About Me / Contact

 Mangia Paleo is a blog highlighting Italian-inspired recipes for the Paleo Diet as well as providing insight on a lifestyle with Ulcerative Colitis. Mangia means “eat” in Italian. Read what others are saying about the blog here.
My story has been featured on Thepaleodiet.com, Robbwolf.com, Phoenixhelix.com, and Thegreatbowelmovement.org, Paleo Magazine Radio, and A Woman’s Health.

Laura Scaviola’s Story

mangia paleo laura scaviola headshot

Portrait by ©Stephanie D’Angelo Photography

Born into an Italian-American family, it was inevitable that I fall in love with food. Fresh mozzarella, homemade pasta, and a crusty piece of Italian bread were components of an average meal. But my passion for food was not limited to Italian cuisine. I once placed first for ladies in a pie eating contest and third in a Twinkie eating contest. Then there was that one week I ate nachos for dinner seven days straight. And I could drink craft beer like a disturbingly large German man.

I thought I had an iron stomach.

Until March 2013.

I developed some tummy troubles (read: frightening bowel issues) and I lost 7% of my body weight in 6 days.  I was frequenting the bathroom about 20+ times a day and barely eating. Conditions got uglier and uglier. There was a lot of blood. One Saturday evening it was necessary to go to the ER for dehydration and bleeding. A grueling week later and a few tests a 25 year old shouldn’t have to endure, I finally had a colonoscopy. The results came back. My gastroenterologist diagnosed me with severe ulcerative colitis throughout my entire colon (pancolitis).

As soon as I woke up from anesthesia my doctor informed me I had a lifelong chronic autoimmune disease. My colon was basically attacking itself, creating ulcers, and making it impossible for me to function properly. After giving me a diagnosis I asked my doctor a question that would change my view on health.

hospital

“Is there anything I should be eating or avoid eating to help aid this disease?”

His response was that there is no scientific proof that link the two but that he’s had a patient go into remission with help from the paleo diet.

Hospital bracelet still on my wrist and groggy from the anesthesia, my amazingly supportive mother drove me to the grocery store. We bought Paleo food and removed all grains, dairy, gluten, legumes, and sugar from my apartment. Medication guided me to remission and a change in lifestyle maintains my remission.

NOTABLE: The paleo diet has not cured this incurable disease. This diet is only a piece of my lifestyle change. I attribute paleo eating as a way to understand how my body is fueled by food and nutrition. Simply because a food is “paleo” does not mean there will not be consequences due to my ulcerative colitis. Learning these limitations and successes has caused me to tailor my own personal paleo diet.

crossfit-strongtown

If you or your organization is interested in collaborating or sharing my lifestyle please complete the form below or send an email to info@mangiapaleo.com.

58 thoughts on “About Me / Contact

  1. Moira

    Hi Laura! Thank you for liking my brussels sprouts salad with bacon and pomegranate seeds and for visiting my site. Congratulations on kicking your ulcerative colitis to the curb! My sister is Paleo, but I haven’t made the leap yet. I am currently reading Chris Kresser’s “Personal Paleo Code,” and thinking about trying it for 30 days.

  2. cookonut

    Thank you for liking my post 🙂 You have such an inspiring story and you look amazing! Thank you for sharing and keep up the awesomeness.

  3. Debby

    Hi Laura, thanks so much for stopping by my blog 🙂 My story sounds exactly like yours – my ‘iron stomach’ even carried me through India without a hint of trouble. Until I started having the same terrifying (and embarrassing) symptoms as you… and UC was diagnosed.

    I’m hoping to go into remission on SCD, and hearing your story is so encouraging. Thanks for putting it out there. All the best, Debby

  4. Danielle B.

    Hi Laura! We like a lot of each other’s pictures on Instagram :). Decided to check out your blog and hear your story. Reminds me a lot of mine….the parallels are crazy! When I was 25, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. My body was totally out of whack after I had my thyroidectomy. A year-ish later, I stumbled upon the Whole30 and started Paleo in Feb 2013.

    My Dad’s side of the family is Italian….sometimes I REALLY miss my grandpa’s spaghetti and meatballs! I do miss many of those foods, like you, but I know that eating this way is one of the best things I’ve done for myself!

    It’s awesome to hear we’re both in remission from our conditions. Let’s hope it stays that way 🙂

    Take care!
    Danielle (The Phoenix Goes Green/danilynnbali on Instagram)

    1. mangiapaleo Post author

      Danielle,
      Congrats on taking control of your health and finding remission! Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂
      I’m trying to recreate spaghetti and meatballs but there really is nothing like the real thing. Zoodles are a tough replacement haha!!

