Magazines and health professionals have suggested limiting red meat in your diet for a long time. It’s also been discussed often in the IBD space that red meat can be tough to digest and should be avoid. However, I noticed people say steak doesn’t bother their digestion. So I had to run a survey.
82 of the 93 respondents said chicken and turkey caused less pain than red meats did. That equates to a whopping 87% – one of our least divided surveys ever.
Of the 13% that said the meats digested similar, one said the rarer the meat, the easier it was to digest. My guess is those that find them similar, they are in remission or closer to it.
Remember, even in remission, it’s important to stick with safe foods. Even thought your gut is stronger now, abusing it can return you to your old days and it will. It happens all the time. People with IBD for over 25 years end up in the ER and when questioned on their diet, they say “what diet?”
Prior to 2011, there was pretty much no research on the results of consuming cannabis to lower the effects of Crohn’s disease. Since then, studies have shed light on the substance.
In a study published in The Israel Medical Association Journal, they studied 30 patients with active Crohn’s disease.
“The average Harvey Bradshaw index improved from 14 ± 6.7 to 7 ± 4.7,” the study reported. The Harvey Bradshaw index is one of the indexes used to measure Crohn’s disease activity.
Patients consumed one to three cannabis sativa joints per day, which each contained around 0.5 mg of THC. The CBD values were not reported or noted, although the study noted both cannabinoids have been known to have profound anti-inflammatory effects prior to the study.
0.5 mg in the study seems low or incorrect. Let’s say you roll a 1 gram joint, and the vendor claims 15% THC, which is typical – not overly high and certainly not low. Let’s factor in the fact that the number is probably exaggerated a bit, so we’ll say 10% of absorbable THC.
1000 mg joint * 0.10 THC = 100 mg of THC per joint
100 mg is 200x the amount reported in the study, but luckily we have other studies.
In the next study, patients also consumed cannabis sativa. This was placebo-controlled. A decreased Crohn’s Disease Activity Score of >100 was observed in 10 of 11 subjects in the cannabis group (90%; from 330 ± 105 to 152 ± 109) and 4 of 10 in the placebo group (40%; from 373 ± 94 to 306 ± 143; P = .028).
I think it’s worth noting that 40% of people on placebo thought the effects were beneficial, as CDAI is based on a survey. Although not necessarily proper to do so, we could subtract 40% provided from the placebo group from the cannabis group (90%) and conclude it’s actually 50% effective.
In this study, patients took the cannabis via cigarette form, twice daily, with each joint containing 115 mg of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That’s a 1 gram joint with a medium level of THC content.
In another study that focused in CBD, researchers found that after offering low dosages of CBD (10 mg, twice daily) to Crohn’s disease patients, CBD was safe to consume but did not offer any beneficial effects. This was concluded to be either because CBD has no effect on Crohn’s disease activity or because the dosage was too low.
“Its benefit may be simply derived from pain relief and not from improvement in inflammation” said one study.
Sativa is generally used in medicinal purposes over indica
Smoking 2-3 joints per day has proven beneficial in many cases
Smoking is not the only form that works – vaporizing via a bong and digesting via edibles is also effective
Cannabis is known to have a placebo effect and may not always help as much as patients believe
Recently I asked members of a Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis group whether or not dairy gave them abdominal pain. Including my vote, of the 109 respondents, 76 said that dairy did indeed give them abdominal pain, which is 70% of the respondents.
“Dairy products have been perceived as having the potential to cause adverse effects in individuals with Crohn’s disease (CD) and are often avoided.” said one study. Specifically, “dairy products with a high fat content were most frequently reported to worsen perceived CD symptoms.”
Doctors often recommend a 2000 calorie diet to maintain an overall healthy body – that includes a healthy weight, organs acting as they should, etc. However, that number is different based on each person, so first you should calculate your own calorie intake by watching this video.
Calories are made of up one of the 3 macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fats. You need a balance of all 3. The ratio recommended normally for those who don’t participate in heavy physical activity is:
10–35% from protein
45–65% from carbs
20–35% from fats
The problem with most pre-made shakes like Ensure is they are expensive, and not very mobile. They also include a ton of sugar. When you’re going to drink purely shakes for multiple days to get through a flare, you will need a lot of shakes. Each Ensure is 220 calories, meaning you’ll need at least 9 per day. However, you can make your own and only have 3 sizeable shakes – one for each meal.
In this article, I will show you the ingredients you need to make a proper shake that fulfills your daily nutrition goals.
To mix these, you should add water and/or an alternative milk source. My favorite is oat milk. For flavor, you can add a banana. Then blend it.
For protein, my two favorite sources are from egg whites or yellow split peas. Eggs as a whole are fine when eating solid foods but if you eat more than half a dozen a day (which you need to to hit macro goals), you’re daily cholesterol will be something you need to watch.
