Question from a vegetarian: Has anyone benefited from following a non-vegetarian diet?

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Rio in Maryland
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 891
   Posted 4/16/2008 12:29 PM (GMT -6)   
My GI specialist adviced trying a diet that is the opposite of what I have been consuming to see whether that affects my symptoms. 
 
I am vegetarian and keep my diet very simple and bland and avoid roughage or raw vegetables.  I have tried a few different vegetarian diets and also started eating eggs.  Though it would take a lot to get me to start eating meat again, I am at the point where I do not want to begin Remicade (my next option) and want to find a solution soon. 
 
Have any ex-vegetarians felt an improvement from switching to eating fish/chicken/meat or has anyone seen an improvement from consuming more of these items?
 
Thanks.


Rio, 32 yr old male - diagnosed with UC in 07/2006.
 
Alternative therapies for several months (SCD, ayurvedic treatment, VSL#3): didn't work and became anaemic. Canasa, 2 daily: remission for a month then flared-up.
07/07-11/07: 4800mg Asacol (6 x 400mg, twice a day) & Aloe Elite.
Completed first (6 week) tapered course of Pred in 10/07, flaring up since coming off it.
11/07: Switched from Asacol to 12 x 750mg Colazal (3 weeks on it and symptoms got worse)
12/07: Asacol 4800 mg, Started Azathioprine 175mg, Prednisone taper from 60mg - Now on 10mg; 2/08: added 2 Pentasa x 1mg on alternate days.


kb5
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 1015
   Posted 4/16/2008 12:54 PM (GMT -6)   
I was a vegetarian from 10-25 yrs old. I was dx'd at 19. Even before my dx my pediatric GI said I should not be a vegetarian. My diet was mostly lentils, beans, veggies..very rough. When i was dx'd it was hard to find enough protein and really enough options with the limited diet I could tolerate while flaring. I ate a lot of tofu (which i still love) it wasn't until about 5 years ago that i started eating meat. It did seem to help my digestive system a lot. But that may have to do with the harshness of my previous diet.

Also take into consideration your reasons for being a vegetarian. I never liked the texture of meat or fish. What i found was that I loved rare steak becuase the texture was close to tofu. I had never had a piece of meat cooked below medium well before. As i try things I find i like some and not others. I eat a lot of chicken but if it is cooked certain ways i can't stand the texture. If you are a vegetarian becuase you feel it is healthier than i would suggest a nutritionist. They could help you find the right balance of vegetarian foods that work for IBD. I know there are a few vegetarians on the site that may help.

What did your GI suggest you eat?
Kelly, 30

Left sided UC diagnosed 1/98 age 19, Pan colitis diagnosed 1/07
Currently on 4x3 Asacol, 5mg pred, 150mg Imuran
Prontonix once daily for acid reflux, zofran twice daily for nausea, darvocet for pain
Remicade started 3/1/08...just had 3rd infusion


BigLucy
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 413
   Posted 4/16/2008 1:39 PM (GMT -6)   
I was a veg. seven years PRIOR to DX.  I started to eat meat b/c all veg and fruits were not staying in.  For ME, meat is one of the only things that doesn't hurt that much, stays in and gives me energy--although all my veg. PC friends argue this to death w/me, but it's my quality of life and I'm stickin to it.

Dx Ulcerative Colitis 1999; IBS; GERD; CP: Asacol x3 x3/day, Rowasa, Proctofoam, Prilosec, Prozac, Endocet (as needed), multi vit, probiotic, fish oil, calcium 1200 mg./day, Prednisone (off/on, unfortunately).


