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Crohn's and Celiac Disease and Paleodiet

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 10, 2012 at 9:25 PM

I have celiac and Crohn's disease and am wondering about the safety of a paleodiet with my health problems. The celiac obviously won't be a problem, but Crohn's is so touchy for diet. With Crohn's, I already have major concerns around malnutrition and getting all the vitamins I need. Also, I take a daily steroid to control my Crohn's.

Does anyone on a paleodiet have Crohn's, or has anyone heard about any positive or negative affects of following a paleodiet with Crohn's? Also, I'm sure my medication doesn't fit in with the paleo lifestyle, will this be an issue for me?

I'd really like to start this soon and would appreciate any advice or input anyone might have.

Thanks!

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on October 28, 2012
at 03:03 PM

I have celiac disease (but not Crohn's) and I highly recommend looking into your B12 and folate levels. When I cut out wheat from my diet, I didn't get enough betaine (Tri-methyl glycine) and that plus some genetic mutations for proteins involved in the methylation cycle caused me a lot of problems. Spinach is a good source of betaine.

45eaf1688c1baf31d687a382b78f451f

(502)

on May 11, 2012
at 12:57 AM

A lot of people with Crohns can't handle veggies...it depends a lot on how much colon you have left and how damaged it is.

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11 Answers

5
C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on May 11, 2012
at 12:17 AM

Welcome fellow chrohnie. It works fine with the chrohns. You might want to check out Specific Carb Diet (Breaking the Vicious Cycle is the book for that) and the GAPS diet. They go in more detail about healing Chrohns with whole foods. You should be eating a lot of Bone broth's and lay off nuts for awhile. Carbs may or may not be a problem.

4
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on May 11, 2012
at 12:40 AM

SCD and GAPS are going a long way dealing successfully with IBD issues (I had gluten-intolerance and IBS-D for 10 years that became asymptomatic by doing Paleo+SCD). Having done all these diets (SCD, Paleo, GAPS, Paleo-ketogenic), I'd say that it takes a combination of all to get the best results (that is, to become asymptomatic, forget complete recovery if you're an adult).

These days I'm doing Paleo (includes offal, bone marrow broth, sea veggies, coconut oil, less popular veggies, a bit of raw/unfiltered/local honey, game etc), I'm trying to limit my carbs up to 50 gr a day (Paleo-ketogenic), and I recently moved from home-made lactose-free goat yogurt (SCD/GAPS' protocol to heal the leaky gut) to home-made lactose-free goat KEFIR (which is 5x-10x more potent than yogurt). I do lactose-free goat/sheep dairy, I only do cream/butter from cows (US cow casein is problematic). And I also supplement with D3, Mg, krill oil, and K2 among others.

During the first 5 months of that regimen, I managed to bring my symptoms down to once a week from 4-5 times a day (sometimes over 10 times a day). When I went Paleo-ketogenic in February (same diet as before, but fewer carbs without honey and only berries for fruits), my symptoms disappeared completely.

My two regimens: http://eugenia.queru.com/2011/10/20/how-to-make-free-healthcare-cheap/#update2 and http://eugenia.queru.com/2012/03/05/top-10-must-eat-paleo-foods/ Follow the links to see how many health problems I fixed with it (IBS-D was just the top of the iceberg).

2
952b0d6c362921ad6e53bbda69c7191b

on July 20, 2012
at 03:32 AM

Yay! I'm so glad to hear this news. I had surgery 12 years ago and have not had a "flare up" but lots of foods still don't agree with me. This house is going Paleo! So excited to feel good :)

2
45eaf1688c1baf31d687a382b78f451f

on May 11, 2012
at 01:11 AM

What's your B12 status? I know that Paleo is all about getting your nutrition from food, but some Crohns patients don't have enough colon left to absorb nutrients from whole foods (like meat). Make sure you have sufficient B12 (even if you have to get it in shot form). Also, if you have problems getting the full benefit of vitamins because of digestion issues, look into fermented cod liver / butter oil from Green Pastures. You don't give a lot of detail on the extent of damage to your digestive health, but keep in mind if you can't handle any roughage that you can always juice your veggies and fruits, and as mentioned above, bone broths are also excellent.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on October 28, 2012
at 03:03 PM

I have celiac disease (but not Crohn's) and I highly recommend looking into your B12 and folate levels. When I cut out wheat from my diet, I didn't get enough betaine (Tri-methyl glycine) and that plus some genetic mutations for proteins involved in the methylation cycle caused me a lot of problems. Spinach is a good source of betaine.

