About IBD Podcast Episode 127 - The Plant-Based Crohn’s and Colitis Cookbook With Helena Murphy

About IBD Podcast Episode 127 – The Plant-Based Crohn’s and Colitis Cookbook

For years we were told that diet doesn’t matter in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). We know now that diet is important in IBD. What’s still not clear is how we should be thinking about it in terms of management. Helena Murphy is a photographer, yoga teacher, and Crohn’s disease patient who brought her skills and experience to writing a book entitled, “The Plant-Based Crohn’s and Colitis Cookbook.” She shares her secret to publishing her book, as well as how her life has changed since being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

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Amber Tresca  00:00

Hi. I’m Amber Tresca. And this is about IBD. I’m a medical writer and patient educator who lives with a J pouch due to all sorts of colitis. It’s my mission to educate people living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, about their disease, and to bring awareness to the patient journey.

Amber Tresca  00:20

Welcome to Episode 127.

Amber Tresca  00:23

For years, we were told that diet doesn’t matter in IBD. We know now that diet is important in IBD. What’s still not clear though, is how we should be thinking about it in terms of management, though, as I’m sure you know, there are lots of opinions. While diet continues to be under study. Those of us who live with an IBD and especially those of us that are post surgery, are figuring it out day by day.

Amber Tresca  00:48

My guest is Helena Murphy. Helena is a photographer and yoga teacher and his brought her skills and experience for writing a book entitled, The plant based Crohn’s and Colitis cookbook. Helena was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease relatively recently, she learned how to manage her IBD while integrating it into her life, which includes a plant based diet, a love of yoga, and a thriving photography career.

Amber Tresca  01:13

She shares her secrets to publishing her book, as well as how her life has changed since being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

Amber Tresca  01:24

Helena, welcome to About IBD.

Helena Murphy  01:27

Thank you so much for having me. Amber. I’m really excited to be here.

Amber Tresca  01:30

Oh, I’m so excited to talk to you. You’re doing such great work. And I want to hear all about it. I want to get you to introduce yourself a little bit. I know you’re a photographer, of course. And now you are an author. Would you also tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Helena Murphy  01:44

Yeah, of course. So I started my creative business journey in 2018. Prior to that time, I had been working in kind of big corporate jobs in London, in the UK, where I’m based, and I’ve been working in sort of like content and editorial, and I just decided I really wanted to march to the beat of my own drum.

Helena Murphy  01:44

So I left that world and started my own creative business, the first year was very much pulling out all of these different threads to see what kind of piqued my interest the most. So because I’d been in content and editorial, that’s pretty much where I started, I was doing blog posts and social media, I was also training to be a yoga teacher on the side. So we’ve been doing that for one weekend, every year. And at that time, I started teaching as well. So I added that to my bow.

Helena Murphy  02:37

But after a year, it was too many things, it was very complicated and hard to stay on top of. So I kind of let all the threads of it fall away. And I ended up just sticking with commercial photography, which is what I was really leaning in towards it what it was what felt the most aligned and teaching yoga as well on the side. And yet we’re in 2022. And I’m still doing those two things is like my primary kind of business journey. So commercial photography, food and products and guiding yoga a couple of times a week in Bristol, which is where I live now.

Amber Tresca  03:09

It’s amazing. So much to get to because we have so much going on. But the first thing that I want to start with is your diagnosis journey. I wonder if you would tell me a little bit about when your symptoms started, what it was like to get diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and how that has all come into your life?

Helena Murphy  03:27

Of course. So we moved from London to Bristol in 2020. So it was just a couple of weeks actually before the COVID 19 pandemic shut everything down for us here in the UK. And I started getting my symptoms in that summer. At first I just wasn’t really sure what was going on it it was kind of a slow creep I noticed diarrhea, just explosive diarrhea, with anyone with Crohn’s or colitis will be familiar with.

