Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis Safe Recipes

Hosted by Kimmi Knippel (Sweet_Memories)
Group active since Wed, Sep 05, 2012

To learn more about Crohn's or Colitis go to: ccfa.org

Or you can subscribe to: Crohn's Advocate Magazine crohnsandme.com/crohns-advocate-maga...

Sue Reppert
Jun 1, 2013

colitis

Hello I just joined this group as I was looking around and I saw this for colitis. So I want to thank Kimmik, I had never heard about the coconut macaroons I'm looking forward to some recipes and info about colitis. I've had this for years now over 40 and I'm well aware of the bathroom issues and carrying extra clothes too.
Hope to hear from you. Thanks

Home Remedy for Diarrhea, Crohn’s & Colitis Symptoms

I read this somewhere (sorry I forget the link...)

I am hearing more about different individuals who suffer from diarrhea, Colitis, IBS, or Crohn's disease. Dis-ease would truly be the description of this "irritating" problem of needing to be close to a bathroom. Unless specifically caused by a bad flu virus or bad food, or over eating, the general medical opinion is that the diarrhea is caused by stress that hits the digestive system of the body. The stress can actually cause the body to be intolerant of different foods or conditions.
My Dad had the problem of unpredictable diarrhea. The doctors told him it was caused by his medication for diabetes - he was type 2. The diarrhea seemed to hit harder and more frequently as he aged and began to worry about being out in public and getting caught in a "bad situation". As a side note, Dad worried constantly about everything. He tried every known diarrhea remedy on the market, and nothing really worked. His problem caused him so much grief and stopped him from traveling, from attending various family gatherings or social outings. It helped him become a victim of circumstances. It stayed with him until he died.
I was having a conversation about this problem with a stranger. Imagine how intrigued I was when she told me that something called "Archway Coconut Macaroon" cookies stop diarrhea, in most cases. I have never heard of the product so I had to look it up on the Internet. The main ingredient is coconut. It seems to be available at Wal-Mart.
When I was researching the coconut macaroon, I found some pretty interesting stuff.
1. Coconut milk also seems to stop diarrhea in babies and youngsters.

2. Some doctors recommend coconut macaroons as a remedy - two in the morning and two in the evening. Another doctor recommended eating a large pinch of coconut in the morning and the evening, and to add fresh pineapple because it contains bromelain which has anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Coconut oil, available at health foods stores, may also correct irritable bowel syndrome.

4. As a substitute for macaroons when you are on the road, or have finished your supply, one can use Almond Mounds with similar success.

5. People make sugar free coconut macaroons to be eaten by those who are diabetic.

6. The coconut solution may not work for everyone. For those who are not able to get relief with coconut, various sufferers of IBS or Crohn's have suggested probiotics from home made yogurt or from Activa (name brand) yogurt.

I wish someone had told our family about coconut macaroons years ago! May this information be helpful to all that read it.

Ancestors - Home Remedy for Diarrhea, IBS, Colitis Symptoms

I am hearing more about different individuals who suffer from diarrhea, Colitis, IBS, or Crohn's disease. Dis-ease would truly be the description of this "irritating" problem of needing to be close to a bathroom. Unless specifically caused by a bad flu virus or bad food, or over eating, the general medical opinion is that the diarrhea is caused by stress that hits the digestive system of the body. The stress can actually cause the body to be intolerant of different foods or conditions.

My Dad had the problem of unpredictable diarrhea. The doctors told him it was caused by his medication for diabetes - he was type 2. The diarrhea seemed to hit harder and more frequently as he aged and began to worry about being out in public and getting caught in a "bad situation". As a side note, Dad worried constantly about everything. He tried every known diarrhea remedy on the market, and nothing really worked. His problem caused him so much grief and stopped him from traveling, from attending various family gatherings or social outings. It helped him become a victim of circumstances. It stayed with him until he died.

I was having a conversation about this problem with a stranger. Imagine how intrigued I was when she told me that something call "Archway Coconut Macaroon" cookies stop diarrhea, in most cases. I have never heard of the product so I had to look it up on the Internet. The main ingredient is coconut. It seems to be available at Walmart.

When I was researching the coconut macaroon, I found some pretty interesting stuff.

1. Coconut milk also seems to stop diarrhea in babies and youngsters.

2. Some doctors recommend coconut macaroons as a remedy - two in the morning and two in the evening. Another doctor recommended eating a large pinch of coconut in the morning and the evening, and to add fresh pineapple because it contains bromelain which has anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Coconut oil, available at health foods stores, may also correct irritable bowel syndrome.

4. As a substitute for macaroons when you are on the road, or have finished your supply, one can use Almond Mounds with similar success.

5. People make sugar free coconut macaroons to be eaten by those who are diabetic.

6. The coconut solution may not work for everyone. For those who are not able to get relief with coconut, various sufferers of IBS or Crohn's have suggested probiotics from home made yogurt or from Activa (name brand) yogurt.

