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Crohn's Disease Forum » Diet, Fitness, and Supplements » Passover and Crohn's Disease


03-07-2010, 09:10 PM   #1
Jay
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Passover and Crohn's Disease

Hi,

I am an observant Jewish fellow, recently diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on what sort of foods can cause trouble, and have been making an effort to stay away from the bad stuff.

Passover is coming up in a few weeks, and that holiday involves eating some interesting foods.

This will be my first Passover with Crohn’s, so I was hoping some of you can help keep me out of trouble by sharing your experiences.

The foods in question are:

Matzah – Has Matzah given anyone trouble? Is “machine made” better than “hand made”? Is Egg Matzah better than regular Matzah? I know that certain breads (whole grain, rye with seeds, bran) can cause trouble, but have not heard anything about the pros and cons of Matzah.

Grape Juice – I will need to drink four cups of grape juice (I do not get along well with wine) for two nights in a row. Will that mess me up? Is white grape juice better than purple grape juice?

Charoset – With all that fruit and nuts, I think I’m definitely going to limit the amount I eat.

Macaroons – I cannot stand the taste of macaroons, but I saw an odd article about the effects of Coconut Macaroons on Crohn’s. Is there any truth to those rumors?

Thank you for your help,

Jay
03-08-2010, 02:54 AM   #2
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hi Jay

first of all, i'm sure you know that, when it comes to health, the religion will allow you to stray from the strict guidelines when it comes to festivals, like during fasting, you're allowed to take medications and water to take them with, similarly with Passover - if for any reason you cannot follow the Passover diet for health issues, i'm sure this would be allowed too. maybe you could discuss this with someone from the synagogue.

if you are determined to eat the matzah, i would go for the softer ones which are the egg-matzah, not the harder plain ones, and only limit the amount to what you really need - matzah is well known for causing digestion problems for the healthiest of people, mostly constipation, but can cause bad stomach pains too. it's not the most digestible of foods!

grape juice - the darker one is pretty sweet, so that should be ok, but again limit it to necessary sips only. Coconut is a definite no-no for anyone with IBD - i'd really recommend you steer clear of that. and the Charoset - if it's made really smooth, with the almonds well ground, that should be ok.

depending on how observant you are, there is always the option to follow a more Crohn's-friendly diet during Passover, than the Passover allowed foods, and you can do this in privacy - no-one need know. that would be my ultimate recommendation, but i know this may be a difficult decision for you.

i hope you have a good and trouble-free Passover
03-08-2010, 07:30 AM   #3
My Butt Hurts
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I actually had to use white grape juice as the base drink for one of my first colonoscopies. Ugh - I can't stomach it now.
I'm wondering if you can cut the juice with half water to make it weaker? That way you'd be getting half the sugar.
03-08-2010, 02:48 PM   #4
Jay
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Thank you so much for the excellent advice.

It sounds like I will try eating a very minimum amount of Matzah, and no more.

Hopefully, that will go OK.

I may also see a dietitian for some advice on the matter.

I also spotted an article on the OU (an organization that provides Kosher certification for many products in the United States) web site concerning a whole list of nutritional supplements, including regular Ensure. The article indicated that, although they do not provide special Passover certification for those products, based on the ingredients, it should be OK for a sick person to eat/drink them on Passover. I suspect that I may find myself drinking a lot of Ensure this Passover.

Jay
03-08-2010, 03:30 PM   #5
Steve
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Jay,
I have a call scheduled with my GI later this week to discuss this - i will let you know what he says and you let me know what you find out. Im sure my doc will say to eat what you want in moderation and work with it from there but i'd rather hear it from him before than him telling me i'm crazy after.
03-08-2010, 03:32 PM   #6
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I only drink 100% Grape Juice or Apple Juice.
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03-08-2010, 07:59 PM   #7
slice
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I hear people have gotten relief from coconut/macaroons but I totally backfired on me when I tried it. I thought maybe it was something else that caused it so I tried them again and had even worse problems. Not sure if I'm allergic or what but one thing I've learned from this disease is that what works for someone almost invariably won't work someone else. Good luck with passover!
03-09-2010, 10:19 AM   #8
Jay
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Thank you all so much.

I have a doctor’s appointment coming up, as well, and will ask.

If I do not get much info from my Doctor, I will try to make an appointment with a dietitian. I’ll let you all know what I find out.

Jay
03-09-2010, 08:51 PM   #9
ameslouise
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Hi Jay -

Passover can be challenging, even for those without dietary concerns! I know matzah binds up most people (bread of affliction and all) but for others, it does the opposite. Go figure. Personally, I don't eat processed food or refined wheat products at all, so I will just consume the small amount required during Seder.

