Today is going to be awesome.
Hello, from Optimistic Ali! She’s back!
I’ve got Remicade cruising through my body and I’m wholeheartedly convinced I’m firmly on the road to recovery. I kicked off my day today with a 6:15 SoulCycle class and the pool of sweat I left underneath my bike at the end was an indication that today, or at least this morning, I’m stronger than I was yesterday, and the day before.
As I mentioned the other day, I’ve been dealing with the whole Crohn’s disease thing for 20 years now. But clearly, since I still get sick fairly often, I don’t have this disease figured out at all. One thing I am learning over time, though, is that while stress contributes about 97% to flare-ups, the other 3% seems to be related to what I eat.
This clicked for me after last year’s Brooklyn Half Marathon.
I ate a piece of fish and a heaping serving of corn the night before, and I quite literally exploded on the race course. It was awful, it lead to a long flare-up to kick off the summer, and I haven’t eaten a single kernel of corn since that day. So yeah. Food matters.
Let’s talk about that today. And then we’ll get to the free stuff.
I spent the majority of my sick day yesterday researching everything I could find online about Crohn’s disease and diet. By 11 AM I was completely engrossed by the overwhelming number of resources, all touting “the healthiest diet in the world.” Yeah, OK, Atkins Diet. Reading about all these different options — some of which “cured” patients of their Crohn’s, others of which made symptoms radically worse — made me want to dive into a big row of Double Stuf Oreos.
There’s juicing, which I did pretty consistently for the past three days.
Juicing is fun, and I didn’t realize how much I liked it until I stopped doing it. I got frustrated during the juice thing because I missed chewing my food. But when I returned to solid foods yesterday, I didn’t like it. I’m impossible to please.
There’s The Paleo Diet, favored by carnivores, cavemen and Cross-fitters. This one is slightly intriguing. I like the idea of eating like primal people, but no pasta? I’ll have to rethink this one.
The Mediterranean Diet also piqued my interest. You get to use olive oil plentifully.
There’s Dr. Frank Lipman’s book, Spent, which I ordered upon recommendations from several fellow Crohn’s-people. I’m also currently reading Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs, which details his quest to become the world’s healthiest man. So far he hasn’t discussed a Crohn’s cure, but I’ll let you know if I get to that chapter.
There’s The Blood Type Diet, which, WTF? I don’t even know my blood type, so let’s rule that one out.
Then you’ve got Dairy-Free (no cheese?!), Gluten-Free (I’ve received roughly 419 messages over the past month with people trying to convince me to eliminate gluten from my diet), Vegan (no cheese?!) and The Anti-Inflammatory Diet, which actually sounds like a pretty decent option.
I’ve been taking flaxseed oil pills and Vitamin D pills with my meals, thanks to Dr. Brian, but I think I’m even more confused today than I was a year ago. There’s too much food in this world! Why can’t it be simple?!
Last night, Brian and I talked about eating a “real meal of food” in lieu of a green juice, but my goal was to still keep the meal green and healthy. Although my flare-up is still in full force and my stomach isn’t better, I did feel healthier after a few days of juicing.
So last night I cooked loads of vegetables and some whole wheat pasta.
Some people with Crohn’s survive on a mostly-vegetable diet.
Others eat lots of vegetables, but they have to be cooked thoroughly. Raw ones will tear them up inside.
Others can’t even touch vegetables.
I set out to see how I’d fare.
I felt like total ass after eating this meal.
I don’t know if it was just the general return to solid food, or if it was the abundance of vegetables, but I’m pretty sure those leftovers won’t be getting eaten. They’re all yours, Brian! I didn’t even make it through my entire serving before I was in the bathroom.
Here’s the thing when it comes to diets: I suck at them.
Tell me I “can’t” have something, and it’s all I’m going to want. Brian seems to think I have “more willpower than that,” but I don’t know.
I can live without dessert if I must. Really. I can also do without booze, semi-reluctantly, and you can take the steak or chicken off my plate, I don’t care. But give me my fish, give me a hunk of gouda and dang it, give me penne pasta! A life without a gooey bowl of macaroni and cheese is not a life I want to live.
But I also don’t want to live a life in the bathroom.
So this is frustrating.
I have no discipline when it comes to “dieting.” I eat moderately healthy on the day to day, but I really love food and I hate the idea of having foods I love (cheese cheese cheese) be off-limits.
I think I just need to test some things because, most importantly, I have to get my stomach back on track before I start marathon training.
Last year during training, I rarely had issues with fueling. I was surprised to learn that while I found gels to taste disgusting, they worked for me and didn’t have a tendency to bother my stomach. I used them during the longest runs and on marathon day, and miraculously I didn’t make a single on-course bathroom stop during the marathon.
I’d love to figure out a regular fueling routine for training this year, and as of right now I have no idea what that will entail. Yesterday I snacked on a piece of sprouted wheat toast with that cool all-natural peanut butter you grind yourself at the grocery store. It didn’t kill me, but it also didn’t sit great.
How does this all translate into a free pair of shoes for you?
Surely by now you’ve heard of Saucony’s “Find Your Strong” campaign. I actually think this is pretty cool. I don’t usually fall for gimmicky marketing ploys, but the idea of “finding your strong” intrigues me, especially right now since I honestly don’t remember the last time I truly felt strong.
Saucony is hosting weekly giveaways on its site, which you should check out, and this week the Saucony community has been chatting about “My Running Fuel.” Last year my running fuel was two Entenmann’s chocolate chip “granola bars” before my run and then some gel combination while I was out sweating. This year, though, I know that those “granola bars that taste like chocolate chip cookies” actually contain little to no actual granola or, frankly, nutritional value. So I need to figure out something better. Saucony agrees, apparently.
Anyway, while you’re here, I can hook you up with free stuff!
How pretty are these?
These are the Saucony Ride 5 sneakers. They’re very bright. I don’t really know what else you need to know about them beyond the fact that they come in a pretty color (and the size of your choice). You get to win a pair, I don’t, and I guess that’s fair because I like you.
Let me know.
HOW TO ENTER: Leave a comment here telling me about the last time you felt super-strong. Maybe it was after a killer workout (SoulCycle has 5-lb. weights now and I’m dying to try them). Maybe it was at a recent race when you negative split (teach me how to do that!). Maybe it was lifting your kids out of a dryer at a laundromat after you put them in there “as a joke” (our country is filled with morons). Perhaps it was after seeing a particularly flattering photo of yourself where your triceps were bulging beyond your tank top (that’s hot). Let me know you want the shoes!
I’ll pick a winner at random Tuesday, May 29, at 9 AM EST.
Happy Long Weekend! Be strong!