this is as far as you read, just go. Family does not need to be blood; it can be your friends, teammates, Hell even your country men or the person beside you in your hospital room. If you don’t feel you have family and want something go become a big brother or sister to some children in need and let your “family” grow within a program. Someone else’s definition of family does not need to be your definition. When the time comes family will be the only thing you have in life that is important. You have to be really, really, close to death to fully understand, but when you think your eyes might not open in the morning. all you care about is that your family is at peace and knows that you love them, not your cars, bikes, house, or closest pet. Do not let your family break apart, be the bigger person take the emotional or moral hit and fix that shit, if you aren’t talking with one or a few of your family and can’t agree or forgive. Man (or Crohn’s) the fuck up, problem solve, and fix it. Family is more important than you can understand and if you do not maintain or fix those relationships right now and put it off, in that last moment you have in the end, may not be long enough, when you finally realize how foolish everyone acts in the naivety of health.

(6) Toughen Up.
There is a huge difference between having the flu for 2 weeks a year and having to live with a long term illness, do not try to mix behaviours of the two. It is perfectly acceptable for a family member to whine, complain, and be a big baby when sick with a cough for a week. It is not alright for you to act the same way for a year. The person with the flu isn’t used of feeling sick. The symptoms they feel can be scary and taxing on them, just like yours. Do not trivialize or belittle them by comparing problems to your own disease, it is not the same. You do not want people to see your disability as just another common cold, so don’t act like a person with a common cold. Your life is not here to be easy, get up and get your own food and fill out your own forms, book your appointments, be polite and thankful and do every possible task you are capable. Don’t let the disease win and let you become a burden on the people who love you. Now that is a generalization, for some people writing, eating and planning are implausible tasks due to real physical or mental restrictions, that does not make you a burden at all. I’m saying do the most you can and challenge yourself. The people around you will love and care for you but show them some respect and respect yourself by not acting like this is the first time you have been sick and cannot deal with the menial tasks and need to be catered to. Being unpleasant, whining or being negative to your care takers while acting like the world owes you something is terrible and is just making two lives harder. The people around you will always care for you, but if someone doesn’t appreciate my help I have a much less fun time helping them again, same goes for most people.

(7) Make Every Day Count.
Think about the worst part of your day, if it wasn’t A) getting sand in your wet jeans then stepping on Lego an falling down the stairs landing in the splits with kneecaps touching your ears, after finding out you are related to your spouse (and didn’t plan it…weirdo) or (b) literally going blind after seeing the movie Gili and having to drive home yourself, without eyes, in a car full of venomous animals and hedgehogs. Your day wasn’t bad and your problems aren’t that big. You make your problems big. Your issues might seem very real and impossible, but in the reality of it, you are breathing and alive, there are 1000’s of people who actually stopped breathing today and I imagine they would take all the; embarrassing moments, gossip, failures, asshole people and messed up food orders in stride. Just to breath once more and experience another day. Cherish what you have and realize that what you have is this entire world!

Most of these points I made you have probably seen on a motivational poster hanging in an institution or heard a personal trainer say. Words like that bounce off you conscious like they were never even there. It takes life experience and challenges to appreciate such cheesy and cliché words, but there is a reason and truth behind them. If you can learn these lessons, I have written about, without having to truly experience them first hand I envy you. I hope that just one person reads this and can miss out on the bad experiences and appreciate some of these lessons without the hardship attached, like in my journey, or if you are sick maybe these things I’m saying might help you figure out something you were already on the way to discovering yourself, I just helped put your finger on it. Anyways these are just a very few things I learnt and there is something new to learn everyday so I’m sure more posts will touch on the lessons of my life.

10 Changes To Consider If You Have “Crohn’s and Colitis Disease” You Must Know

So, you have Crohn’s disease.  What do you do next?  Try these lifestyle changes to get your body functioning at its best.

Quit smoking

One of the most important things to do when you find out you have Crohn’s is to stop smoking.  Not only do people who smoke have higher rates of inflammation in the body, but smoking also increases your risk for cancers and slows your body’s ability to heal from surgery or wounds.

