Even with medical treatment most people with IBD experience flare ups or times when their symptoms re-appear and become active. Your symptoms depend on the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis but also on what part of the gastrointestinal tract is affected.
Both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis involve chronic inflammation. While ulcerative colitis affects colon and rectum, Crohn’s disease can influence any part of the gastrointestinal tract including esophagus, stomach, small or large intestine.
During the flare ups most people with IBD suffer from diarrhea, abdominal cramps and pain, rectal bleeding, bloody stools, urgent bowel movements many times per day, active inflammation, loss of appetite, fever, nausea, vomiting, constipation, fatigue and weight loss.
Your actions depend on the type and severity of your symptoms. There are times when it can become a medical emergency and you may have to go to ER to get help as quick as possible.
Your IBD flare up may be a sign of complications or that you may need a change in medication, require new treatment or surgery. Possible complications of ulcerative colitis include severe dehydration and anemia while people with Crohn’s disease may develop a stricture, fistula, fissure or abscess.
Certain symptoms and conditions need immediate medical attention. These include:
- heavy, persistent diarrhea that can cause severe dehydration
- rectal bleeding with clots of blood in your stool that can lead to anemia and feeling tired
- constant or severe pain
- high fever
- rapid heart rate
- swelling of the abdomen
- toxic megacolon which is a severe inflammation that can lead to rapid widening of the colon and prevent the emptying of the bowel. In severe cases there is a risk that the colon can rupture.
- perforation of the bowl or peritonitis when the contents of the intestine can spill into the abdomen and cause a serious infection
If you experience anything from the list above please seek medical help and don’t try to overcome it on your own. Some of them can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention from a qualified physician.
However, if your symptoms are mild or routine then this is when this short publication can become very helpful.
There are many triggers of IBD flare ups and often it is difficult or impossible to pinpoint what made the disease act up again. While not all IBD flare ups are triggered by diet, most symptoms directly affect your digestive tract and can be eased or even stopped by making modifications to what you eat.
There are some foods that were found to be not only well-tolerated but also provide healing benefits for the majority of patients during the IBD flare ups. Certain foods can help you to:
- stop diarrhea
- replenish fluids, nutrients and electorlytes
- reduce inflammation and pain
- support the healing of the digestive tract
- improve your energy levels
You may be able to reduce the severity of your IBD flare ups and heal faster by using the recipe and dietary principles that I am about to share with you. It was my intention to make this a quick read because I know that if you are in a flare up and pain right now you need help fast and don’t have time to read a hundred page manual.
5 Basic Rules That Can Help
In the middle of your IBD flare up you may not feel like eating much or don’t have an appetite at all. However, by opting for cooked foods that are gentle on your stomach and don’t irritate your lower gastro-intestinal tract you can get through uncomfortable and painful IBD symptoms easier. This way you can also get the nutrition you need even when you aren’t feeling well.
It is important to choose the right foods that all serve a specific purpose: to heal your gastro-intestinal tract, replenish lost fluids and restore electrolyte balance. Proteins accelerate healing and carbohydrates provide you with energy. The key is to choose foods that you can digest and absorb, and avoid foods that can irritate your GI and make you feel worse.
It is important to note that your ability to digest food often depends not only on a particular food but on the method of cooking. Rather than eliminating foods from your diet completely it may be helpful to eat only thoroughly-cooked fruits and vegetables and avoid eating them raw.
Use Complex Carbohydrates To Replenish Your Energy
Complex carbohydrates are a quick source of energy, low in fiber and are easy to digest. Adding them to your meal can help maintain your energy levels and weight during times of flare-ups.
Two great vegetables that provide you with complex carbohydrates and are among the few vegetables that are well tolerated during IBD flare-ups are carrots and potatoes. Prepared the right way they can be an excellent source of nutrients.
Soft Cooked Carrots
Carrots provide you with beta-carotene which is an antioxidant that plays a key role in healing. And soft-cooked or mashed carrots are recommended during the IBD flare-ups.
Potatoes provide you with potassium, a mineral that is very important to maintain your fluid balance. Mashed or baked Yukon gold, baby reds or russet potatoes can be used as a side dish or added to soups. They are filling and nutritious.
However, if you have an IBD flare up it is important to remove the skin from the potatoes because it can aggravate the inflamed part of your intestine.
Don’t Skimp On Protein
People with IBD often complaint that during the flare ups they have to give up meat because they have difficulties to digest it. The problem is that your body needs protein for healing and without a sufficient amount of protein you can lose muscle mass.
That said you don’t need a big amount of protein to get the benefits. About 6 ounces of really good quality cooked chicken can supply you with iron and protein your body needs without overdoing it.
Skinless chicken tends to be very well tolerated during IBD flare-ups and is gentle on your digestive tract.
Replenish Your Fluids And Reduce Inflammation
Chicken broth is one of the best options to use to restore your electrolyte balance and replenish lost fluids. Broth is often called “Medicine for the soul” because it not only has therapeutic and restorative properties but also is comforting and soothing.
Chicken broth made with free-range chicken, traditional vegetables and some salt that are cooked over 3 to 4 hour periods, provide a nutritious mineral rich drink that can help you calm down the inflammation, heal the digestive tract and strengthen your immunity.
In fact, broth is not only rich with minerals but it provides them in a form that is easily absorbed and used by the body. In addition, a high content of amino acids, particularly proline and glycinein the broth provide healing aid for the digestive tract.
