Crohn's and My Diet: What Works for Me

By

Robyn Diamond

Was this helpful? (0)
This content is selected and managed by the Healthgrades editorial staff and is brought to you by an advertising sponsor.
x

This content is created or selected by the Healthgrades editorial team and is funded by an advertising sponsor. The content is subject to the Healthgrades medical review process for accuracy, balance and objectivity. The content is not edited or otherwise influenced by the advertisers appearing on this page except with the possible suggestion of the broad topic area. For more information, read the HealthGrades advertising policy.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cooking With Crohn's Disease

Dining out when you have Crohn's can be difficult, but it's not as hard as you may think as long as you look for quality.
Robyn Diamond

It seems obvious that food would play a huge role in a chronic digestive condition like Crohn’s disease. But that’s the only obvious thing about it. Figuring out the details— which foods are troublesome, why some foods cause issues and others don’t, when it’s fine to eat specific foods, how foods affect your body -- that’s the hard part.

Crohn’s affects everyone differently. Finding the best diet and lifestyle to minimize Crohn’s symptoms takes trial and error. But after years of hard work, I feel like I’m on a pretty good track. I’m off all medications, which is truly amazing. And I’m actually thinking about experimenting with a new diet soon.

Life with Crohn’s is a continuous learning experience. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Robyn discusses raising a family and staying positive with Crohn's disease.

2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

It Takes Lots of Time and Effort to Find the Best Plan for You

I went to so many different doctors trying to find the best treatment for my Crohn’s. I saw the standard gastroenterologists and internists; an environmental medicine practitioner; a chiropractor; an acupuncturist; and a holistic medicine practitioner. The holistic medicine practitioner tested me for all kinds of food sensitivities, but the results didn’t show any specific trigger. Regardless, he did tell me, “I don’t care what the tests say-go off gluten.”

I had been semi-gluten-free already, avoiding bread and pasta, but I decided to fully dedicate myself to a gluten-free lifestyle, carefully reading labels, saying goodbye to soy sauce (wheat is a major factor in its production), and seriously limiting my diet. And after a few months, my Crohn’s wasn’t that much better. However, the “brain fog” that I’d been feeling for the last few years disappeared. That taught me an important lesson—food affects your entire body, not just your digestive system.

After trying all kinds of diets-a no-raw-food diet, an only-raw-food diet, a liquid diet, a yeast elimination diet, a fruitarian diet, a vegetarian diet—I found that picking and choosing different aspects from each helped me thrive.

Things Might Not Work Perfectly the First Time - Keep Trying

The holistic medicine practitioner emphasized the importance of taking probiotics regularly. Now, I had tried probiotics before, but my body had responded to the good bacteria as if it was an intruder. It caused an instant flare-up. During a flare-up, I can’t eat much of anything, so I don’t receive enough nutrients. But the practitioner urged me to push through the flare-up, giving the good bacteria in the probiotics time to battle the bad bacteria in my gut.

After I introduced enough of the good bacteria, my digestive system calmed down and the good bacteria started working. It was a battle between me and my gut—but I won. I now take probiotics two times a day, and I credit much of my success to that good bacteria fighting hard for me. Apparently taking probiotics help some—but not all—Crohn’s patients.

Your Emotional Health is Just as Important as Your Physical Health

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that, besides fried food, stress is the most disruptive thing for your body. When I was first tackling all these diets and trying to figure out what would work for me, I would stress so much about the food I was eating that my Crohn’s would flare up regardless of what I ate. The stress caused the flare-up, not the food. I had to learn to relax, to take care of myself emotionally as well as physically, and to find stress relief in order to feel good. Now, I practice yoga and meditation, I make sleep a priority every night, and I drink plenty of water. Sometimes we forget how important the basics are.

Some Things Seem Impossible - Take Baby Steps

A few years ago, I heard about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) as a successful treatment for Crohn’s. It’s incredibly restrictive. It bans grains, processed meats, most dairy, some legumes, potatoes, and added sugars. Once I saw that list, I decided it was too much-there was no way I could give up all that food! But as the years went by, I talked to more specialists, tried different diets, and started taking classes at an integrated nutrition school.

Was this helpful? (0)
Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Mar 17, 2014

© 2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

Crohn's Disease Video Diaries

Must-Reads for Crohn's Disease

Cooking With Crohn's Disease

Dining out when you have Crohn's can be difficult, but it's not as hard as you may think as long as you look for quality.

The Crohn's Disease Diaries

Daily living with Crohn's disease can be a minefield. If you're struggling with the illness, you'll be heartened by these personal stories.

Share via Email

PREVIOUS ARTICLE:

Crohn's Disease: Live and Learn

NEXT ARTICLE:

Living with Crohn's Disease