Amber Tresca  03:57

There’s no other word for it, right? There’s just explosive…

Helena Murphy  04:01

I was like what is going on. But there was no one in my family who had a history of Crohn’s or colitis at that time. I actually had no idea what it was. I’d never heard of it. It’s a disease that I’m not sure about in your life hammer, but no one really speaks about very publicly here in the UK.

Helena Murphy  04:18

And I’m not sure if it’s like an embarrassment thing because it is like bought like intimate bodily functions. I guess. Not many people feel comfortable going around saying I have this really explosive diarrhea.

Helena Murphy  04:27

But anyway, that’s what is happening. So I started seeing if I could cut out caffeine, I was like, oh, maybe I’m allergic to caffeine, like that’s a laxative. That seems like a sensible place to start. That didn’t really help. I started thinking maybe I need some probiotics, you know, all this kind of self diagnosis stuff. I was like, I’ll just get these like women’s health pills. Just started taking those that didn’t help obviously.

Helena Murphy  04:51

And then eventually my mum got wind of it. And I have to say she’s the fiercest advocate for my health and she actually works within the NHS in In England, our health service or health system, and she was like, No, you need to get some blood tests done and see what’s going on here. Because to have this level of consistent diarrhea for such a long period of time, something’s wrong with you.

Helena Murphy  05:13

But I don’t know about you like at the beginning, you’re like, No, nothing’s wrong. Like, it’s fine. I don’t want to take up people’s time. I’m exaggerating, like, nothing. Nothing’s that wrong.

Amber Tresca  05:21

Is it really that bad?

Helena Murphy  05:23

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Like, I can live with this. It’s okay. But anyway, so I had these blood tests done, thanks to my mom being really like, fierce that I needed to have them done. And they showed crazy levels of inflammation.

Helena Murphy  05:35

So they referred me to my gastroenterologist, and I was booked for a top and tail. So my endoscopy and my colonoscopy, which was delightful. Yeah, they very good, very quickly established that I had Crohn’s disease.

Amber Tresca  05:51

I love the top and tail. I’m going to start using that.

Helena Murphy  05:53

Yeah, that’s what they referred in the hospital. And they said, we’re booking you in for Top and Tail, I was like, oh, that sounds interesting. So yeah, I received my diagnosis pretty quickly.

Helena Murphy  06:05

And I have to say, I’m very grateful, because I know that a lot of people in our community have undiagnosed pain and stress and worry for years and years before they receive a diagnosis. And mine was within like, six to eight months. And then I can start my process of medication. So I got that diagnosis in January 2021. So yeah, like six months after I’d started getting symptoms very quick.

Amber Tresca  06:27

Right, right. I don’t know. It’s, it’s, it’s quick, on the scale of the IBD patients, I would say, as a whole, like the community of IBD patients. But I still feel like that’s a long time. Right? You were having explosive diarrhea. Was there anything else? Were you I know, when I had those symptoms? Like I was just losing weight hand over fist, and I was exhausted? Did you have anything like that, too?

Helena Murphy  06:50

Yeah, I had the exhaustion for sure. And again, I just kept chalking it up to just having off days. So like, there would be some days where I just felt really exhausted. And, and yeah, I’m a yoga teacher. So I would sort of be dragging myself to go teach or dragging myself to class. And I’m just being like, that was really hard today.

Helena Murphy  07:08

And like, I have no idea why. And then, in my head, I’d be like, Well, maybe if I go to yoga, I’ll feel better, which is a logical thing to think. But obviously, when you don’t know that you’re extremely deficient in x, y, and Zed and you have malabsorption issues, then it puts it into a whole new light in hindsight.

Amber Tresca  07:24

Yeah, I don’t. I mean, I wish we could yoga our way out of it. But I don’t think we could do that.

Helena Murphy  07:31

Unfortunately, not no.

Amber Tresca  07:33

Yeah. So let’s get right to your book, because there’s a lot to talk about there. So the title is the plant based Crohn’s and Colitis cookbook. I so I know lots of people who’ve written cookbooks, but you’re the first cookbook author I’m having on About IBD. So as a writer myself, I’m interested to know, and this is a big question, but what was the process of writing this book like for you?