    2. Tami fraser

      OMG…me too. I am 50 years old but 2 years ago had a total thyroid removed and partial parathyroid. Not cancerous bit growing large and not able to maintain on meds…Boy oh Boy what a whirlwind for the next year. joint pain, depression, GI issues, not sleeping, depression and now…Awesome Love Paleo and love the recipes and reading others insights. I do have a rare piece of cheese and drink almond coconut milk. Do not miss the dairy at all. When not eating the junk then the cravings go away. I do struggle with wanting to have a cup of coffee 3-4 times per week,,,do you have any thoughts on the coffee and caffeine

      1. mangiapaleo Post author

        Thanks for your comment! It’s amazing the difference in health when you introduce paleo, huh? Glad you like it. And your cheats are very reasonable! I miss cheese so much…you’re lucky you don’t miss dairy. haha. What’s your secret? 😉

        My advice on coffee and caffeine is to stay away from it especially if you’re experiencing GI upset. It tends to mess up your acid and can exacerbate ulcers or other symptoms. It can also dehydrate you especially if you drink it in place of water. Hydration is SO IMPORTANT for gastro issues and everything in general. I should probably write an individual post just about water! 🙂

  5. nataliekbridges

    Thanks for telling your story! It’s not that dissimilar from mine! It’s amazing how diet, especially following Paleo, has changed my life and given me relief from flares. I’m still on some meds but am feeling better everyday. Thanks for sharing.
    Natalie
    Thirtyeightfive.com

    1. mangiapaleo Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Natalie! I am a firm believer that medication can be necessary especially to stop a severe flare up. But I believe even more that once in remission, eating clean will help keep you there. Congratulations on your health and thanks for stopping by the blog. 🙂
      -Laura

  6. Alicia

    LOVE this blog! Upbeat, realistically encouraging and the recipes look delish!
    Thank you, Mangia Paleo. Keep up the great writing.

  7. Robyn

    Hi Laura,
    I just stumbled across your blog after seeing you on Robb Wolf’s site. My daughter, who is 24, was diagonsed with Crohn’s on her 12th birthday. We did our first “Whole30” last year, are in the middle of our second, and have tried eating Paleo for just over a year now. Your blog is an inspiration and I can’t wait to show her!

    1. mangiapaleo Post author

      Thanks for stopping by and for your wonderful comment. Congratulations on taking your health to a new level. It’s awesome that your daughter has your mortivation in eating clean. My mom has been an amazing support to me through all of this and I can tell you we definitely appreciate our moms! 🙂 Keep up the great work and best of luck to your daughter!

      -Laura

  8. Caz

    I just stumbled across your blog after reading that paleo helps ulcerative colitis. I am currently flaring up and in a terrible condition both physically and mentally. I’m practically giving up on everything. This is an interesting diet, and I’m willing to do anything to get myself sorted. It looks like it did you a world of good! Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring us all. Starting today I’m going paleo! Take care girlie <3 xx

    1. mangiapaleo Post author

      I’m sorry to hear of your problems with UC. I know how debilitating and frustrating it can be. It is nice to hear you’re not giving up! Try making bone broth and starting your day with a warm mug of it. Paleo really helps keep me in remission but steroids, I hate to admit, really pushed me into remission quickly when I had my first flare up. Best of luck to you and if you ever need to reach out please do!
      – Laura

    1. mangiapaleo Post author

      Hi Brandon,

      I am currently not taking any medication… of course that is against my doctor’s orders. I have been considering going back on Asacol HD, but I’d like to experiment with other intestinal lining and inflammation supplements first.

      Best,
      Laura

  9. xxmissvbxx

    Hi Laura,

    Your story is similar to mine! I was diagnosed with severe UC in 2011 – aged 22. Since then, constant steroids, Imuran, Mezavant, Humira and now Remicade! Off steroids 21 weeks now bit still not perfect so started Paleo on Sunday. I did SCD successfully last May for 5 weeks but then crashed again. I’m just wondering how you started with Paleo – did you leave out nuts/fruit/veg etc for a certain period of time and gradually introduce? You can check my blog put here – tells my UC story 🙂 http://ibdmissvb.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/my-journey-with-ibd-so-far/

    Victoria

    1. mangiapaleo Post author

      Hi Victoria,

      Have you noticed SCD or Paleo helped symptoms at all? I know it’s hard to tell when you’re also taking a ton of meds, but I’m curious how it’s helped you too 🙂
      I started paleo the day I got diagnosed so I started eating anything that was paleo. I began mostly with meats and vegetables only because I wasn’t that well-versed yet. But once I started to experiment I was making things with nut flours, etc. I tend to go easy on nuts/nut flours and nightshades like tomatoes.
      Thanks for commenting and I’ll check our your story and blog. 🙂 Best to you!
      Laura

  10. michal

    Wow, it is great to find a place where everybody knows what the **** we are taking about when we say “i have colitis…”
    well, i have Ulcertive colitis, now on steroids + rafasal, but started paleo about two weeks ago – must say i feel preety good, still waiting to see what happens after i drop my med…
    anyway, can i ask you – the autoimmune protocol says to avoid eggs, nuts, nughtshades – do you avoid them? or did you, at the begining? also, SCD says to give up sweet potatoes
    – did you give them up? what about honey? and do you limit your fruits?
    thank you for the blog!!!

