What do you eat?

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 1/12/2008 2:15 AM (GMT -7)   
My boyfriend has just been diagnosed with Crohn's and got out of the hospital today after a long stay for abdominal pain and constipation. What should he be eating or not eating right now? He's on Prednisone, so I know he shouldn't have caffeine or alcohol. Which herbs work best for you? Any tips for what diet to keep during flare-ups and during remission? I know low-fiber bland foods are good right now, but do any of you have any specific regimens? I think he's in denial about having Crohn's and doesn't really know anything about it, so that leaves me to do the research and be his nutritionist. Please help!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 210
   Posted 1/12/2008 3:37 PM (GMT -7)   
hi aearonso,

during a flare-up: no fiber, only thin soups with no pieces within, green tea and water. Has to be easy absorbed. Let the intestines rest. 2 weeks.
Low residue diet.
After a flare: start carefully with broths and working up slowly to easily digested carbohydrate-rich foods and moderatly fat foods: White meat of fowl or any fish.
Alternative: continue with the medicinal liquid food, but progress to protein and fiber rich foods.
If watery diarrhea: put 1 tbl spoon oatmeal in a glass of water, stir and drink. Yummi! , this 4 times a day untill diarrhea stops.
If watery diarrhea continues: stop eating fat red meat. Or other too fat food, sauces and so forth.
If diarrhea too often: eat potassium rich food. Ripe bananas, orange juice.

I use my blender often: Per serving: 1 orange, 1 banana, some apple juice, some blueberries. No sugar. Mix it - and VOILA a tasty and for Crohnies excellent drink. But be sure that all the fruit fibers are gone away by blending the fruits and berries first on the highest speed. Then add applejuice. Sugarfree OF COURSE.

Good luck
Diagnosed CD June 2007. Have only used prednisone. Did make a difference while max dosed. Got my problems back when tapering.
Using Low Dose Naltrexone from sept. 2007. LDN is super! I am now in remission ;-)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 456
   Posted 1/12/2008 4:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Unfortunately, Crohn's is a very individual disease, so what we can tolerate differs from person to person.  It will be important for him to keep a food journal.  That way, he can more easily pinpoint which foods are working for him and which cause problems.
For right now, a "soft" diet will probably be best.  Jello, juices (watch the acid though), broth, applesause, bananas, mashed potatoes (high in potassium).  Eggs are a good source of protein, if he can tolerate them.  Even if he's never been lactose intolerant, he could be now.  So any milk should be lactose-free.  Yogurt with live cultures is a good source of probiotics and calcium and is low lactose.  Make sure it's a smooth yogurt- nothing with seeds. 
Things to avoid- a lot of salt or sugar, sugar substitutes, high fat items, fiber, carbonation.
When he's ready to start eating more, foods will need to be well cooked and tender.  Canned fruits and vegetables are easier to start with than fresh.  Low-fat sources of protein like chicken, turkey, and fish can be easier to digest than beef or pork.  Just take it slowly and add things one at a time.
Talk to his doctor at the follow up appointment.  S/he may have diet suggestions or refer you to a nutritionist for more information.  Good luck.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3763
   Posted 1/12/2008 4:49 PM (GMT -7)   
When I am flaring I stick to my "white food" diet. Rice, pasta, potatoes, eggs, toast, oatmeal, custard, tapioca, pudding, fish, chicken...... After many years, I have come up with what works for me.

But, I found an excellent cookbook on Amazon a few years back. I actually have two copies now because I was always lending it out and never had it when I wanted it. "Cooking Well for the Unwell" by Eileen Behan, R.D. She has many sections that are helpful for the many different phases your boyfriend may encounter over the course of his disease. There are chapters on what to eat if you need to gain weight, have a low residue diet, liquid diet, all the different things that anyone who faces a health crisis might need to know. I had become a bit set in my ways and boring in my food choices, but this really made me think a bit more about what I might be able to try. I was able to buy used copies for about $4, so it wasn't a big investment, and I really have used it a ton.

