Ulcerative colitis peanut butter

When you battle inflammatory bowel disease, chances are there will be several times throughout your journey where you are limited to only drinking liquids—whether it’s preparing for an upcoming procedure or needing to rest your bowel during a flare-up. It can be extremely dreadful to function in a workplace or in a social situation, when you’re limited to drinking liquids or sipping on some broth.

When I was a news anchor in Springfield, Illinois, I used to interview and participate in cooking segments with a registered dietitian named Amanda Figge. She is extremely passionate and well-versed about nutrition and health and practices what she preaches in her daily life.

“Nutrition holds the key to the difference between going on or off certain medications, improving your performance and strength at the gym, raising energy levels, and reducing pain and inflammation, to name a few. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to healthy eating,” Amanda explains.

One of Amanda’s recent posts on social media really peaked my interest. She included a photo of Ensure. If you have IBD, chances are you’ve relied on these at some point. I know I have. In her post, Amanda wrote:

“Ensure is one of the worst “nutritional” beverages to supplement in the diet. Yes, I fully understand the body just needs to receive nutrients in any way, shape or form it can. But when longevity and health are a prime concern, QUALITY should be a priority. As you can see, Ensure provides an assortment of vitamins and minerals, but in order to get those nutrients, you have to consume a bottle chalk-full of chemicals and high-inflammatory agents.”

She went on to say:

“Sugar is the third ingredient. Corn maltodextrin is a highly processed refined carbohydrate. Soy protein should be avoided. Artificial flavors/sweeteners are no way to treat the body nicely. You’re basically consuming a multi-vitamin that was covered in sugar, lit with a cigarette and left in the middle of a freeway during rush hour traffic.”

Whew. Intense. If you’re like me—and have depended on these meal supplement drinks when you’re in the hospital, fighting a flare at home or struggling to eat—those words probably struck a chord with you, too. Amanda’s focus is to heal the body with whole foods and eliminating potential sources of inflammation. Inflammation is the immune system’s first response to an acute or chronic condition. Chronic inflammation can be caused by cancer and its treatments, autoimmune disorders such as fibromyalgia and Crohn’s, metabolic complications such as diabetes and even neurological conditions like depression.

“While I believe it’s important for all people to practice low inflammatory eating habits (focusing on a whole foods diet and limiting processed foods, chemicals and added sugars), it is especially important for individuals experiencing chronic inflammation to adopt these protocols. Ensure is often provided to those undergoing chemotherapy or recovering from a bowel flare-up. While it may be appropriate for some, creating a homemade nutritional supplement can have far less chemicals and more immune-boosting benefits,” says Amanda.

If you’re put on a liquid diet to calm your bowel and to heal, avoid lactose, gluten, sugar-substitutes and soy. Making homemade shakes allows you to have complete control of the nutrients you are putting into your body. Here are two of Amanda’s favorite smoothie recipes:

Creamy Chocolate Banana Smoothie

  • 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein isolate (lactose-free and naturally sweetened)
  • ½ frozen banana
  • ½ small avocado
  • 1 spoonful of peanut butter or almond butter
  • Handful of ice cubes
  • Unsweetened almond milk (1/2 cup- 1 cup)

Blend all ingredients in food processor or mixer. Using less almond milk will make the smoothie extra rich and thick.

Berry Bliss Smoothie

  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein isolate (lactose-free and naturally sweetened)
  • ½ -1 cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ frozen banana
  • 1-2 handfuls of spinach
  • Unsweetened almond milk (1/2 cup- 1 cup)

Blend all ingredients in food processor or mixer. Using less almond milk will make the smoothie extra rich and thick.

Another option instead of whey protein isolate would be collagen peptides. These specific amino acids can additionally help support proper gut function and strengthen immunity. L-glutamine powder is an additional supplement Amanda recommends that promotes gut healing. This powder can easily be added to smoothies and beverages.

I don’t know about you, but the next time I’m on a liquid diet, I’m going to take Amanda’s advice to heart. While we may not have control of our well-being with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, this knowledge and background enables us to grab the reins and give our body the best shot to heal, in a healthy way.

8 Foods to Eat During an Ulcerative Colitis Flare


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If you have ulcerative colitis, you may already know which foods can worsen a flare. But figuring out what to include in your diet is equally important — the right foods will provide you with key nutrients without aggravating your symptoms further.

Most experts recommend that you limit your fiber intake when you’re having an ulcerative colitis flare. A general rule is to replace high-fiber foods such as nuts, seeds, and raw fruits and vegetables with more easily digestible fare. Here are eight foods to eat during an ulcerative colitis flare and the reasons they can help.

