I thank you all for your overwhelming support from this article! Please see my follow-up post if you have questions. Please also read my more recent post from 2015 about the postpartum flare up I experienced.
If you have followed my blog or my Facebook page for a long time, you have read snippets of my story here and there. Honestly, it was still so raw and painful that I didn't really want to revisit those memories in depth. Now that I am approaching my 2-year remission mark, I have gained the courage to share and am doing so with the hope of helping others. I wanted to sit and write it all out with somewhat of a timeline so people could gain a better understanding of my healing journey, but it wasn't until I started writing my new cookbook that I felt like it was the right time. I finally had a medium to share my full story, all in once place. And what better way to introduce my cookbook than to explain why I eat this way in the first place, and what drives me to continue creating grain-free recipes. I included an excerpt from the book at the bottom of the post, but because I was limited in word count and pages, I kept it somewhat brief. The post below fills in a lot of gaps and digs deeper into my symptoms and journey. It's a long 6 years to try to get everything on paper, so if I missed things and you have questions, you may be able to find them on my FAQ page or through my various interviews.
There are many different reasons people follow the Paleo diet. Not one is better than another in my opinion. If they stick with it, they all find their way to the healthiest version of themselves one way or another, regardless of the initial reasoning.
1. Those looking to lose weight
2. Those with serious illnesses who have no other choice
4. Those wanting optimal health and performance
3. The bandwagoners – the ones that just do it because “everyone else is doing it”
So often, Paleo is mislabeled as a quick-fix weight loss diet. It's true, if someone is overweight and they start eating this way then they will likely lose weight in the process of finding their body's optimal health level. But you can also gain weight as well. The stories that show up in the pages of magazines or are featured on the news have headlines like “I lost 100 pounds with Paleo.” While that is a huge accomplishment and of course garners media attention, it is not about the weight loss, rather that the person is healing their body and allowing it to function properly again at a weight that is just right for that particular body. I had the same health transformation, except for my weight went the opposite way. I was extremely malnourished due to an autoimmune condition and Paleo helped heal my body so it could naturally put on the weight it needed to thrive. That is a story you don't hear often, but deserves every bit as much attention. What matters isn't my weight, but that I am healthy. I am not sick anymore. I never thought I would be able to say that!
I was #2.
I was diagnosed with a very severe form of ulcerative colitis at the age of 22 in late 2007. Ulcerative Colitis is an autoimmune disease similar to Crohn's disease that attacks the colon. Before finding Paleo, I had been on a 3-year path to total destruction as the disease was wreaking havoc on my body. During 2007-2011, I was seriously ill and incapacitated 6 months of the year and bordered death more than once only to be saved by multiple blood transfusions and iron infusions.
Because the disease causes malabsorption and the fact that I would be in the bathroom (using both-ends….) 15-20 times a day, my weight would fluctuate drastically with each flare-up and I would often lose 20-25 pounds within a 4 week period. The vast weight loss would trigger an arthritis type pain, ridiculously high heart rate, hair-loss, and over-all malnutrition. I was regularly on a huge 100mg dose of prednisone steroids which resulted in debilitating side-effects like 100% sleepless nights, unbearable joint pain, and insatiable hunger.
I could often be found balled up on the floor of our little apartment bathroom crying after falling due to knee and ankle pain or even just because of the large chunks of hair that had just fallen out after simply running my fingers through it. We frequented the ER, spent countless hours at the doctors, and weeks at a time being admitted to the hospital. I couldn't be without a restroom nearby for more than 20 minutes and panicked when we would leave the house. And of course, I quickly developed the number 1 side effect of steroids, the moon-face. Which seems trivial compared to the other side effects, but as a 2-month newlywed, was heartbreaking and embarrassing.
But my husband was never anything but supportive. During our first year of marriage, he took care of me better than anyone ever could have. He slept with me on a wood plank bed at a ‘hospital' in Uganda for 10 days and never left my side. He pushed me in a wheel-chair through airports and argued with every security guard and flight attendant to make sure I was comfortable. He managed my doctors and made sure I received the care I needed when I was too weak to speak. He even administered enemas. If you don't know what that is, then you're better for it and I'll leave you to your own research devices!
My doctors refused to speak to me about diet and only wanted to continue prescribing medications. Through my own research and seeking out others who had seen relief through food, I realized I had two choices – continue spending 6 months of the year seriously ill (and the other half recovering) and go on an immunosuppressant drug that would be administered for 5-hour periods once a week, or radically change my diet and pray that it would help me as I had read it had helped others. I had previously tried gluten-free, unprocessed foods, and the SCD, but none had eliminated my symptoms as I had hoped.
So I took the plunge and went ‘Paleo.'
Although at the time I didn't even know what Paleo was, but my diet practically mirrored the basic guidelines of Paleo, so that is what I became. I worked with a naturopath to find trigger foods and eliminated them all for a long period while we worked with supplements to heal the trauma that had been caused to my gut from being sick so long. Specifically, I cut out all nuts/seeds, eggs, dairy, and legumes. After we saw progress, I slowly started adding them back in, with the exception of legumes and most dairy which I have purposefully continued to avoid as I know my system cannot handle them.
If you have followed my blog or my Facebook page for a long time, you have read snippets of my story here and there. Honestly, it was still so raw and painful that I didn't really want to revisit those memories in depth. Now that I am approaching my 2-year remission mark, I have gained the courage to share and am doing so with the hope of helping others.
I am often asked to clarify when I was following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet vs the Paleo diet and how all of that came to be. Instead of re-writing the pages of my book here, I thought I would give my readers an excerpt from the beginning of my book. I didn't feel comfortable including some of the photos above in the book without proper explanations or the chance for people to ask questions, but they are such a good illustration of my healing process so I wanted to share them with you. Instead, I chose to show who I am now : a representation of health. You can click on the photos below to make them large enough to read.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I got tears in my eyes because I’ve experienced many of the same things at a young age. Your blog is a huge inspiration and you’re my hero. Thank you for everything you do.
I applaud your courage. I spent two years violently ill before I was diagnosed with celiac. It is traumatic to even think about it. My oldest son had it too, and before he was diagnosed, people thought it was all in my head. He was so ill he would literally projectile vomit as well as “the other end” as a toddler, more nights than not. It was so bad we thew out dozens of sets of sheets. Even after I had him go gluten free, we constantly had to hear that it was in our head. Finally a wonderful, compassionate GI doc diagnosed him with celiac. I thought he was going to die. Everyone told me he was autistic (even after his pediatrician said he wasn’t). Dealing with his problems and mine at the same time was so traumatic that even typing it makes me physically ill. Thank you, thank you for having the courage to share your story. My some “came back” to me (again, he is not autistic and I am in no way saying he was “cured of autism”- I want to say that out of sensitivity to parents with autistic children). He is now an active, healthy, thriving five year old who talks my ear off; a far cry from the spaced out little boy who would curl up in a ball or just lay on the floor staring at the wall because he felt so ill. He also loves it when I cook your recipes:) Thank you again.
Thank you so much for sharing this, Danielle. I am in tears because I can relate. Last year I was extremely ill with UC, had dropped 30lbs and could not even sleep at night because of my symptoms. My body was nearly shutting down and I too have a little boy to care for. My Dr.’s told me that it was unavoidable that I would have to start taking the strong meds. I did not want to do this….I’m ok with taking the maintenance meds as they don’t seem to hurt me but I did not want to take those biomodulators and risk hurting my immune system entirely.
I sought the help of a very good Nutrition Counselor and she has gotten me to where I am today. I am at a perfectly healthy weight and although I am on prednisone (have been since last August and am almost finished!) I never gained one pound or moon face from it. I am seeking now to try and switch to a more Paleo diet and I cannot wait for your book. My life is renewed because of the change in diet….I am riding horses every day like I want to and able to hang out with friends and just love life and all this healthiness! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this…….
Thank you! Thank you for giving me hope and the motivation to keep pushing through and searching for answers!
Wow… what rough times you had ! I came to ScD and paleo after being diagnosed with UC. Although I went through some difficult and humiliating experiences, I haven’t had it as bad as you did. But I can get a sense of how you must have felt. Your husband is a wonderful man, andyou are amazing ! Thank you for ssharing your story with us and give hope to people who suffer from autoimmune conditions.
What a joy that there are tools out there we can use to take control of our health (as much as possible). So many times people struggle with different ailments like fibromyalgia or migraines, and when I mention a diet change they simply respond, “oh I don’t think I have any problems with that. I don’t think it would help.” Praying some of them see this post and realize what a huge effect food has on our systems. Joyful along with you that this has changed your life!
I am really encouraged by this post. It almost brought tears to my eyes seeing the old picture of you versus the new picture. Thank you for sharing your story and making yourself vulnerable. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed.
I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 21, and going paleo has helped me regain complete feeling in my legs. I’m feeling the steroid “moon face” as well from a solumedrol treatment, and seeing how pretty you are makes me feel like I have hope! When I found your blog last year after going paleo I was so happy to have found recipes that remind me of my “old food” but don’t make me feel horrible.