2
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 11, 2012
at 12:36 AM

"With Crohn's, I already have major concerns around malnutrition and getting all the vitamins I need."

With a wide variety of foods and a well-planned diet overall, I think you'll find your nutrient intake with Paleo actually increases (possibly significantly) over what you were eating before. (Especially if you were heavy on the nearly empty-calorie breads, crackers, pasta, cookies, etc.) Grassfed meats, pastured pork, eggs, seafood, and lots of different colored vegetables will more than cover your bases. Kale, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, blueberries..."eat the rainbow" might be the only thing conventional nutrition/medicine recommends that is good advice!

As for the meds, who knows...after a while with a big dietary change, you might very well find you don't need 'em anymore! :) That is the goal anyway, isn't it? To manage (and hopefully reverse) the Crohn's naturally.

45eaf1688c1baf31d687a382b78f451f

(502)

on May 11, 2012
at 12:57 AM

A lot of people with Crohns can't handle veggies...it depends a lot on how much colon you have left and how damaged it is.

1
E12ead3bf63c94b5b619b03722ef554f

on October 28, 2012
at 06:17 PM

The Paleo diet is great for people with Crohn's disease or celiac disease for whom a gluten-free diet doesn't seem to be enough. Eliminating dairy, legumes, sugar and other processed ingredients is a very good place to start.

But sometimes, too much raw vegetables, FODMAPs or starches can be problematic. SIBO is also common in both people with Crohn's disease or celiac disease and may need to be addressed by modifying your Paleo diet.

Additional gut-healing nutrients may also be needed. Making homemade bone broth for example can be really helpful! :)

1
35d04a02472cdd5d7d4cacb01071a158

on October 28, 2012
at 04:44 AM

After over 20 years of Ulcerative Colitis I couldn't seem to stay in remission anymore. My risk of developing colon cancer was increasing and my dad had been diagnosed with rectal/colon cancer a year earlier. So in 2003 my colon was removed and a J Pouch (the very iffy alternative to a colon) was fashioned from my small intestine. I learned to deal with even more bathroom visits than when I did have my colon and the myriad of various inconveniences that accompany the loss of a body part. Six years later in 2009, without any warning, I developed severe scar tissue on my small intestine that were actually strangulating my small intestine. This made it virtually impossible for food to pass through. God only knows why but it took significantly longer than one could imagine for the problem to be diagnosed. The pain was like being shanked by six convicts throughout my entire torso, front and back, while being punched in the gut repeatedly by Mike Tyson. The pain was so unbearable I was forced to stop eating. An intravenous-type line was inserted so that I could be given nutrition through my arm. I was significantly overweight at the time (I'm a 5'7" female and I weighed 205lbs.). Over the course of a year I lost almost 100lbs. Finally it was determined that I had developed Crohn's disease and that was the reason for the prolific scar tissue (also known as adhesions). Since getting Ulcerative Colitis 29 years earlier I had been running from the idea of having to have ostomy surgery where I would end up with an ostomy bag. But in 2009 there was just no other choice. I also had to have a third of my small intestine removed as well. Every bit of my small intestine has been cut and pasted. My colo/rectal surgeon, the top guy in that department AND the southern California region said that my 12-hour surgery was the most challenging of his career. I asked if I was dying pryer to the surgery. After a long pause I was told "Yes". Also, since my intestinal tract was basically half the length of a normal person's I would never be able to gain weight so I should eat anything and everything. So I did. My body, however, figured out how to assimilate all those calories very quickly and I had quite quickly gone from 108lbs. to 170lbs. At this time my husband had been on the PALEODIET for about a month and felt that his energy was greatly increased and his excess weight was dropping off. So I thought I would give the PALEODEIT a try. Now I've always been a big eater but being sick and not being able to eat for a year has increased my desire for large portions of food. I don't know of many people that can eat 10 bagels in a sitting (with butter, of course) but I most certainly can. But just because you're eating volume doesn't mean you're getting the nutrition that you need. When I switched to the PALEODIET it took about 3 days for me to lose my intense carb cravings. It became REALLY EASY to eliminate grain and refined sugar from my diet. I also had much more energy. Because of the increased protein I was no longer hungry all the time. The problems that I'd had in the past with a low carb diet is that I couldn't eat fruit, potatoes, etc. On the PALEODIET that is not an issue. If I'm craving something sweet after a meal I just grab some fruit. Often I will buy grapes in a larger quantity, wash them thoroughly, pull them off the stem and place them in quart-size ziplock bags and put them in the freezer. They're a fantastic sugar fix. On the PALEODIET I can eat as much as I'd like and I've lost 30lbs. without any effort. I can eat vegetables, salads, fruit, nuts, basically anything I want except for grain and sugar. (NO GRAINS MEANS NO WHEAT - WHICH INCLUDES FLOUR, PASTA, COOKIES, CAKE, ETC...NO GRAINS ALSO MEANS NO RICE OR CORN. AND THEN OF COURSE NO SUGAR (UNLESS IT'S IN IT'S NATURAL STATE WHICH MEANS WHOLE FRUIT). I eat tons of fruit, dried fruit, nuts and seed. I can eat baked potatoes with sour cream and butter. Oh, I almost forgot, in my family we all have hereditary high cholesterol. Even when I was 28 years old, 125lbs. and a vegetarian my cholesterol was over 300 (it should not exceed 200). After one year on the PALEODIET my cholesterol was 113. Triglyceride levels should not exceed 200. My triglycerides were 450 before going on the PALEODIET. After one year on the PALEODIET my triglycerides were 137.