I wish someone had told our family about coconut macaroons years ago! May this information be helpful to all that read it


Bathroom Tactics

Find A Bathroom In Places Where There Are No Public Restrooms

By Amber J. Tresca, About.com Guide
Updated August 29, 2012

An Illinois teen with Crohn's disease was denied access to a restroom while shopping in an Old Navy store. Her mother explained to store management that it was an emergency and even showed them her Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America "I Can't Wait" card. Still, she was told that the store did not provide public facilities. Unfortunately, what came next was what every person with a bowel disorder fears -- an accident right in the middle of the store.

The incident prompted the teen and her mother to meet with their state representative and draft a law requiring businesses to make employee-only facilities available to people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other conditions, including pregnancy and incontinence. The Restroom Access Act ("Ally's Law") went into effect in Illinois in September 2005. This law has also passed in Minnesota, Texas, and Washington. Eight other states have a bill pending.

Finding public restrooms is a serious problem for the disabled, as well as people with bowel or urinary conditions. For many of us, a big challenge in an emergency is overcoming our reluctance to admit the urgent need for a restroom to a stranger. But people are understanding in many cases, especially if you are courteous and grateful.

How can you find a bathroom when there isn't a public facility?

Tips and Tricks for Emergencies

Just ask The Illinois teen and her mother did the right thing. They asked management for permission. In many cases, store or restaurant management will allow you to use an employee or "customers only" restroom. They might deny access at first, but an explanation of the urgency, along with a "thank you," will most likely be all that's necessary to get you in the door.

Don't bypass the restaurant with a "customers only" sign In my experience this is to prevent a parade of people from using the facilities all day, which employees then have to take time away from customers to clean. It is also a big warning that the area does not have any public facilities. If an employee does want to deny you access, explain the urgency of the situation and offer to buy something such as a drink or dessert "to go."

Negotiate your way to the front of the line A long line for the restroom most often forms in the ladies' room, but it does occasionally happen to men, too. If you absolutely can't wait in that line, you'll need to gather up your courage and politely ask the people in the line if you can jump ahead. Most people will understand -- the average healthy adult has diarrhea several times a year.

Preventing Emergencies

It may not always be possible to avoid the occasional emergency situation, but you can prevent most of them with careful planning.

Learn where the restrooms are If you're in a large area, such as a mall or theme park, get a directory as soon as you get there. In a department store or supermarket, ask the first employee you see where the restrooms are located. While shopping in downtown or outdoor areas, ask a local resident or an employee if there is a nearby public facility, restaurant, or hotel with public restrooms.

Keep your own "emergency" kit Carry extra tissues or wet wipes and a change of underwear or clothing. Many public facilities won't have an adequate stock of toilet tissue, and the wipes come in handy if there is no soap to wash your hands. An extra change of clothes gives you something to change into if your garments get soiled.

Choose your outings wisely If you're not feeling well, a prolonged trip in an area with no public restrooms may not be the best idea. There are many malls, shopping areas, and theme parks that do provide facilities, and those may be the best choices during a flare-up.

Bring a buddy A friend or family member can help you scout for the nearest restroom, get your emergency kit from the car, and explain the situation if you need help.

Crohn's Disease Health Center

Tools & Resources

• What IBD Looks Like
• How to Eat Well With IBD
• What Is a Low-Residue Diet?
• Causes of Blood in Stool
• Tool: Your Health & Crohn's
• Learn as You Play the Crohns Puzzler

Creating a Crohn's Disease Diet Plan
If you have Crohn's disease, you probably have found that certain foods trigger your intestinal symptoms, especially when the disease flares. Learning to avoid these food triggers may allow you to self-manage your Crohn's disease, reduce gastrointestinal symptoms, and promote intestinal healing.
WebMD Health Check: Coping With Crohn’s Disease

What is Crohn's disease?
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are two types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Both involve an immune reaction against the intestinal tract.
In ulcerative colitis, the colon is inflamed and the small intestine works normally. With Crohn's disease, the small intestine can be inflamed, making it hard to digest and absorb key nutrients from food. The lack of sufficient nutrients, along with a poor appetite, can lead to malnutrition for people with Crohn's disease. That malnutrition may result from alterations in taste, reduced food or nutrient intake, lack of sufficient nutrients, or the inflammatory bowel disease process itself.

When Crohn's disease affects just the small intestine it results in diarrhea and undernourishment. When the large intestine is also inflamed, the diarrhea can be severe. Severe diarrhea combined with malnutrition often leads to problems. For example, a person with Crohn's disease may suffer from anemia and have low levels of vitamin B12, folic acid, or iron.

Nutritional deficiencies and an inability to maintain a normal weight are serious problems for many people, even children, with Crohn's disease.

What is a Crohn's disease diet plan?
You've probably read about different types of diets for Crohn's disease on the Internet. But the fact is there is no scientifically proven diet for inflammatory bowel disease. Most experts believe, though, that some patients can identify specific foods that trigger your gastrointestinal symptoms, particularly during disease flares. By avoiding your "trigger foods," you may find that your GI symptoms of gas, bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, and diarrhea are more manageable. At the same time, you will give your inflamed intestines time to heal.

