Chef Derek is the mastermind behind all of our meals. Working at a local university, he specializes in cooking solely for students with special nutritional needs and dietary restrictions, his level of expertise is unmatched. With a wide array of food knowledge, Derek can make any dish delicious, healthy, and hit the spot 😉. His creativity and profound abilities to plan and prepare nutritious meals, however, are only a few of the amazing assets he has to offer. Besides his exquisite cooking skills, Derek is a funny, compassionate, supportive, and loving man, whom I am lucky enough to call my boyfriend, and best friend. I thank him endlessly for being my personal chef, adventure mate, and the love of my life.
Morgan (me), is the digestively-challenged patient, and writer of this blog. I am a recent biology and chemistry graduate pursuing a degree in medicine whose current goal is to get, and stay, healthy! Although I have struggled with stomach issues since the sixth grade, the intensified stress of schoolwork, my job, and constant pressure to succeed, led to me to some of the worst flares of my life when I began college. Starting with a noticeable outbreak of hives after each meal, my symptoms quickly escalated to severe bloating and abdominal distention, vomiting, bleeding, joint and abdominal pain, and a substantially compromised immune system. Bouncing between four gastroenterologists, an immunologist, a food allergy specialist, and my beloved pediatrician, I spent hours getting checked, tested, and questioned before I was diagnosed with IBD, IBS, gastroparesis, and ulcers. Despite being an avid athlete, conscientious eater, and trying new medications, my symptoms remain rigorous and unimproved, leaving us unsure of the next steps. With the support of my family and friends, I remain positive and determined to heal. This account encourages me to embrace a healthy lifestyle, meet new people, and focus on fighting for remission.
In the second year of my undergraduate studies, Derek and I met in the kitchen of our school, as I was volunteering for a program that recovered leftover food from our campus kitchen and delivered it to local shelters. As each meetup preceded dinner, Derek quickly noticed the breakout of hives I got after eating. After explaining more of my symptoms, he made careful observations of what I ate and the reactions that followed. Thereafter, Derek helped me eliminate oils (which lessened the hives), insoluble fibers (which lessened the bathroom trips), and nuts and dairy (which lessened the bloating). Bonding over our love for food, fun, and adventure, Derek and I soon become inseparable. He encouraged me to think positive, try new things, and stands by me no matter what. Derek not only helped me heal, but charmed me with his endless empathy, kindness, and humor. He is my kindred spirit and our lives are truly better together.