There are host of digestive ailments which benefit enormously from a gluten free Paleo diet: IBS, Crohns, Celiac, diverticulitis…and ulcerative colitis. This was the condition that I was developing when I was eating my way to oblivion via grains, legumes and the like. The options presneted to me included bowel resection and mega-doses of corticosteroids…all at the ripe old age of 28!
Damien Roop has been kind enough to share his experience with Ulcerative Colitis and what a gluten free paleo diet has done for him. No drugs, no surgery, just fucking results. Sincere thanks to Damien for sharing this.
Paleo – for the first time, all over again
Robb, where do I begin? I supposed I should start at the place that will get us to the end pretty quickly and with a reasonably clear understanding of what has happened to me attending your Nutrition cert. First, let me say that I loved it! As far as all the certs go, and I have been to six of them now, this was by far the missing piece to the puzzle and the most information-dense of the lot. No dig on the others: Tucker’s gymnastics was by FAR the most fun to do; Mackenzie taught me that running is a skill (Who knew? He was right!) and this gave me the beginnings of my recovery-tracking that I use to plan my training; Rip & Burgener both are technical masters of their respective arts (and yes, I do believe that true weight lifting and oly lifting are both arts to which mastery is forever chased but seldom achieved) and no, I do not lift the same as I did before attending their Barbell & Olympic certs and never will. And let me not forget the Holy Grail, the one that started this all off for me – the level 1 trainer cert! (Ok, enough ass-kissing, hahaha – seriously though, this is a way of life).
I have Ulcerative Colitis (UC), and have had it for going on eight years now. My immune system is seriously hyperactive and has manifested its active displeasure in a dizzying array of ailments from severe pustular plantar and palmar psoriasis, which brought me out of the Marine Corps, to complete renal failure, auto-immune hepatitis, contact dermatitis (crazy reaction to neoprene and sweating), all the way to UC. None of the others remained with me (although I can still get a bad rash from hard friction and extended contact with a neoprene brace or strap) save the good ol’ Ulcerative Colitis.
Having the disease itself should be enough. However, there are many other comorbidites associated with this disease. For instance, I have a constant battle with slight anemia from blood loss, which is typical with UC. Then there is the struggle to live each day with a continually inflamed and rebuilding intestinal tract (pulling major resources there), the inability to fully absorb food (due to inflammation of the intestinal lining and the increased speed with which food makes the trip through) as well as consistently broken sleep patterns, in which I awaken about 4 to 7 times a night. My disease is said to be a “wasting disease,” yet I still am able to build muscle. What is even more amazing is that I am able to do Crossfit, which is my chosen training style and may have very well been responsible for keeping me alive!
Now here is where it starts getting good. My doctors have tried everything and I still have pretty strong flare ups and, occasionally, a really nasty relapse that puts me down hard for months (read: bed-ridden) which, incidentally, is where I began my current Crossfit journey in February of 2008. At that time, fresh from a relapse, I went straight into a Level 1 Trainer’s Certification. One just can‘t imagine how fun that was, what with this great big moon face and hump back, not to mention the brittle bone — you know, all due to the wonderful side effects from large intravenous doses of corticosteroids.
I had heard of gluten intolerance before from a particularly enlightened doc of mine, and decided to give a gluten-free diet a try. Unfortunately, that didn’t do anything for me. Oh well, worth a try, right? Low and behold, I attend your nutrition certification and what do my astonished ears hear? ALL grains, not just wheat are culprits! From your course I learn that gluten is actually dusted on all kinds of crap you wouldn’t even imagine, even deli meat and beef jerky. Why?? Because gluten is a preservative (i.e., kills bacteria and prevents food spoilage)! Also, it’s a filler and part of everything from meats, sauces, soy products, supplements and gel caps… holy crap! Oh, wait! Beans be bad too, you say! And peanuts!!!!! Oh my beloved peanut butter; how I shall miss thee! Damn lectins!!!!!
Well, you impressed me enough with your research and breadth of information that I listened to everything you had to say. When I got home Saturday night after the cert, I had an insatiable desire to learn all that I could. I stayed up until 3 am, digging around on Google Scholar, looking for everything I could find. And the next day I began the diet you preached. Now here I am into it about 2 weeks (hell of a short time). Also, let me remind you and anyone else reading this, I had gone ketogenic about a month prior to the cert so I just went Paleo-keto and from there, everything has just kind of unfolded. I have been sleeping deep enough to dream consistently (a first in years… been rare since I first got sick) and have been getting up only two to three times a night. I have been PR-ing on everything I have been doing and have energy to spare. I dropped 7 lbs, roughly, and this could not have been water weight per the keto reference earlier (been there, done that a month prior) and have to have gained some muscle, because everything is just looking larger as well as more defined (I have no reference point on lean mass prior so any numbers rendered here would be just speculation. I will provide a pic if you want, as you saw me at the cert and even my face and arms have changed). I know this all may sound nuts to someone new to, or outside of, Paleo and Crossfit – BUT – I swear this is the truth and I will submit to testing, medical verification of my illness, whatever. This works and it has changed my life. Robb, from the bottom of my heart man, I thank you, and my clients thank you. This is the real deal!