Crohn's disease and Passover

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 3/7/2010 7:28 PM (GMT -7)   


I am an observant Jewish fellow, recently diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on what sort of foods can cause trouble, and have been making an effort to stay away from the bad stuff.

Passover is coming up in a few weeks, and that holiday involves eating some interesting foods.

This will be my first Passover with Crohn’s, so I was hoping some of you can help keep me out of trouble by sharing your experiences.

The foods in question are:

Matzah – Has Matzah given anyone trouble? Is “machine made” better than “hand made”? Is Egg Matzah better than regular Matzah? I know that certain breads (whole grain, rye with seeds, bran) can cause trouble, but have not heard anything about the pros and cons of Matzah.

Grape Juice – I will need to drink four cups of grape juice (I do not get along well with wine) for two nights in a row. Will that mess me up? Is white grape juice better than purple grape juice?

Charoset – With all that fruit and nuts, I think I’m definitely going to limit the amount I eat.

Macaroons – I cannot stand the taste of macaroons, but I saw an odd article about the effects of Coconut Macaroons on Crohn’s. Is there any truth to those rumors?

Thank you for your help,


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
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   Posted 3/7/2010 10:23 PM (GMT -7)   
I am sorry. I really have no idea, since everyone is individual with this disease. But what most of us go by is eat what you can tolerate without getting you sick. If you do not know then this might be a time to food journal.
Matzah might be a problem with the meal/butter/chicken fat (which I cannot remember the fixings correctly?), but you do not know until you have tried it.
Texture is something that is big for me I find that things like nuts, fruit, heavy breads that are not mealed to the finest particular are difficult for me. I like white grape over purple, but can do both.

I think macaroon article is just someone using the possiblity of a slight antiinflamitory effect pretty much any nut has.
Forum Co-moderator - Crohn's Disease/Thyroid Disorders:_All comments have the caveat contact your local health care provider.

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
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   Posted 3/8/2010 6:12 AM (GMT -7)   
I love matzah, but it tends to stop me up if I eat too much. I used to work in a very small office with a Jewish boss and he would bring boxes and boxes of it in. I had to be very careful of how much I would eat. The rest of it, I can't really help you with, but I would say it is a good time to keep a journal and make note. But even if things bother you this year at Passover, it doesn't mean they will next year. What we can tolerate changes over the course of our disease and depends on what stage our disease is at.

CD 20 years officially, 30 unofficially. 3 resections '93, '95 '97
Managing with strict low residue diet, keeping symptoms to a minimum. All test show small amount of ulceration, still have occasional blockages. But still have a great time with my 2 daughters and husband!

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

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 452
   Posted 3/8/2010 6:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Since getting CD, I gave up on the holidays as well as fasting.  I used to like Passover.  I love egg matzah with butter and cottage cheese on it.  But at last, that will now keep me in the bathroom all day.
Like other people have mentioned, everyone is different.  Some get D with Matzah, some get constipated.  It is all about finding a balance.  And worse case, I am sure G-D won't mind if you didn't follow the diet as long as you still hold onto the belief. 
36 yr old Male with Crohn's Disease since '88 - No Surgery yet
Been on almost every type of drug with bad results
Remicade since Nov 2009
Prilosec 20.6mg - 2x a day
Multivitamin daily

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 3/8/2010 12:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks to all for the excellent advice.

I think that this year, I will try eating a very minimum amount of Matzah at the seder, and will do the same with the grape juice. I'll see how that goes (hopefully, it will be OK)


Post Edited (Jay2) : 3/8/2010 12:26:42 PM (GMT-7)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 990
   Posted 3/8/2010 12:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey Jay, we once had a very lengthy thread here on this forum about coconut macaroons. I did a quick search and couldn't find it, but I know it's here!

But coconut is supposed to be VERY healthy and especially good for IBDs; coconut oil, fresh non-sweetened coconut, and also the milk. Just watch the milk and make sure they haven't added a thickener/emulsifier called carrageenan. Many people are sensitive to this "natural" emulsifier.

I like to make the SCD legal coconut macaroons. My family thought they didn't like coconut until I bought the extra-fine, unsweetened kind that my health food store carries. Now we all like macaroons!

Here's an interesting site on the health benefits of coconut:
Mom to 17 year old son diagnosed in June, 2007.
Omega 3s, digestive enzymes, probiotics, vit. C, calcium, vit. D3, a good multivitamin and SCD legal yogurt
Started The Maker's Diet in Sept. '07. Incorporate Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) recipes, too. Med-free.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 3/8/2010 1:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Emom I think I remember that discussion and that it was decided that coconut oil was good for you but the shredded coconut was not good for us as it could cause little cuts in our intestinal tract.
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease & Anxiety/Panic
Crohn's Disease for over 34 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium, Vit D, and Xanax prn. Resections in 2002 & 2005. Also diagnosed w/ Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, & Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 4391
   Posted 3/8/2010 3:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Grape juice would not bother me. I tend to get constipated and matzoh is a bit of a moderation it's fine. I have a stricture so I avoid nuts. I hate coconut, so I can't advise you there. You need to just try little bits of things and see how you do. I love matzoh ball soup, but again I have to watch it, or I get in trouble. I hope this helps
51 yr. old female, diagnosed with Crohn's in small intestine and terminal ileum Sept-Oct. 2007. Also have IBS, and had Salmonella Dec. '07
currently taking Pentasa- 4 500mg pills per day, Metamucil and colace for constipation, probiotics

