There is a lot of information out there about the perfect diet or which trend cures IBD, which can be so confusing!! 🤯
We do know that no doubt nutrition plays a hugely important role in IBD! Let’s just back up for a moment and gather some facts:
👉A Western Diet (processed foods, high in omega 6 vs 3) may be a contributing factor to the pathogenesis of IBD (among other factors like genetics)
👉People with IBD have a difficult time maintaining nutrition for a variety of reasons: impaired digestion and absorption, complications, medication, changes in appetite
👉Eating certain foods can either ease symptoms or cause them. These foods are different for every single person. AKA there is no one diet that helps everyone or cures IBD
👉 BUT, there are certain diets that have helped a lot of people, and have some great research to back them up (anti-inflammatory, SCD, AIP, Low-FODMAP, for example)
👉An individualized diet that is right for you should be based on: current symptoms, whether you are in remission or experiencing a flare, location of disease, presence of narrowing of the small intestine (strictures), any prior surgeries, specific nutritional deficiencies
👉All of the above can change over the course of your disease, thus your diet and nutritional needs must adapt and change
👉Because certain foods can trigger symptoms, eating can cause a lot of fear, anxiety, disordered eating patterns, and eating disorders. Working with a professional can be very helpful
👉Nutrition is not just about what you eat! It’s important to consider how you eat, your relationship with food, when you eat, and overall stress level and emotional state when you eat
I highly recommend working with an RD or Functional Nutritionist who specializes in IBD, AND a health coach to help you navigate all of the factors surrounding what specific foods are best for you
Do you want to enjoy family dinners and feel more comfortable around food choices?
This was my husband's birthday dinner last year. These events used to cause me so much stress and anxiety. Guess what? I enjoyed the heck out of that lobster!
On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with your current nutrition and eating habits?
Ask yourself these questions: How much processed food do I eat vs. whole foods? Do I eat out or cook most often? Do I eat appropriate portions? What do I drink? What is my relationship with food like? How do I eat (stressed/distracted or calm/happy)?
Notice that I didn’t ask simply what you eat. Eating and nutrition is so much more complex than just the type of food you put in your mouth.
I had a period in my life where I was scared of anything I put in my mouth. What would it do to me? What symptoms would I then have to deal with? How much pain will it cause?
So I’d sit there and force some food down eventually (or not), feel very scared and worried, not enjoying any bite, any meal or the company.
And guess what happened? Yup, pain and symptoms persisted.
The stress and fear alone were enough to cause pain. When I learned over time what foods worked better than others, I got more and more comfortable and confident. I learned to take deep breaths while eating, eat slowly, and eat smaller meals more frequently.
What I found was the more at ease I was when I was eating, the more and more things I could eat WITHOUT symptoms.
It’s not just about what you eat.
Taking all factors in to consideration, how satisfied are you with your nutrition on a scale of 1-10?
Where would you like that number to be?
Why didn’t you give yourself a lower number? Or a higher one?
What would it take to increase that number?
Lastly, why would it be important to raise that number?
Nutrition and IBD is complex and very important
Seek out support from a professional, examine not just what you eat but how you eat, be patient as you find what works for you- as there is no one size fits all.
Eating food is one of those things that we need to do, and we can't keep living being miserable. If you need help navigating this complex topic, I'm here to help!