There are a lot of diet books out there for the CDer's and for some people they work wonders. For others, they don't. And for still others they are just too restrictive. I tried the diet mentioned above and absolutely hated every recipe. I would rather starve. I just couldn't do it. But if it works for you, then more power to you.

CD 19 years offically, 29 unofficially. 3 resections '93, '95 '97
Symptoms constantly but all tests show only minor ulcerations. Currently having multiple episodes of gastritis with no known cause.

Prednisone, 6MP,Prevacid, B12 shots, Bentyl, Xifaxan.....

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 739
   Posted 1/12/2008 5:18 PM (GMT -7)   
bek is right

diet for crohnies can very from person to person. U might want to ask his doc. For instance, you said that he should stay away from alcohol and caffeine. Caffeine has never been a problem for me. For some, who's disease causes constipation, they're told high fiber, me on the other hand and others who have diarrhea are told to stick with those carbs (which i loved cuz i'm a pasta eater). Once you get somewhat of an idea from your doc, you'll be able to get even more help from the great people on this site. I've found it's like an informative circle, you come here when you know nothing, and these great people help you with things u should ask your doc, and then you ask your doc, come back and tell the people and then they give you even more advice! this site is a great place to be! mayb ur bf might want to take a look. by the way, ur a great girlfriend for caring, loving support (as cliche' as it sounds) really means alot when ur dealing with an illness like this
25 y/o female- crohns disease since 14
Ileostomy pending-very worried
Tried asacol,pentasa,prednisone,remicade,6mp,azasan, no avail
Seatons placed
Worst year ever!

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear....."
Where does mine come from?!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 686
   Posted 1/12/2008 6:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Everyone is different. I'm one of those crohnies who can and drink anything. In fact during my remicade infusions I usually eat a big salad with cheese and nuts in it.

Remicade and 6MP

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 990
   Posted 1/12/2008 8:01 PM (GMT -7)   
aearonso said...
Which herbs work best for you? Any tips for what diet to keep during flare-ups and during remission? I know low-fiber bland foods are good right now, but do any of you have any specific regimens? I think he's in denial about having Crohn's and doesn't really know anything about it, so that leaves me to do the research and be his nutritionist. Please help!

Hi aearonso and welcome to the forum! Stick around and you will learn a lot. It's so nice you are reaching out to help your boyfriend! If you can get him interested in nutrition and learning about CD, that will be even better because ultimately it is he who will have to decide what he does and does not eat. Because he is a guy he might enjoy reading about another guy who has/had Crohn's in a book entitled "The Maker's Diet", by Jordan Rubin. Rubin is in his early 30's now, but when he was 19 he was diagnosed with Crohn's. The first 1/4 of the book is essentially his story of his diagnosis and what he says is his complete recovery from Crohn's. I find the story to be very inspirational and encouraging. The last part of the book gives information on REALLY HIGH QUALITY nutrition and is followed by an outline of his "diet".

Many folks here follow some kind of diet. Probably the two most publicized diets for Crohn's is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) by Elaine Gottschall (author of the book "Breaking the Vicious Cycle"), and The Maker's Diet mentioned above. The one thing they both have in common is that they remove sugar and refined/processed foods from the diet. After that, there are subtle differences. It is interesting to learn why each author believes their diet works.

Here is a link where folks here on the forum recently discussed how to stop a flare with a liquid (elemental) diet:


And here is a link where folks here discussed some of the supplements they take:


Some will tell you these diets (SCD or Maker's) are restrictive, but I'm here to say I don't think they are that bad. I guess it's all a matter of opinion. Our whole family started The Maker's Diet w/my son and we've all been healthier this winter as a result. Could it really be true that sugar and other refined foods suppress the immune system as the book says? It sure seems that way to me now... How else can I explain the fact that the four of us haven't been sick with the usual colds followed by sinus infections and/or bronchial infections? (Oh, and btw; what I'm no longer spending on antibiotics and doctor bills I am probably spending on organics and supplements, but I'd much rather have it THAT way! We also rarely eat out anymore, so we save money there, too.)

