Something that people ask a lot when I tell them that I have Crohn’s is: “Do you need to be careful with what you eat?”
For the most part, there are very few guidelines on diet and Crohn’s. The only advice that I have been given is to avoid foods that are high in fibre, simply to avoid food getting stuck in the gut where the strictures have formed, which could lead to blockages and further problems. For quite a while I would get problems with bloating after eating a roast dinner for example. It was only through trial and error – leaving certain foods out – that I worked out that it was the veg causing the problems. Hearing that the high fibre in certain types of vegetables can cause blockages confirmed what I thought I knew. I now avoid a lot of vegetables on this basis, along with other foods containing high fibre. Since leaving out these foods I have had far fewer problems with bloating.
Something else I have discovered through my own experience is that really greasy, fatty foods can cause quite a lot of discomfort. I have found that it is as much if not more the way in which the food has been prepared and cooked than the food itself that determines whether or not I can eat something. For example: I can quite comfortably eat fish and chips from the chip shop OK most of the time. However, on a rare occasion when I get the same meal from a chip shop – even a chip shop I have eaten from a number of times before – I can still have problems with discomfort and again bloating. I am well aware that this might well be the case for people who do not have Crohn’s; I guess I am just a little more sensitive when it comes to these foods. I have got to the stage where I can look at something or just have a mouthful to know if its OK for me to eat. Obviously if I suspect it will cause problems then I leave well alone.
I often get asked about spicy foods and whether they aggravate it – I usually steer clear of anything really spicy, although this is more personal preference than Crohn’s related; I can’t remember any experiences of this type of food causing problems.
Other than these examples I find that I am generally OK with my diet, and can enjoy a pretty wide variety of foods. I try to maintain a healthy and balanced diet as far as possible. As I said at the start: different people with Crohn’s might react differently to these foods and have a different list of foods that they are OK with. These are just the ones I have found and from what I gather this is a pretty common list.
Thanks for reading; I hope this has been useful, please feel free to comment with your thoughts on this topic.