Thanks for what you do!
I love your story. You look beautiful and happy. I also love your honesty. It is hard to eat different when others are eating the things you LOVE!! I have tried so many ways of eating and they have helped a bit here and there. I did vegan but my hair fell out and I still have lots of pain. I think reading your book will help me as I continue on my journey to find out what foods really nourish me. Thanks for being so transparent!!
i may have cried a little bit. you’re amazing!!!
Your story has inspired me to do the Specific Carbohydrate diet again. I dd it 12 years ago as a newlywed, my nutritionist told me if I wanted a healthy body to conceive a child then I needed to get my gluten sensitivities under control. I have not been officially diagnosed with Celiac but I feel extreme abdominal pain when I eat wheat and get that bloated pregnancy belly! I was told by the doctors that I probably have irritable bowel. I went on the SCD for 9 months and felt amazing and then went back to eating wheat after with no side effects at all. Then I got pregnant and found out just like you after I gave birth that I had set myself back with my poor eating habits. I tried to go gluten free again, but it was hard, I was busy raising my son virtually alone as my husband had a demanding job and worked long hours and then a couple years later I got pregnant with my second son and now 8 years later I find myself 25 pounds overweight and my body reacting to all kinds of foods that I am eating, wheat, dairy, bananas, mustard, beans, etc. I have been following a paleo diet for a year now but i still do not feel well and so I know it’ time to go back to the SCD! I am re-reading Breaking the Vicious Cycle and collecting SCD recipes and cleaning out my kitchen to make it SCD friendly. I plan on embarking on this diet for a year starting August 1st. Wish me luck! I will continue to follow your blog, you are an inspiration! Thank you for all that you do and for all the wonderful delicious recipes you have shared with all of us!
Wow, what a story! You are truly amazing and I am so glad you found a way to heal yourself. And to educate others, what a great thing to do.
Very inspiring. I do not have Crohn’s disease but have discovered in the last few years that certain foods cause mild reactions. I’ve slowly been eliminating grains from my diet, starting with wheat, and have had nothing but benefits from it. It’s inspiring to see someone go through their struggles and come out stronger for it.
Thank you so much for sharing your story and your talents! Can’t wait for my preordered cookbook to get here! Your recipes and story have been a blessing for me as I fight for remission of my UC. THANK YOU! I wish you continued success and great health!
Thank you for sharing your story and recipes! I can’t tell you what a huge help it has been for us. My husband has a difficult UC case and reading your story is very inspirational.
So glad to hear about your 2 yr remission!
Your story is soo inspiring!! I also have UC and have been struggling with finding a way to help it other than taking 10 pills a day! I can’t wait to buy your book and try Paleo! Can and do you still drink coffee? Can your stomach take it. You answered so many questions for me through your post cause for the past year my hair has been thinning and I chalked it up to the medication but now that I’m not on it and having my flare ups, I know its my UC causing it. What kind of supplements do you recommend? Thanks sooo much Danielle!! I can’t even begun to thank you for your courage to share your story!!
WOW! Can’t wait for my copy of your new book ( I ordered one for myself and one for a friend back in April). What an amazing story, thank you so much for sharing. This is one of my favorite sites 🙂 It’s always awesome to see someone use their struggles to heal themselves and help others! YOU ROCK!
Your work has helped my friends and for that I am grateful. I plan to catch your book tour in Austin 8/10!
Thank you for giving us the details of your illness. You went through a lot of pain. I have Hashimotos, an autoimmune disease of the thyroid and have struggled for a long time. I have been following Dr. Davis’ Wheat Belly diet which is very similar to the Paleo way of eating. What a beautiful couple you make. No wonder your son is so handsome.:) Looking forward to getting my cookbook and making some more of your delicious recipes. I’m pretty sure that you will continue to be healed if you stick with this way of eating. God bless you and your family.
As a nurse for 9 yrs, I have seen first hand how terrible our medical system is for “curing” chronic diseases! Good for you for discovering your own path to healing, you look amazing now & so happy and healthy. Hope that many others suffering from these same issues will find your site. Good luck on your book tour, will you be coming to Canada as well?
Thank you for sharing!! I have severe RA and started looking into food as the cause about 2 years ago. It has been a roller coaster for sure. Your recipes have been such a blessing to me. Reading your story and seeing a similar situation with my Rheumatologist, food is not the answer he tells me that is hocus pocus thinking and almost fired me as a patient!! I’m off Humira and am hoping to be off methotrexate and prednisone very soon. Thank you for taking us along on your journey and helping people like me that are on it now. I have so much hope to beat this thing and be drug free!!
Thank you so much for sharing your story. Almost 7 years ago I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis and although it is the acid in foods that irritate my bladder, I still struggle with the same day to day food battles. I also started my blog to begin sharing my IC friendly recipes with other ICers (and also people who have IBS or really need to be on low acid diets) to give them hope. I love LOVE love that you have the same mission with your blog and now cookbook. And by doing what you are doing, even though I cannot have many of your recipes, you have encouraged me so much. I really identified with the part about being in so much pain and crying on the floor in your bed room because before I was diagnosed that is exactly where I spent most nights because I was in pain. I also appreciated sharing about your pregnancy. Some people with IC do go into remission while they are pregnant and eat whatever they want (I unfortunately did not), but do not realize they may have to pay for that later. I know someone who did exactly what you did (indulging on foods that were off limits) and during their third trimester they had the worst IC flare. Thank you for sharing. I know it was extremely emotional for you, but know that you encourage people every day.
Your Paleo Blog became a favorite of mine very quickly! The more I learn about you, Danielle, the more I see WHY!!! Having a degree in Nutrition has lead me to Paleo as well. As long as I follow the Paleo “template” closely, I do not have ANY arthritis symptoms, & NEVER any heartburn. Reading your story, demonstrating that nutrition literally saved your life confirms (once again) that nutrition is a vital component to our health. Why OH Why does anybody have to go through what you went through??? SO much suffering. It breaks my heart to read your story. But…..because of your strength and resolve, you championed your own recovery.
*** I applaud you!!! And LOVE that you are spreading the word. Proper NUTRITION is one of THE most important components to our health. Keep up the awesome-ness!! Love seeing the pictures of your family, filled with vibrant health!!!
You are beautiful. Thanks for sharing your story! So happy to hear you have found healing.
Danielle, thank you for sharing your story. Reading your journey over the last few years is an huge encouragement to me as I have battled my my own disease. With never having symptoms before, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s two months after being married. I am still very thankful that my husband was there to serve, love and pray over me in those difficult months and the past two years. He was (and still is) definitely the Lord’s provision for me. We both started doing the paleo diet three weeks ago. It has been a good yet challenging journey so far but it is more encouraging to hear stories like yours to push us through & to know that we do not have to deprive ourselves from good food! Thank you for sharing!
Danielle! I had no idea you had such an amazing story. I love hearing beautiful transformation stories because it gives me hope for my own. I went Paleo for my own health reasons. I had horrendous gastrointestinal issues since the age of 12 and terrible rosacea since age 15 on. I had no idea my diet was linked to all of it. Not once did a doctor or dermatologist suggest that could be the case. I can’t wait for your new book to come out, will Miami be one of the tour cities?! <3
BRAVO to you for sticking with these very difficult changes and not only regaining your health but also serving as a spokeswoman and cheerleader for all the rest of us trying to find our way along this difficult journey. I cannot thank you enough for all your wonderful advice and recipes. I fear I would be in very bad shape if I had not found such an inspiring and authentic resource and support network. Keep up the wonderful work, and bright and beautiful blessings to you!
Holy **** Danielle! I had no idea the extent of what you went through! Bless your heart! xoxo
I was diagnosed with UC at age 7. After many years of drugs and remissions and more drugs the doctor said my colon had to come out. Period. I was going to die. I had no idea about diet, although I asked. It’s been al long 12 years since a successful surgery and I have lived a pretty healthy life. But now I am facing the recurrence of rectal lesions (sorry) and need/want to take this diet seriously. Finding a nutritionist who knows about ileal pouches and immune diseases is hard.
Thank you for sharing your story. I wonder why you never considered surgery. It was certainly an option.
I will keep reading and trying and hoping. Thank you agin.
I have shared the name of your new book with so many people that suffer from diet triggered health issues. You have alot of angels helping you help others, and I know this brings you more joy than any fame and fortune could ever bring. You’re my hero!
I wish we would have found out about this years ago! My husband had UC and didn’t know what to do about it. The doctors weren’t much help. About 8 years ago (3 days after we had our first baby) he was hospitalized for 9 weeks and ending up having to have his colon removed. I hope your book helps many people before it’s too late! I’m ordering a copy for myself 🙂
I love this so much! I have been having immense success battling an extremely resistant case of vasculitis (bursting blood vessels) and uticarial hives. I was so, so frustrated and scared and finally took my health into my own hands, changed my diet and started juicing. After months of horrible amounts of prescription meds I am happy to say that I am completely drug free, slowly losing the steroid moon face (I could have won a Winston Churchill lookalike contest) and am passionate about sharing my story in the hopes that just ONE person can avoid what I went through! Congrats to you and I can’t wait to read your cookbook!