Less Naked Pea – Vanilla Pea Protein
Now Sports Nutrition – Egg White Protein
For carbohydrates, sweet potatoes are my favorite source of complex carbs. For simple carbs, dextrose powder is a great option. To refresh your memory, complex and simple carbs are both fine but often complex carbs are favored because the energy they provide is extended throughout your day whereas simple carbs give you an instant energy boost, like candy does to a kid. One is not necessarily more healthy than the other per se. You can use either or both based on your needs.
Also note: you can easily add in fruits to your shakes when blending to add tasty carbs.
Now Sports Nutrition – Dextrose Powder
True Nutrition – Sweet Potato Powder
Fats give the most dense calories and are probably the nutrient with the most misunderstanding from the general public. I talk about fats more in other articles and on YouTube. Unsaturated fats are good, but some saturated fats are also good if it’s extracted, such as MCT. One of the best sources of fat is just that, MCT Oil, which often found in the health food aisle of your local grocery store.
The majority of saturated fat is long chain triglycerides which is bad. MCT is medium chain triglycerides and they are really only in coconut. However, in coconut oil, they are only a small percentage of the total saturated fats which is why coconut oil as a whole is not recommended. MCT also have health benefits associated with them. You can add the oil in it’s original form, oil, to your shakes or add the powder below. Both are fine.
Giant Sports International – MCT Oil Powder
Bonus: Total Meal Replacement
One of the strongest men in the world, Brian Shaw, uses this meal replacement in addition to some massive meals to help him stay healthy and strong. The only difference? He eats about 10x the amount you’ll be eating. Point being – this stuff works and it’s effective in staying healthy, full of energy and strong.
Most Crohn’s patients suffer from some form of malabsorption. This means we must choose protein sources that are easy to digest – which is measured based on bioavailability. Bioavailability is the proportion of the nutrient that is digested, absorbed and metabolized through normal pathways.
Leading in bioavailability, whey protein isolate tops the chart with an index over 100. Although, since most Crohn’s patients have intolerances to dairy due to lack of proper enzymes that means eggs are the most reliable and most efficient protein source for Crohn’s sufferers.
For vegan options, the only protein with proper absorption comparable to chicken, egg and other traditional sources is pea protein isolate.
In this video, I break down my diet that I used to eat around 4,000 calories per day with Crohn’s disease. So I’m not going to cover what you should eat and what you shouldn’t eat if you want to see that, check out my other video. In this video I’m actually going through my five meals and explaining to you the nutrition facts (mainly the calories) but I have calculated the protein, carbs and fats. It’s about 200 grams of protein and around 70 grams of fat. Then the rest of the calories are carbs.
For my first meal in the morning Igenerally don’t have any protein. I just want carbohydrates to give me enough energy to push me through my gym routine – to push me through the first part of my day. So it’s usually a one dish meal. Cream of Rice is what I eat if I’m not very hungry. It is 160 calories from 1/4 cup and it expands a little. Add a bit of honey, throw on some cinnamon. If I am hungry I’ll have hash browns. If I’m hungry I might eat towards half the bag and that’s going to be about somewhere between depending on how much I eat, between 400 if it’s a third if I’m eating more the bag to be upwards of 800 calories and then I have some sort of juice to go with that to drink along with a bottle of water because you’re dehydrated when you wake up. For the juice, usually just one cup of apple juice or orange juice, not from concentrate and that will give me a little bit of extra sugar to get me through my gym routine. I’m just going to call this meal at 500 calories – is somewhere on the average of my breakfast.
So for meal number two, the post-workout meal. It consists of 3 snacks. The first one is a muffin. Muffins are very calorie-dense. One small muffin might be 350-400 calories and often quite a bit more. If you go to Costco get those muffins they’re over 600 calories each. I also have a banana and depending on the size they’ll between 100 and 120 calories. Sometimes I add peanut butter if I want to add extra calories. A couple scoops of peanut butter could easily add 100-200 calories to this meal and for the third food is egg whites. A kilogram worth of egg whites contains 30 egg white so I drank about half of this. Most people say that’s gross initially. It’s not that bad. There’s no taste to it. If you can’t get past the idea, mix it with Nesquik, the ice cream syrup, and that makes it taste great but you really don’t need it. You eventually get to the point which is like I’m just going to drink this really quickly and it goes down super easy and the egg whites are about 250 calories and 50 grams of protein, so it’s a great protein source. It digest super easy for me. So this entire meal is 750 calories. So right now we are at 1250 calories.
