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Crohn's Disease Forum » Diet, Fitness, and Supplements » Diet with Crohn's - Advice?


05-19-2013, 07:38 PM   #1
strawberrys78
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Diet with Crohn's - Advice?

Hey everyone!

I'm trying to eat as healthy as I can with my Crohn's.. but sometimes I do not know if I am doing it right, because healthy for someone without Crohn's is different than healthy for someone WITH Crohn's!

From what I can remember, I never had any problems with iceberg lettuce. I didn't think romaine would bother me, but one time I had some and I got really harsh pain and diarrhea! I didn't eat romaine lettuce since then because I am afraid.

One of my friends with Crohn's recommended a salad with a light raspberry vinaigrette and baby spinach. I bought both of them today and I want to try it.

I want to be sure I am eating things that will not hurt my bowels or cause destruction both in the short term and long term.

So, I want to know will this cause destruction/hurt me? Or will it help. What kind of things should I be eating that will help me to be healthy with Crohn's?

Thanks y'all!!
05-19-2013, 08:53 PM   #2
strawberrys78
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Well.. I ate one skinless boneless chicken breast with a little bit of canola oil, garlic and brown sugar. And the salad. And now I am having stomach pain.. not sure what out of everything I ate caused the stomach pain. So frustrating
05-20-2013, 12:55 AM   #3
Trevor
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Hi sorry to hear things aren't going so well it's a tough thing to figure out for sure.

I think the generally accepted wisdom is that the only way to really find out what bothers you personally is an elimination diet ala GAPS or SCD type diets.

Just from what you listed above I can tell you that a lot of people do have issues with lettuce and I know I have issues with canola oil (even if you tolerate it it's not a great type of fat for your body) and brown sugar and depending what exactly is in the raspberry vinaigrette that could be a challenge too.

So long story short, start from chicken/bone broth and work your way up adding new foods every few days. It's time consuming, boring and not all that tasty at times but it's an effective way to figure this all out.

If you're like me and impatient you can play the odds and start with something like the Paleo Autoimmune protocol which most people tolerate well and then work up from there rather than starting just from broth.

Hope that helps good luck.
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05-20-2013, 02:49 AM   #4
hugh
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I agree with Trevor,
Paleo/SCD/GAPS is a great starting point
This vid is worth a look,
A gastroentreologist talking about Paleo
http://www.crohnsforum.com/showthread.php?t=48559

What you can tolerate will improve dramatically after you begin to heal
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05-20-2013, 10:12 AM   #5
strawberrys78
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Hi sorry to hear things aren't going so well it's a tough thing to figure out for sure.

I think the generally accepted wisdom is that the only way to really find out what bothers you personally is an elimination diet ala GAPS or SCD type diets.

Just from what you listed above I can tell you that a lot of people do have issues with lettuce and I know I have issues with canola oil (even if you tolerate it it's not a great type of fat for your body) and brown sugar and depending what exactly is in the raspberry vinaigrette that could be a challenge too.

So long story short, start from chicken/bone broth and work your way up adding new foods every few days. It's time consuming, boring and not all that tasty at times but it's an effective way to figure this all out.

If you're like me and impatient you can play the odds and start with something like the Paleo Autoimmune protocol which most people tolerate well and then work up from there rather than starting just from broth.

Hope that helps good luck.
Thanks so much for replying! Do you happen to know an oil that does not hurt you / is better for your body? Maybe olive oil?

It is so frustrating. I think I am eating fairly healthy and what do you know, I get stomach pain from it. Sometimes I think it doesn't even matter what I eat because I get sick so often, sometimes with diarrhea sometimes with just the pain.

The Paleo diet and the elimination diet sounds like something I can try.

Still can't believe I have Crohn's (just recently found out)... I love food way too much and now I get sick from almost everything I eat!!

Thanks again, I appreciate it!!
05-20-2013, 10:43 AM   #6
Trevor
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Olive oil is a good one! It's great on salads and in dips and things but for cooking I use coconut oil as it's less likely to oxidize with heat. Basically you get more and better types of fat from cooking with coconut oil.

It sucks, for sure. I found out about 2 1/2 years ago when I was still in college and it's taken all of that time to start to get a handle on the diet and everything. It does get better though.

I certainly love food too but there's tons of good food you'll be able to eat and feel fine, I'm a much better cook now thanks to having Crohn's :P

Always happy to help
05-20-2013, 03:13 PM   #7
mccindy
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Coconut oil is another one that is generally well tolerated (works great for me) and can even be beneficial. I do well with the elimination diet. Also I'd recommend kefir milk (if you like yogurt, you should like it). Mild and soothing on the belly, and has good probiotics to help the gut.

