Let’s talk about IBDs. Whether it’s Crohn’s or Colitis, they can wreak havoc on our eating habits and routines. In fact, poor absorption and lack of appetite have been linked to Crohn’s disease and thus might deprive your body of essential nutrients. Symptoms of IBD’s can be extremely unfortunate (and sometimes untimely), so we’re hoping to help you make the process a bit more manageable.
Let’s start with foods to avoid. It’s important to remember that symptoms tend to vary from person to person, so not everything recommended works for everyone. The foods listed below, however, are extremely likely to cause discomfort, and our Pack Health dietitians recommend doing your best to avoid or limit these even during holiday festivities or social events:
- High-Fiber Foods
- High-Fat Foods
- Spicy Foods
- Red Meat
- Raw Fruits and Vegetables
Although there is no specific IBD Diet, low-fiber foods tend to resonate well with individuals with Crohn’s and Colitis, as they’re easier to absorb and cause less cramping and utter discomfort – think corn hulls, well-cooked or canned vegetables, asparagus tips, beets, green beans, carrots, pumpkin, and pureed spinach. If strictures are thrown into the equation, it’s important to avoid nuts, seeds, beans, and kernels. Try sticking to the guidelines of the FODMAPs diet to avoid the irritating chemicals in fructose, lactose, oligosaccharides, and polyols.
Each individual should determine their personalized diet based on four key criteria:
01 Their specific symptoms
02 Whether or not they are in remission from experiencing a flare
03 The presence of narrowing of the small intestine (strictures)
04 Whether or not they’re experiencing nutrient deficiencies
Stick to what works best for you, after all, this is all about avoiding as many additional flares as possible, but when one strikes, be prepared to try and determine what could have caused it. Blogger, Shawntell, shares how she handles a flare.
Here are a few tips we gathered to help you out:
01 Start by implementing a low-residue diet.
- Cold foods may help reduce diarrhea.
- Try eating smaller meals, which will enable you to digest and absorb as much as possible.
- Following a flare, try these foods:
- Canned Fruit
- Chicken, Turkey or Fish with little to no seasoning
- Cooked Eggs
- Mashed Potatoes, Rice or Noodles
- White or Sourdough Bread
02 Ask your doctor about Probiotics to help get your GI bacteria back in balance.
03 Peel fruits and vegetables.
04 Roast your veggies to help break down the fiber content.
05 If you’re also lactose intolerant (most individuals with IBD are) opt for milk substitutes like soy, almond, and rice milks.
06 It’s tough to stay hydrated when you’re having symptoms, but try and make it a priority so your body can function appropriately in other areas and fight additional fatigue. Blogger, Sara, talks fatigue and other symptoms of her Crohn’s disease.
07 Do not take for granted your victories and good days! Blogger, Ali, reflects on 2017, focusing on the tough and the ugly, but also the good days and incredible accomplishments along the way. Keep trekking!
It’s important to track as much of your journey as possible. Want a little assistance to identify trigger foods and alternative options? Your Health Advisors can help you begin to keep a food diary and set up a free consult with one of our on-staff nutritionists. Talking to a Dietitian or Nutritionist about your IBD can be quite useful, not just to troubleshoot problem foods but to build a meal plan around safe foods that taste good and give you the nutrients you need.
Not yet a member of Pack Health?
If you’ve been diagnosed with an IBD, you’re eligible to become a member and get your own personal Health Advisor. Sign up today!