Because chicken broth is “protein-sparing” it reduces your body’s need for protein. Regardless of the amount of meat added to your broth, the broth itself will nourish you leaving you feeling satisfied and energized. It also helps to break down other foods you may have in your meal and aid digestion which is especially important during the IBD flare ups.
When you have a flare up you don’t have 3-4 hours to cook a home-made broth. There are 2 ways to go about it:
- Make a quick chicken broth bowl by boiling a chicken leg or chicken breast for 40-45 minutes and adding some good quality salt. The sea or Himalayan salt work the best. It will get you started and you can cook the remaining whole chicken in a separate pot for 3-4 hours.
- Make chicken broth in advance and keep it in your freezer. This way you will be always good prepared for your IBD flare ups.
Use Spices To Enhance The Flavour
Most spicy food can be a problem, however some of them can stimulate your appetite by making foods more enjoyable. If you’re going to use whole spices in cooking, make sure they are very mild and finely ground. For example, most people do not experience problems using cinnamon, salt and mustard.
While foods described above are usually recommended during an IBD flare up, the disease affects everyone differently. You should consult with your doctor or nutrition professional to determine the best meal plan for you and avoid any foods that worsen your symptoms.
Best Types Of Meals During IBD Flare Ups
People with IBD struggle to digest and keep the food down especially when symptoms become intense. During flare-ups when diarrhea, cramping and constipation are at their worst, liquid meals can be lifesavers.
Especially, if you find it difficult to maintain your weight and control your symptoms by eating regular food, drinking calories can provide you benefits that solid foods can’t.
Simple Soup Recipe To Ease IBD Flare Ups
Here is a simple soup recipe that you can use to ease your IBD flare ups to relieve your symptoms fast.
You will want to use this recipe over and over again even when you don’t have an IBD flare ups because it gives you a warm and soothing feeling while improving your digestion and replenishing your energy. You can literally feel it.
Take the largest pot you have and put:
- One big whole chicken (preferably free-range or non-medicated: no hormones, no antibiotics)
- One whole big peeled onion
- 3 Stalks of celery coarsely chopped
- A few sprigs of parsley
- 1 Tsp of apple cider vinegar, red or white wine, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar or lemon juice (to help extract the minerals from the bones)
- Water (so that you get at least 3-3.5 litres of broth)
You will need approximately one quart of water for each pound of chicken. Alternatively, simply cover the chicken by an inch or two of water.
Bring it to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 3 to 4 hours. Essentially, the longer you simmer it the more intense the flavour.
Then take the chicken out and separate the meat from the bones. Discard chicken bones and skin and cooked vegetables. These vegetables should not be used due to their fibrous parts that may cause digestive problems at the times of IBD flare ups.
Skim off the top layer of fat and strain the broth through a colander or strainer. High-fat creamy soups may worsen diarrhea and constipation.
Step 1: Drink your chicken broth
Add some sea or Himalayan salt and drink 2-3 cups of broth warm. Start with one cup and then another cup in 1-1.5 hours.
This will help to stop the diarrhea, replenish lost fluids and electorlytes as well as reduce inflammation and pain.
Step 2: Make a vegetable soup
Take the remaining broth (about 2 to 2.5 litres), add 2 peeled carrots and 3 white potatoes chopped in small chunks and cook until soft (about 15-20 minutes). Add 1-2 tsp of fine Dijon mustard (no seeds because they are difficult to digest) and salt to your liking. Take the soup off the stove and let it cool down. Then use a blender or a food processor to puree it.
You can eat 2 portions spaced 2 to 2.5 hours apart. If it is well tolerated you can continue with chicken vegetable soup.
Step 3: Make a chicken vegetable soup
Take some chicken meat, cut it into small chunks and add to the remaining vegetable soup. Then use a blender or a food processor to puree it.
It should produce 3 portions of chicken vegetable soup and you can eat it 2-3 hours apart.
Useful Tip: Making broth is really quite easy, however it takes some preparation time. It can be cooked in advance and easily stored in the freezer in bags or containers. This will help you to save some time and you can start using it right away if you get an IBD flare up. You just need to bring your chicken broth to a gentle boil and it is ready.
Need more help? Get Flare Support.
Does it feel like your diarrhea will never end? What if you could get it under control in a few days? Flare support is a tool that shows you exactly what to do to turn things around in 7 days.
The core of flare support is what to do long term. Even if you stop this one, how are you going to make sure you’re not flat on your back again in 3 weeks? Flare support not only shows you how to get control of your flare, but actually how to naturally control specific ‘flare triggers’ in your life.
P.S. Be on a look out for my next email with a Bonus Recipe for a perfectly safe sweet treat and quick snack that you can have during your IBD flare ups
The information in this publication has been sourced from some of the most credible resources including scientific research and reports. However IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The author of this publication doesn’t accept any liability or responsibility for the misuse or abuse of the information provided. The content is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice. While such information and material is believed to be accurate, it should not be used for diagnosing or treating any health problem or disease or use of any medication. You should consult your doctor for medical advice prior to undertaking a new diet or exercise program. Advance consultation with your doctor is particularly important if you are under eighteen (18) years old, pregnant, breastfeeding or have any health problems. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking medical treatment because of something you have read in this publication.