Helena Murphy  07:59

Okay, great question. So the idea really landed in my head. And I don’t know if you’ve read or if anyone in your audience has read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert’s?

Amber Tresca  08:09

No, I have no.

Helena Murphy  08:11

Okay, so she has this idea about, like ideas. And she feels like they’re kind of floating around the universe. And they’re looking for like a human counterpart to team up with and to make them a reality. And this idea will only knock on your door for a limited time, and you have to open the door. Or if you keep the door closed, it’s going to go on and find someone else.

Helena Murphy  08:30

So it really did feel like that maybe that sounds a little woowoo. But it did it really felt like that. So it landed in my head. And I was like, Well, I’m a food photographer, I have Crohn’s disease, I was in remission at this point. So I felt well enough to do it. I was like, my partner is a graphic designer who has put the book together for me, and his mother is a nutritionist. And I just thought, we’ve got this whole sort of family set up, which is like perfect for writing this cookbook, because that’s how the idea landed with me.

Helena Murphy  09:00

And I did briefly consider should I go through the traditional route of pitching to get the book published by a traditional publishing house, or I could Self Publish. And I’ve self published before my partner and I used to run a vegan coffee table magazine in 2017 18. And I think 19 were published for issues. So I’d had experience of, of what that process would be like.

Helena Murphy  09:24

So I knew what I was letting myself in for I knew kind of all the different stages I would have to go through to get it from idea to finish product. So it didn’t feel too overwhelming. And there was also the part as well that with a traditional publishing house, I was aware that you have to sign over a lot of your control about sort of editorial decisions or image decisions.

Helena Murphy  09:45

And because this cookbook has been born as such a personal journey, I really didn’t want someone who has no experience with living with Crohn’s or colitis, to be telling me you have to change x change y you know, that kind of thing. So I And I also just wanted to crack on and just do it. So self publishing was was the route that I chose for, for those reasons. And I pretty much just put together, put together a plan using my calendar and using Google Drive really nothing like too fancy. And started like working backwards.

Helena Murphy  10:18

So I was like this is when I want it to come out, what do I need to do working backwards to, to have everything ready and to kind of get to that point. So all self imposed deadlines that I would just put into my calendar throughout the year, I started in April of this year. And I’m just finishing now. So it’s taken about nine months or so eight or nine months. And that’s sort of like juggling my, my day job with with the cookbook. So it’s been a labor of love, but it’s been very fun.

Amber Tresca  10:47

Yeah, I think to do something like this, you do have to love it. But I love how you went about it in a very systematic way. You were you were not woo about it. But one of the things that I always wonder about cookbooks is deciding upon the recipes. So this is a plant based book, it is for people that live with an IBD. So I imagine you had a set of things that you had to make sure that a recipe would fit in the style of of this book. What was that? Like?

Helena Murphy  11:15

Yeah, for sure. So recipe, putting together the recipes was based on obviously my lived experience of having mild flare, really severe flare to the point where I couldn’t eat basically any solid foods. So I draw on a lot of lived experience of, you know, eating a crumpet and feeling like I was gonna die and all of those kinds of things. But also bearing in mind that it’s such an individual disease, isn’t it? Like we all have such different trigger foods.

Helena Murphy  11:46

So the criteria for the recipes, there’s like no, obviously no spicy recipes, or not adding any jalapenos, or Chili’s or hot sauce or anything. Everything is very cooked. So no raw vegetables, or have a salad section, but it’s all like cooked salads. I want this to be as helpful as possible for people obviously, who are just like, What do I eat when they get their diagnosis or, you know, maybe have suffered? We have it for life. So you know, there’s no end point to this journey. So yeah, all really cooked vegetables, lots of substitution ideas.