If you have had problems absorbing nutrients due to Crohn's disease, it's important to follow a high-calorie, high-protein diet, even when you don't feel like eating. In this setting, an effective Crohn's disease diet plan, based on recommendations from experts, would emphasize eating regular meals -- plus an additional two or three snacks -- each day. That will help ensure you get ample protein, calories, and nutrients. In addition, you will need to take your doctor-recommended vitamin and mineral supplements. By doing so you will be able to replenish the necessary nutrients in your body.

Which foods should I avoid with a Crohn's disease diet plan?

The foods that trigger symptoms differ for each person with Crohn's disease. To know which foods to leave out of your diet plan, you'll need to determine which foods, if any, trigger yours. Many people with Crohn's disease find that the foods on the following list aggravate symptoms during disease flares. So it's possible that at least some of these listed foods will trigger your symptoms:

• alcohol (mixed drinks, beer, wine)
• butter, mayonnaise, margarine, oils
• carbonated beverages
• coffee, tea, chocolate
• corn husks
• dairy products (if lactose intolerant)
• fatty foods (fried foods)
• foods high in fiber
• gas-producing foods (lentils, beans, legumes, cabbage, broccoli, onions)
• nuts and seeds (peanut butter, other nut butters)
• raw fruits
• raw vegetables
• red meat and pork
• spicy foods
• whole grains and bran

Once you've identified foods that cause your symptoms to flare, you can choose either to avoid them or to learn new ways of preparing them that will make them tolerable. To do that, you'll need to experiment with various foods and methods of preparation to see what works best for you. For instance, if certain raw vegetables trigger a flare, you don't necessarily need to give them up. You may find that steaming them, boiling them, or stewing will allow you to eat them without increased GI symptoms. If red meat increases fat in the stools, you could try eating ground sirloin or ground round to see if you can tolerate a leaner cut of beef. Or you might decide to rely on low-fat poultry without skin and fish as your main sources of protein.

What Is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to chronic conditions that cause inflammation in some part of the intestines. The intestinal walls become swollen, inflamed, and develop ulcers, which can cause discomfort and serious digestive problems. The exact symptoms depend on which part of the digestive tract is involved.

Types of IBD: Crohn's Disease
Crohn's disease is a form of IBD that can occur anywhere along the digestive tract -- from the mouth to the anus. It affects the deeper layers of the digestive lining and can occur as "skip lesions" between healthy areas. Crohn's often involves the small intestine, the colon, or both. Internal tissues may develop shallow, crater-like areas or deeper sores and a cobblestone pattern, as seen here.

Types of IBD: Ulcerative Colitis
Unlike Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis only involves the colon and rectum. Inflammation and ulcers typically affect only the innermost lining in these areas, compared with the deeper lesions seen in Crohn's disease. Often only the lower (sigmoid) colon is affected, but it can occur higher up, too. The more of the colon that is affected, the worse the symptoms will be.

Symptoms of IBD
The symptoms of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are similar:

• Abdominal pain or cramping
• Diarrhea multiple times per day
• Bloody stools
• Weight loss

Other Symptoms of IBD
People with IBD may have symptoms outside the digestive tract, such as:

• Mouth sores and skin problems
• Arthritis
• Eye problems that affect vision

What Causes IBD?
Doctors aren't sure what causes IBD. Most believe something triggers the body's immune system to produce an unhealthy inflammatory reaction in the digestive tract. Ongoing research has uncovered specific genes linked to ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

Who Gets IBD?
IBD strikes men and women equally. It most often begins during the teenage years or early adulthood, but can develop at other times, too. People with a family history of IBD are at least 10 times more likely to develop the condition than those with no history. Caucasians and people of Jewish descent also have an increased risk.

IBD Is Not IBS
IBD is sometimes confused with IBS, which stands for irritable bowel syndrome. Both conditions can cause chronic digestive problems, but there are significant differences between the two. People with IBD have inflammation, ulcers, and other damage visible inside the digestive tract. In contrast, there is no damage in IBS, despite symptoms such as cramping, diarrhea, and constipation. IBS is much more common but less serious than IBD.

Conditions That Mimic IBD
There are other digestive disorders that may initially be mistaken for IBD. The symptoms of diverticulitis are belly pain, bloating, and diarrhea -- much like IBD -- but this condition involves inflamed or infected pouches along the colon wall. Another example is celiac disease, which causes cramping and frequent diarrhea, but the trigger is a protein in food called gluten. Testing can help rule out these conditions before a diagnosis of IBD is made.

Diagnosing IBD: Barium X-ray
There are several tests that can help diagnose IBD. One of the most common is a barium X-ray. Barium is a chalky fluid that may be given by mouth or as an enema. As it flows through the intestines, barium shows up on the X-ray. This helps doctors spot problem areas, such as ulcers, swelling, narrowing (seen here), or intestinal blockages. If there are abnormalities, your doctor may request additional imaging, such as a CT scan.