Eat healthy

While diet alone won’t cure Crohn’s, it can help lessen the symptoms.  Many patients find it is helpful to limit dairy, gassy foods, and fiber if you find it bothers you.  Eating a diet rich in inflammation-fighting foods like discussed in Mediterranean Diet for IBD and probiotics may help Crohn’s patients to feel considerably better.

Choose low-fat foods

Sometimes during a flare-up people with Crohn’s will find that they are not able to digest fatty foods.  This is because the added inflammation in the intestines has decreased their ability to absorb the nutrients from food.  Since fat tends to be one of the hardest macronutrients to digest it can also cause painful symptoms in some patients.

Use a food journal

While we have talked about healthy eating and what foods to avoid it is hard to provide clear cut lists of trigger foods because everyone is different.  That is where a good food journal can be very helpful.  Take some time to log what you are eating as well as any symptoms you might have and you can track down foods that might be contributing to the problem in no time.


Proper hydration is important for every aspect of the human body to function properly.  It becomes even more important in Crohn’s because patients can become easily dehydrated.  When you are feeling well aim to drink the equivalent in ounces to half your body weight.  For example, someone who weighs 150 pounds would aim to drink 75 ounces of water per day.

Limit alcohol and caffeine

Excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate you. This is of even more concern when dealing with diarrhea in an active flare up of Crohn’s disease.  Dehydration can range from mild to life threatening so it is important to take it seriously.

Take a multivitamin

As we have discussed, people with Crohn’s have a limited ability to absorb nutrients when their disease is in an active flare-up.  This includes things like vitamins and minerals too.  A basic multivitamin can help boost nutritional levels.  Look for one that provides 100 percent of the RDA or Recommended Daily Allowance.  Taking more is not going to make you feel better.  In some instances too many supplements can be toxic and at best they will go right through you with out even being absorbed–a total waste of money.

Manage stress

Stress is toxic.  This is true for everyone, not just people with Crohn’s.  Exercise, meditation, massage and prayer can all help to alleviate stress.  If everything you are trying on your own does not seem to help it may be time to enlist the aid of a counselor to help you talk through and deal with what is stressing you out.  Read our article on Tips for Coping With Stress and IBD for more great tips.


Exercise is important because it can help to reduce stress and strengthen your body, including your immune system.  Even better: exercise outside.  People who exercise outside report more boost in mood than those who work out indoors and the sun helps synthesize vitamin D, which is very important in immune function and bone density.  For more information read Exercise Has Many Benefits for IBD.

Manage Your Meds

If you are taking medications for your Crohn’s, and especially if you are taking multiple medications, it can be easy to miss a dose every now and then.  Managing your medications correctly can help ensure that they work to their fullest potential.  Try logging your doses into a phone reminder app or place pills into a weekly container.

Most of these changes are fairly simple ones, but when you add them together they can have a big impact on your Crohn’s disease.

How Trump Exposed America’s White Identity Crisis


I am a black man living in South Carolina who’s voted for plenty of Republicans, including George W. Bush in 2000, Mark Sanford twice for governor, Lindsey Graham for the U.S. Senate, and current Gov. Nikki Haley in the GOP primary. I’ve also defended the party in the past from blanket accusations of racism. But Donald Trump is a different kind of candidate, and this is a different kind of election. Long after it is all over, even if Hillary Clinton wins, the rest of us will still be grappling with the racial demons the Republican candidate summoned up with his campaign.

That’s the tragedy and blessing of Trump’s rise to the top of the Republican Party. He brought into the mainstream the kind of race hatred that had flourished only in the shadows before he came along. But his presence also removed the scales from the eyes of sane Americans who had held onto the belief that the election of our first black president had ushered in a post-racial society.

Story Continued Below

Trump’s most enduring legacy, and it is an oddly beneficent one, is that he taught America how bigoted it still is, and that many among us who are not intentionally bigoted are willing to tolerate racism anyway, given the right circumstances and stakes. No matter the final tally, nor the recent poll data showing that Trump is beginning to lose college-educated whites, it is very likely that a majority of white voters in November will still pull the lever for Trump, despite a clear bigotry running through much of what he’s said, done and proposed.


