The Dreaded "No Energy" Dilemma...

Living with a chronic illness is hard enough, and some days it can make every little task seem like Mt. Everest, and every hour that stands between you and bedtime a marathon.  How do you manage when you feel like you can't go on?  Especially when trying to hold down a demanding job, maintain your household and be a productive member of the family.  Never mind being a good friend, neighbor, colleague and volunteer!  The world moves so fast, and even the best of us can be overcome with fatigue.

Step One:  Consider Going Gluten-Free! 

 

I can't help but think one of the reasons I struggled with fatigue is what I was putting into my body.  Inflammatory foods, unknown allergies, genetically modified foods, and the list goes on.  I've been gluten-free for two months as of this week.  Because I don't have a gluten allergy, I wanted to test out a gluten-free trial run to see if I perhaps have an intolerance, along with a growing number of the US population.  My ultimate goal was to find a way to get my Crohn's under control after being bed-ridden for most of December 2012 during a bad flair.
 
My beloved gluten.....how could I?!   Having been diagnosed 20 years ago with Crohn's, back in the day patients were often prescribed a high carb (read: high gluten) diet to soothe irritated intestines.  Nowadays, gastroenterologists recommend a low-residue / high carb diet only during a flair. I've been encouraged to try to eat a more nutritious diet with plenty of vegetables, lean protein, and no gluten.

Eight weeks in I'm feeling better than I have in a long time.   I hesitate to say "better than ever" because hey - don't we all wish we were 22 again and had boundless energy?!  I no longer come home from work and have to rest on the couch through the evening.  I'm back in the gym, and while I still get a solid 8 hours sleep every night, I don't feel the waves of exhaustion creeping over me before bedtime like I once did.

The trick is to give yourself at least 10 days of potentially feeling bad, lethargic, and irritable as your body adjusts to the change.  Experts say a trial run should be at least 30 days but preferably 3 months.  You need time for your body to heal itself and get back on course. 



Step Two:  Add Supplements!


I was suspicious that perhaps it was my new supplements giving me the extra boost, ranging from B12 in high doses, to Colostrum and L-Glutamine, as well as Flaxseed Oil.  See my page on supplement recommendations for more.  I highly recommend B12 sublingual in a dosage of 1-5 grams per day.  It has to be the Methylcobalamin version of B12 to work effectively.  Did you know your body absorbs only about 15-20% of a B vitamin that you swallow?  That is why the sublingual are so important - they go directly into your bloodstream.  B12 shots are another option; however, adding in a doctor's co-pay and insurance costs, I far prefer a $30 bottle of B12 sublingual.  This is my favorite:

Feeling the Difference...

Just this week I was at an office party for a coworker, and once again surrounded by the temptations of mass catering.  I stuck with shrimp, cheeses, some bbq, and coleslaw, and was feeling quite proud of myself.  That is, until I came face to face with a tower of mini cupcakes.  And cake balls.  And one delicious lemon cupcake made its way on to my plate, along with a red velvet cake ball.  Less than an hour later I started feeling a sugar crash, which transformed into an entire evening of feeling lethargic and sluggish.  And then it hit me - the night before I'd had crab cakes with a small amount of gluten.  Between a double dose of gluten, I was feeling the results of re-introducing something my body clearly wanted to live without.

Now it's important to note than vastly limiting sugar is in my own humble opinion as important as limiting gluten.  I'll be doing a blog post soon on the anti-yeast diet, which includes a focus on limiting sugar along with gluten.  

So I'm sold, folks.  It doesn't mean I'm not scared, or concerned at how I'll manage a tricky diet for the rest of my life.  But it'll be worth it to have a life filled with more energy and vibrancy.  More opportunity to get out there and live life to its fullest.  As more and more citizens of the world pursue a gluten-free diet, the consumer demands will tip the scales in our favor.  More and more restaurants already are offering gluten-free menus and options.  It's actually making life for Crohnies easier!  Suddenly "I have an allergy" gets a lot more attention at a restaurant than "I can't have that."

Crohnies unite!



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