Crohn’s awareness is on the rise. Whether the news headlines are covering controversial marijuana use for NFL players struggling with this disease, or women getting shamed for wearing a stoma bag at the public pool, Crohn’s Disease is being talked about and that’s a great thing. But at the end of the day there are still so many unanswered questions. Awareness is generating research, so we are moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, for now, the research often seems to create more questions than answers. Studies connecting Crohn’s from everything to food poisoning or simply genetics, can leave us scratching our heads in frustration and feeling overwhelmed. That is why keeping track of individual struggles, successes, and food tolerances is so important.
Keeping a Food Diary
When you’ve been feeling great for weeks, the need for “tracking” the food you eat and how you feel may not seem like a high priority. I mean, come on, when you feel healthy and energetic who wants to think about the heavy burden of dealing with Crohn’s? But when the symptoms come back and hit you hard, you can be blindsided, wondering what brought on the effects. When even the latest Crohn’s research or doctor’s visits can leave you without answers, keeping a food diary in good times and bad could provide some much needed perspective.
What to Track
With Crohn’s Disease, there are so many things to consider other than just the actual food your are eating. Portion sizes, food combinations, the frequency in which you eat, and current medications can all play a huge role in how your food ultimately gets digested and tolerated. Taking a few minutes at the end of the day to jot down what you ate, when and how much you ate, what medications you are currently taking, and how you feel (both physically and mentally) can be both helpful in the long run as well as therapeutic. Use your nightly diary time to express your feelings and emotions as well. There are so many physiological things to reflect on and consider that may not be obvious. Side effects, such as “Brain Fog” can be brought on by inflammation. Current research has shown that individuals experiencing brain fog were charted in tests as high as intoxicated individuals with .05 g blood alcohol levels. The physical and emotional effects of Crohn’s seem endless. Only you can truly monitor and reflect how you feel and what may be causing your symptoms.
Reviewing your food diary from time to time can be extremely insightful, even when you are feeling well. Because there are so many foods that you may need to avoid with Crohn’s it is easy to start missing out on entire classes of vitamins and minerals without realizing it. Recognizing, for example, that you are in the habit of consistently reaching for gluten-free breads, but missing out on the vitamins from a large assortment of fruits and veggies, may help you catch problems before they start. Monitoring your nutrition through a food journal can help you make the dietary adjustments necessary (or supplement what you aren’t getting,) and is a great way to stay on top of your nutrition.
Starting your own journal is easier than you may think. You can simply jot down your thoughts in a blank notebook, express your feelings and eating habits along with art sketches, or choose from a variety of Wellness Journals online. Do what works best for you, but most importantly, create a journal that you will actually want to use, reflect on and enjoy.
- Do you keep a food diary?
- If so, do you feel it is helpful?
- What specific foods, habits or behaviors do you keep track of?
- Any suggestions that work for you with tracking your food? We’d love to hear from you!
Good luck out there Crohnie’s.
* Please Note: This is merely an opinion blog. The research and information covered in this blog is open to public domain for discussion. We do not have any formal medical background. We simply want to share and discuss foods for those with Crohn’s Disease. Because people suffering from Crohn’s Disease tolerate a variety of foods differently, recipes often need specific alterations for each individual. Get creative! Leave out the foods that don’t work for you and use the foods that make you feel good. As always, please consult your doctor or health care professional before applying ideas from this website. Happy Cooking!!