I still get the uticarial hives (only when I am in hot water or hot when my skin can’t breathe)…did juicing help you with this? I am finding there might be a relation to stress and my gut.
I am so grateful for this website!
Thank you for sharing. I too, have ulcerative colitis. Although it’s not as severe as what you have described I have dealt with several flairs over the last 8 years. I am trying to wrap my head around going grain free. Although it has been difficult to start I hope I can have the determination you have shared so that I can feel healthy again!
I really needed to read this today. I too suffer from uc and it is a terrible disease. I asked myself everyday “why me”?? I found out in 2003, took a round of steroids and was in remission for 5 years. Then in 2011 I started to see it coming back and this time I have not been so lucky. I have tried everything and was pretty much on prednisone for over 2 years and have really suffered the effects. Weight gain, hair loss, joint pain, I wake up and feel 80 when I am only 35. I am now trying remicade and had great results at first but my symptoms are again returning. I give up. I don’t want surgery but I feel I am running out of options. You are very lucky to have a supporting husband and were able to have a baby. I feel like I am missing the best part of my life because I am too afraid to share what I have to go through on a daily basis. I want marriage and kids but fear if I can’t get a handle on this disease soon it will never happen. I am a pretty positive person it is just some days you have just had enough. I look forward to your book as I am looking for any inspiration right now. If you ever have the time to talk I would love to hear more about your story. I do not know anyone with this disease and sometimes feel talking to people who don’t have it can’t understand. God bless!! I pray you stay well.
I can only imagine how hard this was for you to revisit. Thank God you are in remission and are able to use your story as a means to educate all the people that are going through the same turmoil you endured. Eating real food and becoming Paleo, I believed saved my life. I am thriving and loving life!
Thank you for telling your story.
I applaud you and your success!
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Thank you so much for the work that you do! What a beautiful example of how God brings beautiful things from suffering. I’m thankful for this blog and for your story. My husband and I have a very similar story in our first two years of marriage.
Thank you for sharing your story, Danielle. I, too, was a very sick person. I have diabetes and it was uncontrolled. I developed a stomach condition, gastroparesis, and found myself having 11 day bouts of vomiting which landed me in the hospital usually for 5 days on IV due to dehydration. I would lose 20 pounds with each episode. I was hospitalized 5 times in 9 months in 2011 and early 2012. Being a very sick person scared me to death. I thought my life was over.
I now eat no grain or legumes, no sugar and low cabohydrate. I follow a Paleo(ish) diet. I do eat dairy. I now have the blood sugar of a non-diabetic though I do take medication. All the medication in the world will not provide a diabetic with normalized blood sugar. In my opinion, food choices are the number one key to managing this disease. My weight is down but more than weight is that I look healthy. People say I look so young (I’m 51) and that my skin looks so good. I feel good, too. I’ve never had more energy in my life.
I follow you on FB and I follow your blog. Thank you for the many great meals that you’ve helped me prepare. I take pictures of my food and post them on FB, always linking to your blog. 4 of my FB friends (who aren’t even Paleo) now follow you from seeing my “likes” of your recipes and links to them in my posts.
Keep doing what you are doing. 🙂
You are wonderful and I’m so glad you found Paleo to be the answer!
Your story will inspire others to help themselves. I work in healthcare and see children every day that can benefit from better nutritional intake. Personally I follow a vegan diet as I’ve found that my arthritis symptoms and GI symptoms are non-existent when I follow this type of food intake. Every person is different and we all need to heal our own bodies with the type of nutrition our body needs. For some it’s Paleo, some it’s vegetarian, for some it’s a low Fodmap diet, and for some like me it’s vegan. It just depends on how each body type responds to the different foods. Good for you! and keep up with being such a positive influence for others!
I have been following your site for quite some time now. I have always had some sort of joint pain, and hair that thins on and off (always thought it was from my hormones, but now I am wondering if it is some sort of malabsorption problem). All my medical tests have come back fine, but I am still dealing with pain (mostly on the right side of my abdomen) and varying bowel problems from time to time. I am just coming off of wheat after having to go back on it for celiac testing (normal) and I was feeling better while I was off it for a few weeks. I never would have believed that diet had SOOOOO much to do with health problems until my cousin’s wife discovered her gluten/fructose intolerance. You really are what you eat. I have been seriously thinking about doing the SCD diet (while eliminating most dairy as it does seem to be a problem). Thanks for sharing your story. Maybe it will help others realize that what they are eating is harming their body.
Your story is wonderful. I wish it had worked like that for me. I did paleo/ GAPs for 18mo and all it did was increase my fatigue and lower my mood. The other symptoms didn’t improve at all. Turnwed out I have a genetic abnormality in how I make collagen and that is what causes my problems, so I guess that explains it. I have still not been able to get my energy level back to what it was before paleo. I don’t regret trying it, it was a sensible choice at the time, but it is very frustrating that all that hard work actually just worsened my condition!
Naturopaths are awesome, aren’t they? 🙂
I’m so very pleased that you have finally found a diet plan that works for you Danielle and that you are now in remission. You have done so much to help the IBD community over the past year or so!!
Congratulations on your new book! I will look forward to the next!
Thank you for sharing such an intimate story. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis 7 years ago and was so miserable; sitting on the sofa day after day, in pain and having extreme fatigue. My Dr. wanted to switch from oral methotrexate to injections and I said NO. I researched and read a lot about inflammatory foods- decided to cut them out of my diet. What did I have to lose after all? After three weeks the change was unbelievable! It has been over 1 1/2 years now, and although I am not in remission, my symptoms have improved 75-80% which is HUGE. I now have a fairly ‘normal’ life and have been off of pain and sleep meds for over a year and am on the lowest dosage of methotrexate. I LOVE your recipes and am so thankful to have found your site as well as others. Waiting excitedly for my pre-ordered book to arrive!
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I told my most of my story on my blog thirtyeightfive.com last week so it must be the week for it!
Two questions for you:
1. Are you on meds now?
2. Did you feel better during your pregnancy?
Cage Free Family
I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story.
By the time I was 25 pain and illness positively ruled my life. I was having seizures, losing my ability to think and understand, and terrified at the prospect that a person could NOT die of pain. Like you my doctors would not talk about diet, so I found my own way. Through a combination of supplements, GAPS then Paleo, and acupuncture I found complete recovery. Sadly I failed to stick with it once I was well, and am now going the road to recovery again. Somehow it has been harder the second time. Somehow, despite my personal experience with recovery, I have had such a painful time of denial, fear, and inability to believe in my chances. This post is timely for me as I have been out searching for others who had the same experience of recovery as I had before. You wouldn’t think it would be necessary, but for some reason this time I have felt that I need support, so thank you again.
The recipes I have tried of yours are AMAZING! I ordered your book and I cannot wait to get it!!! I have celiac disease and have tried several different gluten free recipes. Yours are by far the best. THANK YOU!!! I wish you were coming to a city near me (possibly St. Louis or Kansas City). Hint hint. Haha. 🙂 Best of luck to you!
I have been a fan of your blog since October 2012. I had never heard of the Paleo diet nor many of the others. I was ill much of the time suffering from severe arthritis, migraine headaches that induced vomiting, constant belly aches and the biggest problem (for me) of all was consistent weight gain despite a 1200 calorie diet with cardio and weights alternating daily. My doctor was fantastic, but neither of us could figure it out. The food I was eating was poisoning my body. I cut out all grains…which lead my google search to your blog. What a life saver. At Christmas my body betrayed me again. I became extremely ill and was hospitalized after eating beans. My gallbladder was removed after three hospital stays and a lot of blood (I think that’s what convinced them to take it out). Your story helped me through missing my children on Christmas Day (hospitalized Christmas Eve) and gave me the courage to go Paleo completely. I’m much healthier, my autistic son is healthier, my husband is healthier, and my girls I think have benefited too. Thank you for your strength and courage to share your story through your blog, and continuing your journey with all of us along with you.
You’re generous, strong and authentic. It is inspiring! And as a bonus, your food is wonderful as well. Thanks for sharing – it helps me too. Your recipes make my life tastier and therefore better 🙂
Danielle this is so inspiring! I just found you recently and the first I saw you was your video when you got your book and were showing it to your son. You looked so radiant and healthy, I was shocked later to read that you had been so sick. Thank you for posting this. I struggle with similar (albeit not as severe) issues, as do some of my friends, and it is so incredibly encouraging to know that there is abundant life on the other side of it. You are one amazing woman!
Thank you for sharing your story, it realy moved me.I am so thankful that I found your blog 6 moth ago, wile my 14 year old daughter was at sick kids hospital in Toronto.
After 6 months and lots off medication my daughter is stable, got here hair back and is getting stronger with the SCD diet.