Stringy meats like brisket are a killer because they are so fatty, so I would try to avoid it. I don't eat meat anymore but when I did, brisket used to destroy me.

Beets also cause me trouble, so I stay away from the horseradish with beet juice.

There are lots of other traditional Passover foods that fall into the "low res" category like chicken soup, mashed potatoes, baked chicken, eggs, etc. While not very exciting, they certainly are safe. I plan to use a lot of quinoa, but there are differing schools of thought on whether or not it is kosher for Passover.

Have a wondeful holiday! - Amy
03-12-2010, 08:51 AM   #10
lucitcha
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Hi there!
I just each as little matza as possible, it really messes with me. charosset is fine, though. I think it´s just different for everyone. I´m sefaradi, so we´re allowed to have rice during passover. That just turns things a lot practical for me. I just avoid the bread, pasta and cookies - but I can have my regular lunch and dinner consisting of a light meat, cooked vegetables and rice.

Happy holidays for everyone!
03-12-2010, 08:53 AM   #11
lucitcha
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Oh, and as for the juice... I really don´t fill my glass and noone notices. I put a little bit in each of the 4 times. By the end of seder, I´ve drunk less then half a glass. Well, that´s just cheating. But so is taking grape juice instead of wine, I guess. Like was said before, those religious rituals are not supposed to make you sick.
03-12-2010, 09:18 AM   #12
Jay
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Thank you so much, Amy and Lucitcha.

I spoke to my doctor this morning. He said to try to keep the matzah eating to a minimum, as it can cause constipation.

He did not think that grape juice would be a problem for either Crohn’s or Acid Reflux.

However, he said that, if grape juice does bother me, I can always cut back on it.

I may also consult with a dietitian. I’ll let you all know if I do.

Jay.
03-14-2010, 04:46 PM   #13
ameslouise
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My mother in law just called to tell me she found spelt matzah - wheat free and gluten free. Can't taste any worse than regular matzah, right???
03-14-2010, 06:08 PM   #14
Steve
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Haha Amy - my wife bought spelt and whole wheat matzah today. It is what it is - it will be a party.
The funniest part of it is that my wife made a joke out of it and brought it home with a pack of cigartettes to save for when I get constipated from it. Founds disgusting but it was so funny.
03-14-2010, 07:06 PM   #15
MikeinBklyn
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Jay,

One passover I was warned by my then girlfriends father, "Michael, don't eat too much Matzah it will bind you, especially since you are Italian"!

Well, this was long before I was ever diagnosed with Crohn's. I did eat a ton of matzah that first night.

By the morning after the second night I was incredibly sick. My stomach was distended and having intense abdominal pain. My doc thought I had either an appendix attack or a blockage.

I was taken to the ER and they removed my appendix.

I love matzah and look forward to eating some, although a lot less than that Passover thirty years ago.

Eat in moderation.

Happy Holiday.
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Last edited by MikeinBklyn; 03-17-2010 at 05:22 PM.
03-15-2010, 08:27 PM   #16
ameslouise
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Mike - That is a great story! Well, not great that you had appendicitis, but sometimes it feels like we have appendicitis having eaten too much matzah!

I'll send some leftover matzah your way!!

- Amy
03-15-2010, 08:29 PM   #17
ameslouise
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Steve said:
The funniest part of it is that my wife made a joke out of it and brought it home with a pack of cigartettes to save for when I get constipated from it.
Hee hee! Constipation can always be cured by coffee and cigarettes! - A
03-17-2010, 05:24 PM   #18
MikeinBklyn
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Amy, Thanks for the offer for the extra matzah. I work in Williamsburg Brooklyn very close to a Matzah factory and stop in around this time of the year.
03-25-2010, 04:11 PM   #19
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I too am jewish. With passover approching, I too had the same questions.

I am going to do the following:

Make a nice chicken soup using no msg, low sodium chicken stock in a box and make matzoh balls using egg whites instead of regular eggs. I have cookbook called Kosher California and they have a recipe for matzoh balls using egg whites.

The matzoh, I will have to see, since I have not had tried matzoh since I was diagonized with Crohn's three years ago.

I love chicken, so a nice chicken dish with mushrooms and aspagras (which I will try again) since they did not agree with me.

No nuts, limited with fruits and no wine.

Let me know if this helps.
04-02-2010, 10:16 PM   #20
ameslouise
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How's everyone doing during Passover?!

All good over here - even the macaroons didn't give me any trouble!

- Amy
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