This is Part #1 of a multi-part series on healing and managing severe GI diseases with diet. Please keep in mind that every person is different and I am sharing MY unique experiences. I am not a doctor or healthcare practitioner and I cannot diagnose/treat anyone.
Today’s post isn’t only applicable to those of us suffering with severe digestive disorders such as gastroparesis, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, constiation, IBD, etc., this information is useful for all people who want to give their digestive system a rest/reset in order to achieve better health. But, for those who are suffering I pray this information would provide you with HOPE that healing CAN happen, things WILL get better, God is holding you in HIS hands, and there ARE solutions that HELP beyond pharmaceutical drugs or invasive surgeries.
If you’re new to this site, Hi I’m Mallory. I’ve written countless detailed posts telling my story over the last five years, you can read some here here and here. In fact, I encourage you to browse this site which has been my journal through the valley and the mountain tops. Why am I qualified to write this blog on treating and managing digestive disorders?
Well, here’s a quick run down on me:
In summary, I was diagnosed with a pancreatic tumor in 2013 at the age of 20. I had to immediately withdraw from college, close out my life and head into the storm. I had a Whipple surgery to remove the cancer along with half my pancreas, my gallbladder, pieces of my duodenum, intestines, stomach, and lymph nodes. It is a brutal, torturous surgery with a very long recovery. 6 weeks into recovery I developed pancreatitis for the first time, thought to be a surgical complication. This sickness never went away; I would briefly get better before my pancreas erupted all over again. The only way to treat this horrific disease is through pain meds, IV fluids, and keeping a patient NPO in the hospital. NPO means you have nothing to eat or drink by mouth for a period of 24 hours – several days.
After multiple hospital admissions, my pancreas continued to worse. Therefore I was eventually put on a 24/7 feeding tube, anchored deep in my intestine bypassing my stomach, as my sole source of nutrition. I consumed small amounts of clear liquids during this time but DID NOT EAT A SINGLE BITE OF FOOD FOR 300+ consecutive days. Healing was not happening. I was fighting for my life and dying very slowly, very painfully. I was a 21 year old who was practically bedridden, unable to do anything other than hope and pray that the next day would bring miracles.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and I had to make the difficult yet life-saving decision to go through another brutal surgery to remove the remainder of my diseased pancreas along with my spleen and have an auto islet cell transplant (you can read about the surgery and recovery here.)
Things definitely got worse before they got better and though I was now “able” eat again, my body had completely forgotten how to eat and digest. My entire GI tract had be cut into, rearranged, partially removed, and sewn back together. Anatomically I am like Frankenstein at this point. Also, because of the extended amount of time that I spent on total digestive rest, I developed gastroparesis, bowel dysmotility, and chronic constipation along with a myriad of other residual damage from having a sick pancreas.
I continued to dramatically lose weight, getting down to 85 pounds although im 5’7.5″ with an athletic body type. At one point I had lost over 50 pounds from my starting weight which was lean and muscular. Through most of the last 4 years post-op, I’ve been slowly fighting to recover and discover life again…a new life in this new body.
I’ve tried everything for healing and over and over again God has led me to the power of healing with HIS natural, perfect foods. But how could I do that? I spent 2.5 years struggling to consume 700 calories a day at most… I lived on broth, then vegetables pureed into soup when I regained enough strength to make them, steamed veggies cooked down to mush, some crackers/veggie chips… then I added in things like avocado and nut butters for fat and protein. Although dairy made me feel awful I would eat bits of things like greek yogurt and kefir with occasional ice cream (that I threw up the majority of the time) because I thought they would help me.
I had surgery to get my gastric pacemaker in December 2016, which was key to helping me not throw up all the time, and to helping just enough that I could consume a greater quantity of food.
The Lord continued to show me through research, studies, testimonies, documentaries, and eventually, youtube channels, the amazing healing power that he placed in fruits, vegetables, and herbs, I was already about 95% vegan, so making the transition to fully plant based was not tough. I knew I needed to cut out oils, cut down on the slow digesting fats, and focus on whole plant foods. I’ve performed many experiments and seen small changes but it was not until I started using juice and fruit as my medicine that I saw HUGE changes in my healing and daily quality of life. I adopted a fully raw vegan diet for healing last summer and after 3 months decided to add back in a few cooked foods. Now, I eat a happy mix of raw and light cooked foods such as steamed veggies, potatoes, sometimes beans, rice.