All Your recipies and ideas, have made it easier for me to continue making good food. As a Swiss living in Canada,I thank you for all the time and I can’t wait for your book to come out.
All the best to you.
Hi!!! I am so happy I read this wow what a powerful story of restoration! I love you both and am so glad your story has become encouraging and empowering for many others. My mother was recently diagnosed with a ‘terminal’ illness but we are so thankful because God has showed himself the most everlasting love of all that heals through mahy ways including his god given natural foods designed just for us. Thank you and God bless your family xo.
Awesome! I too have used the paleo diet to heal from chrons. Right on sista!
I don’t recall the when and how I stumbled across your site, but I am so glad that I did. I have been following you for maybe 6 months or so and love your humor, generosity and ability to relate with the masses. I haven’t “gone pale” but really understand its merit and know this is a path I need to explore. Although I am the opposite and look to paleo for a satisfying way of eating while enjoying life and losing weight, I am soooo inspired by your story. Those underweight suffer as much as those of us who struggle with extra weight. I am so glad for you and your family that this has been a life saving solution. Keep sharing!
Thank you so much for your story, your honesty and what you are doing! I really needed to read this today. I have been battling Crohn’s disease for 20 years. Four years ago I had 4 feet of my bowel resected, had an ostomy for three months and a reversal and was disease free. Now my Crohn’s is back and am back on some crazy drug that I administer once a month. I have been reading your blog for a while and gathering information to start the SCD diet. You have inspired me to begin on this journey. I am scared and wish that I did not like food so much, but your blog has given me so much hope! I know that I will better from it as well as my family. Thank you!!
Paleo diet has dramatically improved my sleep and the state of my skin.
Sent here via CarrotsNCake and I’m glad I read (and read the screenshots). Your story is incredibly tough but brave. Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your success. ~Peach
I was moved to tears reading your story and I am so happy you have recovered! Truly you are a inspiration to the many of us effected by ill health in countless ways. You also happen to be super talented in cooking, writing, and photography:) Thank you for doing the hard things to get better and showing us it can be done. I have to stay away from high oxalate foods as well, but one day when I am healed more I hope to be able to make many of your delicious recipes using nut flours! Much peace and blessing to you!
Our stories are very much the same. It’s always good to commiserate with those who have “been there” in the hell that is a life threatening flare(s) of UC, and also to celebrate with those who have found healing. Paleo/SCD and a whole lot of prayers have given me my life back – 2 1/2 years flare-free and counting!
This really encouraged me 🙂 Im a 17 year old boy who has dealt with Ulcerative Colitis for almost 3 years. I’ve tried almost everything. This is worth the try! Thanks
Hi, Danielle! I found your site by happy accident researching something, and I just wanted to drop in. I have recently started reading about paleo and traditional diets, and I was just wondering if you must avoid all grains, including those that have been sprouted, soaked or fermented? I just started soaking and sprouting grains, and I have noticed a big difference in my ability to digest them. I’m just curious; a family member of ours has the same condition as you, and I wanted to make that suggestion if you think it would be helpful. Thanks!
Against All Grain
Yes it is best to avoid all!
Good to know! Thanks for letting me know! 😀
would this be helpful to those with ME?
Wow. What an amazing story. And extremely inspirational. This is one of the most powerful “Why I went paleo” stories I’ve ever read. And yet another story that makes me very frustrated with traditional western medicine.
Michele u felton
It was amazing to find your site. I have been following a program call know the cause, that uses the same diet it is call phase 1 or phase 2. The host believes fungus is the cause of most diseases. Fungus feeds off of grains and sugar. The show is excellent, and also helping viewers get well by what they eat, as yourself. Just wanted to share with bloggers
Dr. John Foley
Thank you for sharing your story and the challenges you faced. You’re a true inspiration to so many men, women and children that are sick and suffering with chronic illness today. The world needs your voice now more than ever. The body is obviously designed to heal itself with just the right amount of support and guidance. Your book will go a very long way to help transform people’s lives.
My patients are encouraged to follow a gluten-free, Paleo, SCD, GAPS program depending on their individual needs. Congratulations on your recent launch and tour! We love your book and started recommending it to everyone. Hope to meet if your journey takes you to New York in the fall. Blessings!
Against All Grain
Thank you! I will be in NY in the Fall!
Gee…now my cynicism about doctors has a soft spot….thanks for showing up here…….
Thank you for sharing your story. My sister in law has been suffering from UC for over 6 years and she is given medication after medication. I feel sad seeing how skinny she has gotten but when I suggested possibly going SCD or paleo, her response was “I love my food too much to give up dairy, wheat, etc”.
My 4 year old son has been on a modified GAP diet since he was 3 years old. He was a fussy baby, had GI issue (incl diarrhea and vomiting). The doctor said it was a normal ‘toddler’ diarrhea and put him on reflux med for 2 years. His behavior was really bizarre, somewhere along the line of autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD. I knew that food and his health affected his behavior. He had seen GI specialist, had endoscopy done, etc but NOT ONCE they ever mentioned about food sensitivity.
I took the matter into my own hands and sought a good naturopath. I put him on a GF, DF, EF, SF diet and low sugar (modified GAP/SCD/Paleo). I felt soooo bad because he couldn’t eat what the other kids were eating. At a party in preschool, he often didn’t get to enjoy any treats because the teacher forgot to tell me about the party. I am crying as I am writing this because he’s only a kid and he doesn’t understand why mommy put him on such harsh diet. His behavior improved a lot and his teacher had named him as the most improved kid in school. The improvement had been kept going on gluten free, corn free, dairy free, egg free, soy free diet. We are still trying to heal his gut, candida, and metal toxicity.
I also recently found out that I have leaky gut, food sensitivity, and stomach pain. My daughter,6, who always had been fine also is now showing many signs of gluten sensitivity. it does make me wonder if it’s genetics.
I just bought 2 copies of your book, I will give one to my sister in law. I need help in Paleo cooking.
I think it’s Monsanto. Our children are born with Roundup chemical (glyco- something) in their blood. And our food is full of it.
I came over to your blog from the Paleo Mom, and wow – am I ever glad I did! 🙂 I was diagnosed with UC at the age of 16… suffered through everything you went through (I didn’t have blood transfusions), but the high steroids, moon face, weight loss, immunosuppressant drugs. Finally at the age of 24, in 2001 I’d had enough. Like you, every dr. I saw told me food had nothing to do with my disease. So… tired of the drugs, and being in the bathroom half the day, I had a complete colectomy and now have a permanent ileostomy as the pathology report showed indeterminate Crohn’s. Fast-forward several more years and my husband and I went through 5 years of infertility during which I started looking into diet and found out I have a gluten intolerance. I’ve played around with dairy on my own and realize I feel better staying away from it. It honestly boggles my mind that you went through the same thing being diagnosed in 2007 and the doctors were/are still saying food plays no part in UC or CD. THANK YOU for what you are doing – I hope and pray that at some point medical doctors will also being to realize the healing power of good food!!
ok, I have to say, I literally cried reading your story. I started paleo style 1 year ago just because I wanted to loos weight (I gained 20kg after pregnacy), now that I have learned more and more about this paleo world I just feel really sad because Why I didn’t know about this 10 years ago????? Your story touched my heart because my father died in 2006 because Cronh’s disease. the descriptions of your felings make me flight to thats moments with my dad, I kind of mad with myself because if I would learn this before maybe my father still alive…. I’m so glad you could find a solution and share with averybody, I’m reading all your web and of course I’m gonna buy your book. Congratulations, you are such an inspiration. (sorry for my english, I’n a venezuelan girl living now in Mexico)
Thank you so much for being willing to share your story. I found your blog when researching SCD and stayed because of the great recipes, your healing journey, and belief we are all different with our dietary needs. I’ve had my digestive problems my whole life with flare ups here and there. They’ve gotten worse into adulthood, had chronic hives for six months and most recently this past year with new and worsening digestive upset symptoms which I couldn’t get under control. I’ve gradually phased out grains over the past nine months and have been mostly paleo for 3 months. I still eat lactose free dairy. It has relieved the majority of my newer symptoms but I’m still trying to fine tune my diet to deal with ongoing digestive problems.
I love your book and have made a number of recipes. I unfortunately cannot handle nuts in large quantities or frequency and so the almond flour based goodies are a no go for me….although they are good! I have tried adapting a couple of them with a higher ratio of coconut flour to almond flour with some success. Can I ask how long it was before you were able to tolerate nuts? I’m hoping that this will change over time by sticking with the diet.
While I have followed your blog and purchased your book, I never truly read your backgound until this post. It overwhelmed me to discover how very sick you were and determined to heal yourself. Your story is a testament to the WOE that is gaining wide acceptance. How we ever became a nation of processed foods reveals such a lack of education among medical professionals who we rely upon to guide our health and diet. Thank God, we decided to use our own smarts and make the right choices.
Thank you so very much for sharing your story and your wonderful recipes for health for everyone you touch.
