Ulcerative Colitis

Where should we get our Iron from?

If something is in excess that doesn’t mean it is good for us! Lets talk about iron absorption with red meat compared to plant foods. Funny how people think just because something is more absorbable it should therefore be better for us. Heme iron and non-heme iron. There is a big difference. Heme iron is obviously from dead flesh (blood) and non heme from plant foods!

Because the human body has no mechanism to rid itself of excess iron we have evolved to regulate this. Iron is absorbed through our intestines and if iron stores get too low the intestines know when to boost the absorption, if iron stores are too high then the intestines block the absorption to maintain us in the sweet spot! This also only works with the primary source of iron in the human diet from plant foods (non-heme).

Heme iron from dead flesh however cannot be regulated by the body and therefore absorbs straight through the intestinal wall even if there is excess iron in the body. This is when the body gets into an iron overload and creates all sorts of problems and sets the body up with a higher risk of dis-ease.

So the body has no control over iron absorption when eating animal flesh. This is why Vegetarians and Vegans tend to be lower in iron when it comes to blood tests because the 'normal' range is elevated due to all those people eating flesh which in turn boosts there level of iron in the body without knowing it is much more harmful for them.

In terms of how much the body can absorb we believe that it is very hard to get an exact number from the foods we eat because you can't really say that this plant food has this much iron in it so my body will absorb all of it. Iron absorption also depends on how many other nutrients that plant food has because all of the nutrients from that plant food work together to get absorbed. If you eat a variety of WHOLE foods (Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains and Legumes) you will get the exact amount of iron the body needs so that you can be in that sweet spot :)

Kenny Honnas - The Vegan Diet Saved My Life & Healed Ulcerative Colitis


Freshman year of college my entire life was turned upside down. I was in the middle of my first season as a member of the Division III Wheaton College Football team when I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. I had been experiencing rectal bleeding for weeks along with uncontrollable bowel movements and more than one embarrassing public accident before I finally worked up the nerve to see a doctor. I was quickly diagnosed and put on a regiment of steroids to calm the bleeding and sent home. Three days later the bleeding intensified so much I had to ask a friend of mine to drive me to the hospital where I was admitted into the emergency room. I stayed in the hospital for fifteen days hoping and praying the bleeding would stop before they decided to remove my large intestine. The bleeding eventually slowed down enough for me to be released, and I thought that this was finally behind me. During that stay I went from a 165lb muscular football player to a 129lb person that looked like a holocaust survivor.  


       The first thing I did after my release was visit my favorite greasy fast food joint and ate spicy buffalo wings. I had no idea that was the worst thing I could possibly do for my health because every doctor was adamant that diet had nothing to do with the disease. Over the course of the next six months I couldn't seem to get any better than simply being able to get by, no matter what medicine they tried to put me on. Nothing worked, not drugs, steroids, or even FMTs were able to bring me relief from the constant loose and watery stools or putridly foul gas. I was afraid to go anywhere because I never knew if I would have an attack and soil myself before I could make it to the toilet. Only someone who has experienced colitis or crohn's understands the desperation, depression, and anxiety this can drive you too. My athletic performance had dropped significantly and I was nowhere close to the athlete I once was. 

     And then in the summer of 2015 whilst scouring the depths of the internet for some sort of cure, I stumbled across Shukul and Shamiz by the grace of God. Never in my life had I ever even stopped to consider giving up something I loved as much as meat and dairy, that just simply wasn't an option as an athletic red blooded American male. Vegans and Vegetarians were all feminine and hippies and just plain weird, everyone in Texas knew this. You had to eat meat to be a man. And yet, Shukul and Shamiz were scientifically showing that what I had to eat to be a man may actually be the cause of my horrible and debilitating suffering. And not only that, but my athletic performance could actually improve beyond what it ever was before I was ill if I switched to a whole food plant based diet. I was desperate. At this point in my life I was ready to try anything to stop the pain, embarrassment, and increased risk of cancer. I contacted them and the rest is history. 


       They were beyond helpful. Patient, prompt, and clear. Every single question I had, which were several, were answered quickly and in full detail. By week three my bowel movements had become easy and painless, better and more regular than I had ever had before in my entire life. I know this sounds too good to be true, but it's not. It's simply eating what our bodies are genetically designed to eat and allowing yourself to heal. There were bumps along the way of course, as they will tell you there will be. But, with patience and persistence you will heal this way. Eight weeks into this diet I went from 140lbs to 157lbs of the purest, leanest muscle I had ever had. It was incredible to not only feel my body healing but to see the change manifesting before my eyes as well. 

      I felt amazing and was only improving every day. I returned to Wheaton in perhaps the greatest shape of my life and played one more season of college ball before hanging up the cleats to pursue my newest passion, plant based living and nutrition. It has now been over seven months since I have transitioned to this lifestyle and I feel vibrant, strong, and healthy. I am currently pursuing my passion for plant based living by studying dietetics and nutrition so that someday I can hopefully help change someone's life the way Shukul and Shamiz have helped change mine. If you are struggling with some sort of illness, especially a digestive one, I strongly urge you to sign up for their program and follow their guidance, they will do everything in their power to help you heal. High Carb Health for the win!

- Kenny Honnas

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