1. Applesauce: Given the significant irritation to your gastrointestinal system during a flare, soft, easily digestible applesauce can be a good choice. Be sure to stick to an unsweetened variety, however, because added sugar can cause more inflammation. You can also make your own sugar-free applesauce by cooking peeled and sliced apples with some water and then pureeing the mixture.

2. Ripe bananas and canned fruits: Although dietitians generally recommend that people avoid raw fruits during a flare, very ripe and soft bananas are often well tolerated. Bananas are also a good source of carbohydrates, which, along with protein and fats, provide energy. Soft fruits like canned pears or peaches may also be non-irritating, says Shannon Szeles, RDN, a clinical wellness dietitian-nutritionist at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan.

3. Cooked vegetables: Soft, cooked veggies such as carrots and spinach can provide important nutrients like vitamins A and K. Just make sure the vegetables are cooked through — until they’re mashable with a fork, Szeles says — so that any potentially irritating fiber is broken down.

4. Yogurt: If you’re not lactose intolerant, you can get some protein from yogurt, which is also a source of probiotics — live bacteria that may help the digestive system. Be sure to buy yogurt with live and active cultures in it, Szeles says, which is specified on the label. Avoid yogurt that contains large fruit chunks, which could be hard to digest. “It’s fine,” Szeles adds, “if yogurt has fruit that’s soft, seedless, and blended in.”

5. Salmon: People with ulcerative colitis who are lactose intolerant, or who simply want to get more protein in their diet, can add salmon to the foods they eat during a flare. In addition to being a great source of protein, salmon has healthy omega-3 fatty acids that may help reduce inflammation.

Neilanjan Nandi, MD, a gastroenterologist and an assistant professor at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, recommends baking, broiling, or sautéing salmon and cautions that “frying fish causes it to lose a lot of its nutritional value.”

6. Peanut butter: Peanut butter is another lactose-free source of protein and healthy fats. Choose creamy peanut butter instead of chunky to avoid difficult digestion of nut pieces and further irritation during an ulcerative colitis flare. Try eating peanut butter with bread, advises Dr. Nandi, or wrap it in a tortilla with some turkey.

7. White rice with turmeric: If you can’t tolerate most foods during an ulcerative colitis flare, you may want to stick with bland choices such as cooked white rice. If you find that the rice lacks flavor on its own, try sprinkling it with turmeric — the yellow spice whose key ingredient, curcumin, has shown some benefit in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. Turmeric is widely used in India, where the incidence of inflammatory bowel disease is lower than in the United States or Europe, says Arun Swaminath, MD, director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

In a small study published in August 2015 in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, researchers found that a curcumin supplement taken with their medication was helpful in inducing remission in people with ulcerative colitis. More research is needed, however, to examine the effectiveness of curcumin.

8. Water, sports drinks, and fruit juice: The diarrhea that often occurs during an ulcerative colitis flare can cause you to lose a lot of fluids, so replenishing them is important. “When you’re dehydrated, every symptom you have is amplified,” Nandi says. Sports drinks combined with water in a 1:1 ratio can help replace lost carbohydrates and electrolytes, he says. No-pulp fruit juice is also an option, Szeles says, but avoid prune juice because of its high fiber content.

Research shows that nutrition can’t cause or cure ulcerative colitis. There are no foods that can cause someone to develop ulcerative colitis, and there is no miracle diet that will cure people of the condition. However, good nutrition does play an important role in the management of ulcerative colitis symptoms, especially during a flare.

Ulcerative colitis flare-ups are uncomfortable and frustrating. Pain, bloating, cramping, fatigue, rectal bleeding, and diarrhea are common symptoms during flare-ups. If you’re in the midst of the flare, changes in your diet can help control your symptoms and allow your intestine time to heal. If you have a flare…

  • Bland is better. When in the midst of a flare, nix spicy foods. Applesauce, ripe bananas, peanut butter, avocado, white rice, oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, and refined or enriched breads and pastas are all easy-to-digest foods that you may want to put on the menu.
  • Limit fiber intake. High-fiber foods like nuts, seeds, raw fruits and veggies, and whole grains can be tough to digest so avoid these foods during a flare. Seeds like sunflower seeds are obvious and easy to omit, but remember other sources of seeds like berries, smoothies, jams, or yogurts with fruit.
  • Cook vegetables. Vegetables can be hard to digest, especially veggies like celery, onion, broccoli, or cabbage. Avoid raw vegetables. Well-cooked carrots, string beans, or sweet potatoes are a safe veggie option. If you boil vegetables, reuse the water to cook rice to recapture some of the lost nutrients.
  • Hydrate. The diarrhea that often occurs during an ulcerative colitis flare can cause fluid loss. Water is your best option to replenish fluids. Sugary, carbonated, alcoholic or caffeinated beverages can make symptoms worse. Sip beverages instead of gulping because gulping introduces air to the digestive system, which can cause discomfort.
  • Eat small meals often. Many people with ulcerative colitis find that smaller meals are easier to tolerate. Rather than the traditional 3 large meals a day, eat five small means every three or four hours.
  • De-stress. Stress doesn’t cause ulcerative colitis but it can worsen and maybe even trigger flare-ups. Mild exercise like walking, biking, or swimming can relieve tension and keep bowels moving regularly.
  • Keep a food diary. A record of what you eat is handy for identifying troublesome foods.

