Crohn's Disease Forum » Diet, Fitness, and Supplements » Gluten-free + low fiber - what to eat?

03-20-2017, 09:13 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Gluten-free + low fiber - what to eat?

My husband with Crohn's has been trying a gluten-free diet for several weeks with a marked improvement in his symptoms. We are struggling however to find enough food for him to eat! Especially in the grains and fruits/veggies category, since he doesn't do well with fiber and has had to avoid it for the past few years. Basically the only fruit he can eat is peeled apples or apple sauce, and for vegetables - only carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut - if they are cooked and pureed. He does have a fruit smoothie and yogurt every morning, and then eggsalad or tuna with corn chips for lunch, apple sauce as a snack, and chicken with rice + butternut soup for dinner, but he is very hungry all day.

When asking gluten-free people for food suggestions, they talk about salads, fruit and veggies, but he needs to avoid fiber!

Anybody have any suggestions?
03-21-2017, 06:00 AM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2016
My kids are on GF diets and with one kid it's a struggle to eat fruits /veggies, so she tends to low fiber. She does GF pancakes a lot (Bob's Red Mill), GF waffles (you have to try a few). . There are a fair number of GF cereals - including cheerios, many of the chex cereals. All types of eggs. Homemade mashed potatoes a lot/GF pizza (not sure that works for you). Probably too much chicken/meat. In our area, we have fresh GF options from bakeries for muffins/ treats - but I'm trying to get better at making them ourselves. She does smoothies, yogurts, and often "dairy" like treat in afternoon (LF milk/coconut milk). We try not to do many of the bought (processed) GF stuff, but also have to make it doable.

Our nutritionist recommended looking at paleo cookbooks (in addition to GF cookbooks) for ideas. On GF baking/cooking, there are a lot of different flours - some our high in fiber, some are low - so you will need to look. They are often a little tricky to work with so it takes a fair amount of experimenting and expect that they don't always go as plan. Some of the bread recipes get very high reviews - I just haven't had the time to do that experimenting.

Good luck!

Note: They are not 100% GF like celiac, as very small trace amounts or cross contamination, we do not worry about.
03-21-2017, 08:31 AM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2016
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I've been gluten free (celiac disease) for almost 20 years and fiber actually constipates me. I make all my baked goods myself except bread (I like Udi's bread and bagels). PM me if you want my flour recipe (very simple); it took me a few years to figure out the best mixture for really good baking. I'm happy to share recipes as well.

I eat chicken, beef (occasionally), fish, along with potatoes or rice (I found that any enriched rice exacerbated my initial celiac symptoms) and simple cooked vegetables. Since my crohn's diagnosis I have gravitated toward mostly white foods. Can your husband tolerate nut butters? They can be filling and have good protein. I gather he can't tolerate bananas? Can he eat sweet potatoes at all? What about pasta? I've found the best gluten free pasta to be Barilla; it cooks and tastes like regular pasta. What about cheese? Can he eat a snack of cheese and rice crackers? Good gluten free brands are Schär, Glutino (they make great crackers and some really good chocolate wafers--lemon too), and Udi's. Tate's makes really great gluten free chocolate chip cookies. Do you have a Whole Foods near you? They carry their own gluten free baked goods as well as other brands. I'm happy to share whatever tips I can.
03-21-2017, 09:55 PM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia

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I would add bananas (ripe, not green), avocados, mashed potatoes, zucchini or those little yellow and green 'patty pan' squash. The stone fruit season is just finishing here in Australia and I find that I can eat stewed and blended plums (not raw).

