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Dietary help for Crohn's
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Dietary help for Crohn's

I see a lot of people write in who struggle with what to eat when you have Crohn's Disease.  This has been a big challenge for me also.  After a lot of trial and error, I think I have something that works.  I am still learning, because sometimes what I used to tolerate before, I can't tolerate now or just in smaller amounts and less frequently.  I am hoping that if I share what works for me, that it may help someone out.  I know that what works for me may not work for you.  

Let me inform you that I have moderate Crohn's disease and I am currently not in remission.  I take entocort, pentasa, and Humira.  I have been diagnosed since July of 2007.  I also have developed Type 2 diabetes and become lactose intolerant.  There is definitely a genetic predisposition in my family for both diseases.  

Currently, I cannot tolerate beef, pork, shellfish, peanut butter (or any nuts or nut by-products) raw vegetables, high fiber foods, popcorn, crunchy snacks (like pretzels or tortilla chips), fruits with skin and this includes dried fruits which usually contain the skin - think raisins, acidic foods, citrus fruits, eggs, heavily spiced foods, fried foods, anything with MSG or aspartame (Nutra Sweet), or too much caffeine.

Here is what I typically can do for food choices:

Breakfast - cheerios with lactose free milk (or another low-fiber cereal), vegetarian sausage or bacon for protein, low carb (for the diabetes) toast with butter and sugar free seedless jam, juice - usually something low-acid (not orange juice), pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, cream of wheat.  Basically I cannot tolerate fried eggs.  I used to be able to eat a hard-boiled egg or a poached egg, but only one of them and not very often.  However, the last time I ate one, it bothered me, so I have cut them out.

Lunch - soup is great as all the vegetables (must be peeled) are cooked soft and it is nutritous.  Gotta watch the sodium and I avoid the celery, since it is stringy even when cooked.  Also, I avoid too many beans as the fiber can bother me.  Generally I stick with chicken noodle or potato soup and I try to make homemade, since many commercial soups have MSG and who knows what else.  I also do turkey and chicken lunch meat on a pita bread.  Watch the lunch meats - look for ones out there that do not have MSG or a lot of fillers or weird things you can't pronounce.  Look for the all natural types if you can find them.  Applesauce or canned fruits in their own juice are good.  Basically, chips or junk food are out.  They're not healthy, are fried, have MSG, and many times made from corn so they don't digest well for me.

Supper - casseroles work well.  I make a mean turkey noodle casserole (with low carb noodles for the diabetes), tukey or veggie burgers are good, grilled chicken (or baked, poached, whatever - just not fried), grilled salmon, tuna.  I like to steam my veggies in those steam bags for the microwave - so fast.  Just have to peel the veggies and chop up.  Zucchini, green beans, carrots, hash brown potatoes (just don't fry them), etc.  I just avoid the higher fiber and gas causing veggies - like cauliflower, broccoli, greens, brussels sprouts, cabbage.  Rice is good, just steam it and don't buy the prepared mixes - MSG.  Pasta is good (low carb for me).  

Snacks - low-fat cottage cheese (I take a Lactaid usually), crackers with soy butter - since I can't have peanut butter, string cheese, rice cakes, yogurt.

Desserts - this is a bit harder since I have diabetes, but for those of you who don't, just avoid the stuff with nuts, deep fried doughnuts or pies, chocolate (actually I can eat a small amount once a week and get by with it, but not every day), or the processed stuff loaded with preservatives and who knows what else.

I also avoid decaf coffee, since coffee just doesn't like me anymore.  Decaf ginger tea or apple cinnamon herbal tea soothe my stomach.  I also don't drink much soda and always caffeine free and not diet since most diets have aspartame.  Diet Rite is about the only brand I can handle.  No liquor - doesn't mix with the meds.  It's water or Propel fitness water, non-acidic juice, and lactose free milk.