Helena Murphy  12:20

So I’ve got like a table of kind of like handy swaps. So because you know, I might be fine with aubergine, but then maybe somebody else isn’t or eggplant, sorry. Yeah. I think it’s like the one vegetable where it’s like a different one. Yeah, so this handy table of like swaps, so that when people look through the, through the cookbook, if they want to put together one of the recipes, and they think, Oh, I can’t have carrots, they can flip to the table I put together and think oh, so what else could I use instead of carrots, so that was quite like an important component for me.

Helena Murphy  12:55

And then also, like a blender, and a food processor is 100% necessary for all of the work for the majority of the recipes in the cookbook, because we want everything to be as easy as possible to digest and starting that digestion process before the food is even hit your mouth is really key. So there’s a lot of soups, there’s a lot of stews, there’s a lot of like dips and sauces.

Helena Murphy  13:17

So really just ways of making sure that people can get that sort of punch of nutrition, their fiber, their protein, but all in a really easily digestible and accessible way. So that was kind of my criteria. Alongside just incorporating as wide a variety of fruit and veg as possible to kind of cover the fact that like lots of people have lots of different triggers.

Amber Tresca  13:39

It sounds like it goes beyond just cookbook, though. It’s not just a beautiful book of recipes that you follow. It’s really more of a plan and a how to you’re teaching people. Not only that, can they make this recipe, but then how can they change the recipe to suit their own needs? Which I think I don’t know, I think it goes beyond cookbook, really, you know?

Helena Murphy  14:03

Yeah, I really hope so. I really want it to just be as informative and useful as possible. And I’ve also put together like a whole opening chapter on diet in relation to IBD. Just so that, you know, it’s just it’s really overwhelming when you received diagnosis or or even after To be honest, or when something changes or your medication stops working and you have to switch is always changing this What can I tolerate?

Helena Murphy  14:28

And I think it’s important to know as much as possible. And and obviously, I’m not a registered dietitian, I’m patient of IBD just like everyone else. So I think it’s always really important to check your sources, including me, you know, I’m not I don’t pretend to have you know, dietitian qualifications.

Helena Murphy  14:44

But I have done as much research as possible to make this as useful as possible. And I have this introductory chapter which just kind of outlines what happens in the digestion process or you know, because I mean, I probably learned that at school, but I mean, who’s remembering that like 20 years later So, so kind of recaps this.

Helena Murphy  15:02

And it also talks about fiber. And it talks about meat and animal protein because it is a plant based cookbook. And it talks about Ultra processed foods. And they’re sort of positioning in relation to IBD. But I would also say that I want to signpost, people to Dr. Alan Desmond, who I leaned on quite heavily in putting together the nutrition information. He’s a gastroenterologist in the UK based in Devon.

Helena Murphy  15:29

So he shares a lot of really valuable resources that if people are interested in learning more about it from someone who is actually in the medical profession, he’s a great person to live to.

Amber Tresca  15:40

I love that. I love evidence based things. So check your sources, you had a great team around you, you’re self publishing, but you you really did have everything in place. And yourself, you’re a double threat. You’re, you’re the author, you’re the photographer. But even so, this is a difficult thing to do for anyone, really.

Amber Tresca  16:03

But it’s also a challenge for someone who is working their way through a new diagnosis. You’re you’re diagnosed not long ago, what would you say to anybody else who has that passion that found them, they hear that knocking? They want to open that door? They want to write a similar book or take on a similar project? What would you say to someone to inspire them to do it?

Helena Murphy  16:27

Yeah, I was, I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone to the thing with self publishing is that it’s such a great leveler. Like beforehand, there are all these gatekeepers of who can, you know, whose idea is valid, and you know, who is worthy of producing a piece of content, but now is with things like Amazon self publishing, or there are a couple of other platforms as well, anyone like you or me can create content and put it out there, if you feel like you have a message that is worthy of sharing, which I love. I love this sort of democratization of that, that process.

Helena Murphy  17:00

And I’d say just start, start with a plan, you can look at the big picture, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed, but kind of breaking it down into smaller actionable steps and have people around you who are encouraging and supportive like really takes a village, I definitely couldn’t have put together this cookbook without, you know, encouragement and support from like friends and family. So just leaning on those people and taking things one step at a time with a clear plan to keep you nice and focused.

