Living with Crohns

Here is a list of things I have found affect Crohns over the last 12 years of dealing with it. Western doctors will give you no info regarding this. Mainly because all research is funded by drug company’s and its safer, liability wise, for them to prescribe drugs than diet change. I have meet people who completely control Crohns with diet (vegetarianism) who have suffered much worse than myself. Everyone is different and you have to find the things that aggravate it in yourself.

Avoid:

  • Milk is evil. Stay away from all dairy products. Usually you can find soya milk versions of everything.
  • Meat seems to have an affect on the digestion generally. I cut it and lost weight and felt better generally. Also any amount of meat (excluding fish) seems to make me feel bloated and tired as its hard to digest.
  • Coffee. All stimulants seem to have a stressing affect on the body.
  • Cigarettes. I blame smoking for the initial onset of my Crohns as I was a heavy smoker just before I got it and a couple of puffs on a cigarette gives me immediate stomach pain.
  • Alcohol. Beer seems to be bad for me. Wine is OK but only small amounts. Spirits are the best but harsh on the body.
  • Stress. Medium to high stress _always_ triggers a flare up.
  • Changes to sleep patterns. This affects me a lot. Probably due to the stress it causes on the mind/body.

Try more of:

  • Fish oils (D vitamin) are very good for you and will help stop Crohns coming back. I take Cod liver oil tables daily now.
  • Fresh veg, home grown. Most of the produce in supermarkets is picked very green and has no chance to rippern and thus has almost no nutritional value. I lived for a month only on garden greens (in Czech Republic) and I lost weight and my Crohns was completely reverted.
  • Exercise. I found riding my bike 2 hours a day (to+from work) made me very fit and more resilient to stress. When I was in this state I cold drink as much as I liked without much effect on the Crohns.
  • Chinese herbs. 6-7 years ago I started to take Chinese herbs for Crohns and found they could completely stop a flare-up. I have managed since them to live without western prescription drugs. This amazing fact also lead me to believe that diet can completely control the condition.

I’d experiment with your diet try being vegetarian or even vegan (I’m about to try this when I return to Berlin) to see how it makes you feel and how your condition responds. If it keeps you off the drugs and out of hospital its worth trying.

Finally the biggest hurdle will be yourself. I tried to ignore it and refused to accept the complete change of life style that it demands. I suffered fairly badly and almost died twice from loss of blood. You are now forced to become aware of your body and what affects it, which is a good thing and I’m grateful to Crohns for that as I know I wouldn’t have gotten there until I was much much older. Sadly most people don’t start to look after their health until it breaks. The sooner you accept it and start to respect it the healthier and happier you’ll be.

Masur Dal

Thanks to Seb for this recipe. He showed me how to do this one in London in 2005 and recommends doubling (or tripling) the proportion of herbs (and adding chilli powder I imagine). I’m not sure where this was originally taken from (Seb?). Masur Dal means ‘red lentils’ and are the basic lentils apparently.

1 cup red lentils
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin powder
2 potatoes, chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
4 green chillies (optional)
2 tablespoons ghee
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala

  1. Wash the dal, soak, drain and boil in 5 cups water, adding turmeric, salt and cumin together with the potatoes and tomatoes.
  2. When the potatoes are cooked, add the coriander leaves and green chillies.
  3. Heat ghee and fry garlic and onion till golden.
  4. Stir in the garam masala and fry for two minutes.
  5. Add to the dal, mix well and serve hot with rice.