    1. mangiapaleo Post author

      Thank you for your comment and for your appreciation for Mangia Paleo! I’m glad to hear you are testing the waters with Paleo – and that it seems to be working well with your medication.
      As for the autoimmune protocol, I just recently started experimenting with it in the past month or so. I first started as strict paleo and kept a journal of what paleo foods made me feel a certain way. For example, if I ate a lot of almond flour in cookies I would blow up. So you will notice some of my baked goods include coconut flour instead (pancakes and muffins). I have been trying to rid my diet of nightshades and excessive nuts. Eggs have not bothered me but I am more conscious in eating them too often. SCD is another great diet to follow. However, I love sweet potatoes and they have not been a problem for me. In fact, they are gentle on my stomach and give me the healthy carb load I need for workouts.
      I do not limit fruits on purpose, but I definitely eat more veggies and meat than fruits. I eat honey and maple syrup occasionally.
      My strongest recommendation is to experiment with what works for you. Paleo, SCD, AIP, Primal… these are all labeled diets. However, there will not me one exact diet for everyone. Good luck!
      As you will notice, most of my recipes are AIP friendly. I will most certainly label them as soon as I have time!

  11. Maggie

    I just came across your blog as a rec from one of my friends who follows you. I was diagnosed with UC last week-at age 24-yikes! Have you treated it with strictly diet? Any medications at all? I’m about to take a leap into the world of paleo and see how I feel…I know everyones bodies are different so I’m hoping this helps with my disease also. Looking forward to trying your recipes 🙂

    1. mangiapaleo Post author

      Hi Maggie,

      Thanks for stopping by the blog – and thanks to your friend who referred you. 🙂
      The day I was diagnosed I was prescribed steroids and mesalamine medication. However, that same day I also started paleo. My doctor allowed me to wean myself off the steroids sooner than originally prescribed because I was in remission so quickly.
      I currently take half the original mesalamine medication as I was a year ago. And I’m still not convinced it maintains my condition anymore than sleep, hydration, and diet do. My recommendation is to build a relationship with your doctor and see what works for you – exactly what you said! Good thinking.
      Best of luck to you and thanks again!

      Laura

  12. Pingback: Tuesday Paleo Things | CrossFit Strongtown

  13. David

    Dear Laura,

    I came across your website through your article on Lauren Cordain’s website. I just left a comment there but since I can’t be sure that it will be published and/or if you will be made aware of it, let me contact you also this way.

    It’s so great to hear that you have found a way to fight UC! I have not been directly but indirectly affected, for 10 loooong years, because my fiancée suffered from UC. Recently, totally out for the blue, we found what seems to be a solution for UC. I decided to write down our story, hoping to help others. Maybe the story can also help you (and your readers) to get rid of UC completely. This would make me very happy and sparing others who are affected some unnecessary years of suffering is the aim I have with my little story:

    http://stop-ulcerative-colitis.com/en/

    If you like it, please share with your community.

    Thank you and best regards from Greece,
    David

    1. mangiapaleo Post author

      Hi David,
      I’m glad you stumbled across my story. Thank you for sharing yours (and your fiancé!) too. I will definitely give it a read.
      It’s great that you are spreading your story about ulcerative colitis. Spreading awareness and education is so important to our community. You rock!

      Laura

  14. Sam Klevans

    I want to start by thanking you for this blog. I was diagnosed with UC in 2007. I was on asacol for about 3 years and it first it worked but then I developed an intolerance to it. After a long run of steroids I was switched to 6-mp and have been on it since 2010. I had a lot of issues and found that a gluten free diet fixed most of my issues. This past year I started getting toxic and my dose was lowered. Shortly thereafter I ended up in the ER with a pretty severe flare up. After a strong dose of steroids I was under control. Unfortunately this didn’t really last. Since about August I have had a love hate relationship with food. I got to the point where the only way I could feel good was to not eat at all. I found your blog and started the paleo diet on Sunday. I feel much better. I have found that my mood has drastically improved and I generally feel a lot better. I have always started diets with a large amount of skepticism. I am here to say that I am a believer! I think that we tend to forget about what an effect diet has on our bodies. I like to think about it in in comparison to an engine. If you use bad gas performance is certainly effected. So to fuel your body properly with this condition is so important. Once again thank you so much. I am looking forward to what lies ahead for me and I have to say without your story and upbeat outlook I don’t think that I would have jumped on the bandwagon. You made me realize that in order to feel good I have to accept the cards the I’ve been dealt. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help spread the word for the people with our disease. Thank you!

