Since my garden is starting to produce, I have felt more empowered to eat healthy. It is kind of a no-brainier that growing your own food is rewarding, cheaper than buying, and it also gives you a good workout (like try turning over a garden bed and weeding, for some arm-toning work!). I found this video recently in my research, that is excellent, and I am very interested in the Japanese study cited by Dr. Michael Gerger (I checked out his other videos, too, on http://wwwnuitritionalfacts.org.) about becoming a vegetarian, and the benefits for those of us with IBD. Exciting results….and being a partial vegetarian isn’t that bad . . . Read on!

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Decrease Inflammation through Diet and Lifestyle Canges
Likewise, dietary goals to help us cope with Inflammatory Bowel Disease are always on my mind since I wrote the book with Dr. Black. I want to share with you some of the recent changes in my diet, and how it is helping quiet my gut and make me feel better and more energized.

No Red Meat
First thing: don’t eat hamburgers! I LOVE them, and can add them to the list of foods I gave up, and miss a lot (in case you are wondering: pizza, bagels, and a grilled burger with melted cheddar cheese…..).

Rather than feeling sorry for myself, while my husband grills his burger, I switched to Amy’s (TM) brown Rice crust pizza, rice cakes instead of bagels, and Gardenburgers (TM) instead of hamburgers (on the grill with some low-fat cheese and topped with a slice of Spelt bread).

Lighten Your Dairy Load
Switch to yogurt! In Breaking the Vicious Cycle, Elaine Gottshalk recommends making your own yogurt, but if you can’t, you can buy a high quality brand, like Stonyfield Farm 0Fat yogurt, and switch to lowest fat cheese, like Feta, pecorino Romano, part-skim and aged cheese, for just a few examples. There are some great lactose-free products on the market. Here’s a good article from Everyday Health to support this.

Now What Do You Eat?
Call me crazy, but I love this question! No wheat, no red meat, (note that I am able to digest dairy pretty well), and limited dairy….INCREASE fruits and vegetables. This is the plan! And the garden—wow!—my little 3 x 10 foot raised beds are producing like crazy now. (See attached photos of my two humble raised beds, packed with yummy veggies and flowers you can eat and also to keep pests away.)

Even our First Lady, Michelle Obama, is into the family’s vegetable garden—there is even a new book out about it, with recipes (I found a very funny review in The Daily Beast!).

And, it isn’t that hard to do—all you need is to add some good organic composted soil mix, and some starter plants like tomatoes, basil, lettuce, kale, broccoli, scallions, and Brussels sprouts, maybe some snap peas and cucumbers, and, voila! You have a garden!

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What can we do going forward?
Grown your own food, and commute to work via metro, bus, or carpool; or better yet, ride your bicycle or walk. Rather than sitting around complaining about how hot it is, try riding your bike or walking in the early morning, before the heat gets oppressive, have your shades drawn during the day to keep your house from overheating, etc. Start small, and you will feel like you ARE making a difference. This summer, it is hot, dry, humid, and there are countless areas in the world showing record-setting droughts, heat waves, etc. With environmental activist, Bill McKibben sounding the alarm, (see this excellent article in the Guardian), people are starting to listen. The whole Eastern seaboard of the United States is at risk from tropical storms and rising sea levels, in just “one” example of how burning fossil fuel is contributing to the heating up of our planet.

We must adapt environmentally, as well as health-wise: inflammation being the byproduct of idiopathic (no known cause, no known cure) diseases like Crohn’s, colitis, IBS, etc.

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