princesscolon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 733
   Posted 4/16/2008 1:42 PM (GMT -6)   
I notice that red meat is too much for my messed up colon to tolerate. I feel that fish (as long as it's not fried) is very gentle on my stomach and chicken is fine. I am curious too about what he suggested you eat. My GI told me to make a food diary and make my food choices based on that.
Diagnosed with Left-sided UC in 1995 at age 15, Prednisone, Rowasa & Hydrocort. Enemas, Proctofoam, Sulfasalazine, Asacol, Probiotics, Fish Oil, Aloe Juice, Canasa, Enotcort, Colazol, Anamantle, Remicade, etc... had 1 inch deep rectal ulcer 2004, put on Remicade, August 2007:Increased Remicade dosage-700mg every 6 weeks,diagnosed w/ Psoriatic Arthritis & Fibromyalgia Current meds: Clorazepate, Lomotil,  Tylenol pm, Lyrica started 1/17/08, Flagyl 750 mgs started 4/2/08, Humira started 4/4/08


jujub
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10407
   Posted 4/16/2008 3:31 PM (GMT -6)   
I think everyone is different in this, as in pretty much everything about UC. I ate very little meat before I developed UC symptoms. When I was in a bad flare, I craved meat, and especially red meat, terribly - a real change for me. If you want to try his advice, start with maybe a little fish and see how that goes. I suspect that others who have commented are right; any trouble from a vegetarian diet may arise from your diet being high in fiber and gas-producing foods. If you cook the really rough fruits, veggies and grains to break up the cell walls a bit and watch the gassy foods, you may do fine without meat.
Judy
 
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Asacol, Rowasa, Pentasa, Prednisone, Entocort, Azathioprine
Colazal,  Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. In remission since April, 2006.
 
Co-Moderator UC Forum
The information I share on this forum is based only on my own experience and study. It is important to consult your health care provider when making health-related decisions.


Sara14
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4034
   Posted 4/16/2008 4:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Maybe a nutritionist could help you determine gut-friendly veg. foods that work with your body? From all I've read, meat is harder to digest than a vegetarian diet.

Be aware also that if you haven't eaten any meat in a long time, you may get some GI distress, nausea, etc. for a little while when first adding it back in.
24 years old
Diagnosed with UC March 2007; yet to go into complete remission
Asacol 4 tablets 3x/day
Rowasa (generic) - nightly; Canasa (1,000 mg) in the morning
Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri 2/day; Chewable multivitamin; Metamucil; Viactiv


winni
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 179
   Posted 4/17/2008 7:32 AM (GMT -6)   
I went from being vegan for over 10 years, to what my boyfriend calls seagan. Meaning i still dont eat any dairy or anything but i eat fish and lots of it. i cannot tolerate soy anymore, so no tofu, fake meat, soymilk etc. i have found fish to be one of the only things i can eat while flaring that wont destroy me. plain grilled or baked fish of course. I have found fried foods to actually be my public enemy #1 so NO fish n chips....

but eating lots of protein seems to help, and if you cant tolerate soy or beans that leaves very few options.
Winni, 24

Diagnosed UC july 2006.
medications: colazal 9 daily, cortifoam 2x daily, 30 mg pred
supplements:calcium, aloe gel, pro-biotics
osteopenia from all this prednisone.
http://www.myspace.com/harshrealmbro


winni
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 179
   Posted 4/17/2008 7:34 AM (GMT -6)   
oh yeah, and it did not make me sick when i first started eating fish, though one time before i was even dxed i accidently ate something that unbeknownst to me had milk in it and i though i was going to die. I shudder to think about what would happen now if i ate dairy!
Winni, 24

Diagnosed UC july 2006.
medications: colazal 9 daily, cortifoam 2x daily, 30 mg pred
supplements:calcium, aloe gel, pro-biotics
osteopenia from all this prednisone.
http://www.myspace.com/harshrealmbro


Rio in Maryland
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 891
   Posted 4/17/2008 7:34 AM (GMT -6)   

Thanks for the replies everyone.

Since being diagnosed I have already been following quite a restricted diet.  For example, I haven't been eating gassy foods, foods with fiber/roughage, spicy, oily meals.  I also stopped drinking caffeine, milk, carbonated drinks, alcohol.  I agree that a nutritionist may still be able to offer some insight to structuring a better diet.  I've kept a detailed food diary for several months and nothing in particular seems to stand out as a trigger food.