Diagnosing IBD: Colonoscopy
Colonoscopy is the most important test for diagnosing IBD. This procedure uses a thin tube with a camera to give doctors a direct view of the inside of the colon. Even small ulcers and mild inflammation can be seen this way. If any areas look unusual, the doctor may take a tissue sample (biopsy) for further investigation. Other tests for IBD include blood work to look for signs of inflammation or infection.

Choosing a Doctor for IBD
Doctors who specialize in the treatment of digestive disorders are called gastroenterologists. Ask your primary care doctor for the names of several gastroenterologists and hospitals with access to the latest therapies for IBD. You may also want to learn whether there are clinical trials in your area. Clinical trials offer the possibility of trying experimental drugs that are not yet on the market.

IBD: What to Expect
The symptoms of IBD range from mild to severe and may come and go over time. Most people have flare-ups followed by long periods without symptoms. This is called remission, and it can last for months or even years. In ulcerative colitis, about 5% to 10% of patients have symptoms all the time. Chronic belly pain and urgent trips to the bathroom can interfere with work, child care, and social life.

IBD and Stress
Although stress does not cause IBD, some people report that their symptoms get worse in times of stress. At a biological level, stress can prompt the release of hormones that stimulate the immune system, resulting in increased inflammation. If your IBD is in remission, a big dose of stress may trigger a flare-up. The new round of symptoms can add to your stress, creating a vicious cycle.

Complications: Obstruction
In Crohn's disease, chronic inflammation can make the inside of the intestine so narrow that nothing can pass through. This is known as bowel obstruction, and it causes digesting food and gas to get stuck in the digestive tract. The symptoms include severe cramping, nausea, vomiting, and a swollen belly. Bowel obstructions are treated in the hospital. If the obstruction does not clear on its own, surgery may be required.

Complications: Abscess or Fistula
Deep ulcers sometimes create a pocket of pus, called an abscess. Symptoms include fever, pain, and swelling. If an ulcer breaks through to an adjacent organ, it creates a tunnel called a fistula. A fistula between the colon and the vagina can allow bacteria into the vagina. A fistula to the bladder can cause chronic urinary tract infections. One that reaches the skin can create external sores. Fistulas and some abscesses are treated with surgery.

Does IBD Cause Colon Cancer?
People who have had IBD for at least eight years have a higher risk of developing colon cancer. The risk is even greater when inflammation affects the entire colon. Ask your doctor about regular screening -- colorectal cancer is easiest to treat when it is found early. And remember, more than 90% of people with IBD do NOT get colon cancer.

Managing IBD: Foods to Watch
Food doesn't cause this disease, but specific items can make your symptoms worse. These trigger foods are different for each person, but some common culprits include alcohol, coffee, soda, spicy foods, beans, fatty foods, high-fiber foods, nuts and seeds, raw fruits and vegetables, red meat, and dairy products (if you're lactose intolerant).

Managing IBD: Low-Residue Diet
If Crohn's disease has caused a narrowing of your small intestine, your doctor may recommend a low-residue diet. This means avoiding foods that add bulk to the stool, including nuts, seeds, raw fruits, and raw vegetables. Usually diet changes are temporary. This diet may help reduce symptoms of belly pain, cramping, and diarrhea, although more research is needed.

Managing IBD: Nutritional Needs
When Crohn's disease attacks the small intestine, the body may not be able to absorb all the nutrients it needs. Poor absorption plus poor appetite can lead to malnutrition. To avoid this, try to eat a well-balanced diet with smaller meals more frequently throughout the day -- and drink enough fluids to avoid dehydration. A registered dietitian can help. Your doctor may recommend vitamin and mineral supplements as well.

Managing IBD: Stress Reduction
Learning stress management techniques may help you cope with IBD. Yoga, meditation, and exercise can all be beneficial. Talk therapy or group therapy can also be helpful to reduce the emotional stress of coping with a chronic condition.

Treating IBD: Medications
In mild to moderate cases of IBD, treatment typically begins with medications called aminosalicylates. These are anti-inflammatory drugs that can help treat IBD and keep it in remission. During a flare-up, corticosteroids may also be used to reduce inflammation and help bring a person into remission. Other medications for more severe IBD aim to stop the immune system from causing inflammation. These include immunomodulators and biologics.

Treating IBD: Combination Therapy
New research suggests the combination of an immunomodulator and a biologic may work best for people with moderate to severe Crohn's disease. Immunomodulators cause the immune system to be less active. Biologics, which are given by injection, block the action of proteins that are key in the immune response that causes inflammation. In one study, more than half of patients on the combination therapy achieved remission.

Treating IBD: Surgery
When IBD causes severe damage to the colon, it may need to be surgically removed. This can cure ulcerative colitis, because the condition only affects the colon. Surgery cannot cure Crohn's disease -- symptoms can continue in other parts of the digestive tract. Thanks to surgical advances, most patients who have their colons removed will be able to have normal bowel movements without the use an ostomy bag.

