My crohn’s disease journey began in 2006 and I wasn’t diagnosed until late 2007 when I was 17. I experienced all the symptoms such as abdominal pains, fatigue and blood in stools but the development of an eating disorder that went unnoticed accelerated my condition for the worse. I’ve never been obsessed with my weight or my body shape and I have always had a very good and healthy relationship with food, but in the year I was undiagnosed ,that’s when I started to see food as an enemy. I would start to notice that every time I ate something a few hours later I would be in pain and experiencing symptoms and needing to rush off to the loo. So naturally I started to associate food with pain and what was the best way of not being in pain? It was not to eat!
I didn’t go off food completely as there were still foods I’d eat which didn’t cause me pain but my attitude and relationship to food changed for the worse. Obviously, this wasn’t the smartest decision (but every 17-year-old has all the answers or at least thinks they do) and this actually sped up the severity of my symptoms and weight loss. This mindset of food as the enemy stuck with me for such a long time and took me a while to repair. In fact, it wasn’t until I went on exclusive enteral nutrition (liquid diet) for six weeks did my relationship with food start to change, not only because food looks so good when you’re not allowed to have it, but to the amazing support from my dietician.
I often get asked lots of questions about if people should be changing their diet due to their IBD, and while I have experienced much better health from changing certain aspects of my diet (i.e. limiting fast food and avoiding my trigger foods) it’s so hard to give a straight answer as there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to nutrition. In general, the most important thing to do is to see a specialist dietician as they would be the best people to help you identify what foods you are eating that cause you to have symptoms, just like I did.
Nutritank’s mission of increasing nutrition and lifestyle education is very much in line with my own.