Wow! That is such a heartbreaking yet inspiring story. I have ‘liked’ you on Facebook for such a long time and I have always kept up with your updates but to be honest I haven’t got any of your cook books nor have I had the resolve to really try the Paleo diet. I have a mysterious ‘allergy’ which neither my GP or my Immunologist can pinpoint what is causing it and the only way to stop a flare up, where my eyes swell up so much I can’t open them and my top lip swells and develops horrible blisters, is to take 50mg of Prednisone every day. This stuff is both a miracle and the devil, haha. It makes me gain weight, it messes something shocking with my glucose metabolism giving me bouts of hyperglycemia mixed with bouts of hypoglycemia and it makes me incredibly moody! I have been through so many horrible ilimination diets – no chocolate, low salycilates, no bananas, no this, no that, but nothing seems to have helped and my GP and Immunologist swear it isn’t food causing it anyway but in the absence of any other help I am now going to try very hard to stick to a Paleo diet and hope that it helps!!
I also get the typical pregnant belly when I eat gluten but my doctors did a blood test for celiac and said I don’t have it so who knows what that is!
I am going to buy your book now – thanks so much for being such an inspiration to me and so many others and I wish you all the best on your journey!
Try looking into immune modulators like glutathione and low dose naltrexone. My son had many allergies including anaphylaxis to cats and dogs, and after doing these things they have gone away. Often there is a pathogen driving the allergic response, viruses or bacteria or mold illness you are sick with. my son has lyme, mycoplasma, used to have strep, and HHV6 and EBV viruses. No wonder he was so allergic. We have been treating the illnesses and doing those two immune modulators and since then most of the allergies are gone. He is able to be around my mom’s dog when we visit her with no reaction at all now.
The only way to diagnose celiac is with a biopsy of the lining of your gut to look for damage. Don’t count on blood tests.
Thank you…thank you…thank you! I am the proud mom of a Marine son. He acquired the autoimmune disease Vasculitus HSP due to the vaccines given to him at boot camp. He is in constant pain due to the complications of the vaccine/disease and medications. He is also severely under weight. It took 6 years for the military to admit to his disability and compensate him accordingly. (And he is one of the lucky few to have been compensated for vaccine injuries. Lord knows how many of our service members are serving with illnesses due to vaccines.) I am sending your encouraging story onto him. He had to move south as the weather in the north exasperated his pain. My husband and I will be joining him within 2 years. I am trying to help him at this point long distant. Thank you for being vulnerable with your story. I am sending this onto him to encourage him that there is help, healing and hope.
I suspect a lot of service members get sick due to vaccines and exposure to other chemicals. My dad had Wegeners Granulomatosis (a rare form of vasculitis) that he no doubt got while in the Army as he started showing signs of illness immediately after discharge. He was not diagnosed until in his 40’s when he was close to death. He was sick, in pain, and tired most of his life. He was not able to do much but always gardened and canned his own veggies. I wish he were still alive so I could have him try paleo. I hope your son is able to heal and have a long happy life!
Against All Grain
Thank you, but what do you mean? My son’s doing great 🙂
Against All Grain
I think you might have misunderstood. He’s alright, just got locked in the car 🙂
I think Angela was replying to Donna re: son.
Just a month ago I decided to try to take my health into my own hands by trying a GF diet. After reading your incredible story, I’m now wondering if I need to do paleo instead. I have autoimmune issues coming one after another: first UC, then gastritis, then terrible hives, then arthritis, and the latest I found out this week is that I have autoimmune hepatitis. All off these symptoms are becoming very depressing as my body continues to attack itself, and I decided to see a Naturopath next week. Of course my GI Dr will disagree greatly with the Naturopath. How did you deal with the conflicting opinions, and how did you decide to wean yourself off all your meds? Was that hard to do with your dr advising against that? That really scares me, but I know they’re not good for me! I’m on high doses of Lialda, Dexilant, they wanted to start me on RA IV meds (which I refuse to do), and who knows what they’re going to want to put me on to “treat” the hepatitis!
I have Crohn’s and my doctor wanted to put me on Humira and I didn’t want to because of side-effects and that’s when I knew I had to take matters into my own hands. Since last year, I haven’t seen my GI doc because she basically told me if I don’t take the medication then she can’t treat me. So now I see a nutritionist and I’m feeling so much better. The other day I had a cry because I was so blessed that I could rake my own leaves and have my daughter play in them, unlike last year when my MIL had to rake for me and I just watch.
Six weeks on Dexilant stopped the worst of my gastrointestinal reflux “disease.” But I’m going to keep searching for the food that caused it. This looks like a lifelong problem. I wonder if Monsanto has anything to do with it?
It’s an incredible story and I’m glad you’re feeling well. I find it very upsetting that American physicians still to this day would rather prescribe Rx over alternative medicine and lifestyle changes. It’s a shame what this country has become and I don’t understand why the pressures from Rx companies outweigh the basics of food and lifestyle adjustments. You don’t need a 4 year degree to know that we are what we eat.
Thank you for sharing your story. I was on the verge of tears when I read the part about crying on the bathroom floor because of all the hair you were losing by just running your fingers through it. I’m there now and it’s beyond devastating as a woman in my 20s. I would love to hear more about your experience with hair loss, how you reversed it and how quickly you noticed a difference. It really helps to know that I’m not the only one who has been through this and that someone was able to come back from it. You look so healthy! It gives me hope that someday I’ll be well again, too.
Your hair will grow back! Don’t even worry about that… Our bodies are healing us every day and once we give them the right nutrition and emotions, they do all the rest for us.
Thank you so much for all you do. I have been on the paleo diet for3years and feel great. I am not only gluten intolerant but starch intolerant too. Thankfuly I had a doctor’s that listened to me and I got diagnosed. And because I got diagnosed so did my father after15 years of doctors telling him it was all in his head. We both feel great about a year ago my dear boyfriend found your website and made me the chocolate chip cookies. Yummy. Thank you again and God bless
Just like many others have said, I teared up when reading because it’s my story too. After bouts of trying mesalamine, steroids, the dreaded enemas, and now infusions, it can be overwhelming and terrifying to worry about the negative effects the medications that are supposed to help those of us with UC may have. Thank you for being an inspiration.
thanks so much for your awesome website. I have two boys with PANS and one has autism and lyme also. We have to say goodbye to sugar as much as possible and eat healthies. Your recipes look so yummy and are so nutritious for them.
I have suffered with UC for most of my life…I just turned 40 this week. Just 2 years ago, I was diagnosed with a lot of food sensitivities, but had still not been told to avoid wheat. I went back to my GI dr last year, still in pain and not losing weight (like he told me I would), when he told me that I shouldn’t be eating wheat. He had not said that before. So, after eliminating wheat (and most grains), I now feel much better. I am not 100% paleo, but I am nowhere near where I was before. We eat in 95% of the time, and even when I am tempted by something that I shouldn’t eat, I remember the pain I would be in after eating anything unhealthy, and that is enough for me to avoid that. I have lost roughly 40 lbs, and look and feel pretty darn good. thank you for your story. Although it did bring back painful memories of my history, it feels great to know that I wasn’t alone in my struggles.
Tracy, do you take any medications to help with UC?
Thank you for getting your story out there. My story is pretty much the same except for I have Crohn’s and I didn’t have to suffer 6 years with symptoms. I was diagnosed 4.5 years ago and kind of went into a remission after I went gluten free because the meds they put me on were not working. I was doing well until 4 months after the birth of my daughter and then had a flare. I got it down with steroids and was doing well until last November when I had to have an abscess surgically removed. I had started the SCB diet a few months before but the abscess was so bad it wasn’t going to take it away. When the surgeon was in there, he said that my colon looked great and not like a Crohn’s patient’s colon so we knew diet had something to do with it. After that surgery, my doctor only wanted to prescribe Humira and didn’t want to talk about diet. My husband was the one that was by my side and did a lot of research for me since I was kind of in a pity party at that time but we knew not wanting meds. He found going grain free would help and then a few months after I met with a nutritionist that said yes grain free. I have been following what I called my diet and then after our research realized it was Paleo I was following. The nutritionist also suggested your cookbook because she loved it for easy recipes. I just don’t see why doctors don’t realize that these diseases are caused by our food and outside environment factors. Thank you for sharing. I have to say I too have pictures from last year that I look at and praise God for allowing us the abilities to research these things ourselves and not just follow what doctors have been taught for years and prescribing just medications.
Just amazing to you all! In learning so much by reading all of your blogs! In desperate need of life again!!
Maybe the doctors don’t want to lose their patients? Or own stock in drug companies? Their resistance to change makes me so cynical. Please forgive me.
It’s so frustrating! There are NO nutrition classes in medical school and yet Hippocrates said “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Danielle, you are such an inspiration. I have recently been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at 32 years old, and when I came across your website I felt such relief. I ordered your book immediately and have made quite a few recipes from it already. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with all of us! You truly are a strong and inspiring woman!
