Working With Chronic Disease
This post is all about the diet that helps me work and manage Crohn's Disease
Different diets work for different people. Here's the diet I've created for myself that helps me keep doing what I love!
I am going to go out on a limb and say, most of us in the IBD community have probably been told by a doctor that diet has not been shown to have an impact on Inflammatory Bowel Disease. If I’m making an incorrect assumption here, let me know in the comments but from my experience, diet is key to finding a formula to get back to wellness post diagnosis. Alongside stress, lifestyle changes, medication, supplements, and mindset, finding the right diet for your body is a process of trial and error.
If you’ve found a diet that works for you, you can probably relate when I say I tried pretty much every diet in the book and most of them did pretty much nothing for me. It’s incredibly exhausting to be trying a new diet constantly. I was at my wits end when my Mom started doing the Keto diet. My mom has Hashimoto’s and decided to try Keto to lose weight. She was having massive success (props Mom!) and even though I had the opposite problem (needing to keep weight on), I decided to give it a try. For almost a couple weeks I ate ~20 carbs a day and attempted to meet the fat requirements only with healthy fats like avocado and coconut oil. It was HARD but within a few days I started to notice less bowel movements and less pain. The only problem was, I had lost a couple pounds and that wasn’t good.
In previous diet endeavors I had eliminated sugar and knew that that seemed to help but changing my carbohydrate intake was what made Keto stand out from all the rest. I started making little adjustments to test how many carbs I could eat and still get the benefits of the a low carb diet but not worry about losing weight.
Over months of trial and error, I learned that eating too carbs in the first half of the day was a no-go but eating carbs in the evening didn’t seem to both my system near as much. I also learned that if I could let my digestive system rest for 12-14 hours between when I eat in the evening and when I eat again the next day, that seemed to help set me up for success as well.
Also, strangely (or maybe not strangely) my body seems to reject food preservatives and food stabilizers. For example, I could go to a restaurant and order a salad with chicken only to leave in pain but when I made salad with chicken at home, I was totally fine. The only difference, the dressing. There is most likely a sugar component of most restaurant dressing as well that played a role. The more I learned, the more I tailored my lifestyle to what my body needed.
The diet that helps me work and manage Crohn’s Disease is: A low carb, low sugar diet
- Enough carbs (typically around 60-70 carbs/day) to keep my weight stable but mostly eaten with a late lunch and/or dinner
- 12 – 14 hours of rest for my digestive system from one day to the next (a.k.a. not eating for 12-14 hours between dinner the night before and eating the next day)
- Low sugar intake
- Make my own food whenever I can to have full control of what is going into my body
- Drink warm water with my meals whenever I’m feeling a little off
- When feeling stressed, get stricter with the plan, when I’m not stressed, give myself grace and allow myself to have more flexibility
Following a low carb, low sugar diet is just one facet of my lifestyle that helps me take care of my body and be able to continue work as a financial planner and help other families navigate their financial world when facing chronic disease.
What diet changes have worked for you? Are you finding it challenging to meet your dietary needs? Do you travel for work? What tips and tricks do you use to finding food that works for your body?
To wrap up, I’d like to leave you with this thought. Just like how one medication doesn’t work for all IBD patients, a single diet doesn’t work either. I’d love for others to share what works best for them!