When I was first diagnosed with ulcerative colitis back in my early 20’s I was told that there was no scientific evidence or any research to suggest that eating certain foods over any other would have an effect on it. There was no cure and it was a progressive illness. I was told to avoid stress and the only thing they had to help was medication that could treat the symptoms but not the actual problem. Of course being the gullible 20 year old, I was at the time, I did what the doctor told me. The doctor’s diagnosis left me in a bit in shock, I felt lost and without hope that day.
However, after some time had passed I started to notice how my body would react to certain foods, good or unwanted results. Through trial and error I started to recognize food that would trigger a flare-up and slowly started to cut it out of my eating habits. While I was in my 20-30’s I stayed dedicated to an intense workout regime for a number of years which I found this to be a great help. At any given time I would have a flare-up but after a good workout the swelling and inflammation would subside. My workout regime did so well for me that I would often not take any medication until I had an episode with the ulcerative colitis. I must caution you, the working out with weights was not the antidote to my flare-up episodes which happened 1-3 times per year and it sometimes last for days, usually requiring medication and some sick time. I sure do not miss those extended periods in the bathroom which consisted of excruciating cramps and that I can best describe like my bowels were going to burst. There was times when my backside hurt so bad that I could not sit down for anywhere 10-60 minutes at a time and when I did sit down that it brought tears were to my eyes. Not that I ever experienced this but I can only describe the pain like as if someone jabbed a knife up there, this is no exaggeration. For those who do not know what the medical issue entails, Ulcerative colitis affects your lower bowel and I always use to joke,“it is a real pain in the ass”, LITERALLY!
As a way of coping, after a while, I use to make a lot of jokes about the “pain in the ass” medical condition. During a flare-up there was no ambition to go anywhere or go to any outings you were because you always felt like you were going to soil your pants, it was not my best social front. Since my diagnosis up until recently in my life, I had to do to the bathroom more frequently. Unwilling, I was always woken up early and having to go the so bad that if I didn’t get my business done…well I am sure you can figure it out. Other than those days I was ok and could function most of time.
As I got closer to 40 years old I found that no matter what I did I was having constant flare-ups, frequent reactions and episodes to colitis, I felt like nothing worked I was getting sicker a lot of the time. It came to the point where I had to dramatically change my eating habits but really didn’t know what was causing it. At this time I was not working and took that time to do some intermitted fasting and prolonged fasting; then I slowly introduce my body to food groups. After a course of time I was able to really see the negative reaction my body had to red meats and pork. After a lot of thinking and trying different meats, I realized when I ate meats that were not processed in large farms or sold in stores; also known as free-range meats, that I got no adverse reactions. So I started buying more local products only because most of them did not use all the pesticides, drugs, or whatever junk the large companies were putting into them.Through my own research, I learned that red meats sold in the stores are injected with die coloring and these animals are often raised on steroids, chemicals or products I cannot pronounce, never mind what adverse effects it would have on humans.
Before I go any further I want to say this is only my personal experience. I do not make any claims here and I can only tell you what the results was for me.
Since learning about what I ate and how it affected my flare-ups, for a long time after, I mostly ate free range eggs, beans, some chicken and local vegetables or as much as possible. I would allow myself some treats once and awhile but avoided red meats and pork. This went on for a few years and I had to learn how to eat in moderation. That was so hard for me because when I like something I tend to eat too much of it. Over time I got better at it. My diet then was a bit bland to say the least and I missed things like barbequing a burger or really anything that made you feel normal. Some of you may know what it is like to go to a place and you cannot eat anything on the menu. Well it is times like this that you felt like the weirdo and was ruining everyone else’s fun. Soon enough, you stopped going out and eventually friends become limited in numbers because you lose your common ground. Old drinking buddies fade away because lemon squeezed water is not a big hit at the beer barn.
This brings me up to around 43-44 years old and I acquired the liking to beans, well I liked the way they made me feel after eating them. For me, baked beans were annoying to make and I really didn’t care for them that much, to be truthful, my pallet did not favor them baked all the time. Of course I would eat the baked beans because they had the best results for me in my body, and at that time the only way I knew to eat beans. So I started to play with other ideas of what to do with beans. I eventually moved towards the idea of a bean burger, only so I could bbq it. I had no idea how to make one so some experimentation was about to happen. The first few recipes did not turn out all that good, but once you get to know me, when my mind is made up to do something I can be a little stubborn. I quickly learned a lot about beans, from the texture, the best ingredient that binds the burger and what type of bean to use as my ultimate goal was to make a bean burger that would not fall apart on the Bbq. After numerous tries, what looked like a real bean burger was born. The burger did not taste as good as it does today, but I kept working on it over years and perfecting it. This is no exaggeration but it took about 75 tries to get it to what it is today (regular bean burger). The focus was never on opening a company at the time it was just to for me to come with a way I could eat more beans and feel better. If you had told me at that time I would open my own company I would have laughed you to scorn. I just didn’t want to feel sick anymore and I wanted to feel better.
I would make a batch of these burgers and eat them each day or sometimes 2-3 times a week. At that time I was not freezing them into burger patty form but just held the batch in a container in the fridge. Over time I started freezing them because they lasted longer and you could take them anywhere with you, like when I was truck driving. All the work was done so I could heat them up and enjoy. This resulted in me eating more beans and guess what happened I stopped having out breaks from ulcerative colitis completely, but that was if I ate them on a regular basis. I was feeling so much better because of the fiber and all the good stuff beans had to offer. I stopped taking my medication and have not had any now in over 6 years or so. At times I still had the waking feeling of having to use the bathroom really bad in the mornings but after that I was ok. The attacks I have now, if any, are not at the intensity or even close to what I use to have. This was after eating like this for about a year or two, there were instant changes and some longer-term changes in me that took awhile. It did not happen all over night but over a prolonged period.
So here we will jump ahead to me meeting Amanda and you can read the ‘about us’ to fill in the gaps on that story. However soon after we created the company Chuck’s Bean Burgers and we just didn’t want to do only one burger so we started making more types and different kinds. So this required more taste testing and the result were us eating more beans now than ever. It became a daily staple for us to eat beans over the last year and a half (time of writing this is Sept 2019). I cannot believe my result, now there are days I don’t even know I have ulcerative colitis. For the first time in 20 years I have closer to normal bowel movements…what I am saying is that you don’t know what you are missing until it is gone. This may sound gross but do not take your turds for granted cause for many of us suffering from Crohns, IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome), or colitis it is only a memory. For a few months now I have had minimal symptoms of colitis, and it’s the best I’ve ever felt in over 20 years. I do not know if this will happen to anyone else it is just my experience.
This is why I am so passionate about this business. I will not sacrifice on the quality of the product or use fillers to increase profits, that is simply not my bag of beans. Providing a quality product means more to me than just money, do not get me wrong we need money to survive, right?!! So please come out and buy some Chuck’s Bean Burgers because we need you or this company won’t be possible. What I am saying is that if I lose my chance to become rich because I will not compromise the product I am ok with that, I just want to be able to make a living at it on a local level. We have learned a lot in the past year of business and have made our mistakes as well.
I am in no way claiming to be cured or that I will never have any more problems with ulcerative colitis I am just telling you what happened to me thus far. It is only my story.
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