ski bum
Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 451
   Posted 3/8/2010 6:44 PM (GMT -7)   
I've given up on trying to maintain Passover. My contribution to Passover is making gefilte fish, which is pretty delicious if I say so myself. As long as it does not have the word "bread" in it, I consider it safe for Passover. i.e. a "bun" is not "bread," and therefore OK; likewise an "english muffin" and "bagel" are not "bread." I've become very liberal in my old age. When I eat matzoh, I haven't had a problem, but I don't eat that much of it.
50 y/o F. CD dx'd Aug 05. Initially on Pentasa, then Imuran 125 mg. Started Humira (very reluctantly) on 10/24/07. Ileocolectomy 4/08. Back on Pentasa as maintenance.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 3/8/2010 9:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Matzoh is a really simple food, generally made from refined white flour. I've always done great on matzoh--and especially on matzoh brie (which I'm assuming you're familiar with--basically French toast, but made with matzoh. Yum). Gefilte fish should also be easily digestible and not harmful. Too much grape juice can give you diarrhea, so perhaps you should keep the glasses small. I'd advise you to avoid anything with nuts in it or anything with fruit skins (like the outsides of apples, or whole berries with skins and seeds), so you can only eat the charoseth if you pick specific things out of it.

The coconut macaroon thing was an "urban legend" type of thing, based on Archer's Coconut Macaroons (which aren't kosher for Passover). The rumor was that if you ate one (or two or three) Archer's Coconut Macaroons a day, your CD symptoms would disappear. I tried it, and it definitely didn't work--and the coconut contributed to narrowing a 12" section of my intestine to half its normal width. Fortunately it was inflammation rather than scar tissue, and it disappeared when I went on 6MP.

Good luck with the holiday!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 6131
   Posted 3/9/2010 4:03 AM (GMT -7)   
Jay2, welcome and i hope you have a healthy passover season..

i would be willing to bet if you think back to past years, this wont be your 1st passover with crohn's.. think real hard about the stomach upsets when you were younger etc.. ;-)

although not of your religion myself i do know and have when growing up and been an observer. and eaten some of the foods even when my cd was active. never really could tellany differance between my regular diet back then..

now onto the more important question, and please take no offense, is there a nice little old lady thats gonna be hand making the maccaroons for your meals? i love those! not the nasty store bought but the ones made with love! if you dont want all of your, sneak them out and ill send you my address! if i could make drooling emoticon i would!

oh and yes i think there is a differance between purple grape juice and white, also have you tired googleing " kosher foods for crohn's sufferers " or something like it. i bet there is at least one place since there are so many jewish patients

  ok i looked up grape juice. white grape juice does have some differnt thing than purple. i got the info from wiki, and welches site


Post Edited (randynoguts) : 3/9/2010 4:08:43 AM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 131
   Posted 3/10/2010 11:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Wow, I wish I could figure out of coconut is good for me or not then. I've been eating a blandish diet to not get nausea and cramps/anxiety and diarrhea and stuff. But I ate 2 honey sweetened macaroons last night and I did wake up early with stomach nausea/cramps/adrenaline type thing. I also eat coconut bars (shredded coconut) and thought that it was helping/not hurting, so I have no idea then. I guess I'll have to eliminate it for awhile and see and just drink the coconut milk instead.
-Mom of a preschool boy and teenage girl and wife to a wonderful man.
Hypothyroid, newly dx'd Crohn's, Gerd. I love to look for natural ways to heal first, conventional ways second and keep my faith.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1289
   Posted 3/11/2010 9:41 PM (GMT -7)   
matzoh balls help "bind" me a bit. that and the fact that i love them (year round!) make them #1 with me.
35 year old male living in AZ.  Diagnosed with Crohns at age of 15.
Currently tapering prednisone (15 mgs) and I've been on 6_MP for 2 months.
In the middle of a bad flare now for 6 months...lost almost 30 lbs.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1885
   Posted 7/3/2010 9:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Coconut is fine UNLESS you have inflammation - in which case, like Nanners said, coconut can cause tears. Vegies can, too, unless they are well cooked.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1289
   Posted 7/3/2010 11:11 PM (GMT -7)   
matzoh balls are my favorite! just can't eat too many of them...they stop you up good.
other than that just watch what you eat and if something bothers you stop.
it's hard because you are drastically changing what you eat for a week...
if keeping pasover aggrevates your Crohn's then you need to thing about priorities...
for me my health and comfort come 1st...hopefully you will not have to make a choice like that and all will go well.
Chag Sameach
36 year old male living in AZ.  Diagnosed with Crohns at age of 15.
Currently on 30 mg prednisone.  still taking Asacol.  Just had 3rd Remicade infusion 3 weeks ago
In the middle of a bad flare now for over a year...lost almost 30 lbs. -- gained most of it back now.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 6518
   Posted 7/4/2010 1:37 PM (GMT -7)   
Jay2, I had a very good friend of Jewish faith when I was in the army. The food we ate then like C rations and at times what ever we could find were definitely not kosher. He told me that the faith makes allowances for when kosher is not the norm, as in where we were. I would think you could avoid what does not agree with you if you know what to avoid and perhaps when you drink 4 glasses of grape juice you may keep them small. A shot glass is still a glass right ? Hope you do ok with what you eat...
If we would read the secret history of our enemies,we would find in each mans life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

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