We need to reckon frankly with what this means. Eight years after the jubilation of Barack Obama’s election, the Republican Party nominated a man who rose to political prominence not as an economic populist but as a birther casting doubt on Obama’s Americanness based on race and heritage. It was that, far more than his rants against trade agreements, that turned Trump into a hero among a party base in which nearly three-quarters of Republicans either doubt or don’t believe Obama was born in America. Afterward, he kicked off his presidential campaign by heaping hate on Mexicans and Muslims, immediately shooting to nearly the top of most Republican primary polls. Recent data gathered by Gallup bear out the idea that Trump’s support from working-class whites isn’t only or even primarily about “economic angst” and that well-off whites tend to support him as much as poor ones.

Instead, the political ascent of Donald Trump is largely about Caucasian fears of the browning of America.

The ugly truth is that what Trump is doing—what he stands for, what he is saying—is as American as apple pie, despite the contention of his liberal critics that it is un-American. Nothing Trump has said or done or how he is trying to garner votes is new in an America that was forged in slavery and experienced a century of Jim Crow and lynching. It is silly to pretend any longer that the victory of the nation’s most prominent birther in the GOP primaries was just happenstance and not related to his masterly exploitation of “otherism,” which is simply another way of talking about how people of color are often dismissed as not being fully American because calling them “nigger” is not socially acceptable. Trump simply tapped into and coaxed out of America a racial angst that was already present—and which is now, thanks to him, far less shy about showing its face.

As a result, this election is no longer about all Americans. It is about white Americans. The United States of America is essentially undergoing a white identity crisis. By dramatic numbers, people of color have, in no uncertain terms, expressed their horror about the possibility of what a Trump victory in November would mean. It is White America that has yet to decide which way it plans to pull.

The question going forward is will this country as a whole say with a loud voice that we will finally wrestle with these demons, rather than put them off any longer? The country has to declare that no matter a candidate’s other qualities—or the balance of the Supreme Court or fate of Senate control—he will be shunned if his appeal is fundamentally racist. It’s the only way to guarantee we won’t see a repeat of Trump, the only way to change perceptions so that what Trump is doing truly does become “un-American” in a new, emerging America. Or will a combination of racial fear and apathy force us to refight the battles of the mid-20th century?


As a black resident and native of South Carolina, I live at the epicenter of the national self-delusion about race. South Carolina was the first state to leave the union, the place where the first shots were fired in a Civil War whose causes are still being passionately argued over more than a century and a half after maybe 700,000 Americans lost their lives in what remains the country’s bloodiest conflict.

Think about that. Southerners have been arguing for 151 years over an event that is far better documented than Trump’s rise, the Civil War. And even now there is little agreement. No matter the amount of first-person papers—war letters, detailed, official governmental declarations, speeches by top Confederate leaders—almost no one in the South has moved from his preferred position in a debate that has been short-handed “heritage vs. hate” by media outlets in an oversimplification of arguments made by those for and against the most iconic relic from that era, the Confederate flag. The same fate—a distracting, never-ending, ultimately fruitless debate—awaits the legion of conservative and liberal intellectuals and pundits busy wasting breath and ink in the hopes of crafting the definitive argument about what’s ultimately animating Trump supporters.

Here’s the short answer to the question of just how central racism is to the average Trump voter: It doesn’t matter.

Just as there were good-hearted, well-meaning people who went along with Jim Crow and other such ugly things throughout our history, there are good-hearted, well-meaning people who show up at Trump rallies, put Trump signs on their lawns, wear “Make America Great Again” hats, or support him silently and even uneasily because they are convinced not doing so would lead to something worse. These people all think they can separate their motives from the darker dimensions of the causes they support. They can’t.

