Sunday, February 1, 2009

Crohn's Tips: Food

Crohn's Tips Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Physical
Part 3: Intellectual
Part 4: Emotional
Part 5: Spiritual
»Appendix: Crohn's Tips: Food

Food can be a nightmarish struggle for people with Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcers and more. Often, trying to find pre-made food in the store like soup is a struggle. I for example can't have anything acidic or with spices in it. That rules out ALL canned soups which contain seasonings, onion, MSG, you name it. Even the tins of broth are a problem. I also can't have any dairy which also rules out a lot of things too. So, I've learned to be creative. Here are some tips I've learned over the years:

  • Rice milk can be a good alternative to real milk for cereal, cooking and baking. The vanilla variety may be too sweet for you, if so try the original. Other variations you can try are soy milk (higher in protein), oat milk and almond milk. Try your alternative or organic food section in the grocery store to find these products. You can even get alternative milk shakes in flavours like chocolate and strawberry.
  • There are a lot of soy products which are tasty in their own right. I've been enjoying Belsoy vanilla puddings and Yoso brand soy cream cheese.
  • Always try substitutions. For example, if you can't stomach the spices or the fiber in the seaweed of sushi rolls, make them without spices and with rice-paper instead of seaweed wrapping.
  • Experiment! Take a tasty looking recipe and substitute or remove ingredients that you can't have. You have nothing to lose but a little time, and in my experience it usually turns out great.
  • Cook in bulk. Have food (especially meat) pre-cooked and frozen for days when you are feeling awful. For example, cook a dozen pork-chops in the oven. Let cool a bit then freeze them. You can then take one out as needed, add about a teaspoon of water on it, and microwave. Add some canned veggies and pasta, rice, bread or potato for a well rounded, healthy and easy meal.
  • It's relatively easy to make your own broth as a base for soups, stews and gravy. Simply boil chicken breasts for about an hour till the chicken is fully cooked and the broth is clear-yellow. Strain out the chicken and freeze the broth in ice-cube trays to save for later use. Season to your own taste when you're ready to use it. Lots of salt will reproduce the taste of store-broth. Cook a roast beef in your crock-pot (slow-cooker) and save the juices for broth. Keep in mind that you will want to let both chicken and beef broth sit in your fridge overnight so the grease hardens and floats to the top, then you can skim it off before using or freezing.
  • Keep an eye on ingredients. Store bought items sometimes change their ingredient list, so always double check. Also if your stomach is bothered by acidic ingredients, keep in mind that many foods have citric acid as a preservative.
  • If fibre causes you a problem, boiling or steaming your vegetables like carrots will soften them and make them easier to digest, but don't over boil or you'll lose all the nutrients. Also, red-meats are more fibrous than others.
  • For your worst days, the following foods are very bland and easy on your system: white rice and pasta, cream of wheat, unseasoned chicken broth with grease removed, cucumber without skin, rice milk, weak caffeine free tea like green or peppermint. And always drink lots of water.

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  1. In my experiences anything containing gluten (wheat, bread, crackers etc) should be avoided by crohn's patients. What is your opinion on the effect of gluten containing foods?

  2. In my experiences anything containing gluten (wheat, bread, crackers etc) should be avoided by crohn's patients. What is your opinion on the effect of gluten containing foods?

  3. Hi!
    I personally have not found any problems with Gluten, but I have heard that many people have trouble with it. I think each person should try to find out what their individual problem foods are.
    Thanks for reading!

  4. Thanks, I know it is trial and error with a lot of things. I have cut out anything that contains wheat (but boy it is so difficult) and I have been a lot better, but then again basically all I have been eating for over a month now is chicken and salmon (boiled, baked or on the foreman grill) and boiled potatoes. However I do not seem to have a huge problem with dairy based products.

    I love your page, I am kind of new to this "can't eat anything" lifestyle and pages like this are a big help!

  5. Thanks for the comments! Good luck with your journey. You might consider keeping a food and symptom journal to start with. I found that some foods I thought were bothering me weren't. It was milk affecting me 2 days later!

  6. I am having a very bad time right now with my Crohn's. In reading your blog, it is sort of comforting knowing that I am not alone. I got some good ideas on some food that I will stay away from right now. I hope I never get tired of chicken or I will be in trouble. Thanks for your support!

    1. Had crohns for eleven years now I am 62 find most important rule is keeping fibre content under 1% of any food so only veg can eat is florrets of broccli and cauliflower

  7. Hi Anonymous, I'm glad my blog helps. Did you find the Tips Guide helpful?

    ~Bright Side

  8. Hi my husband has Crohn's he was recently told by his Dr. to switch to Humeria. Do you have any insight on this?

  9. I have never been on Humira, but I did hear that it is quite expensive, though effective for many people.

  10. Hey, thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge!

    I'm 20 and finding the food situation really hard because I just want to eat everything!

    Adjusting my lifestyle is something that takes getting used to.

    Your info is a lot of help, ill be visiting your page much more frequently from now on!


  11. Hi...
    I've been recently diagnosed with crohn's at age 13 and reading your blog is genius and it really set my mind straight...

    So thanks :D

  12. Hi Anonymous, thanks for commenting. I'm sure that a diagnosis at 13 is quite a shock, but now that you have an answer, you can jump on some treatment options. Don't worry- it seems scary at first, but you can still live a fulfilling, active life. :)

  13. I havecrohn's disease which was also diagnosed very early at the age of 12. It is very hard for me as i am a vegitairian who doesnt eat vegtables. I feel feel sick almost all of the time so i can only eat what i feel like and not what is needed. I am tired all of the time and find it hard to concentrate. The pain is also always there Sometimes very sever and somtimes a dull pain all of the time. Does any one have any tips for me please =)

  14. Hello My husband also has crohn's. He has recently started humira and nothing so far. The doctors said it can take up to 6/7 months to build up in the system enough to start helping. He is having a horrible flare up right now because humira lowers the immune system, therefor he caught a cold. The first time he received the shot he had two in the stomach and one in each leg. He said it burns terribly and he is never taking it in the stomach again. As for price I'm not sure, he got help through the state after he had to go to the hospital. I'm glad I found this site so I can understand more of what he is going through. I feel helpless not being able to make him better. All I can do is make sure he is getting the vitamins and protein he needs through cooking. I hope the humira info helped.

  15. Im 24, was diagnosed with Crohns 2 years ago, I have a 2-3 week stints of mild to no pain, but then I have a hellish week like this one, we I feel nautious, tired, & the pain is bery intense. One of my biggest issues tho involves the bathroom, sometimes I go 6-7 days without a bowl movement, and then when I take a laxative, the burn from the Senna are brutal. Any ideas on get more regular bowl movements

  16. I'm sorry to hear about your trouble with Crohn's! My advice is always to start off with keeping a food and symptom journal. See if you can find some patterns. Discuss your findings with your doctor and go from there. Unfortunately diet changes cannot cure your disease, at best they may aggrevate or soothe it a little bit.