Monday, December 9, 2013

My New Food Adventure: IBD and Diet

Having Crohn's Disease as well as being pregnant, both get us thinking about what we are putting into our bodies. My husband, son and I currently eat what I consider to be a fairly healthy diet. We rarely get fast food or take-out, we eat lots of fruit and veggies, avoid too much dairy, and cook a lot from scratch. However, the information out there about what is good for you is changing. Butter and eggs are no longer bad? Fat is good? Crazy! There's also a lot of new information coming out regarding foods which reduce inflammation in the body. Hey, we have an inflammatory disease! So what should we do?
I'm currently on an adventure, slowly changing what my family eats. We are very heavy in the breads and pastas category, and low on veggies and fish. We do eat some pre-packaged foods, probably too much. And what I thought I knew about those awesome, inflammation busting Omega-3 fatty acids is changing.

The New News About Omega-3s

If you have an inflammatory disease like Crohn's or Colitis, then you have probably read that Omega-3 fats help reduce inflammation in the body. Awesome right? However new research is showing that many foods high in Omega-3s are also high in Omega-6s. And Omega-6s counter act the inflammation fighting of Omega-3. So you might be negating the benefits of what you're eating or even worse. The trick? Find foods that are high in Omega3s, and low in Omega-6s. Here's a great article I found about this: (Omega-6 vs Omega-3).

Two of the best high Omega-3 and low Omega-6 foods I've found are flaxseeds and fish. So I bought a small coffee grinder to grind flaxseeds into powder (they are not digestible whole) and keep the powdered seeds in the fridge to add to various things I cook. I have also started buying and cooking a bit more fish than before. I even tried one of those canned herring snack tins which have tons of Omega-3s and other great nutrients we Crohnies need (like B-12, D, protein, etc), and despite the strong fish flavour it was quite good (and inexpensive! and low in mercury!).

I've also switched from margarine to butter much to the joy of my husband! The olive-oil containing margarine I used to buy touted itself as being high in Omega-3s. However it's also very high in Omega-6s. So it wasn't doing me the good I thought it was.

Healthy Changes

In addition to my quest for more Omega-3s and less Omega-6s there are also several other changes I'm introducing. I'm trying to cook more veggie rich meals and less pastas (we buy gluten free pasta). More raw veggies and nuts like almonds and walnuts. Also very important is I'm trying hard to reduce our white sugar and refined sugars content. Sugar in your diet can also increase inflammation. More water and less juice. And aiming for less ultra-sugary cereal in the morning and instead breakfasts of oatmeal, whole wheat toast, or yogurt and fruit, eggs, etc.

These changes are difficult. Especially since I have to get a husband and almost-two year old on board with me. I will probably never go all the way on these ideas. I love my pastas too much... but a few degrees of changes will hopefully introduce benefits to myself, my family and my soon to arrive second son (due in 3 months!).

I will report back here any changes or challenges I find and other suggestions and tips.

Have you made any similar changes to your diet? What do you recommend?


  1. For about 3 years I rely on the use of probiotic for the treatment of my condition and the use of medications have decline since that. In the past year I have been using Prolabik and i am feeling very happy with the results.

  2. I have crohns as well and noticed a huge positive change when I eliminated gluten from my diet. I also use the bloodtype diet as a guideline and found that I am less bloated and don't suffer from cramps. I have been off all meds for over a year and am so happy! I started a blog as well about living a healthy lifestyle with crohns. Check it out at Love your blog:)

  3. I have enjoyed your blog Brightside...I don't feel we get enough info on the food we are/should eat...I just found out about having crohn's and that I have 22cm of diseased bowel...dr is not recommending surgery just yet and has me on strong meds and wants to see if it will put me in remission first...don't need to remind you that the meds take awhile to work and I worry it will spread? I need feedback and support if you or anyone has the time to write... a crohn's newbie thanks

  4. I have suffered from Crohn's for about 23 years, and have experimented with what to eat continuously. I have eliminated gluten, sugar ( except for the occasional sweet), fast food, and drink mainly water. I have also become a vegetarian, and I feel the best overall that I have in twenty years.