There’s no better example of that kind of deal-with-the-devil-making than Tim Scott, the junior U.S. senator from South Carolina. He’s the first black man from the Deep South to make it there since Reconstruction. He was originally appointed by the state’s first woman and nonwhite governor, Nikki Haley, before winning a majority of the vote in a red state where statewide races are often decided by white conservative voters. (He did that while losing the black vote and was later subject to a short-lived boycott by students and faculty at Coastal Carolina University for his refusal to vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.)


Scott is also generous and kind and compassionate. He frequently talks about his upbringing—“from cotton to Congress in one lifetime”—about his love for his mother’s strong hand and his frequent educational struggles that almost led him down an ugly path too many young black men take. Since he’s been in the Senate, he has partnered with a black liberal senator, Cory Booker, to push us closer to real criminal justice reform, and has recently paired up with a white conservative senator, James Lankford, to encourage cross-racial dinners as one step to help defuse the tension caused by the recent clashes between people of color and police departments.

He cried when he watched video of Walter Scott being shot in the back by a North Charleston police officer. He’s proposed the “Walter Scott Notification Act,” along with Sen. Chuck Grassley, to finally do something the federal government has astonishingly never done—officially track all police shootings—as well $100 million for police body cameras.

What’s more, while his party was gearing up to cheer during the Republican National Convention at the mention of yet another Baltimore police officer being found not guilty in the death of Freddie Gray (the Justice Department recently released a report detailing pervasive constitutional abuses by police in Baltimore), Scott was taking to the Senate floor to talk about the racial profiling he has faced as one of the few black faces in the chamber.

“In the course of one year, I’ve been stopped seven times by law enforcement,” Scott said in one of three speeches he gave in response to the unrest caused by police shootings. “Not four, not five, not six, but seven times in one year as an elected official.”

On at least three different occasions, he’s received calls of apology from Capitol Police because of the way he’s been treated while trying to get into the Senate, an indignity not shared by almost anyone else in the mostly white (and male) chamber. “I can certainly remember the very first time that I was pulled over by a police officer as just a youngster. I was driving a car that had an improper headlight,” he shared. “The cop came over to my car, hand on his gun and said, ‘Boy, don’t you know your headlight is not working properly?’ I felt embarrassed, ashamed, and scared, very scared.”

There is no rational case that could be made to convincingly paint Scott as racist, or even out of touch.

And still, Scott is working to put a bigot in the White House. He supports Trump. Scott is a Republican, and he must survive politically in Trump country.

If a black man from the South who is unafraid to talk about the racial problems still plaguing this country can rationalize his way to backing Trump, how much easier do you think that feat is for poor and working-class whites who feel threatened—in ways real and imagined—about their station in life, about a country that is rapidly changing, a dark-skinned man with his feet propped up in the West Wing its most visual manifestation, and by a manufacturing industry that is its most productive ever, with a $2.4 trillion footprint, and is being transformed much more by technological advancement that require skills and education they don’t have than by free trade?

Does it really matter how much of a factor race is in their decision to support Trump, as opposed to economic factors? It’s tempting to say yes. But that’s the mistake many of us in the South made for decades. It mattered little why many of our fellow residents wanted to prioritize the presence of the Confederate flag over our well-being; it only mattered that they did, whether to honor their great-grandpa, a poor, non-slave-owning farmer who fought in the Civil War for the South or because they felt put upon by the black people in their midst demanding damn civil rights and an equality that made them feel as though something was being stolen from them.

And it’s not just support for Trump or the Confederate flag. Everywhere in American society, well-meaning people let good intentions substitute for making real progress on race. It should be lost on no one that #OscarsSoWhite had to be launched to get Hollywood—overwhelmingly white and liberal—to examine itself. It matters little if Hollywood is full of racists or clueless people when it comes to race. It matters more that the kind of bigotry Hollywood stars feel comfortable railing against elsewhere, even as they depict stereotypical white Southern characters and helped push ugly ones about people of color, when people of color are depicted at all, still has a hold on a place full of self-professed progressives.

It matters little if those on the top rungs of media are motivated by the racial fear animating Trump supporters, and matters more that the industry has yet to fully grapple with its own racial disparities.

