I remember talking to be gastroenterologist when I was first diagnosed and asking him whether diet played an important part in my IBD.
He said that when I was well I shouldn’t have a problem eating everything but when I was flaring to keep an eye out on what affected me and to stay clear of it.
I had asked if there was a specific diet I should follow and he said that because everyone is so different it’s hard to say what I should do, just that I should avoid things that were high in fibre and to maybe keep a food diary to see what my triggers were.
When it comes to the diet aspect of IBD I think health practitioners, and patients, can get a little confused. IBD affects us all so differently so there is no “one size fits all” approach, which can prove tricky.
It’s about finding out what affects you personally, and that can change over the years, I know that from personal experience.
Some people can change their diet and are lucky enough to alleviate some of their symptoms if not completely get rid of them. Some people have tried everything known to man on the diet scale and it has done nothing to help them. Same for different supplements, but I’ll tackle that another time.
I hate giving advice about diets and IBD, and on this blog I try to stay away from saying “You should try this” because to be honest, though we have the same disease, it attacks our bodies in different ways.
The only thing I can do is share my own experiences.
In the beginning I stayed away from a lot of dairy, nuts, caffeine, veggies that were hard to break down and hot sauce, which killed me because I LOVE spicy food.
I once had a particularly bad episode with popcorn so stayed cleared of that for quite some time.
Once I had my stoma, I pretty much ate whatever I wanted and had no problems. Sure if I ate something particularly bad it would go through my system quicker but I never bled. Apples were a big no no. I just couldn’t seem to digest them. If I ate something fatty then it would go through super quick but TinTin seemed to like pizza, noodles, pasta, bread, basically anything quite stodgy. And strangely enough, a Big Mac and chips. God know what they put in that burger but TinTin loved it. I could even drink when I had TinTin. Not cider though, always had problems with cider and wine could make it pass through quickly but if I took loperamide before I went out and before I went to sleep I wouldn’t tend to have many problems.
Apart from the time I got REALLY drunk and leaked in my bed but that was most probably the after-drink kebab that set that one off!
It was only once I had my Jpouch that I really started to look into my diet because my Jpouch unfortunately just wasn’t working. I was going to the toilet loads, I was bleeding and the gas that I had was unreal. Not in a “oh my god I can’t stop farting” kind of way, because I can’t actually do that unless I’m on the toilet. So if we’re in a group and there’s a bad smell, you can’t put the “Ew Stephanie Farted” line on me because I can’t.
The gas was in a “oh sweet Jesus this pain feels like there are giant, hot, balls rolling around my tummy” and they’d gurgle away and get more frequent and urgent until I went to the toilet.
So I looked into diet in an attempt to calm it down.
I have found that not eating wheat has helped tremendously with my bleeding, and sugar. Sugar is actually evil for my pouch but damn I can’t help but have some sweets or chocolate now and again.
It’s defiantly settled over the months. In June it will be two months since I had my pouch connected and I can eat a lot more than what I could in the early stages.
I went a year without ice cream, the combination of sugar and dairy was just death. Yes, death. I’d eat it and be locked in the bathroom for about a day. Totally not worth it, but I can occasionally have ice cream now which is awesome. Do you know how hard it is to be in Australia in summer and not have ice cream? It’s pretty impossible.
I couldn’t eat eggs for a while, but that’s better these days too. I just can’t have eggs every day. It’s almost like I can eat something once and then I need to let my intestine cope with it and then I can have it a few days later. I can’t overload it, it seems.
I tried different diets too. The FODMAP diet and the Paleo diet. I’ll explain these diets in a different post so that you have more of an understanding in case you ever wanted to try it, but I found that though they were helpful, listening and finding out what affects my body helped the most.
So what kinds of things to I eat now?
Well my breakfast is usually oats with a few raisins, almond milk and cinnamon.
Lunch is rice noodles or if I’m out and about sushi with no soy sauce, because soy sauce contains wheat.
Dinner can be loads of things, gluten free pasta tomato sauce, with chicken and some veggies, or what really sits well with me is chicken breast, mashed potato and broccoli.
I would be lost without rice cakes, great snack! And I put a small amount of peanut butter on them or butter and marmite.
I do still have sweet things, and occasionally, though I shouldn’t, wheat. I don’t have them all the time because I know that if I do, I’ll be in pain, going to the toilet heaps, bleeding and it’s not worth it.
If I’m honest, I do eat more sweet things than I should but we all have our battles and it’s still something I’m trying to overcome!
What are your diet staples? Have you found any diets to be really helpful for you or do diets not help in anyway?