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From: Jo Stepaniak (jo.vegsource.com)
Subject: Re: Colitis
Date: March 24, 2011 at 5:52 am PST

In Reply to: Colitis posted by Cathy on March 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm:

Hi, Cathy. I have a very sensitive gut, so I can relate to the dietary challenges you have. I can give you a few tips that have worked for me, and perhaps they might work for you, too. You might also want to check out my book Food Allergy Survival Guide, as that has a lot of helpful information.

While whole foods and whole grains are definitely nutritionally superior, they don't work for everyone, especially those with digestive issues, IBS, or IBD. The same is true of raw foods. Experiment to see which foods cause trouble for you, and eliminate those, at least for a while. If raw foods give you problems, have only cooked foods. I find that lettuces (like romaine and mesclun) are easy for me to digest, but if they cause problems for you, try gently cooking them. Romaine is especially good braised.

Get a Vitamix or similar powerful blender and blend cooked veggies into easy-to-digest soups. The same for beans -- they will be easier to tolerate if they are processed into a spread or sauce. Minimize oils and fats (and avoid fried foods completely). Nuts and seeds are notoriously difficult to digest, so have them in very small quantities and grind them (I use a small coffee grinder) before using. Sprinkle the ground nuts and seeds on foods for flavor and nutrition, but don't overdo them. Minimize nut and seed butters too. You can have them, but not in large quantities.

If brown rice is difficult for you to digest, have white rice instead (I like white basmati rice from India). You will be getting plenty of fiber from other foods. And eliminate gluten -- entirely! For a number of people with IBD (and IBS), gluten is a primary trigger. You will have to do a lot of research and be very diligent to eliminate it entirely from your diet, but I am vegan and gluten-free, and I don't feel deprived in the least.

If you can't figure out your triggers, you might want to try the elimination diet described in Food Allergy Survival Guide. It's a good way to figure out what you can and can't safely tolerate.

I've got lots more tips and tricks, but I'd suggest trying these first to see how they help. And please let me know if you have any questions. As I deal with this daily myself, I'm happy to share what I've learned from my own experience.

~Jo




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