While carefully watching what you eat can help ease symptoms of ulcerative colitis, there are very few treatments for ulcerative colitis currently available. Participating in research is one of the best ways to actively search for a cure. Research helps increase the understanding of ulcerative colitis and trial new treatment options. If you or a loved one has ulcerative colitis, fill out the form below to learn more about a clinical trial that you may qualify for.

Diet and IBD

Did my diet cause IBD?

No. IBD seems to be caused by a mix of genes and things that damage the lining of the intestine. Together, these cause the immune system in the intestine to be exposed to the bacteria of the intestine more than usual. Inflammation in the intestine of a healthy person lasts for a short time, and then goes away. In people with IBD, the inflammation does not go away, and it stays inflamed.

Is IBD caused by allergies to foods?

No. Although some people with IBD have allergies to certain foods, neither Crohn’s disease nor ulcerative colitis is caused by food allergy.

Do certain foods make the inflammation worse?

No. Although certain foods can make the symptoms worse, there is no proof that inflammation of the intestine is directly affected by food.

Can IBD be cured with a special diet?

No. There is no proof that any diet will truly stop or prevent the inflammation of IBD.

Is there any diet that helps IBD?

Yes, an all-liquid diet of nutrients, called an elemental diet, has been shown to reduce inflammation in the intestines. However, most people cannot tolerate it because it is given overnight through a tube that runs through the nose to the stomach. There are other diets that reduce the amount of different types of sugars that cause bacteria to create gas in the intestine, which can lead to a lot of symptoms of pain, bloating, and cramping. The best proven diet is the FODMAP™ diet.

Do I need to avoid milk and dairy?

No. Lactose intolerance is not a part of IBD. So unless you have been told you have lactose intolerance, there is no reason to avoid milk and dairy products.

Are there foods I should avoid?

Many people with IBD are not able to tolerate certain foods. A food diary can help you figure out which foods bother you. During an IBD flare many people find that caffeine, alcohol, dairy, sweetened food, and foods high in fiber, increase their symptoms.

Do I need to avoid fiber?

About 70% of people with Crohn’s disease of the small intestine develop a stricture (narrowing) of the intestine. When that happens, a low-fiber or low-residue diet may help to reduce abdominal pain and other symptoms. This diet reduces the amount of food that is cannot be digested (solid residue) in the stool.

What about vitamins and minerals?

It is a good idea for all people with IBD to take a standard multivitamin every day. People with IBD who are doing well do not need any extra vitamins or minerals. If you have Crohn’s disease is in the ileum (the last part of the small intestine) or the ileum has been removed you may need to take B12, calcium, or vitamin D. You may need iron supplements if you have blood loss during inflammation or reduced iron absorption as a result of inflammation. Diarrhea or vomiting can cause loss of potassium and magnesium. If you are lactose intolerant and avoid dairy products, this can lead to low calcium. Ask your doctor if you need to be tested for any of the above.

Should I change my diet during a flare?

During a period of active inflammation, any food can make pain, bloating, cramping, and diarrhea worse. However, you still need to eat during a flare. You also need to drink plenty of fluids with salt and water so that you absorb and retain fluid. Many people switch to a bland diet or to an all-liquid diet during a flare. Bland foods like rice, toast, bananas, applesauce, and nutritional drinks like Carnation® Instant Breakfast™, Boost® or Ensure® can help.

A low-residue diet limits the amount of fiber and other material that cannot be digested as it passes through your small intestine. A low-residue diet reduces the size and number of your stools and helps relieve abdominal pain and diarrhea.

What are some low-residue foods?

What are some high-residue foods?

Whole-grain breads, cereals, and pasta, whole vegetables and vegetable sauces, whole fruits, including canned fruits, yogurt, pudding, ice cream, or cream-based soups with nuts or pieces of fruits or vegetables, tough or coarse meats with gristle and luncheon meats or cheese with seeds, peanut butter, salad dressings with seeds or pieces of fruits or vegetables, seeds or nuts, coconut, jam, marmalade.

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