So for me, my experience is that THE PALEODIET WORKS! Anyone who suffers from CROHN'S DISEASE OR ULCERATIVE COLITIS, I believe that, the PALEODIET IS CERTAINLY WORTH THE TRY!

GOOD LUCK TO YOU AND I REALLY HOPES ANYTHING THAT'S DIMINISHING YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE PASSES QUICKLY. PERHAPS THE PALEODIET WILL BE PART OF THAT.

Sharon Johnston

1
8075b454df17a2dc5bf499a1a73785f1

on August 16, 2012
at 02:19 AM

I have had crohns for almost 30 years now. The best I have ever felt was when I was on paleo full time. The major issue you need to watchout for is the veggies. Paleo is very big on the veggies, so if you do eat them make sure you take small bites for your body has a very hard time passing it. Rob Wolf, the man behind a lot getting people on paleo has had crohns for 20+ years. Good luck

0
E65b16c7f807a893ed3ebf55206c4431

on October 02, 2012
at 06:39 PM

I'm a Crohnie, too. And the more I read about the Paleo/Primal/Caveman lifestyle, the more excited I am. I realize now that I was way ahead of the curve in 2009 when I initially dropped 40 lbs. I did it all by eliminating cheese, bread, most dairy, rice, pasta, white potatoes, etc. I was already "practically Paleo". I fell away from that in 2010 when I tried to go Vegan, actually gaining weight, and throwing my body completely off balance. I haven't fully recovered from that time period, but now going full throttle "Caveman" should hopefully reset my body and mind to the correct balance. Good luck to all fellow Crohnies, PALEO WORKS!!!!

0
05055dcbf12c81f1cce777ec365870af

(1791)

on August 16, 2012
at 06:04 AM

Yeah. I would try weaning of the sone and switching to 5 loxin. Theres research that shows its better with no side effects than sone for crohns.

Also everyones diet is so iffy, self experiment. I for instance can eat some fruits, white sugar, and only very minimal starch or fibers. So I stick to carrots and bamboo shoots for fiber. Also I can eat hard European cheeses and butter, but no milk and minimal cream. And can't do too many liquid calories.

So Im mostly paleo if not for their irrational fear of fructose and sucrose.

Also my best ibd supplement is serovera.

0
D9032e4f6540f9e6bcbb07143002bedd

(449)

on May 11, 2012
at 12:45 AM

My best friend has Crohn's. I remember when we were younger he would spend hours in the bathroom...it was really terrible. He cleaned up his diet as a adult but still had flare ups. But since going 100% paleo he has not had any symptoms.

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