Next is meal number 3. So generally I follow the 80-20 rule where 80% of our food is going to be clean food that is home cooked, and for the remaining 20%, we can go out we can go to a restaurant, could be fast food. We can kind of cheat. So I normally have a burger or preferably a chicken burger chicken as it digests a lot better than red meat but if your stomach is feeling pretty good you could push it with. This is only if you’re pretty advanced in your Crohn’s battle. So A&W has a double chicken buddy burger at 460 calories. I never have cheese on anything because cheese does hurt my stomach and another option is McDonald’s 1/4 Pounder with no cheese. I don’t have soda. I’ll drink water with it and I generally won’t give fries. It’s just a 500 calorie snack because I’m usually out running errands or doing something between work or whatever. it’s just 500 calories super quick for now because we’re going to get into something more bland and pay the price for having a cheat meal later.
Sometimes I don’t have a cheat meal. I’ll instead have meal 4, twice, as meal 3 and 4.
So for meal #4, my metabolism is fired up now I’m a little more hungry later in the day. This is now around 4-6 PM, basically an early dinner, and for that I’m going to have 6 ounces of shredded chicken. I boil the chicken and then I pull it and then add a bunch of avocado oil to just make it a little less dry and then I put taco seasoning on it to add some flavour. I also have two sweet potatoes, like large sweet potatoes, around 14 ounces. Two of these and then I’ll have some sort of vegetable, so broccoli or kale or something to aid digestion. You can choose pretty much any vegetables. The shredded chicken is 280 calories, and the potatoes are 580 calories. I don’t eat the skin – you don’t really need to eat the skin. When I cook my sweet potatos and I shut the oven off, I let them sit in the oven for about another half hour or 45 minutes. I find the longer they sit in the oven the more they start separating from the skin, so a few days after you reheat them in the microwave, I can just slice them down the middle. It’s really easy to pull a potato off the skin so you really can just eat all the inside contents of it. So for this meal it’s about 900 calories and like I said if I don’t have a cheat meal I’ll do this meal at like 2-3 PM and then I’ll have it again around 5-6 PM.
Okay last meal is meal number 5. This is my shake. So for my shake, it tastes pretty good. You might not like the contents but with the strawberries it really take over the flavour and tastes like strawberries and bananas. The shake is 1000 calories. You might want to read the nutrition facts and calculate it out the first time so you know how much are pouring but first, egg whites. I only drink half of the container meal 2 and the other half I’ll put into my blender for my shake. I’ll throw in a handful of strawberries. My hands pretty big. The more you add the better it will taste. I put in one banana. I put in a cup of oats – quick oats from Quaker is fine. Then I add in basically a few tablespoons of avocado oil like maybe a shot worth (an ounce) and then add in either almond milk but my favourite milk that is really easy on my stomach is oat milk. I can get that at my local grocery stores. Dairy again I try to avoid because it’s pretty hard on stomachs. So with the strawberries, the banana, the egg whites, the oats and then the avocado oil or olive oil – I don’t use coconut oil for health reasons and because it tastes awful when you blend it up it just it messes up the whole shaking it really ruins it. Then we also have the milk. I’ll just add milk until it really becomes a viscous enough to blend properly.
Meal number one at 500 calories.
Meal number two at 750 calories.
Meal number three at 500 calories.
Meal number four at 900 calories.
Meal number five at 1000 calories.
We’re sitting around 3650 calories if you have snacks like I do – like I’ll have a cupcake at a meeting at the office if someone bakes, or something like that. It’s not hard to get that 4000 calorie mark. Now if you’re newly diagnosed with Crohn’s you’re not going to push it like I am. You know I’ve had Crohn’s for over five years. The cheat meal might not be an option for you might have to just repeat that meal four twice and you’re going to have a higher calorie count if you do. That will be easier on your stomach. Everything else here is super light. In the morning my stomach is more sensitive to harsh food so like I said I start off with really safe food. Cream of Rice is super soft on your stomach and some sort of potato is another great option, and then I have some sort of juice. If I’m drinking orange juice, I think it’s Tropicana offers a low acid form or I drink apple juice which has less acid. So anyways, any questions drop them in the comments and that’s how I eat around 3500 to 4000 calories per day.
Alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) are the common liver values monitored in Crohn’s patients by doctors. These levels are monitored by regular scheduled bloodwork.
These levels can sometimes be elevated due to the harsh drugs used to treat Crohn’s disease. Oral drugs like prednesone are limited in their length of use to avoid injury to the liver. Infliximab (Remicade) has also been cited to cause liver damage.
Alcohol can also increase liver enzyme values. With high liver enzymes it is advised to not drink alcohol.
To treat high liver values, you first need to figure out what’s causing the high levels. You may need to start eating cleaner food, drink less alcohol or lower your bodyweight. The same old advice of eating healthier, exercising, sleeping more and drinking more water applies here.