Growing up in an Italian family, I was surrounded by different types of cheeses, deli meats and desserts that I thought I could never live without. After being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2006 (an inflammation of the colon), I felt completely lost. The symptoms I experienced included abdominal cramps, bathroom urgencies, bloating and weight loss, just to name a few. For years I struggled to figure out what foods my body could tolerate, since everyone with colitis reacts differently. I spent over 5 years trying different medications and avoiding all types of salads, fruits and vegetables. My meals consisted mainly of rice, meat and bread since these were considered to be safe foods that would not cause any additional inflammation and ulcers. However, while eating these types of foods, my symptoms proceeded to get worse. In response, my doctor continued to prescribe stronger medications. After mostly unsuccessful diets and seeing little to no improvement, I decided to try something drastically different – something that many of my friends and family thought would not work. I slowly started incorporating organic green juices into my diet (juicing removed the fiber from the vegetables and allowed my body to quickly absorb nutrients). I was still concerned about how my body would respond to vegetables after avoiding them for so long; however, I noticed that juicing reduced some of my symptoms. Encouraged by the results from juicing, I continued to gradually introduce different vegetables and fruits. This is when I began to experience substantial improvement. This new way of eating finally allowed my body to start the healing process. Although I am still on some medications, with the help of my doctor, I hope to be able to reduce the dosage and eventually become medication free. I can still make a great Italian meal, but the cheeses and meats have been replaced with fresh vegetables and nut cheeses that can rival any classic dish. Check out some of my recipes! Raw Vegan Brownie Bites Banana, Almond Milk, Green Smoothie Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.