Exercising When You Have IBD
Doctors may recommend light exercises for people with IBD. This includes activities like yoga, tai chi, or walking, which don't involve a lot of jarring that could make digestive symptoms worse. Regular exercise may actually aid digestion. It can also promote feelings of well-being and reduce stress, which may keep symptoms in check.

Living Better with IBD
IBD may be a lifelong condition, but there are ways to reduce its impact on your day-to-day life. Through medications, lifestyle changes, and stress management, many people can keep IBD from interfering with the things they want to do. If you feel your treatment regimen is not working well enough, be sure to discuss your concerns with your doctor.

Coconut Oil for Crohn's Disease

Posted 12:50 AM on Sun, Jul 24, 2011
Karla Everett (Karla59)

Some believe coconut oil has powerful healing effects that can help people with Crohn's disease. Nutritionists often recommend adding coconut oil to the diet when a person suffers from a digestive disorder, though concrete scientific evidence that this works still is lacking. The theory is that the oil can reduce the inflammation characteristic of Crohn's and could even play a role in killing bacteria believed by some to cause the disorder.

Theories/Speculation Replacing some of a person's dietary fat with coconut oil, a medium chain triglyceride, may have a therapeutic effect in people with Crohn's disease, concludes a 2009 study published in the Journal of Nutrition. As reported by lead author J. Mane of Badalona, Spain, the researchers gave one group of mice sunflower oil and another group half sunflower oil and half coconut oil. The mice that received the coconut oil had less intestinal inflammation and fewer digestive distress signs and symptoms. Mane recommends further study of coconut oil for Crohn's.

Function Coconut oil may benefit people with Crohn's because it has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and healing properties, according to wearecrohns.org. The first two effects can soothe inflammation, which allows healing in the digestive tract. The antimicrobial action aids intestinal health by killing microorganisms that can lead to chronic inflammation.

Benefits Some researchers theorize Crohn's is caused by a bacterium called mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, or MAP. A Journal of Clinical Microbiology article published in July, 2003, found MAP in 92 percent of Crohn's patients who were examined. This compared to 26 percent of people in a control group, according to lead author T.J. Bull of St. George's Hospital Medical School in London. Coconut oil kills the H. pyloris bacterium, which can cause ulcers in humans, so may also be beneficial in combating MAP, theorizes Bruce Fife in his book "The Coconut Oil Miracle."

Considerations Companies that sell coconut oil and clinics that advocate it are not allowed to make medical claims that this oil will aid people with Crohn's. For example, Dr. Joseph Mercola, who has been featured on the "Today Show," CNN, CBS, ABC, Fox News and NBC news channels giving nutrition advice, was notified by the Food and Drug Administration in 2005 that he violated the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act in giving information about coconut oil on his website. The site told viewers that Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil could "Improve Crohn's, IBS [irritable bowel syndrome], and other digestive disorders," according to a letter from the FDA. That claim established the oil as a drug, which is not allowed under the act.

Expert Insight The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America advises that Crohn's cannot be cured by diet, nor is it caused by what people eat. "Unfortunately, that seems to be too simplistic an approach, which is not supported by clinical and scientific data," reports the foundation. Foods can, however, have a role in the underlying inflammatory process, the foundation notes. The NDDIC echoes this sentiment, saying that no special diet has proven effective for treating or preventing Crohn's disease.

Read more: livestrong.com/...#ixzz1SzzWfJD4

10 Foods to Avoid if You Have Crohn's Disease

IBD? What not to eat By Anne Harding
When it comes to Crohn's disease, not all foods affect people in the same way. For example, spicy food may be a problem for some, while others never have to hold the hot sauce.

That said, there some types of food you may want to steer clear of, particularly during a symptom flare-up. "You always want to make sure you're knowledgeable and informed about your own disease," says Tracie Dalessandro, a nutritionist based in Briarcliff Manor, NY, who also has Crohn's.

Here's a list of the 10 types of food most likely to be a problem.

Nuts Nuts are nutritious, but when eaten raw, most people with Crohn's won't reap the benefits of their healthy fats and high protein content.

"You can't masticate them enough to get them to a consistency that's really easy for the gut to digest," explains Dalessandro, who is a nutritional advisor to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America.

Like other rough and hard-to-digest foods, she adds, they can further irritate the lining of your gut, worsening your symptoms.

Fruit with skin An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but if it isn't peeled, it can cause major digestive distress for someone with Crohn's.

The same goes for vegetables with edible peels, like cucumbers. Strip them off before you eat them. In fact, some people with Crohn's find they can eat raw fruit and even some raw vegetables if they've been peeled.

In general, cooked or canned fruits and vegetables are often a better choice than raw.

Popcorn Whole grains are good for everyone—except a person with Crohn's disease who's having a flare-up.

Popcorn is technically a whole grain, and it's probably among the hardest of all those grains to digest. The same goes for corn on the cob.

"Anything that's really rough to digest would possibly be detrimental and cause more symptoms and possibly slow the healing process," says Dalessandro. "That's been my experience with a lot of patients, and myself."

Fried food Chicken, fish, and other healthy foods became major nutritional no-nos once they hit the deep fat fryer.

