Do I Struggle Making The Right Food Choices With Crohns Disease?

Do I Struggle Making The Right Food Choices With Crohns Disease? So this is more of a question piece both to myself and for fellow sufferers to have a think about. As a whole I struggle with food. Have done for the last 14 years. Reason being is in some respects the Crohns has controlled my eating habits and I have just sort of rolled with it.

“* Disclaimer. This may have triggers which could upset those struggling with food. This is just my thoughts and what others have struggled with through their journey*”

Do I Struggle Making The Right Food Choices With Crohns Disease?

me at a size 8

So over the years I have gone from one extreme to another. I have been that skinny due to the illness and the impacts of a crohns flare that I have looked emaciated and resembled a 12 year old in size.  Add Satans tic tacs (steroids) and I have ended up technically obese due to the weight gained. Now as a whole does this impact our bodies? Our mental attitude to food? What we want to eat but can’t eat? Not to mention my frequent stints on TPN, 3-4 months lost on a medicated liquid diet to give the bowels a rest and try and get the horrible illness under control. Low residue diets, LowFodMap diets and sometimes a dietician that just doesn’t know what to do for the best. There’s the medication to consider as well, does this impact our bodies both physically & mentally?

Add in surgery and a permanent stoma and the last 15 months have been a roller coaster of lost weight then weight gain in short periods of time due to the wrong choices and decisions made about what to place in my mouth. I have had the added fear of my ileostomy & strictures. I stayed away from food that could cause a potential blockage and result in a hospital stay. Do you see the common denominator here?! I fear food, as much as I like to eat I fear the consequences eating healthy and the impact it could have had on my stoma as well as my delicate insides.

Check out Jenna’s post about her turbulent relationship with food

Check out one of my older posts – My love/hate relationship with food

Mindset

Satans Tic tacs Steroids & the modulen liquid diet for 5 months to get my crohns under control

My mindset with Crohns is slightly screwed to say the least. One of the best things I ever had any one tell me was “you are so lucky to have crohns, You will never have to worry about getting fat” Now looking back at this I’m wishing I had actually punched them at the time, I didn’t FYI. My struggles with my weight and own body image have been well documented via photographic evidence and tears in changing rooms when out shopping. Not to mention the dislike I have occasionally at my own naked image in a mirror.

Food

Now we all have our trigger foods. For some of us it’s eating healthily that sets off a flare, cramps, bloating and just general sluggish feelings. Telling us to eat a bag of rocket salad is like introducing Superman to kryptonite, that never ends too well for him so its pretty much the same concept with us right? Personally I don’t think it is. It’s our bodies being a complete sadistic bastard and one food that may affect me may not actually affect you. We all have different triggers it’s working out what that trigger is and staying away from that particular substance.

My mindset to food is I know what triggers projectile vomit moments for me, I also know what causes me aggravation so I tend to stay away from those food groups.

My Triggers

  • Red meat – Lamb & Steak
  • Pork – I can tell you now this food group hates me with a passion but it doesn’t stop me occasionally heading for a sausage Mcmuffin and regretting it the moment it hits my stomach
  • Peppers- Unless I want to be retching down the toilet I avoid these like the plague
  • Pizza – In all its cheesy goodness I have found this will actually kill me for several days after eating
  • Milk – This is another one that sets me off, can’t drink full fat without paying for it and it also makes my stoma flush like no tomorrow

Making the right choices

Making the right food choices is so difficult these days. We are all so busy with life, work and finding the time to eat healthy is a up hill battle. One you have to make time & two you actually have to cook. Now with a chronic illness and fatigue thrown into the mix then quick ,easy and convenient is always the best option right? No not always. I will be the first to admit when tired and cranky I will reach for the nearest bag of crisps and a chocolate bar but are we fuelling our bodies with this or are we in-fact feeding our illness and not trying to be healthy? That’s food for thought in a way. Online shopping is a godsend for me, I can plan my food week and I don’t personally eat microwave meals as there are additives in these that could be bad for you. Even the low fat, reduced carb slimming meals are full of shit (Sorry Weight watchers) but they contain sugars that our body craves because it’s what it gets used too.

My main thought is that is there a link between food & IBD as a whole? I’m taking part in a study at the moment where every patient taking part including myself believe that the wrong foods & the right foods impact both our health, mental mindset & illness.