My doctor didn't offer many specific recommendations but said that he has told some of his patients to simply try eating the opposite of what they have been eating - with some success.  The two things that came up for me to try first were eggs and fish.  Even eating fish seems like a big deal as I don't feel that I should harm another living being for my own purposes - when I was a meat eater I couldn't relate to this rationale but I'm sure some of the vegetarians out there know where I'm coming from.

Yes, I've also read that meat is much harder to digest than veg; but given that so much is unexplainable about UC, you never know whether some high quality animal protein might offer some relief. 
Rio, 32 yr old male - diagnosed with UC in 07/2006.
 
Alternative therapies for several months (SCD, ayurvedic treatment, VSL#3): didn't work and became anaemic. Canasa, 2 daily: remission for a month then flared-up.
07/07-11/07: 4800mg Asacol (6 x 400mg, twice a day) & Aloe Elite.
Completed first (6 week) tapered course of Pred in 10/07, flaring up since coming off it.
11/07: Switched from Asacol to 12 x 750mg Colazal (3 weeks on it and symptoms got worse)
12/07: Asacol 4800 mg, Started Azathioprine 175mg, Prednisone taper from 60mg - Now on 10mg; 2/08: added 2 Pentasa x 1mg on alternate days.

Post Edited (Rio in Maryland) : 4/17/2008 7:39:07 AM (GMT-6)


perach
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 116
   Posted 4/18/2008 7:42 AM (GMT -6)   
I have been a vegetarian for more than ten years so I have never had UC during a time I was eating meat. I have spoken with both my doctor and a nutritionist about whether I should consider adding meat/fish/etc. to my diet, but neither of them thought it would make a difference. However, the big "but" is here is that I am able to tolerate eggs, soy, tofu, etc. and eat a lot of them. If I couldn't do that, maybe their advice would have been different. And not to be veggie preacher, but i think that meat is kind of hard to digest and with all the hormones, antibiotics, etc. that they feed livestock these days, our meat supply does scare me a bit.
-currently having a flare
-cortenema at night, Lialda (4 pills/day), canasa, Align probiotic, kefir, multivitamin, calcium with vitamin d, iron


$360
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 34
   Posted 4/18/2008 8:39 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm a Vegan and I can honestly say that it has been the single best thing I've done for my UC. It didnt "Cure" my UC per-se, but the flares I had before I stopped eating meat and dairy were far more aggressive than after.

The thing about vegetarian and veganism is that it HAS to be done correctly, its really easy to slack and just eat tofu and soy meat all the time. You cant base your diet only on soy for a number of reasons, so its important to plan your diet so that there is a variety different nutrition. Also: the notions that its impossible for vegetarians and vegans to get enough protein is a MYTH. In reality, there is a number of beans and legumes that can easily compensate for what meat provides, and too much protein can in fact be a bad thing. Some things I've learned:

- I try to have a different source of protein at each meal, soy meat or tofu for one of them and then something like chickpeas (hummus, mild curry), peanut butter,or lentils for the others. To limit my soy intake, I eat my breakfast cereal with either almond or hemp milk. If you can find Hemp Milk I highly recommend it, its awesome!
- Quinoa is a fantastic source of protein and extremely versatile. It as as much if not more protein than most meats and you don't have to worry about hormones. You cook it like rice and its easy to digest, I usually put a bit of soy sauce in for some flavor. If you've never had it before, get some next time your at whole foods and try it or look it up on Wiki so your aware of its nutritional benefits.
- Vitamin supplements are vital. Be diligent with them. Having UC makes being veg that much harder. Iron for example usually isnt a problem because you can just eat dark greens (kale, broccoli), but for people with UC its kind of out of the question. I take the following supplements: Iron, Multi-v, Calcuim/Magnesium/Zinc.

I'd be happy to help anyone with further questions on this subject, I dont want to be preachy but its a great way to help your body in this process. Feel to contact me for additional info if youd like.
EGDOL KCALB EHT NI MI

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