Fried food isn't good for anyone, and its greasiness may be especially problematic for people with Crohn's, Dalessandro says. "The more you can stay away from foods like that, the better off you'll be."

Cured meat It's extremely important for people with Crohn's disease to get enough protein; at least 25% of your daily calorie intake should be protein-based.

But eating fatty and cured meats, like bacon, is not the best way to add protein to your diet.

These foods offer little nutritional benefit, while their high fat content can aggravate diarrhea for some people. Instead, choose lean high-quality proteins, like fish, soy, and smooth nut butters.

Seeds During a flare, people with Crohn's should avoid foods that contain lots of seeds, such as strawberries, raspberries, and tomatoes, Dalessandro advises.

"Those things don't get digested fully and can cause more diarrhea," she explains. "You want to stay away from things that are rough on the digestive system…it's kind of like sandpaper on an open wound."

Also, skip rye bread and other baked goods that contain seeds.

Tomatoes Maybe it's the skin, maybe it's the seeds, or maybe it's the acidity, but many people with Crohn's find that eating tomatoes in any form worsens their symptoms, whether it's a raw tomato in a salad or spaghetti sauce.

Coffee, chocolate, and carbonated beverages Many coffee lovers have to swear off java after getting a diagnosis of Crohn's.

"Anything with caffeine is really bad, chocolate is really bad," says Julie Novack, 44, a senior credit underwriter at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina, who has ulcerative colitis.

Novack and other people with IBD can also have trouble with caffeinated sodas, while bubbly drinks—caffeinated or no—can be triggers as well.

Alcohol Use caution when drinking alcohol, as it can be a problem for some people with inflammatory bowel disease.

"If I drink too much of it or too often it will sometimes cause a flare or seems to cause a small flare," says Marge McDonald, 46, who directs the Burlington Senior Center in Massachusetts and has ulcerative colitis.

Dairy Because Crohn's disease can damage the digestive tract, it can also cause lactose intolerance, an inability to digest the sugar found in milk and other dairy products.

If dairy causes bloating, gas, or aggravates other symptoms, you may want to try soy or almond milk instead of cow's milk. Choose harder, aged cheeses like Parmesan, Romano, or cheddar instead of soft cheeses like mozzarella or ricotta.

"The harder the cheese the more aged it is, the less lactose it has in it," says Dalessandro.

15 Healthy-Eating Tips for Crohn's Disease
Specific foods don't cause or trigger Crohn's disease. However, some foods or eating habits can exacerbate symptoms. Each person is different, so you may need to use trial and error to see what helps (or hurts) your symptoms.

What, and how, to eat By Amanda MacMillan
Crohn's disease is a chronic, incurable inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Symptoms include severe belly pain and diarrhea, among others.

Certain foods or eating habits can exacerbate Crohn's disease symptoms, although they aren't the underlying cause or trigger of the IBD, says Sunanda Kane, MD, professor of gastroenterology at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn.

Each person is different, so you may need to use trial and error to see what types of food or eating habits help (or hurt) your symptoms.

Talk to a nutritionist If you have Crohn's disease and are concerned about your nutrition, it would be a good idea to talk with an RD, especially one who is familiar with IBD, says Julie Cepo, a registered dietitian who works with IBD patients at Mount Sinai Hospital, in Toronto, and is coauthor of the Crohn's & Colitis Diet Guide.

"I help them come up with an eating strategy that they can tolerate but that also works with their personal and cultural preferences and food philosophies," Cepo says.

Seeing a nutritionist who doesn't understand IBD, on the other hand, may do more harm than good, warns Dr. Kane.

Write it down Keep track of everything you eat, how you feel after you eat it, and the status of your disease to determine what types of food worsen your IBD symptoms. Because it's different for every person, writing everything down is the best way to learn what your body can and can't process.

"Also, I ask people not to introduce a lot of new foods too quickly," says Cepo. "Introduce them one at a time and wait a day or two to see if affects your symptoms."

It's not a bad idea to try new foods at home first, before eating them in a social situation.

Eat small, frequent meals Portion control is important, because eating too much at one time can make it hard for the body to digest food.

Small, frequent meals can help. You can still eat three meals a day, but make them a bit smaller than usual, and supplement them with several well-balanced snacks in between.

"You won't go into your next meal as hungry, and you'll be less likely to overeat, which may lead to bloating," says Cepo.

Go easy on the grease Fatty food can be hard for the body to digest and make diarrhea worse, especially if you've had certain parts of your bowel removed during surgery for Crohn's disease. (Plus certain fats are bad for your heart.)

So, people with Crohn's disease should stay away from greasy or deep-fried foods. Cream-based sauces, like mayonnaise or Alfredo sauce, can also be problematic.

Try a reduced-fiber diet Doctors and nutritionists may recommend a low-fiber diet (avoid whole-wheat and whole-grain products and unrefined flours) for those having a flare-up, healing after surgery, or experiencing bowel narrowing due to inflammation or scar tissue.