Amber Tresca  17:48

It’s also not easy to have a full time job. And also, you’re in a creative field. And then you decided to start to tell the story of your diagnosis. I want to know what it was like for you to click publish on those first posts that you were making, discussing your Crohn’s disease, what kind of emotions did you have around that?

Helena Murphy  18:14

Yeah, that’s really interesting. And I can look at it, I guess now, with a little bit of hindsight, now that I’m, I’m in remission, and I’m feeling good. I think the thing with invisible illnesses is they’re quite challenging, because it’s only the people who are intimately involved in your day to day life, you can really see the impact that it’s had, especially when you’re in a really bad place.

Helena Murphy  18:36

So when I was in my, my kind of worst flare, and really did lose all semblance of my normal life, I would just move from my bed to the sofa. And back for months, I just had no energy I was just sleeping for most of the day shaking with cold and my weight went down to like six stone 12 pounds or something. And yeah, it’s only the people who are sort of like in your immediate vicinity who can understand just how devastating it can be.

Helena Murphy  19:04

And it’s it’s not just the symptoms that you experienced at that time. But it’s also that worry of like we don’t know, when the medication is going to start working or when any roadblocks or delays might have cleared for us to get access to the next medication. So it you know, you’re in this position that feels really vulnerable. And you’re thinking, Well, is it going to be three months that I feel better? Is it going to be six months? Is it going to be a year? Is it going to get worse? I know that the statistic is is really high? It’s I think it’s something like everyone who’s diagnosed with IBD has like a 50% chance of at some point having surgery in the future.

Helena Murphy  19:43

So it’s also a bit like is this particular flare going to lead to surgery? Like there’s all these things in the back of your mind that you that you just are worried about? And yeah, from the outside, you still look really normal and fine. So it can be really challenging for other people to understand just quite how While you are. So for me, that was one of the biggest challenges that I would say that when I opened up to the people at my life and my online community about what was going on, lots of people were very supportive and you know, had no idea what was going on. And we’re just wholeheartedly really, really, like lovely and supportive in general. So I’m very lucky.

Amber Tresca  20:20

It kind of doesn’t surprise me a little bit, because the IBD community is so welcoming, and so open. And of course, now, hopefully, you’re also seeing that people in the community are supportive of your journey, but also your work. Getting back to your book, people may think that being vegan and living with an IBD, and maybe even especially Crohn’s disease, that those two things are not compatible. But we’re as we’re understanding more about nutrition, we’re finding out that yes, you know, you can have a plant based diet. So has anyone ever told you that tried to get you to change the way that you prefer to eat? You know, what do you say to those people?

Helena Murphy  21:00

Yeah, for sure. And thank you for asking the question. I think it’s a really valid, it’s a valid point. I think there’s a lot of there’s a lot of confusion about what should we eat in general. And I’m not sure obviously, we live in different countries, but in the UK, my medical team were awesome.

Helena Murphy  21:15

But there really was like, limited slash, no conversation about diet or movement or stressors or lifestyle factors in relation to my disease, and how that might play a role in maintaining remission or reaching remission. So I think it needs to be talked about more in general. And I would also say that it’s a plant based cookbook, and I am vegan, but not a dogmatic vegan. I really want people to kind of take what they want and leave what they don’t want from this cookbook.

Helena Murphy  21:46

And I really hope it’s a place that’s like more like a springboard like a jumping off point to give some fresh ideas, or, yeah, just give some new ideas into how people could cook and eat. And perhaps if someone wanted to incorporate some fish into the taco recipe, or they wanted to incorporate some chicken into the pasta recipe, they could do that and kind of customize it as they saw fit.