I have to eat VERY simply on a daily basis and I still struggle quite a bit with 24/7 nausea, pain, inability to eat, major bloating, constipation, and being able to eat everyday/consistently. However I am better able to manage my symptoms and live a better quality of life because I am completely dedicated to making the best dietary choices for my system.
In this series I will cover different approaches I have tried and found success with in treating and managing my disease, today I am sharing the beauty of healing through JUICING, MONO MEALS, and FRUIT. Below are some of the BEST dietary choices and changes you can make to TRULY, successfully help in the treatment and management of digestive issues;
1. CELERY JUICE EVERY MORNING ON AN EMPTY STOMACH.
I get a lot of weird looks & comments when I rave about celery juice as my #1 medicine for overall health but especially for my belly… but, it’s truly amazing that something so simple can do so much! I first discovered this information while reading “Self-Healing Crohn’s and Colitis” by David Kleine (highly recommend for all digestive ailments) and then stumbled upon this information from the original source, Anthony William, the Medical Medium (highly recommend alll his info.) So here’s the deal…
“Celery is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods, because it starves unproductive bacteria, yeast, mold, fungus, and viruses that are present in the body and flushes their toxins and debris out of the intestinal tract and liver… at the same time, celery helps good bacteria thrive.
Consuming celery is the most powerful way to alkalize the gut. That’s in part because celery (which is technically an herb, not a vegetable) is high in bioactive sodium. It also contains cofactor micro trace mineral salts as yet undiscovered in research. These are varieties of sodium and other trace minerals (more than 60 of them) that are present in celery and work symbiotically and systematically with each other and with celery’s regular sodium to raise your body’s pH and rid toxic acids from every crevice of your body, including your gut. This process is ideal to cleanse and repair intestinal linings.
At the same time, celery offers enzymes and coenzymes, and it raises hydrochloric acid in the stomach so that food digests with ease and doesn’t putrefy. This helps prevent a multitude of gastrointestinal disorders. Adding celery juice to your diet is the best way to resolve ammonia permeability, an unrecognized condition in which ammonia gas seeps through the intestinal lining and causes health issues such as dental rot and brain fog.” Read more here.
Celery juice can be made in a juicer or a blender… if you are blending it please follow these instructions –> here. If you blend it you must also STRAIN it to leave behind that extra fiber and keep the juice. Drinking fresh pressed green juices, fruit/veggie juices, is like giving your body an IV. Your body CAN absorb those nutrients and it goes to work immediately repairing, reviving, restoring, and building up your body without any of the digestive work. Juicing has become a life line for me. I drink 1-2 liters of my juice everyday, celery makes up the majority of that. I spend many days juice fasting because my body is overworked, tired and forcing it to attempt digestion would only hurt me more. I do replace meals with juices and yes I have still gained necessary weight. Juices are the most healing, cleansing amazing drink!
Drink your celery juice on an empty stomach, before eating anything, and wait at least 20 minutes until eating anything (if you have GP you may need to wait an hour or longer). If you’re at the point of throwing up everything, or barely being able to drink, just start with a few ounces and sip it over a longer period of time. The detox from this juice may hit you hard with nausea, abdominal pain, headache, or flushing and it may send you running to the bathroom. Do not panic. Detox is good thing! (Just make sure you aren’t forcing yourself into more detox than you can realistically handle.) For me, celery juice played a big role in allowing me to come off the multiple laxatives I was having to take dangerous doses of everyday, for years. Drinking 16 ounces each morning is ideal. I had to work my way up to that and many times I need double that amount now.
Please make sure you actually follow these instructions to drink it alone and wait to eat. If I don’t consume it at the right time, the right way, it definitely does not help me as much. If you have a sensitive digestive system food combining does make a big difference.
If the taste of plain celery is too unappealing for you, juice a little apple and/or lemon along with it. Over time, reduce the amount of apple/lemon until you are down to just celery because it will be the most beneficial.