It is difficult to give up all the good foods we usually enjoy (personally I really miss the veggies and salads, they were my diet mainstay until this all started ). And seriously, sometimes I just want to grab me a candy bar and eat the whole thing! But definitely not worth the price. <sigh>
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current diagnosis is undiagnosed (possible Celiac disease)

Colonoscopy done August 2013, no evidence of Crohn's seen, biopsies done and one polyp removed.
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05-20-2013, 08:26 PM   #8
strawberrys78
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Coconut oil is another one that is generally well tolerated (works great for me) and can even be beneficial. I do well with the elimination diet. Also I'd recommend kefir milk (if you like yogurt, you should like it). Mild and soothing on the belly, and has good probiotics to help the gut.

It is difficult to give up all the good foods we usually enjoy (personally I really miss the veggies and salads, they were my diet mainstay until this all started ). And seriously, sometimes I just want to grab me a candy bar and eat the whole thing! But definitely not worth the price. <sigh>
Lol!! I hear ya. I have battles with myself daily over food. I can't wait until I can find what foods work for me and what foods don't work for me. Thanks for the reply
05-21-2013, 08:17 AM   #9
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Lettuce can cause problems because people with Crohn's often have trouble with fibre. However, even if fibre is a problem for you, you may find you can still have high-fibre foods (fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds) as long as you keep the portions small.

There are also some fruits and veg that are easier to digest - bananas, avocados, root vegetables and some tinned fruits and vegetable soups.

So you can still have healthy foods even if you do have problems with fibre.

To find out whether other foods cause you problems, you really have to go by trial and error, making sure that symptoms consistently follow eating particular foods.

I would avoid going on any extreme or restrictive diets. You need to make sure you eat enough and don't shock your system by changing a lot of your diet too suddenly if it's not necessary.
05-21-2013, 11:17 AM   #10
strawberrys78
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Lettuce can cause problems because people with Crohn's often have trouble with fibre. However, even if fibre is a problem for you, you may find you can still have high-fibre foods (fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds) as long as you keep the portions small.

There are also some fruits and veg that are easier to digest - bananas, avocados, root vegetables and some tinned fruits and vegetable soups.

So you can still have healthy foods even if you do have problems with fibre.

To find out whether other foods cause you problems, you really have to go by trial and error, making sure that symptoms consistently follow eating particular foods.

I would avoid going on any extreme or restrictive diets. You need to make sure you eat enough and don't shock your system by changing a lot of your diet too suddenly if it's not necessary.
Thanks! I find it so weird because I eat a lot of whole wheat bread and I've never had problems from that. Also I do not have problems with oranges, strawberries, bananas, apples, all bran cereal, carrots, potatoes, etc. I did get diarrhea at one time from eating berries (blueberries, raspberries and blackberries). However, I find that I don't consistently get sick from one food item. It might make me sick once and then never again. And sometimes I will get sick all day no matter what I eat, sometimes I will get sick even when I do not eat anything or from stress. So hard to follow!

I am going to have to try eating one food item and wait to see if it makes me sick and go one by one to try and find a pattern.

Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it!
05-21-2013, 03:18 PM   #11
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Keep in mind that how you prepare something may change how it affects you. For example, I cannot just have a salad, the fiber and roughage would just shred my insides. But I can put spinach and kale and other veggies in my juicer, and because juicing removes the fiber, it is really easy on my tummy. Steaming/cooking your veggies will remove some of the fiber too.

Yes, stress can do a number on your guts too. I find that getting regular exercise helps me a lot with depression and stress relief. Perhaps try some light yoga or short walks and see how you do with that - I wouldn't start off with any sort of intense exercise, take it slowly at first.
05-21-2013, 03:49 PM   #12
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Finding foods that are tolerated well can be a long process. If you can't tolerate veggies in the natural form you can always make veggie smoothies. I drink smoothies made with a mixture of veggies and/or fruits almost every day. With little left of my intestines, I cannot tolerate nuts, leafy greens, fruit or veggies with a skin or husk (like apple peel, peas, grapes, etc) but find that I can blend them in my food processor and drink them just fine. Olive, peanut & coconut oils are all good for cooking. As I stated on another of your questions, keeping a food/drink diary for awhile at least is good & helps to know what you are tolerating or not. Many crohn's ppl can't tolerate dairy, fruits, grains, etc. but we are all different.
05-21-2013, 06:59 PM   #13
strawberrys78
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Keep in mind that how you prepare something may change how it affects you. For example, I cannot just have a salad, the fiber and roughage would just shred my insides. But I can put spinach and kale and other veggies in my juicer, and because juicing removes the fiber, it is really easy on my tummy. Steaming/cooking your veggies will remove some of the fiber too.

Yes, stress can do a number on your guts too. I find that getting regular exercise helps me a lot with depression and stress relief. Perhaps try some light yoga or short walks and see how you do with that - I wouldn't start off with any sort of intense exercise, take it slowly at first.
That's a great idea.. I've seen tons of "green" smoothie recipes with almond milk / fruit / greens like spinach online.. I will have to try to see if it treats me any better. That way I can still get the nutrition.

I was doing a Jillian Michaels exercise video for about a month and some other workouts as well, and I have to admit during that time I did feel good. I don't know if it was a combination of maybe eating better, feeling better about myself, and the exercise helping my body, but it did help. Although, I did still get pain sometimes, but I didn't have a constant yucky gross sick, tired, upset stomach feeling ALL of the time. I gave up on my little routine when finals approached lol, (I am a HORRIBLE comfort eater) but I have been meaning to start exercising again!

