Seize the Day And Your Gastrointestinal Issues

Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, ulcerative colitis, GI issues, etc all deal with inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, but in various areas depending on your condition. While a program of treatment should be discussed with your health practitioner, on any given Sunday, you should ask the following five questions.

1. Will this irritate my system?

There are a list of foods that some believe can be triggers:

caffeine (soda, tea, chocolate, coffee)
fried foods
raw fruits and vegetables
spicy food
oil, mayo, butter
nuts, seeds
red meat
gas-producing foods such us legumes, cabbage, onions, broccoli
whole grains i.e. barley, rye, wheat (gluten)

One thing that I’ve not seen on many lists is sugar, salt, and yeast. I personally believe through my research that they can be contributing culprits for GI issues aka Candida which is a build up of yeast in the body. Sugar ferments in the body and also feeds yeast. Yeast expands and irritates, so this could be a major and ignored factor in dealing with GI. This all leads into question #2.

2. Have I been keeping my food diary and tracking my symptoms accurately/consistently?

Like snowflakes, each person has their own individual make up and triggers. By keeping a through log of foods and symptoms, you can begin to track which foods will contribute to your well being and which don’t. Having knowledge of what you can handle is not only embowering for you to control your wellness but also supports your health practitioner in creating a treatment plan.

3. If I eat this now, how is it going to make me feel later/tomorrow?

With your diary in tow, you can start being honest with yourself about what is (or isn’t) a setup to win. If you go out to eat a lot, you can look at a menu with great care and better judgement. Remember, triggers show up as allergic reactions: they don’t always happen right away and can manifest days later.

3. Is this too much (sodium, sugar, fiber, oil) for my system to handle? (especially during a flare up). Do I have a better food option?

I am a firm advocate of returning to a clean diet to start the process of elimination. A clean diet means getting back to the basics of whole foods: protein and complex carbs, that includes vegetables, well-cooked grains like millet, quinoa, or brown rice. Remove refined and processed foods from your diet.

Symptoms from GI issues, especially with Crohn’s, can reduce your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, so it is particularly important to eat foods that promote healing and reduce symptoms. Pre and pro-biotic supplements may be a good addition to your therapeutic program as they provide beneficial bacteria to your system. Evidence from various studies is emerging in support of the use of probiotics as they reduce diarrhea, relieve ibs symptoms, and strengthen the immune system.

Vitamin D and greens are your friends. If plants use sunlight, carbon dioxide and water to produce oxygen, and oxygen is healing, increasing your blood oxygenation will probably be very beneficial. So eat lots of greens, get plenty of vitamin d, and drink high quality water (and not from a plastic bottle). You can include the greens in your diet by blending it in smoothies (to reduce the fiber your body has to break down) or use liquid chlorophyll.

5. Am I taking care of my emotional and mental needs?

(btw, I love this image of mommy and baby doing yoga together)

Stress is not a healing advocate. Practicing yoga not only will provide a source of solace and mediation, but it can also gently stretch and strengthen you gastrointestinal system. It will help eliminate toxins and waste to support you in using the bathroom.

Rest is absolutely necessary. Your body needs time to rest, heal, and rejuvenate. Lack of sleep compromises your immune system and increases your vulnerability to germs and bacteria.

Going at it alone can be stressful in itself, so having a team of friends and family for support is optimal. Join groups, go out, and still have fun. The endorphins will boost your immune system and your spirit.

Having a GI disease or issue does not mean you can’t enjoy life and food. it just means you have to invest care in what you eat, what you do, and who’s around you.


YGL staff