HOW CROHN’S HAS SHAPED MY LIFE FOR THE BETTER
I’m Eli Brecher from @cerealandpeanutbutter . I’ve suffered with Crohn’s Disease since I was 8 years old and now at 23 i’m studying Human Nutrition at university, with a particular interest in eventually helping others manage their digestive health through their diet. While I do still take some medication, I have found that nutrition has played and continues to play a vital role in keeping me in remission, improving my symptoms during a flare-up.
It would be easy to dwell on the negatives of living with a chronic illness like crohn’s, specially when you know there is no currently cure. However, it did not take me long to realise that I would be stuck with this illness for the rest of my life, so the sooner I came to terms with it and established a positive state of mind, the easier things would become.
First of all, growing up with Crohn’s gave me a sense of independence and self-reliance, from organising prescriptions to scheduling appointments around my school timetable. I had to learn how to adapt to the constant and regular need for blood tests, along with annual scans – MRIs, colonoscopies, video capsule endoscopies and ultrasounds, just to name a few! The learning curve continued with making sure i never forgot to take my daily medication, learning how to inject myself, taking an array of supplements at given times and receiving iron infusions to support me through nutrient deficiencies and anaemia, all caused by Crohn’s. These challenging tasks have in fact lead me to realise just how competent and resilient I am as a person.
Furthermore, if it were not for my Crohn’s I would have never become so fascinated by nutrition and the intricacies of our digestive system. Having completed my first degree in French + Spanish, i went on to study my second 4-year degree in exactly that- human nutrition. It really has, truly, shaped my entire career path. I also, would never have developed such a strong passion for cooking and baking. Due to my multitude of intolerances, (specially as a child) I had to make my own gluten-free, dairy-free cakes if I wanted a treat. Let’s not forgot there were very few “free-from” options on the market 15 years ago!
These developed interests led me to create my Instagram page @cerealandpeanutbutter during my first year at university, when I began exploring the link between what I ate and how it made me feel. As I constantly searched for recipe inspiration, i realised i wanted a place to share my successful experiments in the kitchen (www.elibrecher.co.uk ) for others suffering from similar illnesses, noting down my favourite recipes and how to change them up to suit your dietary requirements. Through my blog, I have connected with like-minded individuals, worked with amazing brands and attended events alongside some of my biggest foodie inspirations like Deliciously Ella.
Despite being overwhelmed at times, I truly believe that every cloud has a silver lining and Crohn’s has been a blessing in disguise for me. It has led me to become completely in tune with my own body, discovering my passion for nutrition, and making sure i never take anything for granted in order to develop a true sense of gratitude for the simple little things in life.
Eli Brecher, University student