Well, my diet isn't ideal, but it's what works for me.  I hope this might help someone who is struggling.
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6 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks a lot for ur guidance on diet.

My husband was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in May 2008 and since then he is struggling to find out which works for him.

When I read your post I found most of ur symptoms matching my husband's.

He too has type 2 diabetes and all of a sudden he has become lactose intolerant. He could eat boiled egg and not fried eggs.He has become allergic to wheat. But he could eat buttermilk bread.

Since we have very limited option, I am always worried about what to cook for him.Now I have got an idea from your post.Once again thanks.

- ksen.
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203342_tn?1328740807
Thanks for the info. I've been still trying to see what I can eat or not eat myself. I think I too can't eat most of what you mentioned here. For some reason, I don't do well with potatoes either. I also don't do well with cereal. I've even tried it with soy milk. I'm not sure if I'm lactose intolerant or not. I can eat cheese and yogurt but not much milk. I also have problems with a lot of my favorites foods including spaghetti or anything spicy. I was thinking it was maybe the tomatoes. I love spicy though! Mexican is my favorite food so this is hard on me. I also love salads but don't seem to do well with them anymore. Once in awhile I'll rebel and eat a good salad because I want one but then I suffer for it later. Isn't that crazy? Salads are supposed to be good for you!
I've been thinking about trying juicing for awhile to give my digestive system a break for awhile but I'll probably wait till after the holidays. I'm going to go ahead and try to eat Thanksgiving dinner but go easy on everything.
I was just diagnosed a little over a year ago, by the way. It's nice to meet others in the same boat. I think we can really learn from each other. I have a lot to learn!
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Avatar_f_tn
can you tell me what symptons you get when you eat the wrong foods?i eat then 20 min later get lots of grumbly gasy noises then im on the loo/sound familier?xx
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605522_tn?1220135403
Hi Ksen,

Your husband might have celiac disease.  People with celiac are often lactose intolerant.  Celiac damages the villi in the small intestine that produce lactase, the enzyme that digests milk sugars.  Celiac is an autoimmune disease, and often peopel wiht celiac have other autoimmune diseases crop up.  There is a long list of "related conditions" or associated diseases with celiac, which includes diabetes.  The celiac autoimmune response is triggered by eating gluten, the protein in Wheat.  There is gluten in Wheat, rye and barley also.  There is a blood test that shows if you have gluten antibodies in your blood.  It is not 100% accurate, but it is easy, just a little blood sample.  There are actually several different gluten antibodies that they check for, TTG, IGE, IGA etc, I am not an expert on it.  There is also a gene test that can tell if you are susceptible to celiac, but they say 1/3 of the US population has those genes, but only a fraction actually develop the celiac reaction.  There is a similar antibodie test used for Crohns, where they test for baker's yeast antibodies.  I am not sure how accurate a test that is.

Treatment for celiac is to cut out all gluten containing foods, i.e. go glutenfree or GF.  One simple test to see if gluten is the problem is to try the dieat for a few weeks and see if any symptoms change.  But be aware teh blood test are only useable if you are actively eating gluten.  So it is a good idea to get the blood test first before trying the diet.

I have celiac and thyroiditis, another related autoimmune condition.  I was also lactose intolerant for 12 years and only now after a year of GF diet am beginning to be able to tolerate dairy again.  It takes some time for the intestines to heal.  Just some things to think about.

Best wishes,
Paul
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for informing me about the blood test to check for gluten antibodies.I will check with our doctor in the next  visit.My husband is diagnosed with left sided ulcerative colitis.Is it related to celiac disease?

-Ksen
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605522_tn?1220135403
Hi Katie,
Yes, celiac people are sometimes diagnosed with UC also.  Celiac can cause intestinal damage and irritation, so it can lead to other problems.  One positive thing about it is a person can prevent many of the problems by adopting a gluten free diet.  It takes some adjusting to the diet but it makes a big difference in the health of a celiac patient.
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