If you can find pure oatmeal (some has wheat added to it) it is gluten free. I buy certified organic rolled oats (not quick oats), soak it overnight in yogurt and water and cook slowly for a long time. This is very filling and I eat it all year for breakfast with kefir or yogurt and mashed banana. If you can find kefir, it is excellent because it is fermented and helps the gut flora - it tastes like thin yogurt and you can make it yourself with kefir grains if you can't buy it locally.
Crohn's Disease - symptoms since c1955, diagnosed early 1970s. On Prednisolone until...
Total Proctocolectomy in 2000.
Ileostomy that behaves most of the time
Currently on no medications, but under constant gaze of very caring GP, with annual blood and other tests.
03-22-2017, 05:20 PM   #5
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Join Date: Feb 2017
I know that struggle - I've had tears for dinner many times. Can he eat eggs? Any cheeses? Tomatoes? Meat? My dietician recommended Passatta - it's a very watered down, skinless & seedless version of tomato paste. This was a life saver. So was finding a version of bread that I could tolerate - I cried when I had my first piece of toast in a year. I hate that everything has to be made from scratch - especially when your arthritis wont allow you to lift a saucapan! However, when I can, I steam the veggies I can eat - zucchini and cooked spinach are my only safe greens - and put them in a baking dish, make an egg/omelette type mix (eggs and a splash of milk), pour it over the veggies and cook with foil on until the eggs are kind of bubbly. Take the foil off, sprinkle with cheese if you can, and back in the oven until brown. Adding rice makes it more filling, but more difficult to freeze. If passata is an option (I started with a tiny amount and built up over time) then pasta sauces can be back on the menu. Gluten-free stuff is nowhere near as filling, so I understand the hunger. Being on steroids, and being hit with steroid-starvation is dreadful. I make dip/spreadable-on-ricecakes things like avocado mixed with tuna. Bananas are my only fruit, but at least they are semi-filling. I can have a few spoonfuls of yoghurt so I can take my morning pill soup. Boiled eggs kept in the fridge are good for a quick fix. So sick of white food, but mashed potato is almost a daily go-to. I can't have anything with garlic and onion, so my dietician found me a stock cube that has neither - a massel brand in Australia. When I can, I make a casserole with those stock cubes, salt and pepper, meat, diced pumpkin which turns into a gravy after hours of cooking, and any other veggies I can have. Served with rice makes it more filling. Pretty bland, but filling.
It has taken me a year to come up with these few options - food-sadness is real! Good luck and let us know if any of our suggestions help.
03-23-2017, 11:03 PM   #6
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I'm also currently cooking and pureeing all my veggies. I do spinach and other greens in addition to those you mentioned. I eat a lot of chicken and fish, occasional beef. Avocado is a lifesaver for me lately - with such a restricted diet it is a way to get a lot of calories in, and it is good healthy fat...and delicious. I eat it either on its own, or with whatever meat I'm eating. Gelatin is super healthy for the gut and a good, easy to prepare it feels like a treat. I buy Great Lakes grass fed gelatin, then mix it with 100% fruit juice and water, set it in the fridge. And another yes to both bananas and hard boiled eggs.
03-24-2017, 06:13 AM   #7
Join Date: Jan 2017

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I've been gluten free for several years now, and heres a list of things I' make instead.

Quinoia, rice, buckwheat, plantain flour can all be used as substitutes.

I'm especially careful with things that need gluey binders to work; that is lots of the 'gluten-free' products. Tend to make the substitutes myself.

I make a 'bread' out of vegetables blended together with plantain. but you could try banana instead.

The easiest way is to up the amount of vegetables he eats. There's no reason to be hungry unless some of the bacteria that were eating gluten are now starving. They will communicate that to the brain. The sensation wears off after a few days.

So eat comfort foods like pumpkin, purple sweet potato, beetroot, and vegetables such as chard, spinach, celeriac.

He will need to do some research on the relationship between IBD and the microbiome, because long term, eating fiber is going to be key to getting better. The microbiome lives off fiber. if it doesnt get it, it eats the mucosa, thus making a direct link to IBD. If it does get fermentable fiber and resistant starches, it makes butyrate which is what the intestinal cells use to make the mucosa and repair/replace themselves. So fiber is absolutely cricital. I would say its no. 1 thing.

To start experimenting with it, he could try very small amounts of inulin in water, and also acacia gum. just to test. Then if ok ramp up the quantities slowly, so microbiome has time to reform.

Mind, you don't want to give him fiber if he also has SIBO. But thats another story.

Once he's ok with small amounts of inulin and acacia gum, then move onto greener bananas, potatoes which have been cooked and cooled in fridge 6 hours, and rice cooked cooled 6 hours. Small amounts. see how he supports those. They are resistant starch.

Finally can move to eating more and more plant foods for fermentable fiber. Its like cleaning out an abandoned plot of land and reseeding it with an orchard.
Diagnosed Crohn's 2007. Pentasa and several other drugs. Began exercising and taking better care of body in 2008. Lost 45 pounds, gradually reduced junk food, alcohol and tobacco. Stopped meds 2009. Went Gluten free, lactose free. Finally tobacco and alcohol free in 2013. Biopsies and internal camera since then come back with 'no trace of disease'.

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