A Crohn’s Diet for Life
It’s been a journey since age 11. Through thick and thin (literally) I have traveled. Meds taking a toll on my body that have failed me. I no longer trust modern day medicine or doctors for my chronic condition anymore. I will only lean on meds from now on for temporary, short lived illnesses.
Holistic and Chinese Medicine are my new guides. I have learned my way of life will heal me now. A simple but tough and disciplined diet, a relationship with God, people and an environment that alleviate stress rather than bring it on, will help me maintain my Crohn’s and it’s symptoms. Here are just a few tips and tricks I have picked up along the way.
- suger (white sugar, brown sugar, powdered, raw…. white bread, wheat bread…. things with gluten have unwanted, naughty sugars in them)
- processed foods (you want to eat things close to their natural state)
- pork and other “unclean” critters or bottom dwellers (catfish)
- legumes (peanuts… )
- corn kernels (pop corn and corn on the cob – one of the, if not the, hardest things to digest)
- No more processed foods. Did I say this already? Oops, Sorry. If you must by something with an ingredients list: Start reading the ingredients on EVERYTHING you buy. A jar of pickles should only have a few ingredients (vinegar and spices should be 2 of the 3 for example). Stick to things with no more than 5 ingredients for awhile until you get your illness well under wraps (about 6 months)
Foods Good to Eat:
- Berries of any kind (low in sugars)
- green apples (low in sugars)
- quinoa (I made this for the first time recently Here!)
- brown rice (organic basmati or jasmine are great – Note: 1c rice, 1 1/4c water, salt, “butter”, bring to boil, stir, put lid on, turn all the way to low, set 45 min timer, remove from heat, don’t remove the lid until it rests at least 5 mins, fluff with fork)
- brown rice pasta (under cook these always by a couple minutes)
- red potatoes
- use earth balance whipped spread (instead of butter/dairy)
- lean meat and white/cold water fish (not corn fed or anything from asia – ask what it ate before you eat it!)
- incorporate veggies one at a time starting with the least gassy (search on web – onions and broccoli can be gassy)
- leafy greens (chop them up well and chew good – sooo good for ya – swiss chard, mustards, spinach, kale…)
- “ancient” grains are more the direction to take here. Eat what, like, and how they did in the old days.
You want to start with a basic diet for a couple of months. You can stick to the one above. Then slowly introduce other healthy foods while still using this as a base. We try to cook every meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) except maybe 1 or 2 per week. During the week we have a small amount of protein (usually chicken, beef once a week, fish once a week) Then we have a 1 veggie (we rotate between: broccoli, collards, mustards, green beans, and zucchini)and 1 grain or potato (red potatoes, brown rice, or brown rice pasta). We have fajita night almost once a week now that we have found our grocer makes fresh spelt tortillas for me and the little one and the husband has fresh corn. We will take these basic items and jazz them up if we have extra time and our taste buds are board. Check my site for recipes now and then.
Oils to use:
- coconut oil
- olive oil
- grapeseed oil
Milk substitues: (find your favorite – try to stay away from soy)
- Rice Milk (favorite for coffee and cereal, most like nonfat milk – not thick – Note: caffein in moderation and at first stay away from processed foods like boxed cereal… There are some good ones out there though in moderation when your disease is under control)
- Coconut Milk (my choice for making ice creams, smoothies, and desserts)
- Almond Milk (unsweetened Silk brand is great to drink by the glass!)
- Sea Salt
- Red Pepper (black is hard to digest)
Sweeteners if need be:
- honey (local)
- coconut palm sugar (in the asian section sometimes)
- agave (in moderation, know to be hard to digest)
- stevia (don’t love the way it tastes but it’s alright)
- xylitol – this can prevent cavity’s. I love the Spry gum!
By having a strict diet you can also introduce certain foods and really be aware of how your body reacts to them. I have realized that cauliflower is one of my biggest enemies. I also have trouble with my favorite humus. These are things you would tend to eat and consider healthy, at least I do. But that doesn’t mean my body agrees with them.
I think cooking your food helps your body digest it. Not that steaming is bad but it can be one of the least nutritious ways to cook sometimes – the vitamins end up in the water used to steam. Roast!!! It brings out the flavor of everything!
I still eat oats. I love oat meal. I eat pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds still… but figure out what is ok with your body.
Buy organic meat if possible. Find out what your meat ate before you eat it. You never want to by fish from Asia/China. You don’t want a corn fed chicken. Buy free roaming chicken eggs NOT just cage free.
You don’t have to buy everything organic. You can research this. Look up a list of the most important foods to buy organic on the web. Drink lots of water! Herbal hot tea is soo great and soothing. Try a Digest Tea blend each night to help you digest.
Want to eat something you know will hurt later? Do some yoga right after – cat cow… reference these blog posts, trust me (went to this girls class with my pregnant friend right after eating pizza and didn’t have a single tummy ache!)
Severe cramping that won’t give you a break:
Stop eating! Keep drinking – lots of water. Don’t eat until something makes its way out the other end first. If the cramping doesn’t stop or begin to subside after about 24hrs or more you might consider the Dr. or ER. Once you have pooped you can slowly start eating again. START with soup for at least 3 days and easy does it after that.
Soup is your new best friend!
Books worth referencing:
- Patient Heal Thyself
- The Paleo Diet
- The Makers Diet
Diets/Recipes/Websites worth Referencing:
- anything labeled Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegetarian (easy to modify and often times you won’t need to)
- Elana’s Pantry (she makes great baking cook books)
- My gluten free Pinterest Board
Supplements I take HERE.
There is more to this but I thought I would start somewhere. I don’t follow a very strict diet anymore. I eat great about 5 days out of the week and splurge on the remaining 2 on average. I eat well so I can eat bad on occasion. More to come on this topic.