This diet reduces cramps, diarrhea, and the volume, consistency, and frequency of stool. You can still have soluble fiber. Fruits and vegetables aren't off limits either—cook them to cut their fiber, or remove the seeds, skins, and fibrous membranes.

Cepo recommends the diet only to manage symptoms in the short-term. If you're feeling better and your doctor says it's OK, go back to a healthier diet.

Be careful with dairy Just like the general population, lots of people with Crohn's disease have some level of lactose intolerance. The conditions are usually unrelated, but they do share many of the same symptoms.

For these people, dairy may explain some of the pain and GI problems associated with IBD.

"If you realize that dairy does affect you, it may not be a case of avoiding it completely, but it's a question of finding out how much you can tolerate," says Cepo. "Two pieces of pizza with cheese might be OK, but three might be too much."

Avoid roughage Corn, beans, and stringy vegetables like raw celery and broccoli aren't easily digested; in Crohn's they can cause cramping, bloating, and diarrhea.

"We call it roughage, and it's rough on your system," says Dr. Kane. "For a healthy intestine, that is a good thing, but for an inflamed one, it can be bad. Having to process things that are still intact will make some people really uncomfortable."

Dr. Kane suggests trying a "low-residue diet" that is low in fiber and other foods that are difficult to digest like raw fruit, vegetable peels, and seeds. "When you have active IBD symptoms, these foods are just going to make you feel lousy," she says.

Prep foods in a new way Many foods that are a problem when raw or whole can be eaten if prepared differently, says Cepo. "We try to focus on what people can still have; often that means cooking foods well, like string beans, cauliflower, or carrots and sweet potatoes."

Stringy foods like onions may be better tolerated if minced into very small pieces, just as seeds and nuts seem to cause fewer symptoms when they're ground. Chickpeas and sesame seeds, for example, may cause problems, but hummus, which is made with ground chickpeas, and tahini, a sesame-seed paste, may not.

Stay hydrated Water intake is always important, but critically so if you have frequent diarrhea.

Cepo cautions patients to limit beverages with caffeine, carbonation, or too much sugar—all things that can make GI symptoms worse.

Water is a good choice, she says, as are diluted fruit juices without a high sugar content. For people who are very sick and at risk of becoming dehydrated, an over-the-counter rehydration fluid like Gatorade can replenish fluids and electrolytes.

Pump up your electrolytes Replenish lost electrolytes like sodium and potassium if you're having loose stools. "One option is to sprinkle salt liberally on your food," says Cepo. You can also sip broths or bouillons, and choose salty snacks like pretzels, crackers, rice cakes, or potato chips.

To get more potassium, eat potatoes (without skin), bananas, tomato juice or sauce, avocados, melon, or citrus fruits like grapefruit or orange (with the membrane removed, if needed). Coconut water is also a good source of potassium, and a good way to stay hydrated.

Don't skimp on protein People with Crohn's disease often give up meat, beans, and cheese. But without protein, you can lose muscle mass.

"People say to me, ‘I gave up red meat because I can't digest it,' but it's because they're trying to eat a normal American-size helping of steak or a giant burger," says Dr. Kane. "I tell them to eat 6 ounces of really good quality red meat; that way they'll get the iron and protein they need without overdoing it." Fish, tofu, beans, and eggs, if they're well tolerated, are also good protein sources.

Season with ground spices Spicy food can be a problem, but that's no reason to ban all herbs and spices from your kitchen. "I see spice as an important part of any diet, especially since one of the side effects of IBD is having a depressed appetite," says Cepo. "Anything we can do to stimulate people's interest in food is a good thing."

Cepo recommends using flaked or chopped spices and herbs. "If you find you have any symptoms, hold back a little more the next time you use it."

Consider a liquid diet Although it's not a long-term solution, people with Crohn's—especially those with intestinal blockages who are unable to process solid foods—can try a temporary liquid diet.

A liquid diet can give the intestines a rest, which can help suppress symptoms. However, this diet should be carefully planned with your doctor to ensure you're getting all the right nutrients.

High-calorie liquid supplements, such as Ensure Plus or Boost Plus, can add nutrients and calories to any diet, as well, if you're not getting enough from food alone.

Supplement with vitamins All people with IBD should take a multivitamin, says Dr. Kane, because they're probably not getting all the nutrients they need.

People who avoid dairy should also consider taking about 1,500 milligrams of calcium with 800 IU of vitamin D daily. Those who have had small-intestine surgery probably need extra vitamin B12, too.

Talk to your doctor before taking any supplement, and remember, supplements should do just that: supplement the nutrients you get from foods, rather than replace them.

Eat normally when you're well In between Crohn's flare-ups, if you're feeling better, eat normally and enjoy your food.

"It can be hard for someone, knowing that the last time they ate celery they had a terrible experience, but it may be tolerated again when the disease is in remission," Cepo says. "Working with a dietitian or a doctor can help you build back up confidence and improve that relationship with food."

As long as you don't have any ongoing bowel issues or long-term narrowing of your intestine, following general healthy-eating guidelines is a good strategy, says Cepo.