However, drinking ANY green juice is highly encouraged. I do 1-3 day juice fasts regularly, as my body simply cannot eat and digest everyday. Some great healing juices are: cucumber juice, celery-cucumber-apple, celery-apple-kale-lemon, pineapple-kale-celery, and the list goes on. JUICE is effective medicine!!
2. MONO MEALS ARE KEY.
Before becoming a “Fruitarian” last year, I had never heard of a mono meal… but OMG they are my best friend. A mono meal means your meal is only made up of one type of food. That may sound bizarre at first, yet it makes so much sense and is so easy on the body. Digestion requires the majority of our body’s energy especially when we are eating heavy, complex foods with multiple ingredients and foods that are NOT nourishing for our bodies. When we eat mono meals, the body only has to focus on breaking down one component, thus, all that extra energy that would normally go towards digestion can be used for healing other areas of the body. Think about it… if you spend all day working in your kitchen will the rest of your house ever get cleaned? NO! If we continue to weigh our bodies down with bad or heavy foods (especially things like dairy, meat, oils, processed junk, pizza, fast food, sodas, alcohol, processed sugar) we are only hurting ourselves. Especially if you have GP, your body is already VERY slow with digestion. We need to focus on foods that are quick/gentle to digest…
What are the right foods for a mono meal?
3. FOCUS ON THE RIPE, JUICY FRUITS.
The right foods for mono meals are FRUITS!!! For people who are sick with anything or even who aren’t, fruit mono meals can change your life. Melons are some of the best healing fruits and easiest to digest. Melons (all kinds- watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe) are very high in their water content, thus they are somewhat pre-digested and require very little work for us to breakdown. They are also like giving yourself a high nutrient IV! Just make sure your melons are ripe. Give them time on your counter at home to ripen (you can look up ways to know when they are ready.) Eating non-ripe fruit does NOT taste delicious and sweet like properly ripened fruit and it also can put a strain on your digestion because the sugars are not properly broken down yet.
If you cannot handle eating the solid fruit (I was in that stage for a very long time) try blending putting your fruit in the blender, then blend smooth and sip on the mixture or eat little bits with a spoon. Fruit is so water rich you wont need to add any liquid to get it blending.
Tip: mangos become like a luscious pudding when blended 🙂
Other great fruits for mono meals are ripe papayas, grapes, oranges, ripe mangos, and ripe bananas (this means they have spots, the stem is NOT green and they are easy to peel) can especially help with digestive issues. Personally, I feel MUCH better with bananas when I freeze them ripe then blend with a little water to make “ice cream.” It is absolutely delicious and amazing for GI issues.
Seriously, try having a few days or even just one, where you consume only celery/green juices and mono fruit meals… there are no limits on the amount of food! Eat often, as your body needs/can handle, and focus on nourishment. I eat mono meals most days. The days I feel best are when I have my juice, followed by grazing on one type of fruit throughout the day.
Example: I drink 24 ounces of celery juice, wait a while, cut open a watermelon, eat a little bit at a time, eating only melon and continuing to sip green juice until dinner time when I am ready to handle some heavier food like steamed veggies or easy to digest raw veg like tomatoes, cucumbers, and romaine.
Why do we need the greens in combo with fruit? Greens will help keep your glucose levels beautifully balanced with when eaten with fruit. What works best for me is to drink my celery juice a little bit before a mono meal OR I will blend my fruit with 1 teaspoon of a greens powder like Hawaiian Spirulina or Barley Grass Juice Powder.
Remember I have NO pancreas but had a islet cell transplant that allows my body to still make insulin… this could stop anytime and all of those cells will die eventually, so when that happens I will be 100% insulin dependent. Therefore, I carefully check and monitor my blood sugars and treat my diet like a diabetic. To understand HOW and WHY fruit actually helps diabetics, read more here.
3. FOOD COMBINING MATTERS.
For those who aren’t suffering digestive ailments, food combining doesn’t really matter and improper food combinations may not cause discomfort. But, for those of us struggling with constant nausea, pain, poor digestion and absorption FOOD COMBINING MATTERS.
There is a right and wrong way to eat fruit for your digestion. First.. eat your fruit RIPE which means after you bring it home from the store it probably needs a few-several days to continue ripening on your counter.