Many people here agree that taking probiotics (beneficial bacteria which populate the intestines) is a good thing. There are many discussions here you can pull up by searching the word "probiotics". Also, there are many good brands out there so don't feel overwhelmed!

Good luck to you! I hope he feels MUCH better soon!
Mother to 15 year old boy diagnosed in June, 2007.
Currently taking Asacol, omega 3s, digestive enzymes, probiotics, iron, vit. C, calcium w/D3 and a good multivitamin.
Started The Maker's Diet in early September.

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 1/13/2008 3:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you all so much! What a great support group. My boyfriend was pretty well-behaved today, eating potatoes, eggs, and drinking water and tea. He was just naughty and snatched some gummy bears, however...that can't be too good. The probiotics sound like a really good idea and unfortunately, he is super-allergic to cheese/cream/yogurt/milk (not lactose-intollerant, actually would die if ate these), so we'll have to get a supplement. I plan on looking into the SCD and Maker's Diet.

For those of you with Crohn's, what is the best way for your loved ones to behave? I think I am getting too pushy about nutrition and everything, but I don't want him to end up back in the hospital. I know he ultimately has to take responsibility and make good decisions about what he chooses to eat/drink or not, but it's hard to not get super-controlling. Sorry, just had to vent!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1665
   Posted 1/13/2008 8:22 AM (GMT -7)   
what a good question, aearonso, and welcome! the best way for my loved ones to behave is notice if I am not feeling well, ask if I need anything, and then talk about something else. getting pushy about food or anything else just makes me feel like I am even less in control than I am. I can chose what I eat and put up with the consquences.
that is just me, but I do get pretty resentful pretty quickly if I get the stink-eye from my sweet hubby about what I eat. the very best thing for me is to get a big hug and then to go on to a more interesting topic--like gossiping about the neighbors, work, or deciding what movie to watch!
he is lucky to have you and things will settle down with time. oh, by the way, as far as I know, alcohol and caffine are fine with pred if he tolerates them.
48 y/o woman.  Diagnosed 4/06 after colonscopy, SBFT, CT-scan all showed crohns. 3 months later, after pred and remicade, all tests showed no crohns. In December had adhesions cut through a laparoscopy. Now just taking Glycolax, Ultra Fiber Plus and vicodin as needed.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3763
   Posted 1/13/2008 8:46 AM (GMT -7)   
Like Yogaprof, I really like your question. Knowing that I need to avoid certain foods for the rest of my life is hard. The only way I can handle it is to indulge carefully once in a while. And when my Husband comments on it, it bothers me. If I have something I know I shouldn't, I only do it when the consequences will not interfere with the next days events, and I never complain or state that I am in pain. I keep it too myself, because I did it to myself.

CD 19 years offically, 29 unofficially. 3 resections '93, '95 '97
Symptoms constantly but all tests show only minor ulcerations. Currently having multiple episodes of gastritis with no known cause.

Prednisone, 6MP,Prevacid, B12 shots, Bentyl, Xifaxan.....

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1034
   Posted 1/13/2008 11:13 AM (GMT -7)   
everyone is uniquely different, hence this disease affecting us all differently. food is no different. some people can tolerate some things while it exacerbates symptoms in others. you have to find out your "danger" foods on your own. a food journal is very handy to do this.

the best diets i can recommend are the makers diet and the specific carbohydrate diet. imho, maker's is better as it gets you to eat organic and cuts all out the artificial foods and chemicals and what not. i do the maker's diet and incorporate a few things from the scd, which is also good. the maker's diet got me off meds and helped me avoid a colectomy and having an ostomy, so imho there has to be something to it. check it out.

best of luck!
Crazy Harry

Crohn's since 1993 (17 yrs old then)
surgery in July '05 - removal of 2 inches at ileum and 8 inches of sigmoid colon (had fistula into bladder)
Nov '05 developed colonic inertia; July '06 told i needed ostomy surgery
began maker's diet in August '06 - now feeling the best ever with no symptoms of colonic inertia and i kept my colon
med free as of 10/31/07

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