A life without pineapple – Crohn’s Blog – Diet & Nutrition
Diet and nutrition have played a major role in my life since I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in May 2006. I became aware of the foods that I should avoid to prevent a crohn’s flare up after carrying out research on the internet soon after my diagnosis. My consultant also gave me an indication of the type of foods I should avoid to prevent me from becoming unwell, for example sweetcorn, brassica vegetables and fruits which are hard for Crohn’s patients to digest. Therefore, I have avoided eating cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, sprouts, pineapple and grapefruit for the last 9 years. I have eaten sweetcorn on many occasions and this hasn’t really affected my symptoms which indicates that every Crohn’s patient differs in terms of the foods he or she can eat.
Additionally, I have avoided eating hot and spicy foods such as strong curries or Mexican food since my diagnosis as these could play havoc with my stomach and lead to a number of trips to the bathroom! These types of foods, as well as the fruits and vegetables I have already mentioned, used to affect my stomach before my diagnosis. Therefore, I might have been suffering from Crohn’s disease for a period of time without realising it.
I have also recently discovered that fatty foods such as meat or fried foods can have a significant effect on my symptoms. Therefore, I try to avoid this type of food as I know what kind of impact it could have on my stomach. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavour enhancer I actively try to avoid, especially in Chinese food, as this has led to me suffering from severe stomach aches.
All of the foods I try to avoid can cause diarrhea and gas which is another main reason why I actively avoid them.
I find it very frustrating avoiding foods when eating in restaurants or at other people’s houses. This is something I have become accustomed to since my diagnosis. I always ask the waiting staff about the ingredients if I’m interested in a certain dish in a restaurant to ensure that my stomach won’t have any adverse reactions. On most occasions, the food doesn’t affect me but this isn’t always the case. Most of my friends and family know about my condition and which foods I can or can’t eat but it can sometimes annoy me when I have to inform people of my dietary needs if they aren’t aware of them.
In general, I eat very healthily and ensure that I eat plenty of fruit and vegetables on a regular basis. Additionally, I eat lots of oily fish, chicken, dairy products such as eggs, milk and yoghurts, cereals, nuts, pasta and other healthy foods on a daily basis. These foods help ease my Crohn’s symptoms and don’t give me any major problems.
It is recommended that Crohn’s patients try to avoid fizzy drinks like Coke or lemonade as these could exacerbate symptoms due to carbonation and gas. It is also recommended that fruit juices should be avoided due to the impact of natural and added high-fructose corn syrups , but I do partake of these drinks even though I’m aware that they might upset my stomach . However, they don’t really have much of an impact and I can withstand the after affects if get any as I enjoy them so much. I also occasionally drink alcohol even though it is advised that crohn’s patients should avoid drinking it. Once again, alcohol doesn’t really have much of an impact on my symptoms but I think this will depend on the individual patient.
Water is a very important beverage and I constantly drink it throughout the day to keep me hydrated and to increase the fluid levels in my system and to keep my Crohn’s symptoms at bay.
Thanks to Jonathan Marks for this Crohns blog post. Jonathan is 41 years old and lives in Leeds with his wife Sara. Jonathan enjoys travelling in the UK and abroad, playing tennis and badminton, the world of science fiction and fantasy, attending community groups and creative writing. Jonathan is keen to start sharing his Crohn’s experiences and hopes to launch his own blog shortly.