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7 Cooking Tips From Home Chefs With Crohn’s Disease

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    Cooking Tips for People With Crohn’s Disease

    Whether you love to cook or consider it a chore, one thing remains true: Cooking your own meals can be the difference between a great evening and one that’s full of discomfort when you’re managing Crohn’s disease.

    That’s because knowing exactly what’s in your food is a surefire way of avoiding ingredients that disagree with your digestive system. “The upside of cooking at home is that you have control,” says Christine Lothen-Kline, RD, who has Crohn’s disease and is a registered dietitian with Health Promotion On Call in Columbia, Maryland.

    Check out these tips from home cooks who have Crohn's disease.

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    Cook Around Your Personal Triggers

    Foods that cause one person with Crohn’s disease to be doubled over in pain may be unproblematic for another. This makes it hard for nutritionists to develop a standardized diet for Crohn’s disease. The best way to find your Crohn’s disease food triggers is with an elimination diet — a process in which foods like dairy and gluten are removed and then added back in one at a time to determine how well you tolerate each food. Through this process, Sarah Choueiry, who has Crohn’s disease, discovered that she should avoid red meat, gluten, dairy, and nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. Choueiry blogs about her recipes and diet at My Mindful Table.

    If you're interested in trying an elimination diet to find your own trigger foods, it’s best to work with a nutritionist so you don't miss out on important nutrients during the process, Lothen-Kline says.

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    Keep It Simple

    You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to make nutritious, Crohn’s-friendly meals at home. Noelle Gardner, 51, of Los Angeles, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2001, says many of her creations are one-pot dishes. “I’ll get some scallops or shrimp, toss in some fresh spinach, cut up a whole bulb of fennel, and then pour in some natural vegetable broth,” she says. “I throw it in one casserole dish and bake it for 45 minutes.” Lothen-Kline is a big fan of omelets, even for dinner. “Just use eggs, some green pepper, and a little cheese on top, and you’ve got a meal,” she says.

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    Blend It Up

    While nutritious, the high fiber content in fruits and vegetables can cause trouble for some people with Crohn’s disease. Gardner, for one, drinks fresh juice made with a high-end juicer that separates out the pulp. “It’s so much easier to digest, and your body gets the nutrients you need without working so hard to process it,” she says.

    Choueiry takes daily vitamin supplements and gets most of her fruit through smoothies she makes in a blender. However, Lothen-Kline says people with Crohn’s disease should approach this idea cautiously, especially if they have colon strictures, or narrowing, in their digestive tract — even pureed fruits and vegetables can be bulky and cause discomfort. 

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    Cook Your Produce

    Some people with Crohn’s disease find that fruits and vegetables cause fewer unpleasant symptoms when they’re baked, boiled, or stewed. “Roughage, or dietary fiber, can be very disturbing to an already-irritated digestive tract,” Lothen-Kline says.

    Most of the vegetables Choueiry consumes are cooked, and she eats only a limited amount of raw fruit. “I make a conscious effort to chew really well and use the rules of mindful eating when I do eat raw vegetables,” she says.

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    Make Creative Substitutions

    If a particular food staple doesn’t agree with your digestive system, a little creativity can usually help you find a good substitute. For example, Gardner uses rice noodles or pasta made with arrowroot rather than wheat and almond and coconut milk in place of cow’s milk. Choueiry makes “noodles” from long strips of zucchini or sweet potatoes and eats them in place of traditional pasta.

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    Be Extra Gentle During Flares

    If you’re experiencing a flare of Crohn’s disease symptoms, make sure you adjust your cooking so that meals are easier on your digestive tract. For instance, you may want to reduce the amount of fiber in your diet, particularly insoluble fiber, which is bulkier and doesn’t break down as easily. If you’re having a baked potato, don't eat the skin when you’re in the middle of a flare, Lothen-Kline says. Other sources of insoluble fiber are whole-grain breads, brown rice, and fruit and vegetable peels, like the peel of an apple or cucumber. 

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    Plan Ahead for Meal Prep

    With family, work, and other obligations, life can get so busy that dropping by the nearest drive-thru restaurant may seem like the easiest option, But the high-fat fare typically offered isn’t a good idea for many people with Crohn’s disease. With a little planning, you can prep easy-to-digest meals with minimal time. “I pack my lunch the night before,” Choueiry says. “If I’m going to be really busy during the week, I’ll cook dinners on Sunday and put them in the freezer.”

    Also consider dinners made at meal-prep stores where you can put together several family-sized dinners at once. All ingredients are prepped and precut for maximum time-saving. Pop them in the freezer and you’ve got healthy meals ready to go when you need them, Lothen-Kline says.






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Date: 13.12.2018, 00:46 / Views: 94462