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I'm new to the Vega Community so I thought I'd introduce myself. I'm an elite cyclo-cross racer (spent the last four years racing in Europe and represented Canada at the 2010 World Cyclo-Cross Championships) and I have ulcerative colitis.
I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis two years ago and I've been through pretty much every medical option there is (besides having my colon removed). Last season I was on track for an excellent year of cyclo-cross racing when a missed case of severe anemia (Ferritin of 4) combined with a terrible ulcerative colitis flare that had me in the hospital for week - ended my racing season. I thought I had found the answer with a new medication, but have just been taken off this one because my white blood cell count has dropped to 3 and I have anemia again (not to mention the chest pains, hair falling out and joint paint). As you can guess, my training has been greatly reduced while my doctor tries to get me "normal" again.
Hence the interest in a vegan diet. I ordered Brendan's book The Thrive Diet last winter while propped up in a hospital bed in Belgium on Christmas Eve. At the time I was forced to eat melba toast and chicken broth for two weeks until finally my body could tolerate some food. After reading the Thrive Diet I did incorporate more meatless days into my eating routine but still believed that medicine was the answer for me. Now, after hearing Brendan talk on Wednesday and reading his latest book, I'm really starting to think that a vegan diet can help me with my ulcerative colitis symptoms and allow me to get the most out of my body.
I'm eager to switch to a full vegan diet and had planned to start tomorrow but after talking with my husband and a couple of friends, I've decided to wait another week or so before going fully vegan. Reason being is I need to determine if my white blood cell count numbers are rising due to the elimination of the medicine - if they normalize or stabilize then I can go on to the vegan diet for 30 days and see if this makes a difference in my blood count numbers (and helps eliminate the anemia and residual fatigue).
Anyway, I thought that some of you might have some suggestions or even just comments. I'm really eager to get back to full-time training since the cyclo-cross season starts in September and I'm starting to worry that I'm losing precious time.
Looking forward to learning lots from this vibrant community. Oh, I made the Buckwheat Sunflower Seed Pizza from Whole Foods To Thrive for supper last night - pretty darn good.
Read my book: An Unlikely Elite
Yes, I do write for Cyclocross Magazine. During the race season I write a rider diary. Do you race cyclo-cross as well?
I think the alkaline principles of vegan diet will help me reduce inflammation in my body - thereby helping to reduce inflammation in my colon (this is what causes ulcerative colitis flares).
Are you a vegan? How did you find the transition?