It matters little if residents of Northeast states or police departments throughout the nation are full of well-meaning people; it matters more that those places and organizations have a legacy of discrimination against people of color that has yet to be fully accounted for or corrected.

Living in the South has taught me that it is all too easy to take your eyes off the prize, to become distracted by the shining object, away from what’s truly important. I don’t care how many times Trump supporters declare they aren’t racist, don’t care if they are or not. I don’t care how many times a J.D. Vance or a Ross Douthat reminds us to not be too hasty in labeling them. In fact, I agree with such attempts; it serves no one well to build caricatures of fellow Americans or to pretend that they don’t have real concerns that need to be remedied, no matter how much we disagree with them.

I just know that no matter who wins this economic angst-vs.-racism debate 151 years from now, one fact would not have changed: They tried to put a bigot in the White House. That’s why the primary focus between now and November should be about making sure that bigotry doesn’t win the country’s biggest political prize. Only afterward will debating and dealing with the motives of Trump supporters and teasing out real hurt and harm from baseless fear make sense.

Because supporting Trump means millions of Americans have declared that there are more important things that opposing a man in 21st-century America who kicked off his campaign talking about Mexican rapists after years trying to undermine the legitimacy of the nation’s first black president. They have said, by their support of Trump, that there are more important things than opposing a man whose bigotry stretches back to the earliest days of his career, when the Justice Department had to sue his company twice for discrimination against black people.

They don’t care, or not that much, that Trump proposed banning an entire religion from the country, spoke favorably of “Operation Wetback” and an apocryphal story about the massacre of Muslims with pig’s-blood-soaked bullets.

They don’t care, or have decided that partisanship or other concerns are more important than opposing a man whose list of ugliness toward people of color is so long he is on the verge of a historic landslide among voters of color, in some polls registering 2 percent or less of the black vote and less than the teens among Hispanics.

Scott may have proposed sensible policies and spoken eloquently about building trust between communities of color and the police. But he doesn’t care—not enough—that that message is both overshadowed and undercut by his support of a bigot.

I know Scott is a good man in many ways, just as I know that’s also true of numerous white Trump supporters. (I live in a county where Trump received 49 percent of the vote in a then-still crowded Republican field during the South Carolina primary.) I know that for them, acknowledging the depth of Trump’s bigotry, or even considering a vote for Hillary Clinton, is akin to asking the new mother to admit that her baby really is ugly. It’s easier to deny what’s staring them in the face because recognizing the truth would instantly mean they’d have to ponder the role they played in that creation and what that creation says about them.


As we speed toward becoming a country that will be majority-minority, time is running short for white America to decide whether racism and bigotry of any kind should be always and everywhere disqualifying in politics. What we are experiencing are the early birthing pains. If we aren’t careful, 50 years from now we’ll be looking back to 2016, wondering where all the time went as we remain stuck over the same debate—but in a country far more riven by race than it is now. How do I know? That’s about how long it took the Confederate flag to be removed from the grounds of the South Carolina State House—and that only after the massacre of nine black people in a church.

We spent half a century over a flag that should have never been allowed to become the center of our attention while more pressing matters—racial disparities in just about every walk of life, robbing us of precious talent and creating gobs of unnecessary headaches—went mostly unresolved, in large part because our gaze was fixed on the superficial.

That’s why the economic angst-vs.-racism argument is dumbing down an already dumb conversation about race—one that is often devoid of the kind of nuance and charity that will be required for us to pick up the pieces once Trump fades from the scene. It makes it nearly impossible for us to grapple with an ugly reality many of us still don’t want to face, that racism and bigotry remain primary drivers of the American populace in ways understood and not, that they are not confined to a few imagined trailer parks in Kentucky and Georgia and are not the sole property of one major political party, even if that party is infected by it more than the other.

Trump’s presence on the national stage, while damaging in so many ways, is providing the mirror this country long ago needed to look into. If we are willing to accept the gift he’s provided—and refuse to look away—we can take another giant step toward perfecting a still great nation.