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Monday, August 01, 2011

People with Crohns can improve their well being by a self disciplined experimental approach to their diet

I have been working with Caroline for several years and have born witness to her steady improvement in health, despite suffering from the inflammatory disease of the digestive tract called Crohn's. Here is what she has written to assist other people with this condition.

I was reading you have a medical student on your blog doing a study of what people with Crohns disease should eat. Seeing I have my disease well managed I thought I am in an excellent position to offer suggestions. You might want to forward these.
People with digestive problems often think the solution will be more fibre ( and I came across Docters who thought this too) but I have found I have  to be very careful with some fibre as it can irritate.... Eg bran is a huge no, no for me. I generally try to avoid too much of anything that could be scratchy if not chewed properly. Things like broccoli and kumara are great for digestion. Aloe Vera added to water and sipped during the day is good.

Although it is sounds trendy I think going mostly gluten free has been beneficial for me. Gluten can be an irritant and people with Crohns disease need to avoid irritants.

Careful observation of diet is essential for someone with this disease. It's necessary to fiddle around with placement of foods within the day to see what agrees when and if some foods agree at all. Eg salad at lunch time does not agree with me for some reason ..... So I have heaps of greens etc in the evening. Bananas don't agree with me at all..... But apples do!!!!  Protein powders don't work for me, they upset my tummy, but I can eat as much meat, fish, eggs etc as I like with no ill effects at any time of the day. Lots of people eat fruit and cereal with yoghurt for breakfast. I did too but it was upsetting my tummy wickedly. Toast and egg agrees with me for breakfast. It's just a matter of observing, trialing and solving the complex puzzle of what can be eaten easily..... by YOU.

Takeaways and processed foods are totally out, stay away from additives and preservatives..... which means people have to be willing to have self discipline to exist with the disease, drug free. Pure, wholesome food is the way to go.
As said, supplements are  necessary because of malabsorption and most doctors don't consider this at all. After working with Gary my health is much, much better because I am now getting all the nutrients I need. Getting all the nutrients  you need JUST from a balanced diet as is often touted  by SOME people  opposed to supplements, is not that easy if you have Crohns.

One thing that is never considered but is  significant. I have had very nasty, unusual to reactions to drugs taken orally and I wonder if this is because my gut is more porous. The drug salazopyrine, that many people with Crohns are treated with had actually played havoc with my upper back muscles to the extent I was nauseous from pain. This is a very unusual but documented side effect of the drug. You just have to search hard to find that particular information about salazopyrine. No salazopyrine.... No pain.

Also, if you  really do need antibiotics and they are upsetting your gut hugely as can be the case, get off those ones straight away and ask your GP to research an alternative that won't cause grief. It can be done..... They do exist.
An active life style is important. It keeps the food  moving through your body. BUT I have found I have to listen to my body very carefully and rest when I get tired. The results of getting too tired can be a little more serious for someone with Crohns.
I have found it is fatal to my days good digestion to get stuck sitting down in the afternoon eg in a meeting or whatever.
One thing that might surprise some people is that I can eat spicy food with no ill effect. But studies have found one of the spices and I think off hand it's tumeric, is beneficial to those with Crohns. It has an anti inflammatory effect.

It is hard to say if I have been lucky and have not been dealt a very bad case of Crohns disease or if my life style has limited the extent of the disease. I am sure of one thing. I do believe that people with Crohns can improve their well being by a self disciplined experimental approach to their diet. They need to ask questions about  every thing that passes through their lips and take responsibility for their health, rather than put blind trust in other people.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Deb finds most of those things apply to a huge range of conditions - eg. no gluten helps for pretty much everything, no drugs of any kind, no antibiotics, no takeaways, no bran, and watch out for bananas - pretty std gut and psychology (GAPS)diet really!