Diet

I think any diet is keep excess fun times to a limited degree and try the other 75% living a normal diet is key. However throw food restrictions, crohns disease and in my case a stoma into the mix then this adds fun times ahead. There are going to be times when you can’t eat anything and other times where you want to consume an all you can eat buffet and to hell with it. Our medications and mindsets along with fear of food will turn you into a tizzy so many times that eventually we all say mehhhh fuck it I’m just going to eat what my body craves and deal with the consequences at a later date. I can confirm I am now dealing with that consequence and working very hard to loose weight caused by mindless eating and not getting to grips with the fears I have at an earlier time and place.

There is absolutely no literature on how to eat with our illness. No solid dietician advice other than the stuff used to try and ease our symptoms. These diets are so restrictive and detrimental to our food health as these diets are short term and then you get left to re-introduce foods and then suffer because it is not monitored and you haven’t done it correctly or you are still in active flare and regardless of the food your insides are still causing a riot. So it’s always the age old question, is it the food causing the pain. Or is it the flare?

Body Image

Body Image. Im far from perfect but this is the natural edit and actual photograph. No photoshopping here

Everything today is photo-shopped to hell & not a realistic version of what one should look like. I get that there are in fact some flawless figures on people (the gits) but we each have our own body shape and we should embrace that. Yes this sounds ironic from the girl that is typing this and on a diet to shift some weight but I had gained weight and wasn’t happy with my body appearance or image at all and I was borderline busting out of my jeans and my stoma bag so I decided to try and take some control back and get myself fit & healthy to please myself.

Best quote for me has to be Mark Darcey to Bridget Jones ” You are perfect just the way you are” If we all embraced this then we might change the world mindset for everyone should be a perfect size 6.

Who should be the one to tell you that you are ok, look fine, or aren’t their cup of tea. The answer to that one is absolutely no-one!!! As long as you are happy and confident then embrace that and to hell with the masses who believe perfection is the way of life. I personally think that being un-perfect makes life more interesting and provides variety.

My body image has it’s ups & downs. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. I have just had a long time to come to terms with my scars which prove I have fought the fight and survived what kills many people. I have stretch marks because I housed a human for nearly ten months and nurtured that child into a happy 8 year old. I have an ostomy which both saved and improved my quality of life. I can’t complain I have my family, I have my boyfriend who loves me dearly and I have my friends that support me through everything. Our bodies tell a story and you should be proud and embrace that.

So that’s over and out from me in motivational pep talks and throwing the age old question out about food and our illness. Below are quite a few quotes from people who like me and you struggle with healthy eating and adapting to food changes due to IBD life. If you wish to add to the quotes please don’t be afraid to comment.

Quotes from fellow sufferers and why they struggle with food choices

I have rolled out polls across the groups and all social media and endeavoured to include as many peoples comments as possible

  • Fiona – I’d say everyone is unique and you are the master of your own body, forget fad diets… only you know what works for you
  • Bekki – Yup, all the good healthy food like fruit,veg,salad nuts & seeds affect both my tummy and stoma. So for me normal fatty foods suit me just fine but Jeez in the last year I have gained 2 stone and it sucks.
  • Andrea – When I feel fatigued it’s anything I can microwave which tends to be ready meals, trying to do better now as I go for mixed veg and rice with tinned tuna or salad rolls
  • Shelley – I find I struggle to manage eating when fatigued, so then will grab quick crap…usually carbs full of sugar or salt. When on a good run I watch what I eat. Definitely hard to motivate & meal plan when unwell.
  • Chronic Warrior – Weight gain and seems impossible to lose any when on a low residue diet
  • Kendyl – Im as obsessed with gaining as most are with losing. Up to 170# for 3rd time in life at 56. regardless of my “unhealthy diet” all my bloodwork recently better than most 20 something healthnuts.
  • Lisa- I’m having a nightmare with food as I’m on low residue due to stricture! I’m on a clinical drug trial otherwise I’d go back to modulen liquid as it makes me feel fetter! I can’t do it on the trial as it distorts the results!
  • Nick – Weight loss. All the time when I’m flaring, then when I’m not I find it really hard to put it back on. So my philosophy is to eat whatever I want, as long as it’s not on my banned list.
  • Irritable Comics – Fruits and veggies are hard to eat when u can’t digest them! Sad because I love fruits and veg, and need their nutrients to be healthy. I’ve been eating a lot of nuts, cheese, and lean protein while Drs try to get me into remission. I’m on SCD.
  • Laurel –  16 months in & I am still finding things I can & can’t eat … such a learning curve

 

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