Your story (although much more severe than my own), is so similar to mine. Diagnosed the same, same age, same docs saying “it doesn’t matter what you eat”, and the weight loss. Although you have found a way to feel better, and I’m still working on that. I guess I’ll just have to get your book 🙂 Thank you for sharing!
Danielle, I recently saw a clip of your story on The Dr’s and am currently going through the first stage of either UC or Crohn’s. I am 24 years old and am still in bed on medications and steroids. All of my symptoms started almost 2 weeks ago and just yesterday was told I have either UC or Crohn’s. Your story made me feel more comfortable and I know that once I am back on my feet I have nothing to lose by trying the Paleo diet.
This was the big burning question I had before putting my daughter (and 3 other kids on Paleo). Our youngest daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s at the age of 4. She’s 9 now and while her Crohn’s is being controlled with medication, she’s at the age where (hopefully) she can decide whether or not she’d like to control her Crohn’s with diet. I’ve tried before to change our foods but without her buy in, it never worked. Now she’s willing to change her diet. My husband and I started Paleo for weight loss and I wanted to switch the whole family but was so nervous that the kids would lose weight too. (We never fully committed to Paleo because I was cooking different for us and the kids). While I have an abundance of weight to shed, my kids do not. They’re all little bean poles and do not need to lose weight. Especially our youngest with Crohn’s. So thank you for sharing your story. I’m so happy I came across it.
My next big burning question(s) is why all the differences in the SCD vs. Paleo vs. Karen Hurd’s bean diet. I’m not sure which one is the best one to follow for Crohn’s and which one is best for Crohn’s but yet having the whole family on it so that I don’t have to cook differently for any of us. My head is swirling with so much information, I’m not sure which way to go.
It is very possible that a food allergy or intolerance (such as dairy, gluten, nuts or eggs) cause your kids to be “bean poles”. Lack of weight gain in children is often because of a food allergy/intolerance due to nutrients not being absorbed properly.
If the kids are hungry, they will eat more. Getting kids to eat foods their friends don’t and to give up the burgers, fries, and pizza, seems like the big problem. I know how much I crave a burger when I pass a BK….and I’m a grown-up. Must be hard on kids whose friends are sure to ridicule them. You will have to be a strong supporter and a cohesive family unit to help the kids do this.
I don’t get why there is any decision for your daughter to make on how to control the CD. Seems to me it’s between controlling the disease and not controlling it. Much simpler choice, isn’t that?
If you run a restaurant you will be so overcome with work you won’t want to cook at all, seems to me. My parents never gave us a choice, we ate what was served or went hungry. (But that was long before Ray Kroc put cheap burgers on every street corner….)
Now this old crone is going to quit giving advice and go back to my coconut oil and almond butter on GF bread, with pineapple juice….hmmm, gooood…..good luck, Dawn.
I just recently came across your website. After struggling with uc for over 13 years I know how much diet affects the disease. These recipes are amazing. I feel like I can actually stick with my diet now! Thank you for going above and beyond to give us some better tasting food choices to help us feel better. You are an angel!
Against All Grain
Thank you Allison!
You are so inspiring!! I have had UC for 20 years (I was diagnosed at age 8), and I have mostly managed it with meds, I never even thought of trying to change my diet, before I read “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” a few years ago. I gave it a try, but I had a really hard time sticking to it and gave I up. Your recipes and the support system your blog has created is awesome! And like nothing else I’ve come across! Thanks for being brave enough to share your story!!
Against All Grain
Thank you Emily!
Our Special Nest
Your story is amazing! Your new cookbook was a life-saver for our family! After being gluten/dairy free, we went Paleo to help my son with digestive issues related to autism and within a few weeks both his health and behavior improved drastically! So thankful you decided to share your story and thankful for your delicious recipes! We don’t feel like we are missing out on grains at all!
Chelsea's Gluten Free
Your story is truly amazing. It takes a very brave person to open their struggles up like that to the world, but it is an inspiring thing when you do. I have struggled my entire life with digestive issues and only recently did it push me even further down. After struggling with ups and downs for almost two years, nearing my absolute breaking point did I through in the towel with traditional medicine and seek a holistic route. Through diet and supplementation I brought myself back from what seemed like the dead. I still continue to adjust and modify my diet to keep myself healthy and happy but it is working and that is just what I am, healthy and happy. I am very appreciative to you for exposing yourself and your troubles with the world, and creating such an amazing piece of art. Against All Grain is a phenomenal book that I use very often and recommend to all that I can. Thank you for continuing to inspire not just myself, but the world.
Thank you for sharing your story.. I myself am going thru all kinds of health issues which all my
doctors are looking at me like I’m crazy.. but I am going to see another specialist that deals with autoimmune issues.. so I’m staying hopeful that this doctor will be able to help me..
Doesn’t it make YOU feel crazy to hear those docs who don’t “believe” in autoimmune issues! Medical schools seems to be all about lab tests and pharmacology. They don’t even bother to look at fingernails or ask about hair loss. The Europeans are way ahead of us in basic medicine. Follow the money, right to the labs and drug companies.
You are fantastic! Thank you for sharing your journey. I just wanted to write a little note now that I have found your website and have made numerous (amazing) recipes of yours. I check this daily and am in the process of ordering your cookbooks as I love the feel of an actual cookbook on my countertops. We all have a story and I love the help you give to others even if it is just eating clean and not for any other purpose than that. I look forward to even more wonderful things to come out of your kitchen!
My son was diagnosed with UC in 2012 at the age of 20. While his symptoms are currently under control through meds, I continue to be deeply concerned that his symptoms will reoccur if we don’t work on his diet more than we have. Since he is a college student living away from home, I am unable to convince him of the importance of diet. I’ll be getting your book as he heads home after graduating and we will ALL be doing a better job with our eating. Thank you, from the bottom of this mama’s heart, for sharing your story.
Thank you for sharing! We all fight battles in our lives and I admire you for fighting and not giving in! Congrats to you for making it 2 years!
Tears came to my eyes reading this story! So glad you’ve found a path to health and happiness, and helped so many others along the way 🙂
You are a true inspiration! My husband suffered for three years with UC and never went into remission despite diet changes and 8 different meds. He ultimately made the decision to have the j-pouch surgery. Thank you for sharing your journey and helping others!
I have a question for most all you women, did you find that you periods made the desease worse? I have struggled with UC for 11 long years. I have 7 children, most my pregnencies actually help with the desease. Stress will trigger flare ups but I can be good then its time for my period and I take steps back in my progress.
Liz, a lot of times people with one autoimmune disease have more than one. For example, I have UC, endometriosis and an undiagnosed connective tissue disorder. My first thoughts when you say you are worse around that time of the month and that your pregnancies help, is that you may have endo also.
I have the same issue with my Ulcerative Proctitis. I do very well all month on an autoimmune paleo protocol, however I seem to get a flare or some symptoms of my UP during my period. Extremely frustrating. It must be to do with hormones as the endocrine system controls pretty much everything.
Yes!!! I’m so glad that you mentioned that Liz!!! I do too! It’s so frustrating! I am 49 now and can’t wait to go thru menopause! I too have a history of Endometriosis and infertility due to it. I am finding that the Paleo/Whole30 diet that I started 45 days or so ago is helping me for the most part tremendously! However, when I have bowel movements it also starts my symptoms up just following it and also when I have my period. Don’t know what is exactly causing these to activate it (bloating, low energy, low sex drive, anal swelling/bleeding). I have had a few cheats here and there with wine! On a positive note for me, I have lost 12 lbs and dropped at least 1 dress size close to 2 now.
Totally! I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and suffer during different times of my cycle. So looking forward to menopause. Also, almost as soon as I eat something with Gluten I feel the need to pee. Cheesits, my favorite, kill me 🙁
I’m slow in seeing all of this, but had to add my two cents. I’m diagnosed Celiac (9 years) and have reflux esophagitis (like GERD; diagnosed 3 or 4 years ago) and my symptoms ALWAYS get worse around that time of the month! It’s like being gluten free and avoiding acidic foods doesn’t even matter for a few days, then my body kicks back to its normal health. Usually happens one to two days prior to my period and then lasts about three days. I assume it has to do with hormones affecting our immune systems, so that our immune system crashes for short time then goes back to normal. It is so annoying and can be harmful for those of you with more serious autoimmune issues!
Morning. My best friend sent me your blog. I was initially diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease early 80’s. Long story short….lost my colon to a final diagnosis of UC in 1993. I now have a “BCIR” … Barnett Continent Ileostomy Reservoir. Although functioning, the side effects will be life long. Your mention of all the hospital stays hit home. Looking at the environment in which you were at times hospitalized made me sad. So much of your history mimics mine.
I look forward to reading your entire blog and so glad you are doing so well.