Helena Murphy  22:10

But in general, I think people assume that a vegan diet or a plant based diet is incompatible with IBD. Because there’s a lot of general chat about low fiber with IBD. Which makes it does make sense when you when you think about it at first, because you’re like, Okay, well, if I’m running to the toilet 15 times 15 times a day, adding more fiber to my diet is going to make me want to go to the toilet more. So maybe I just should have low fiber diet, Buttons. Fiber has lots of really beneficial qualities, it’s really important for preventing IBD in the first place, it plays a preventing role.

Helena Murphy  22:46

But it’s also really good for helping to regulate weight, lowering cholesterol, it can help to stabilize blood sugar, can lower your risk of heart disease, and it feeds the healthy gut bacteria. It also provides a source of energy to the cells that line the cups. There’s an evidence based study that shows that soluble fiber in particular, can help reduce inflammation in the lining of the bowel. And it can help maintain the integrity of the gut barrier.

Helena Murphy  23:13

So fiber is really, really important for us. And it plays a key role in helping to prevent IBD. So that’s kind of that’s kind of fiber. And then in relation to kind of meat and dairy. Again, as I said, I’m I’m just kind of putting it out there as an offering and I don’t want it to be a dogmatic piece. But in the in the book, there’s a couple of like evidence based studies that have shown sort of like animal protein or animal fat in relation to IBD. And one of the most compelling studies that I’ve got in the in the opening chapters of the cookbook is a study of 68 patients who have Crohn’s disease, and they’re all kind of in like a moderate to severe flare of their disease.

Helena Murphy  23:58

And half of the patients are kind of newly diagnosed, and then half of the patients have had the disease for a long time. And they’ve been proving difficult to treat with like traditional medications. So they’re asked to have half of their calories from an enteral nutrition formula, so I can nutrition shake, and then half of their calories from a whole foods plant based diet.

Helena Murphy  24:19

And they did this study for six weeks. And at the end of the six weeks, 78% of the newly diagnosed patients showed significant clinical remission and 70% were in remission. And then with the more sort of established sufferers 90% were feeling substantially better, and 62% were in clinical remission, which is really, really encouraging and really positive.

Helena Murphy  24:42

And I think there’s about a 30 to 40% success rate with traditional treatments like immune suppressants. So that’s just one of the studies that’s in the cookbook, which is just really interesting. I think just from like a What should we eat perspective?

Amber Tresca  24:57

Yeah, I think we have a long way to go with helping people understand fiber, the different kinds of fiber. And I’m saying this out loud to myself, because it’s not something that I fully understand either. But I’ve met patients who were told to go on a low fiber diet, either because they were in a flare up or after a surgery or some other kind of procedure. But then nobody ever comes back to them and says, Okay, now let’s advance your diet, and go back to eating fiber. And so some people are on a low fiber diet for a really long time.

Helena Murphy  25:32

Yeah. And yeah, you raise a valid point.

Amber Tresca  25:34

Yeah, it, not only is that bad, but like, it just sounds really boring.

Helena Murphy  25:39

Yeah, absolutely. And you’re right, there are times when a low fiber diet is appropriate when you’re preparing for a colonoscopy. If you have strictures or if you’re in a really, really bad flare, of course, low fiber diet all the way that as you said, yeah, they’re never then told oh, and at a certain point, you do need to increase your fiber intake again. And these people are just left hanging, I don’t know eating rice krispies forever and bread.

Amber Tresca  26:06

It is because I mean, you know, you know, I’ll tell you, I’ve been told to like, cool it on the the salads on the green salad. So not cooked vegetables, raw vegetables, I’ve been told to cool it. And I’m like, No. I really eat a salad I just to be otherwise, I don’t know how to want to live like that.

Amber Tresca  26:49

You do teach yoga, as we talked about, we can’t yoga our way out of having IBD. But I’m sure you also know that yoga, there are studies that show that that yoga is a beneficial practice, specifically for people with IBD. So I’m wondering though, since your diagnosis, you may have had to change your relationship with with yoga, and how do you incorporate it into your life now in the in the setting of Crohn’s disease?

