10 Things I Learned from Healing an Incurable Disease

Five years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a condition that is commonly believed to have no cure. I was given the options of surgery and medication for the rest of my life, still without the potential of a cure. My doctor told me that diet would have no effect and that I would have to learn to live with it.

Not one to play by the rules, I decided to create my own. I chose a natural route that included meditation, yoga, acupuncture, rest, and a diet comprised of whole, unprocessed foods. Within one month I was symptom free and remain so five years on. I have since become certified as a nutritionist and run a cooking school in downtown Toronto. I am firm on the fact that getting sick was the greatest thing that ever happened to me, and getting well was the greatest adventure ever. This is what I learned healing from an incurable disease.

1. Take other opinions with a grain of salt. It is just an opinion and only our own opinions of ourselves and our current situation really matter. I received the opinion that I had an incurable disease and nothing I ate or did regarding my lifestyle would have an effect. I chose to trust my own opinion that this was not true. That has made all the difference.

2. Learn how to cook… really well. Prior to this experience I owned one cookbook called Help! My Apartment Has A Kitchen. Four years later, I own and operate a cooking school. I believed strongly, despite my doctor’s contradictory opinion, that a disease of the digestive tract would obviously be affected by what passed through it. It therefore became my mission to know exactly what I was eating and so I learned to cook from 100 percent whole ingredients. With all the processing happening in my own kitchen.

3. Yoga is more than twisting yourself into a pretzel. I used to be one of those before-work workout nut heads who rolled into the gym at 6:00 a.m., kicked my own bottom for an hour, and then raced off to work. When high-impact workouts were no longer an option, I turned to yoga. Yoga is a gazillion times harder than climbing a stair master or doing crunches until you want to puke—because it makes you actually look at yourself from the inside and realize some change has to happen.

4. Life may not always bring you sunshine and rainbows, but if you wait out the storm long enough, they always appear if you look for them. That’s all I have to say about that.

5. A cute outfit doesnt mean much when you feel like total crappola. Great health makes you look (and feel) great—way more than high heels or manicured nails can.

6. Always, always, always trust your intuition. If you can’t hear it, that means your life is too noisy. Be still a little bit every day and you will start to hear the voice, and over time you will learn to listen. And over even more time, you will learn that it is always right.

7. When you do something in your life that other people deem impossible in their life, you suddenly become  labelled an inspiration.“ I like that I inspire people but I don’t wake up every morning with the thought, I am going to inspire today! I just do what I do, because it feels right for me. Likewise, the people I find inspiring are just doing what seems right to them. I think this means that we all inspire others in our own way, just by being true to ourselves.

8. When something goes wrong in our body or in our mind – whether it be a disease, an injury, or a broken heart – fighting it doesnt help us heal. It creates more resistance. When we can learn to feed and nourish and give ourselves what is needed to work with the challenge rather than against it, that is how we heal.

9. Vegetables are delicious. They used to make me gag. Then I learned I just didn’t like hard chunks of carrot in my salads. There are loads of other ways to enjoy carrots and loads of other vegetables I love to eat. I just had to get creative and explore the unknown.

10. I am better off happily creating than creating to be happy. We think that if we work now, even if we hate it, that the benefits or payoff will bring happiness to the future version of ourselves. When I think back five years to who I was dating, where I was working, and the life I thought I was working towards, it is definitely not what would make me happy today. Wouldn’t it be a waste of precious time to take on misery now and try to achieve something that is only serving to satisfy and bring joy to a future version of myself? I would end up disappointed for a good portion of my life.

Things can change in an instant, with a diagnosis, a disaster … anything! The greatest gift we can offer ourselves is to wake up happy, excited about the day ahead, and go to bed pleased with the job that we did, accepting that the process itself is the outcome, and that we did our very best at every given moment.

By Meghan Telpner

Meghan Telpner, certified nutritionist, runs a cooking school in downtown Toronto.  This is the home of the messes she makes creating inspired, simple, healthy, creative and awesomely delicious recipes for cooking school guests and her well loved blog, Making Love In The Kitchen.  Meghan spends the colder months in sunny locales leading the most nourishing and inspiring retreats ever. Most recently, Meghan founded Canadas first Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert Program and has just launched a vibrant living line of signature products.

With her realistic and humourous approach, along with her contagious enthusiasm for all things made from scratch, Meghan has quickly become a sought after food, nutrition, and lifestyle expert for major media outlets. Discover the goodness shes cooking up at www.meghantelpner.com



Susanne P.
Susanne P3 years ago

Thx for this good article

Jane Hathaway
Jane Hathaway3 years ago

Thank you for this informative article.

tanzy t.
tanzy t3 years ago

Great advice

Lucy Schneider
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you for your insight and inspiration to eat healthier foods to prevent illness or to help find a possible cure.

ScoTT S.
ScoTT S3 years ago

Karen, sometimes it's necessary to wallow in darkness in order to appreciate coming out of it that much more. You can't change what you have done, so please TRY not to beat yourself up for it too mcuh. Yes, I know SAYING it is much easier than doing it, but keep congratulating yourself for forward movement, and expect some backsliding, because we all backslide at times.

ScoTT S.
ScoTT S3 years ago

For many years it was believed that Crohn's was a combination of a virus and a missing genetic marker to fight that virus. Missing the marker but not being exposed to the virus, or being exposed to the virus and having the marker meant no Crohn's. But, very recently, it now looks like they've identified the marker. While it does not help me much, as I've already lost quite a lot of digestive tract, it is certainly welcome news to those with still much intact. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140422100103.htm

Val M.
Val M3 years ago


Danuta Watola
Danuta W3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Alan Lambert
Alan Lambert3 years ago

Great post, forwarded

Karen F.
Karen P3 years ago

Meghan, what a great story. It makes me feel ashamed of myself when I think what you have accomplished in 4 years, when I have wallowed in my own misery for the past 5 years since my own particular life shattering incident. I am trying to be more present in the moment and doing what I can to overcome the depression.