Janet Miseta Robasky Nielsen
Danielle, found your story in women first shortly after going gluten free. I’ve had UC for 19 years and have asked again and again if what I eat has anything to do with it. The answer was always no. I’m so glad to know that my suspicions are correct. I’m done with Dr’s and steroids and all the other poisonous medications they want me to take. Two weeks after they put me on immune suppressing meds I got pneumonia. How crazy is that? From now on it’s just gluten free, no gmo, no msg, no processed foods or sugar, no artificial sweetners. Just real food. Fresh food. Thanks for sharing your recipes and helping us with a healthier way to eat. Looking forward to remission and UC being history
Shauna R. Garcia
Dannielle, my sister in law gave me your link and I’m so glad she did. I know the journey you were on because I’ve been dealing with ulcerative colitis and autoimmune hepatitis for over ten years. Prednisone is a profanity in my house because it was part of what took me to 350lbs and in constant pain. It wasn’t until I my family Dr referred me to a pain clinic (as a last resort) where I finally found a real answer. Through the healing powers of yoga, real food, and God’s incredible love I finally have hope of true healing. Thank you for sharing your story and your recipes. You have been a blessing!
Thank God you changed your diet. You look amazing!!! Stay healthy.
I just bought your book.
I was diagnosed with UC a year after the death of my husband. At 46 I too suffered bouts of diarrhea that left me dehydrated and in the hospital. Just like your doctor told you diet wouldn’t make a difference so did mine. I discovered Dr John McDougall and Dr Joel Furhman and their belief in a plant based diet. I embraced that life almost a year ago and have enjoyed great health benefits. My first ever clean colonoscopy back in February keeps me encouraged. Leaving dairy, eggs, meat and processed foods out of my diet has made a huge difference for me. I just found your site…..thank you for the testimony. Prayers for you and your family in your time of need.
Sabrina Joy Barclay Williams
I have been sick since April of 2009 started with having seizures. Then that started a snow ball affect. They told me I have Mixed Connective Tissue Disease which is an auto-immune disease. They have just put me on meds but I stay sick. Recently in the past year I have gained around 60 pounds, became anemic, had three surgeries, and just in the last month my hair has started falling out to the point it awful. I seen you on The Doctors today and I realized maybe I need to give this a try, I meam obviously all the meds they have me on are not helping.
Danielle, so you don’t take ANY meds anymore for colitis? It’s just strictly in remission due to diet? If so, when did you stop the meds…was it after you started feeling better with diet change or did you stop right before you started the diet change? Just wondering since I would like to stop the bilogics that I’m on…
I have not one but 3 auto-immune diseases. Lupus diagnosed in my late 30’s, fibromyalgia diagnosed in late 40’s and now at 65 Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I have been put on a form of the Paleo, but I also had to cut out ALL gluten and dairy. It is touch – I admire your family’s patience and understanding. So glad you found something that works. Foods are not like they were before the 1970’s. The wheat that is used in almost all processed food has been genetically modified and turns to sugar in your bloodstream. – Everyone should CUT OUT processed foods!!!! I am learning late in life. Good Luck to all who are fighting auto-immune diseases
i had 19 different diagnosis, up to and including lupus. when i was told that, i decided there is no way, i’m not accepting that. i saw a naturopath and was diagnosed with with systemic candida. once we got that under control, all but 2 of my diagnosis are gone, high blood pressure and insomnia. what it amounted to was the candida in my body was running rampant in my blood and organs and wreaking havoc all over my body. medical doctors will typically not recognize that
diagnosis, but i can tell you from firsthand experience that getting that under
control, going all natural with meds (except blood pressure), getting off all
artificial sweeteners, processed foods/sugars and gluten, i have my
life back. it wasn’t easy, but it has been so worth it. no more pain meds is
the best part, i had to take 2-3 vicodin every day for almost 5 years just to be
able to function. it inspired me so much that at 50 years old i am going back
to school to become a naturopath, it’s so fascinating and it is totally true –
we are what we eat. i have seen cancer CURED, progressive ms CURED, guillain-barre CURED, people off the man-made medications and people’s lives totally changed by changing their intake. consider being checked for candida, it’s a beast!
Just curious, how long did it take to get your candida under control? I’ve been going to a naturopath since the beginning of June-strictly following the candida diet since May 23, 2014. I know that’s not too long, but not really feeling too much better 🙁 bloated tummy, ear ringing, waking exhausted and tired all day are my biggest issues. I see him again next week. Just wondering is the end in sight???
Perhaps you have more than one problem and the candida diet is not sufficient. Something else can be involved.
That ear ringing and exhaustion….have you kept a food record to see if there is still something in your diet? By eliminating dairy, gluten, and sugar, then keeping a record, you might figure out sooner what else is a problem for you. It’s how I do it and it takes attention, but I see definite improvement. I put down the times of eating and of the physical problems to help see the patterns.
For tinnitus….. I use a radio set very low on the BBC World Service (try National Public Radio at night. WS is on at least two stations all night long in my area….) The presenters have lulling well-modulated voices that mask the ear noise on the nights it just won’t stop. If you can’t get BBC, maybe you can find music or an audio book to turn on in the bedroom.
I’m used to not sleeping at night, so try to take naps morning and afternoon to supplement my 4 to 6 hours at night. Try lying on your back in a cool bedroom and concentrate on something simple. See an image in your head and every time your attention wanders from the image, drag it back to the image and stick with it. If it takes a couple of weeks or months to get good at the imaging, it’ll be worth it on some nights when you fall asleep quickly. I promise you that.
I haven’t worked out all the problem foods yet, but the progress I’ve made (and doctors won’t recognize) makes me hopeful.
Grain fed beef is expensive, but worth it for the occasional hamburger that I crave. I buy NO farm-raised fish. And wild fish is not always the variety it’s sold as, so consider that when testing it in your diet.
I thought about writing a book, but don’t have Danielle’s young age and motivation on my side! The years we have left can determine what projects we take on!!! And since we all are different we all have our own remedies. I hope this post will help you. Don’t give up and don’t look for all-purpose or too simple answers. Although, each item you can check off your shopping list will be a major answer for you. Hang in there….you can do this.
I have been dealing with Crohn’s, inflammatory arthritis, severe anemia, hair loss and MS-like symptoms for over 10 years. I was introduced to Paleo by a friend and it has changed my life. After 12 weeks, my symptoms reduced so significantly that I no longer take medication for the Crohn ‘s and my GI doc says I’m in remission. I haven’t been perfect on this journey, with many moments of “worldly eating”, but ultimately when I go back to Paleo, I feel so much better. The weight loss is a bonus, but the freedom from pain, being ruled by a bathroom, feeling run-down all the time and not having answers is AMAZING! Thank you for this blog, for the hope and wisdom in your journey, and for your willingness to share your life with the world…you and your family are in my prayers as you move through this season without your beautiful daughter. You are a blessing to many…
Chelsea Brooke Kerr
I’m still on the road for a diagnosis for my disease. Only gluten and dairy free diet keeps me out of bed. As a young student I am struggling. But reading your blogs do really help! Thank you so much.
Wow…thanks for sharing your story…I can’t imagine…I have an under active thyroid…am hypoglycemic…celiac and allergic to eggs and soy…needless to say…my diet has changed…I too have pretty much had to take matters into my own hands…other than a natural thyroid I am not taking any medications…have cut sugar, soy, eggs, gluten and all artificial sweeteners out of my diet…I have lost 75 pounds and feel so much better! I bought your book recently and look forward to trying out some of your recipes…again thank you for sharing your life story…you are an amazing young woman!
I have likewise been struggling with a slew of autoimmune disorders, including ulcerative colitis, MS, systemic lupus, severe arthritis and autoimmune hepatitis. I have struggled with taking vs refusing toxic medications, and have drastically altered my diet. However, I am in end stage renal failure and have decided that I do not want to be placed on a kidney transplant list. I have been through too much, and I’m finished fighting. My best advice is to not take any crap from any dr – be well and listen to your body.
Amelia – I pray that you keep fighting! I don’t know you, but I will start praying for you fervently. You are not alone in this!!!
Way to go!!!!! I have complex regional pain syndrome. Manage 90% naturally. You echoed my thoughts and beliefs on the meds for this stuff. I started an anti inflammatory diet in June. Your story perfect timing. Thank u. Brings me hope for remission. I’m 35 and have a lot of life to live. Want to get married and have kids too!!!! Thx & God bless
I would love to know what supplements you took (or are taking) to heal the trauma. I am recovering from an illness that (mostly) went undiagnosed for 14 years. Doctors refused to listen to me, even though my weight dropped down to around 80 lbs. because I was unable to eat anything. This past year I have finally felt alive for the first time in 14 years, but I know that being sick for so long took a huge toll on my body, especially with pregnancies and breastfeeding during that time as well. I’m worried that problems will show up in the future from being so nutrient deficient for so long.
Call me Ishmel
I have 8 autoimmune diseases including Celiacs, which was miss diagnosed for many years. After having gastric bypass surgery to try to gain better diabetic control, i learned it had no impact because my diabetis is secondary to my celiacs, so im still on a lot of insulin and have poor control. Howerver i feel best and have few Gi symtoms following paleo diet. I did loose some weight, not all of the overweight, but i have no arthritic type pain when i follow the diet and make sure i add the coconut oil and im off good deal of my meds. Like you it took a naturalpath and a ton of reach. But i am healthy after 4-5 years of sever debilitating illness.