Helena Murphy  27:20

Yeah, this is a really good question. I would say my yoga definitely helped me through the worst parts of my Crohn’s flare, for sure. It was a unique challenge, being self employed, and experiencing a flare because yeah, if you don’t, if you’re self employed and you don’t work, then you don’t get paid and you can’t pay your bills. So yes.

Helena Murphy  27:51

But luckily, I have a very supportive community of Yogi’s in Bristol, where I live in the studios I work at are really supportive. And they did their best to help me and was super understanding if I had to cancel last minute because I just couldn’t get there. But in general, in terms of like the practice and how it helped me, obviously the the physical practice that asana practice had to change dramatically when I could, if I can walk from the bed to the sofa, there’s no way I was like moving through multiple sun salutations in a 60 minute practice. It really taught me patience.

Helena Murphy  28:26

I’m not in general, a patient person. So it was really a humbling lesson. And it really helped me to self regulate. It helped me too except where I was in my body. And there are so so many practices beyond just the asna beyond the movements that you can do when you can’t physically use your body breath, meditations, journaling. Yin Yoga Poses for people who aren’t so familiar, Yin is a floor based practice, you use lots of cushions and bolsters and bricks to kind of support your body in various shapes. And you hold the poses for three minutes, five minutes.

Helena Murphy  29:03

So I was capable of doing that. I was like, I think I can lie on my bolster on the floor. So that was that was yeah, I definitely did a lot more Yin during this time. You can get very wrapped up, can’t you and sort of what you do as a living becomes your identity. I am a photographer, I am a yoga teacher. So it was definitely a uniquely challenging time. But I mean, I don’t necessarily want to go through that again.

Helena Murphy  29:31

But the lessons that I learned were super important, I guess. Yeah, as I said, kind of humbling and just taught me to, to slow down and to accept where I was to be as okay with it as possible and to just kind of constantly be like this will this will pass but this is how it is for now. And you have to sit with it. And you know, it’s a lesson and acceptance.

Amber Tresca  29:58

So I know you’re just So, first thing, your first book here, but I have to say, I feel like you have another one in you. I feel like your description of your how you work through it. What do you think about that?

Helena Murphy  30:10

Yeah, yeah, let’s see what 2023 brings.

Amber Tresca  30:15

I would love to see that I would love to see your unique perspective on that. And take us through the journey of how your relationship changed and how you incorporated it. And from all the stages as you went through your diagnosis process and getting a flare up under control, and then now feeling better, I don’t know, just throwing it out there.

Helena Murphy  30:38

I would say that, it’s definitely when your sort of physical body is attacking you. And you know you what you could do, you can no longer do when you get back to, to health, it feels amazing to be strong. And I think I now have a newfound appreciation of, of being strong.

Helena Murphy  31:00

And I’ve now started like going to the gym and lifting weights as well as doing yoga to to be strong and to kind of work on my cardio and, and now like I really love, like hiking. My partner really likes hiking too. So we do a lot of hiking and I got into it. I live in Bristol, it’s really near to Cornwall and Devon in the UK, which is really famous for surfing. So I’ve just got into surfing this last year or so. And yeah, I guess I just will never take for granted again, like what our bodies can can do for us. They are so resilient and so strong, and I’m so grateful.

Amber Tresca  31:34

It’s wonderful that you’re coming through this and finding your way back to health and finding your way back to doing all the great work that you do. And I went through your social media of course, as one does, lovingly. So to prepare for this, this interview. And, and you have a cat, you also talk about your cat on your website, but I find it funny. Your cat doesn’t appear as much as I would have thought in your social media. So can you can you tell us more about about Cordelia and what she’s like?

Helena Murphy  32:10

I absolutely can. Cordelia is named after Cordelia Chase from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which Yeah, she’s amazing. She is two years old, two and a half years old. She is very sassy, very flighty, very bitey. She’s a single kitten. And I think she has single kitten syndrome.

