Thursday, May 23, 2013

If It’s Good Don’t Eat It

Most of the time I write this blog about my life with MS.  I also have another chronic illness – Crohn’s Disease.  The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America describes this disease as: Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract. While symptoms vary from patient to patient and some may be more common than others, the tell-tale symptoms of Crohn’s disease include: Persistent Diarrhea, Rectal bleeding, Urgent need to move bowels, Abdominal cramps, pain, Fever, Fatigue, Night sweats. The causes of Crohn’s Disease are not well understood. Diet and stress may aggravate Crohn’s Disease, but they do not cause the disease on their own. Recent research suggests hereditary, genetics, and/or environmental factors contribute to the development of Crohn’s Disease. The GI tract normally contains harmless bacteria, many of which aid in digestion. The immune system usually attacks and kills foreign invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms. Under normal circumstances, the harmless bacteria in the intestines are protected from such an attack. In people with IBD, these bacteria are mistaken for harmful invaders and the immune system mounts a response. Cells travel out of the blood to the intestines and produce inflammation (a normal immune system response). However, the inflammation does not subside, leading to chronic inflammation, ulceration, thickening of the intestinal wall, and eventually causing patient symptoms.”

I subscribe to several sites that send recipes by email.  I love to cook and I love to eat.  As I am usually low on energy, I have to scour recipes in order to find something tasty that I will (hopefully) have the energy to prepare.  Looking at some of these made me really think about my Crohn’s. 

I am pretty easy to please when it comes to food.  There are very few things I dislike and many things I truly love.  Having been raised on Southern cooking, a lot of the dishes I love include frying something, gravy and dessert.  I lived on the Gulf of Mexico for 20 years and became really fond of seafood.  I love salads and all kinds of vegetables.  I guess meat is my least favorite food, but I do enjoy it for the most part.

I love watching a good movie and eating popcorn.  Nachos and salsa is one of my favorite snacks. Corn served in any fashion is probably at the top of my list of favorites.  My list goes on and on as I am sure yours does.  The problem is that very little of this is on a Crohn’s diet. It is really hard to get excited about preparing or eating a meal when most of the things you won’t are no-nos.

Some of the foods listed as triggering (as if it really needs a trigger!) a bout with Crohn’s are: butter, mayonnaise, oils, sodas, coffee, tea, chocolate, corn, dairy products, fried foods, high fiber foods, beans, cabbage, broccoli, nuts, seeds, raw fruits, raw vegetables, spicy foods, popcorn, red meat and pork.  Now I ask you, what in the world is left to eat that is worth eating??!!

I have been trying to really be careful lately about what I eat.  I have had a flare-up the last few weeks and it is not pleasant to deal with.  So, lately I have been sticking to bread, potatoes, rice cakes and other bland things. It is recommended to eat 5 or 6 small meals a day instead of the usual 3 larger ones.  So, I have been eating several times a day, but end up going to bed with my tummy growling because it is not satisfied.

A couple of years ago I went to a gastroenterologist. He performed a few tests on me and prescribed some pills for my problem.  After a few days the pills really helped the situation.  The only problem was that they cost around $630 a month.  That is not at all in my budget. I am hoping when the medicare and insurance kicks in July 1st that they will be affordable and I can go back to taking them. 

This is just one more area where there is some pretty good medicine available, it is just not affordable to the average person.  It is such a shame that those of us who really need medication are not able to get it because of the costs.

I am trying to be good and pick a  better choice of food for my condition.  It is not easy.  What I really want to do is pull out a good movie and pop some popcorn!


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