It has been seven months now since I have gone gluten-free in hopes of calming my colon to help get me in remission. I figured I would update you to show just how important diet is to treating your IBD.
Back in January I weighed around 240 lbs. I was going to the bathroom 30 times a day with a lot of cramping and having a lot of intestinal pain. I knew I had to change my way of life. So I decided to go on Weight Watchers and go gluten-free. This would be a big change for me as I love my gluten 🙂
Here it is 7 months later. I am happy to say, it is working beautifully. I am down 25 lbs. Best of all, my Crohn’s is just about in remission. I am only going to the bathroom 3-4 times a day. Still more than normal, but I can live with that. My blood sugar and cholesterol have also come down but still not to acceptable levels. Overall, I have made a real impact on my health for the better.
So what have I learned from this experience. Well, you can definitely live a gluten-free life. There are some hurdles every now and then but nothing that I can’t handle. The biggest challenge so far was travelling to another country to an all-inclusive resort. The food choices were a challenge, and I didn’t eat too much..but I was able to stick to my gluten-free diet.
Now for anyone thinking about going gluten-free but is worried about taste…don’t be. There are a lot of tasty GF products out there. Depending on where you live, your selection might be different from mine but I am sure that you will find some tasty treats. Here are some of the brands I use.
Bread – I have tried a number of GF breads and have found Udi’s Whole Grain to be my favorite. Glutino also a good whole grain but their white bread isn’t as good. Schar’s Deli Style bread reminds me of a Jewish Rye which makes a real good sandwich.
Cereal – I have been sticking with Chex for now as they have a number of different flavors to choose from. Nature’s Path also makes some really good cereal’s but is a little harder to find.
Pasta – I have been sticking to Schar brand pasta but they are limited in their variety. Tinkyada makes a good brown rice pasta also. I recently made a lasagna with their noodles and you couldn’t tell it was gluten-free.
Snacks – This one is going to vary depending on what you are looking for in sweets. I have been sticking to Schar’s Vanilla or Chocolate Wafers. Glutino also makes good wafers but you get more per serving size with Schar. For crunchy snacks, I find myself ignoring potato chips which are usually greasy and have been eating Pirate Booty. They have a number of different flavors and styles. I also have been eating more popcorn. Not only is popcorn GF but it is a whole grain and has recently be found to have more antioxidants than some fruits and vegetables. For my desert’s, I have been eating ZenSoy chocolate puddings. They are dairy free and more delicious than Jell-O brand.
Frozen meals – Now of course home-made is healthier than frozen but sometimes you just have to do it. I have found Amy’s brand has some really good meals. I especially like their Spinach Lasagna. Another pasta I like which is frozen is Caesar’s brand gnocchi. I used to love gnocchi and this is one item I can still eat. For pizza, I have been eating Glutino’s Pepperoni pizza. Amy’s makes a good vegetable one that has no cheese. My selection to frozen meals is limited as I can only find GF ones in Whole Foods.
As for meals, most natural foods are gluten-free. Chicken, beef, vegetables, etc. All you have to do is find some good recipes and use your imagination. A simple meal like grilling a beef tenderloin, baked potato and some steamed broccoli is delicious, wholesome, and gluten-free.
So, my journey continues. I am down 25 lbs with another 50 to go. I have a long road ahead and my current medicine is making the journey a little harder but it is still a great learning experience. I think as I come across them, I will post some recipes for anyone looking for some. I recently found a great eggplant recipe that is GF and Dairy free. I will post that real soon. And if anyone has some they would like to share, let me know.
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Glad to hear you’ve gone gluten-free! I wonder if they’ve ever tested you for celiac or other food allergies. There are some great resources at http://ibstreatmentcenter.com/– I’ve known the doctor for years. For what it’s worth, I have some gluten-free, etc. resources scattered amongst other articles on the Health and Wellness section of my blog. Keep up the good work!
Thanks Wildninja. I haven’t been tested for celiac disease but my GI doesn’t think I have it as I don’t show any symptoms. I have Crohn’s Disease (IBD,..not IBS). By going GF, it kind of gives the colon a rest which alleviate some of the CD symptoms. Many people with Crohn’s and Colitis eat a gluten free diet to help with their disease. I honestly think there might be a connection between the two diseases (IBD and Celiac) but I am no scientist or doctor.
I’m very close to someone who had both Crohn’s and celiac before their large intestine was removed which is why I asked. It can coexist, but doctors think if you have one, then you couldn’t have the other, which is illogical and boggles the mind. Celiac is genetic; 1 in 33 Americans carries the gene and 1 in 99 have it, most of whom are misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.
IBS is a symptom, not a cause. Something causes the IBS which is why it shouldn’t just be medicated. Testing is in order. I’m guessing Dr. Wangen named his center that because many people with intestinal conditions are intially told they have so-called IBS. It’s what they know; it’s what they’d Google.
I’m not a doctor, but due to my own experiences and those of others would suggest having a full food allergy panel run sometime. It’s a simple blood test and examples are at that site.
Anyway, good for you for getting control of this. I just don’t think most doctors dig deep enough to find out everything that’s going on. It took almost three decades for me to find out I had celiac (in an article on my website…). Frustrating!
useful. Thanks for sharing.
I have been playing with my diet too to see which foods are the “worst” for my IBD and lukily glueten is not one of them. But, unfortunatley, sugar is! I have a good collection of sweet, dessert recipes that only use natural sugars (mostly honey and dates) and those don’t seem to upset my stomach nearly as much as the processed desserts I love. If you are interested in some recipes let me know!
It’s great to hear you have had a good response to eliminating gluten and dairy. I had the same type of experience 3 years ago when I had been really sick for a couple of years (Crohn’s) and was to the point the doctor was talking about surgery. I did alot of research and ended up going gluten free. Despite having been tested for Celiac and wheat allergy, both of which were negative, I felt so much better after being off gluten. There is so much you can do with changes to your food and lifestyle that will make a big impact on quality of life. I have made alot of changes but my life is so much better now than it has been in many years. I hope you have continued success with the changes you are making!
I agree Shawna. Earlier this year and last year I had no quality of life thanks to my Crohn’s. Now, I am enjoying life again. It has done for me what no medicine could. I just wish I would have done it years ago.
Also, I am happy that it is helping you and that you are doing well.
I love your comment “it has done for me what no medicine could”. I feel the same way! I was so thrilled with the changes that I ended up going to school to become a health coach so I could work with other people to help them do the same. The weird thing is that it seems to be difficult for people to believe that changing what you eat can do so much for you. Even when I tell them about my own experience. I know how awful Crohn’s can make people feel, its frustrating not to be able “convince” them that changes in diet are so much better than medications. Every time I hear a story like yours it makes me feel so good to know that someone took that chance, made the effort and got terrific results. I wish everyone would give it a try. Thanks for sharing your experience.