Thanks for the advice
05-21-2013, 07:04 PM   #14
strawberrys78
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Finding foods that are tolerated well can be a long process. If you can't tolerate veggies in the natural form you can always make veggie smoothies. I drink smoothies made with a mixture of veggies and/or fruits almost every day. With little left of my intestines, I cannot tolerate nuts, leafy greens, fruit or veggies with a skin or husk (like apple peel, peas, grapes, etc) but find that I can blend them in my food processor and drink them just fine. Olive, peanut & coconut oils are all good for cooking. As I stated on another of your questions, keeping a food/drink diary for awhile at least is good & helps to know what you are tolerating or not. Many crohn's ppl can't tolerate dairy, fruits, grains, etc. but we are all different.
The smoothie idea is great.. I've seen a ton of recipes I've been wanting to try!! I will have to do that, it definitely could make a difference for me. Thanks for the suggestion .. I did keep a food diary for a little while but I didn't see any real patterns so I gave up. I will have to try that again and maybe not mix as many foods at one time so I can track a pattern better. I don't think I have a problem with dairy/fruits/grains.. I could be in denial, but I guess my food diary will have to sort that out lol!

I just can't wait for the day where I don't have as much pain, I know what I can eat, and I'm not in constant worry and turmoil over my body and worrying that I am going to get seriously hurt/end up in the hospital. I'm only 20 so I'm not planning on having any children yet for a long time but is there any evidence that crohn's affect the ability to conceive/have children?
05-21-2013, 08:01 PM   #15
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I don't think there is any evidence that crohn's can affect your ability to conceive but you should discuss having children with your doctor prior to getting pregnant. Many things will depend on what stage your crohn's is in at that time but there is no guarantee that anything or nothing would happen during pregnancy. I had my 2nd daughter with little pregnancy problems even though there was a chance I may have had crohn's then but then all hell broke loose when I was pregnant with my son nine years later. No guarantees good or bad.
Yes you should try some smoothies to see if they help. You can also add protein powder, ground flax seed, chia seeds, etc. for more added benefits. Many people prefer juicing but the smoothie works for me without removing the fiber. Another thing I like is refrigerator oatmeal with fruit - make it the night before and eat it the next morning, cold or hot. The process, for me, softens the oatmeal enough that it usually doesn't "hurt" me. I use quick or rolled oats - the steel cut are too tough/fibery for me. I agree sometimes a food will bother you & sometimes not but you learn to kind of know what & when to eat. Good luck!

Last edited by rdrakester; 05-21-2013 at 08:17 PM.
05-21-2013, 09:55 PM   #16
strawberrys78
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I don't think there is any evidence that crohn's can affect your ability to conceive but you should discuss having children with your doctor prior to getting pregnant. Many things will depend on what stage your crohn's is in at that time but there is no guarantee that anything or nothing would happen during pregnancy. I had my 2nd daughter with little pregnancy problems even though there was a chance I may have had crohn's then but then all hell broke loose when I was pregnant with my son nine years later. No guarantees good or bad.
Yes you should try some smoothies to see if they help. You can also add protein powder, ground flax seed, chia seeds, etc. for more added benefits. Many people prefer juicing but the smoothie works for me without removing the fiber. Another thing I like is refrigerator oatmeal with fruit - make it the night before and eat it the next morning, cold or hot. The process, for me, softens the oatmeal enough that it usually doesn't "hurt" me. I use quick or rolled oats - the steel cut are too tough/fibery for me. I agree sometimes a food will bother you & sometimes not but you learn to kind of know what & when to eat. Good luck!
Thanks!! I'm kind of stressing out now that it has sunk in that I actually have Crohn's.. when I first found out I just kind of said "oh well.." but now I'm really worried and have myself convinced that everything will go wrong.. Guess I will have to get used to a different lifestyle! Thanks again
05-22-2013, 03:09 AM   #17
Trevor
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Don't worry! Be happy

Stress is the enemy when it comes to Crohn's. Nothing makes us sicker faster than anxiety and stress.

So look on the bright side! You get to hang out with all of us


Alright, I'll try and think of something slightly more positive than that...
05-22-2013, 03:26 AM   #18
strawberrys78
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Don't worry! Be happy

Stress is the enemy when it comes to Crohn's. Nothing makes us sicker faster than anxiety and stress.

So look on the bright side! You get to hang out with all of us


Alright, I'll try and think of something slightly more positive than that...
Hahahah!! Oh come on, I am so glad I found such a great support system thanks lol!
05-22-2013, 07:48 AM   #19
mccindy
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For your food diary, it's definitely best if you use the full elimination diet and then only reintroduce one food, and then wait a couple of days after eating it. This seems to be the best way to determine what foods will trigger your symptoms. I have found that some foods will take 12 hours or more to trigger symptoms in myself.
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