    Sam Klevans

    1. mangiapaleo Post author

      Sam,

      Your message made my day. I am thrilled to hear how quickly the paleo diet has helped your symptoms. Kudos to you for taking health into your own hands and controlling your disease rather than let these medications control you! It’s refreshing to hear your story because we, us IBDers, have been in that place where we were frustrated, sick, and lost hope. We all know too well the struggle with that love/hate relationship with food. I’m so glad you found something that works for you 🙂
      You are quite an inspiration yourself. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. Hopefully we can continue to connect with our journeys via my Facebook page, etc.

      Best,
      Laura

  15. Lucy

    Just found your site. I am new to Paleo. It interests me for 2 reasons: need to lose weight but have colitis. Probably I am the only person to gain weight with colitis – I blame menopause. First week without dairy, legumes, grains went well. Lost about 5 lbs the first 2 weeks. 2nd week added back a little dairy after a nasty colitis flare which I think was triggered by almond flour waffles. My stomach still feels upset, although lower GI symptoms have slowed down. Here is my question – what can I use to soothe upset stomach that is Paleo and not grain or dairy? I have relied on yogurt and cheese the last 2 days to help. But then I gained back 1.5 lbs. I may need cut way back on nut intake for now – I suspect that I can’t tolerate
    almonds.

    1. mangiapaleo Post author

      Hi Lucy,

      Thank you for your comment! Sorry to hear you’re experiencing upset stomach on top of your colitis. I would be careful with reintroducing food within the first two months. Your body will take a bit to adapt. Almond flour triggers me too. I try to stay away from dairy. Usually I drink a lot of turmeric and ginger tea to soothe my stomach and help with inflammation. My food is usually lean meats and veggies like squash and steamed leafy greens if you tolerate that. My biggest recommendation is that you find your own diet. Some paleo items (like almonds) you may find you can’t eat, but other things that aren’t paleo (like white potatoes) you may love!

      Best to you,
      Laura

  16. dairehalpin

    Thanks for stopping by and liking my blog. I’m looking forward to reading more on here. I think the power of food in helping auto-immune diseases is so misunderstood, and shamefully, often ignored by the medical profession. It’s great that people can share their success stories in places like these.
    Wishing you continued health in the future.
    Daire x

    1. mangiapaleo Post author

      Hi Lori! I typically go 3-4 times per week and stay active on weekends. A few months out of the year Sept-Nov I travel for work an am unable to make CrossFit classes and there’s a huge difference in my overall physical and mental health at this point. Really interesting! Thank you for your kind words! <3 Laura

  17. Kelsey

    Hey Laura! I came across your blog a few months ago and it has really inspired me to make a change in my eating habits! I was diagnosed with UC almost two years ago at 21. When first diagnosed I asked my doctor what I needed to change in my diet and he told me food would not make any difference. So for the past few years he’s put my on Llialda to manage and also steroids for the bad flares. I had a terrible flare up this past Decemeber and ended up in the Hospitial for a few days with C diff and also needed two blood transfusions. My doctor has now started me on Humira while still taking the steroids until Humira “kicks” in. I’m really terrified of the side effects humira can have on people and the fact that its weakening my immune system. I told my doctor about your success with Paleo and others I’ve read about and he still wants to persist with medication. It’s very frustrating not feeling like anyone is listening I think it may be time to get a new doctor who believes paleo can work so I’m not fighting this battle on my own. Thank you for your blog and for sharing your story! I hope one day I will be in remission without the help of steroids and Humira! You definitely are a inspiration that there is light at the end of the tunnel for me! 🙂

    Kelsey 🙂

    1. Mangia Paleo

      Hi Kelsey,
      Thanks so much for your question. Sorry it has taken me a few days to respond. I know how a day feels like a week when you aren’t well. How are you feeling now?
      I can’t stress enough the importance of fostering a strong relationship with your team of doctors that you trust. This may include your PCP, IBD specialist, and even a holistic doc. For those new to Paleo, the diet itself may not be enough to knock your flare into remission. Diet isn’t like taking a pill where you just eat paleo and it magically gets better. I hope that makes sense. Your frustration is one many of us share because doctors really don’t want to hear about the diet and lifestyle thing. However, if you are not well then his job is to get you better in the way he knows how. The most important thing right now is to get into remission. A traditional doctor will rarely, if ever, suggest replacing other therapies with a diet because technically there is no scientific evidence that it’s a one-size-fits-all deal like most medications. Healthy eating and creating a diet that is best for you can certainly help in conjunction with medication. But my personal advice is to do whatever you can to get you well. Don’t let this information discourage you from eating healthy. Just know that a lot of that will be done without your doctor’s guidance. So seeking other trustworthy sources for such information is key.
      Wishing you all the best and please feel free to reach out again!
      Laura

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