Next, take a second to consider that raw fruit and veggies, are primarily made up of water. This is great for our bodies! While cooked foods, though still nourishing, are largely void of water and quite dense. Foods like meat, eggs, cheeses, oils, grains are all heavy and dehydrating. What do you think would happen if you ate a sandwich then followed it up with a side of watermelon? Well, that fruit is mostly water and will go to work breaking down immediately while the sandwich will take several hours (or if you have gastroparesis several days!) to move through and break down. That melon will begin to ferment on top of the heavier food, causing mega discomfort, bloating, gas and pain.
We want to focus on eating our quickest digesting foods FIRST, before consuming the heavier, slower to digest foods. So if you are eating a sandwich and want fruit as your side eat the fruit entirely, FIRST, give yourself a few minutes, then proceed to the heavier foods.
It is important to eat raw foods BEFORE cooked foods. It is most important to eat fruits alone or only in combination with raw veggies. Greens always digest well with fruit. But meat doesn’t… cooked veggies do not… potatoes and fruit are a no…fruit and fats are a tough combo for GI disorders…. packaged, processed foods and fruit are also a bad idea.
Also, not all fruits are meant to be eaten with each other. More on that in #4.
Once I’ve eaten a meal with cooked food I am done with fruit for the day, unless I have it in a green juice or I wait several hours later in the day. Even then, my digestion is too slow to eat fruit and I make my symptoms worse. I know this sounds like a hard rule to follow but it may not be one you need forever. Everyone is different, still it is critical to follow this while you are going through healing phases and flairs. It does make a HUGE difference.
There are many people who said they could not eat fruit because it hurt their stomach worse than other food. But once they began eating RIPE fruit (not partially green bananas) and following food combining principles, it was a game changer and fruit became a healing food!
Here are some charts to help you understand:
4. Eat melons by themselves on an empty stomach; know which fruits combine well and which ones do not.
Melons are designed for mono meals on an empty stomach. If you are planning to eat melon make sure you have not eaten other food before hand (liquids like water and juices are safe!) Melons are the fastest digesting of all foods because they are technically pre-digested before we ever put them in our mouths. Even eating melons in combination with heavier fruits, or as a snack later in the day after you’ve had other foods, can cause a great deal of discomfort and irritation. Melons are amazing for healing- just make sure you eat them on an empty stomach as a mono meal.
Melon fruits include but are not limited to: watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, and canary melon.
There are three remaining categories of fruits. Acid, sub-acid and sweet. See the chart A above for an easy to understand visual.
*Acid fruits include but are not limited to: pineapple, tomato, orange, tangerine, lemon, lime, grapefruit, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
**Acid fruits can be safely combined with sub-acid fruits and leafy greens/neutral foods.
*Sub-acid fruits include but are not limited to: mango, pears, apple, peach, plum, cherries, blueberries, and grapes.
**Sub-acid fruits can be safely combined with acid fruits and sweet fruits and leafy greens/neutral foods.
*Sweet fruits include but are not limited to: banana, papaya, date, fig persimmon, and dried fruit.
**Sweet fruits can be safely combined with sub-acid fruits and leafy greens/neutral foods.
*Neutral foods include but are not limited to: celery, cucumber, lettuces (romaine, iceberg, spinach, butter leaf, green leaf, etc), and herbs.
Confused yet?! Okay, I know this is a lot of information but it is extremely important and beneficial. I encourage you to screen shot these charts or look up some more on your own and study these principles. They are easy to understand once you spend a little time learning!
3,000 words later and I think it’s time to wrap up PART 1 of this “Digestive Healing” series. I hope and pray this blog finds its way to those who need it and provides practical, useful help. In PART 2 I will expand on this knowledge, adding in meal plan ideas and starting points for those who are more seriously ill and limited. I was there for a long time and greatly wished there had been someone to help steer me in the right direction! I hope to be that person for you. And if needed, I will follow up with a PART 3 to answer your questions. So, please, don’t be shy! I am always happy to answer your questions and comments. You can comment down below or on the shared Facebook links and Instagram posts, or feel free to contact me here.
Until next time, may the Lord bless you and keep you! Happy fruit eating my friends!