10 Risk Factors for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
What causes IBD? By Alyssa Sparacino
Inflammatory bowel diseases, which include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, are a bit mysterious. Both chronic and serious, these conditions are triggered by an abnormal immune reaction that can lead to diarrhea, abdominal cramps, rectal bleeding, fever, joint pain, loss of appetite, and fatigue, not to mention fistulas and serious complications that can require surgery to remove the colon.

Research has given us some hints as to the causes of IBD. It has been found that a combination of genes and environmental exposures is probably to blame. Here are some factors that may affect IBD risk.

Where you live People who live in Western countries like the United States and Europe have a higher IBD risk than those in other parts of the world. The reason could be lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, or pollution.

Age Although there is a spike in new IBD cases in people ages 50 to 60, most patients are diagnosed as adolescents or young adults.

And pediatricians believe there is a decrease in age of onset, says Dr. Sartor. About 15% of IBD patients develop it before age 18.

"There is pretty good evidence that the younger you are when you develop the disease, the more aggressive its course," he says. "It’s also thought that if you develop the disease early in life, there is a stronger genetic basis, whereas later in life, it is probably more of an environmental basis."

Smoking status There’s no question that smoking can devastate health. Still, for some reason, smokers are at lower risk of developing ulcerative colitis.

The opposite is true for Crohn’s disease: It is more common among smokers, and smoking can also make symptoms worse in these patients, says Dahlia Awais, MD, a gastroenterologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

Prescribing a nicotine patch for some UC patients—typically smokers who have kicked the habit—isn’t uncommon, as it can ease symptoms during an outbreak.

Appendectomy People (usually those under 20) who’ve had their appendix removed because of appendicitis are at lower risk of ulcerative colitis and have milder cases of the disease. The catch? The surgery seems to be beneficial only if it is done before the condition is diagnosed, and people with active UC probably don’t benefit from an appendectomy.

Research suggests that an appendectomy also delays the onset of Crohn’s disease.

Dr. Awais says the connection could be the immune system. An appendectomy may result in an altered immune response that provides protection against UC, she explains.

Family history "Family history certainly increases risk," Dr. Awais says. "But IBD is not just one factor.… It’s much more complicated than that."

About 30 genes have been associated with UC and 71 genetic differences with Crohn’s disease. However, experts believe the environment is the initial trigger for both diseases.

"The combination of genetics and environment is entirely true," Dr. Sartor says, because in identical twins, if one has Crohn’s, there’s only a 50% likelihood the other will develop the disease. For UC, it’s only 6%.

Parasite exposure One theory is that exposure to intestinal parasites may lower IBD risk. The thinking is that the human immune system evolved over millions of years to cope with the invaders, but people in developed nations rarely come into contact with the worms because of better living conditions, says Dr. Sartor.

This may set the stage for an abnormal immune reaction that causes IBD. However, this theory remains unproven.

That said, some experts are studying whether treating IBD patients with intestinal parasites may help curb symptoms.

Medication Environmental exposures that affect the risk of IBD may include medication.

For example, some research has linked long-term oral contraceptive use to a higher risk of both UC and Crohn’s disease, and long-term hormone replacement therapy to a higher risk for Crohn’s.

Other drugs, such as the acne drug isotretinoin (Accutane), could play a role. And pain-relieving NSAIDs (like ibuprofen) can worsen IBD symptoms but are not thought to increase the risk of getting the disease in the first place.

Diet There’s conflicting research as to whether specific eating habits are associated with a greater risk of IBD.

One Japanese study reported an increased risk of Crohn’s disease for women who consume a lot of protein—particularly from animal products. Other studies have reported a possible link to high-fat and high-sugar diets.

Ethnicity IBD is more common in whites of northern European decent and in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. Why? It could be that these groups are more likely to have genes associated with IBD as well as live in industrialized areas. However, the ethnicity gap seems to be narrowing.

IBD symptoms may also differ among various racial groups, though this is an area that needs more research, Dr. Awais says.

Some studies suggest that African Americans are more likely than white people to need surgery because of IBD.

Bacteria in the colon The gastrointestinal tract contains trillions of bacteria that help digest your food. These are "good" germs.

However, infections with "bad" germs, such as salmonella and campylobacter, have been associated with a greater risk of IBD.

Both types of bacteria can be ingested through contaminated food, and they are responsible for thousands of cases of food poisoning each year.

Tina Simpson
Sep 6, 2012

Great Idea

I suffered uc for 15 years and almost bled to death with it. Spent one month in the hospital. When I had my colon removed all I was told was what I could not eat... could not, could not, could not. I got tired of all the could nots. No corn, no nuts, no pickles, no seeds, no tomatoes, no no no and I cried because that pertained to all of my favorite food and every thing I grew in the garden. Praise the Lord I only had the colostomy bag 1 year and my sphincter muscle was strong enough for reversal. I now have the j-pouch. Have lived with it for 15 years and I eat pretty much what I like. What a great idea to start a group for people with this disease.