Helena Murphy  32:33

So I got advertised this real on Instagram the other day. And it was like, does your adult cat have behavioral issues where like they bite and they scratch all the time. And I was like yes. And apparently this is because if you get a single cat and they grow up being a single cat, they don’t learn how to be a cat from any other cats. So because they’re not bitten by other cats, they don’t understand when they grew up that that hurts. And then they continued to bite or play. So this is a small insight into my journey with my cat at the moment. So we’re thinking about getting maybe another cat so that she can be socialized better.

Amber Tresca  33:14

Having had a single cat, and now we have two cats. Like I would agree like having a single cat was wonderful. We had an amazing cat who passed away several years ago when my daughter was a baby. But I don’t think she had single cat syndrome. But I did feel like when it was time to get another cat that I wanted to you know that I that I wanted them to have each other. I think my cats I think if they had been separated, they’re siblings. I think if they had been separated, they definitely would have developed this syndrome, which is new. I’ve never like it’s new one on me. I’ve not heard of that before. But I think I think one of my cats may have single cat syndrome, even though they’re not a single.

Helena Murphy  34:01

It just saucy.

Amber Tresca  34:03

Just sassy. He’s very bitey he’s always trying to like bite my hair. Like I don’t know what I don’t know what he wants from me. But yeah, so I’m going to look that up. Thank you.

Helena Murphy  34:13

Maybe that’s you know,

Amber Tresca  34:17

is Cordelia your first cat?

Helena Murphy  34:19

Yeah, she is I didn’t have any pets growing up as a kid. So it’s a total joy. She’s She’s incredible. I love her. Great.

Amber Tresca  34:27

Yeah. So one of the things that I loved about your social media and also your website is that you share so much about your process and behind the scenes and I think it’s really unusual. So I love that you’re sharing your your tips and that it’s something that I can bring into what I do on social media. So I want to make sure that everybody can find you and where are they can get the Plant Based Cookbook for Crohn’s and Colitis. Could you tell us where you are in on social media what your handles are and where they can get your book

Helena Murphy  35:00

Of course, thank you. So I’m on Instagram. And my handle is Helena. Rose underscore photography. And that’s pretty much the only social media platform that I’m really active on. But you can find my website, which is Helena, Rose murphy.net. And there’s a little tab on the on my website, which says my cookbook, which is my cookbook. And the book will be available to pre order this month in December. And it will be shipping in January 2023. And it’s being self published on Amazon. So there’ll be, you can search for it on Amazon, or you can find it through that page on my website.

Amber Tresca  35:40

I love it. It’s been such a joy, first of all, to be connected with you and to see what you’ve been doing with social media and to see your beautiful photography. I cannot wait to see this cookbook. Thank you so much for connecting with me and for talking with me and being on about IBD has been such a pleasure.

Helena Murphy  35:59

Thank you so much. It’s been so fun to chat with you. And yeah, I really appreciate the time and for for having me on the podcast

Amber Tresca  36:11

Hey, super listener.

Amber Tresca  36:12

Thanks to Helena Murphy for spending some time with me and kicking around these ideas of lifestyle and how they relate to living with an IBD diagnosis. Be sure to follow her on the Instagrams and her profile is at Helena rose underscore photography. Her website is Helena Rose murphy.net. Plus, you can get the plant based Crohn’s and Colitis cookbook on Amazon. It has over 70 recipes, including some that are flare friendly, plus tips on how to manage a plant based diet and substitutions so you can personalize things for yourself.

Amber Tresca  36:44

Links to a written transcript, everyone’s social media handles and more information on the topics we discussed is in the show notes and on my episode 127 page on about ibd.com

Amber Tresca  36:55

You can follow me Amber Tresca across all social media as about IBD.

Amber Tresca  37:01

Thanks for listening. And remember until next time, I want you to know more about IBD.

Amber Tresca  37:09

About IBD is a production of Mal and Tal Enterprises.

It is written, produced, and directed by me, Amber Tresca.

Mix and sound design is by Mac Cooney.

Theme music is from Cooney Studio

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