How I Started My Yeast Free Diet

At the age of five I started displaying symptoms of Crohn's disease.  I was in and out of the hospital several times with no diagnosis up until 3rd grade when it just seemed to go away.
In college, my symptoms started again and lasted for a few years, flaring every several months and then going into remission. I basically ignored them and just ate as little as possible when it flared to avoid the nastier symptoms.
In 2003, I was teaching middle school and became more and more sick until I almost passed out at work from my blood pressure dropping drastically from pain (and I thought at the time, loss of blood), and since I had health insurance and my mother was working for a gastroenterologist, I submitted myself to a battery of tests and was diagnosed with Crohn's disease and/or IBD.
I spent the next 7 years constantly sick.  I lost 80lbs over several months. I avoided eating at all if I knew I needed to leave the house. I stopped being social for fear I would need to eat.  I lost my job teaching and subsequent teaching jobs and went back to substitute teaching without health insurance.  The basic gist from the health department doctors I saw was, "Eh, we can't do anything, here is some lomotil... cope."  And so I just resigned to being sick for the rest of my life.

But alas, I'm not sick now.

My family is jewish, as many sufferers of Crohn's are. I don't really practice it, but I do take some sort of perverse pleasure in keeping the rules of Passover (that is cutting out all leavening and grains) each spring, and so,in 2010, I noticed that my symptoms went away completely during Passover. I knew it wasn't gluten because matzo (that big dry cracker bread) is made of wheat, and I ate about 3lbs of it during the week of Passover and still had no issues. So it had to be the leavening.  And so when Passover ended, I just didn't eat yeast anymore.  Well, no, I tried eating a sandwich to see what would happen and my body immediately rejected it, so... I haven't had bread since the day AFTER it ended in 2010.  And I started researching, as I do, because it comes naturally to me, and I started realizing how many things had yeast in them.  And so I cut them all out, every last one of them.

It took about 3 days for my intestines to heal and for every last bit of pain to go away.  Everything that defined my IBD, bleeding, frequency, pain, softness, it all went away.  Of course, the second I make a mistake and eat something with yeast without thinking (like that time I ate a caramel apple forgetting I couldn't have unpeeled fruit and suffered through a few days of bleeding ulcers and pain) my body lets me know.  But those times are few and far between and my quality of life has improved by about 75%.  It would be more if I could just order a yeast-free pizza whenever I wanted one, but alas, I'm no longer a prisoner of my disease. As of my last colonoscopy, my IBD is in complete remission, using diet only.

And then I thought, I'm not the only one suffering from this.  Maybe there are others this diet could help, so I began by telling one of my best friends, who has IBS, about it and she cut out all the yeast and lo and behold, in three days, her pain was gone. But what do you eat when you are a college student who doesn't really cook?
So I began writing and adapting easy recipes that are yeast free, replacements for breads and bread-based meals (like pizza), and lists of resources containing foods, convenience products, and fast foods that are safe for sufferers of IBS, IBD (Crohn's, Colitis) and people who, for whatever reason, wish to avoid yeast.  My plan is to compile them into a cookbook, but in the meantime, I want to share my recipes and experiences with other sufferers who might be able to find some relief when they need it most.