In 2005 I started having serious stomach issues that included bloody diarrhea, pain, constantly running to the bathroom, weakness, etc. After being hospitalized and being told I was moments away from cardiac arrest from serious blood loss, I was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s is a form of Irritable Bowel Disease, it is an auto-immune disorder. The disease is treated with biologic medications that come with cancer warnings and when they stop working you are pretty much screwed. This happened to me and I had to resort to living on different doses of prednisone (steroids) for over three years.
During this time I tried all sorts of diets but found that a vegan diet high in raw foods helped me to feel my best. Unfortunately, it was not enough. Finally, in September of 2013, I decided to see a doctor in NYC and see if I could finally get off of these harsh medications. After my new doctor ran many tests, it turned out I had Ulcerative Colitis, the sister disease of Crohn’s. Not only had I been misdiagnosed for years, but I also had numerous pre cancer cells all over my colon. My doctor suggested surgery to have my entire colon removed. My small intestine would become what they call a “j-pouch” and act as my colon. The last thing I wanted was surgery, but with the thought of cancer growing inside of me, surgery would help me live a normal life. I would have normal bowel movements and the disease would not return so there would be no need for more surgery. So I decided to go for it.
On November 8, 2013 I had my extremely diseased colon removed. I had heard it would be a rough road ahead of me and that I would be in pain for weeks. I prepared for this the best I could. The night I was out of surgery, I took two laps around the hospital floor. The nurses were amazed. I was told most don’t make it to the door after this surgery. I had barely needed pain medication and did everything for myself in the hospital. The nurses loved me! They told me I was one of the easiest patients they had and I had a positive upbeat attitude. I did have my moments and break downs but I got through them with the hope for my future!
I was on a liquid diet for a few days, I was told to drink chicken broth and Gatorade. That wasn’t happening, I brought my own raw coconut water, almond milks, spring water, and other nut milks. Once I was allowed solids, I had to be on a low residue diet for 4-6 weeks. During this time I kept it vegan and as raw as possible. I enjoyed lots of smoothies made with bananas and Sunwarrior protein powder, green juices, cooked potatoes and sweet potatoes, lots and lots of bananas in all sorts of forms. When I saw my doctor and surgeon at week 3, I was told I could slowly go back to my normal diet because I was healing so well! I was so happy I didn’t have to wait the 4 to 6 weeks that they had originally instructed.
Since then, I have gotten back to a mostly raw diet (raw until dinner, then a cooked or high raw dinner). The cooked portion of my day is usually cooked sweet potatoes or veggies, soups, quinoa, other gluten-free grains and beans. Nothing processed and always gluten-free and vegan. I am two months post surgery and I feel the best I’ve felt in years! I’ve been told I can eat anything I want now, but I won’t! I feel so amazing eating mostly raw foods and I know eating that before surgery is the reason I recovered so quickly and had such an easy time with everything. My husband even mentioned to me that I am in superhero shape (he said this in a loving way), I did workout beforehand, but not enough to say that was why I had such an easy time. I will be starting P90x3 on the first week of January, hoping my next two surgeries go as well. I believe in the power of raw foods! I can’t wait to live my life to the fullest as I have always wanted.
After being off predni-
Before surgery on prednisone sone a month and a half
Lauren Nastasi is a mother, wife, pug lover and
cacao goddess who lives in New Jersey.
She blogs about her journey at gingeristhenewpink.blogspot.com Twitter and instagram: laurenginger