Danielle, not only do your recipes help me feel healthier, but they also make me look like a good cook!! I use your recipes on a WEEKLY basis. I was wondering if you still get “flare-ups” and if so what do you eat to help? Many many thanks!
Thank you for sharing your story and recipes. I went Paleo 7 months ago. I had horrible migraines for years. I was on several medications including injections, went to different types of therapy, and was debilitated by them. Since going Paleo, I am no longer taking any medications nor seeing any doctors for my headaches. They are gone! I love reading your recipes online and I’m heading out to buy your book!
Millie l Add A Little
This is so amazing and inspirational Danielle!! I’m so glad your happier and healthier than ever 🙂
I’m interested to know if you started having all of your autoimmune issues shortly after you were vaccinated for your trip to Uganda. My son struggled with issues similar to yours from 18 months to 4 years and I believe strongly that his immune system was over-stimulated by the 27 different vaccines he had in 18 months and caused him to treat every food he ate as an allergen. I know this is a controversial topic but I was just curious if you know what caused this for you. Blessings!
I totally understand your curiosity on this. I started becoming symptomatic with signs of lupus 3 months after taking the flu shot for the first time in my 33 years of life. I’m a physician, and a lot of others think I’m “crazy” when I make the association.
I was diagnosed with UC 6 years ago. With numerous flare ups I have currently gotten it under control through Remicade infusions every 8 weeks. I have been in remission for 2 years. However my husband and I have been trying to conceive for the past 2 years as well with no luck. My gut (no pun intended) tells me it may be due to my Remicade but I am afraid to get off it and my GI dr opposes it. Any suggestions? Do you think I should try maintaining remission with just diet and get off Remicade? Thank you.
have you been tested for b12 deficiency?
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and Celiac in 2011. It was after a trip into the Er with pain and a surgery following that i found out the news. I told my doctor I wanted to control with diet. I did it all on my own. I found and anti-candida diet and have been in remission for the last year. Yes, I lost about 36 lbs, which is nice-but I am very happy to not be in pain and be completely medication free!!!!
Reading your story leaves me with so much hope for my own health. I was diagnosed in January 2014 with crohns at the age of 25. The medicine my gastro doctor prescribed me has not been helping. I hate the pain I have to go through every day, but I still manage to get up each day and take on the world and go to work. I plan to stop my medicine and go Paleo…it seems to be the only hope for us that suffer from auto immune diseases. I cant wait to be able to share my story one day about being symptom free!
P.S. Whenever I eat anything or drink, my stomach ‘pushes’ out and blows up. By the end of the day I am so bloated I can hardly breath. I sleep with a wedge and 2 pillows because sometimes I wake up and have to throw up. This is very scary. I’ve had bacterial tests, to tests and everything is normal.
I agree. I am someone who has was diagnosed with severe food allergies and Crohns at 13, now 39 years old. Throughout my life all of my doctors want to give me meds, I was on 6MP for 10 years and they increased the dose, toxic reaction and horrible side effects going off. I refuse to go back on any immuno-suppressant or Biologic either. Ironically I also work for a pharma company….esp at academic institutions, many of the top docs conduct clinical trials for these meds, and yes our broken system limits reimbursement…. while many of the new healthcare models financially incentivize MDs to control disease with meds/algorithms.
I was recently diagnosed with extensive ulcerative colitis. I had your book as I did Paleo diet a couple years ago for weight loss and arthritis. Unfortunately I only stuck with it for 6 months. Now that I received this diagnosis I again picked up your book and am struggling to commit to it. I do well for several meals and then eat a no-no comfort food. I have a 3 month old baby and don’t get much sleep. Any advice for a tired comfort eater on how to fully commit. I know it will work but I’m feeling so vulnerable.
A friend of mine recommended the use of PeaPlex. For a long while, I have also been suffering from Ulcerative colitis. At first, I was a bit skeptic but I am happy she persuaded me. I have been using PeaPlex for about three months now and I feel a lot better! I ordered it via
A friend of mine recommended the use of PeaPlex. For a long while, I have also been suffering from Ulcerative colitis. At first, I was a bit skeptic but I am happy she persuaded me. I have been using PeaPlex for about three months now and I feel a lot better! I ordered it via rs4supplements.com.
Thanks for sharing your story. I am so glad you found a lifestyle that helps your disease. I too have UC, I was diagnosed at age 12. I know what it is like to have babies and feel so horrible you can’t get out of bed or leave the house. When my first child was one my parents had to take us with them to Houston, my doctor was there, to take care of me. At that time I would never have even considered natural alternatives to medication, I hadn’t yet discovered how diet could affect my disease. Luckily my doctor was open to alternatives as he had concerns about what the medications might do to my body after 30+years. He would always advise me to lower my dosage and come off medication when possible. I didn’t start trying supplements and diet options until about 5 years ago. Unfortunately when my doctor retired my new doctor did not feel the same about medication, she wanted me on medicine all the time no matter what. Luckily one of the nurses suggested a more holistic gastroenterologist for me. I have been off medication for almost 4 years now…I use supplements and diet to control my disease and feel extremely fortunate that it is working. It is like I no longer even have UC (I am now 40). In 4 years I had one short flare, after a holiday season of lots of bad diet choices( I won’t make that mistake again), but was able to get it under control with a month of low dose prednisone. My doctor even allowed me to switch to every 2 years for my colonoscopies instead of every year since my last one showed no current inflammation. Do your research and work with your diet to find what works best for you. While you might need medication, it isn’t always necessary or the only option. I can’t wait to try some of your recipes and share them with my family.
It takes real dedication to alter your lifestyle and understand your body. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in late 2010 and it took me until about 8 months ago to get it under control with about 90% less meds. I was on all kinds of meds including prednisone that stuff sure does help a flare up but dont let yourself be over exposed to it because the symptoms of over exposure are awful. Gastroenterologist’s and sometimes primary care doctors will tell you that people who smoke have minor relief of symptoms because they feel less stressed out, this is terrible advice I would take with a grain of sand. I cant tell you what foods to eat to get better but I can say that you should try things like rice mixed with scrambled eggs and maybe some garlic if you’re ready. learn about nutrition and how your body digests food, that way when you are changing your lifestyle you know how and why food that is harder for the stomach to digest is a bad idea to eat during flare up and that garlic may have properties good for the intestine. the more bland the better I seem to find. It is possible to achieve similar results like Danielle and you can improve your quality of life with diet. get well soon 🙂
p.s when I say life style change I mean diet but it needs to be a permanent switch.
Wow, you’ve come a long way. What a strong woman! I’m glad you over came your illness♥️
Katherine Fiore Murray
HI Danielle ~ I heard you on the BeWell podcast. I have a 17 year old boy was was just diagnosed with colitis. It has been horrible. He went into surgery weighing 109 lbs. After surgery, he was put on 50mg of prednisone, lialda & an antibiotic because he had an overgrowth of candida. After three weeks his symptoms are not getting better and his doctor wants to start infusions. I am so encouraged by your story and wont except the only solution for my son is a life of drugs. His symptoms has slightly improved but the prednisone has a bunch of side effects that are making his feel awful. He cant sleep, night sweats, acne which he never had, headaches and he is exhausted.
I’m very interested in trying the SCD diet. My son’s surgeon said exactly what you said that diet did not cause this and wont fix this. I’m willing to give it a try. Thank you for sharing your story.
Hi, I’ve been “following” you for a number of years and you continue to be an inspiration for many of us who have had a difficult journey with UC/Colitis, etc. I too had suffered with increasing medical issues over a thirty year period. Never once did any doctor, or holistic practioner mentioned that diet was a crucial part of the healing process. I discovered this diet about 8 years ago and it along with natural remedies helped me tremendously. I started changing my diet after a severe flare up and 30 lb weight loss, fearing I’d die if I didn’t make some drastic dietary changes. At that time I was on prednisone and other meds but with the help of this kind of diet I was able to wean myself (with Dr. consent) off the meds. That unfortuntely lasted only 6 months before I was back on meds, biologics this time and after a year found success with the diet and meds again. Then a year later a colonoscopy revealed that I had precancerous polyps that over 3 months were spreading. This ultimately led to a colonectomy and a JPouch. That ended up being a huge medical failure, but a year later, I found a wonderful surgeon that gave me back my life. No longer would I be housebound due to the 25+ bathroom visits per day. I’m 18 months postop and have a great quality of life now. I believe had I known sooner about diet and my autoimmune disease, I could of staved off the colonectomy. Maybe not, regardless, I continue to follow this way of eating and am so thankful for folks like you that share your story and help to give others hope and a plan to follow. THANK YOU!!
Thank you so much for your kind words, support and sharing your personal journey. I’m so happy to read that you’re enjoying your quality of life now!