People who suffer from Crohn’s Disease (a form of inflammatory bowel disease), are often very sensitive to the foods which they eat, and find it difficult to digest the food, especially when there are flare ups. Also they have a difficult time maintaining their weight due to diarrhea or bad appetite, then often a liquid diet is required, or a combination of the two.
It may be a solution, but please check with your doctor before going onto just liquids. Even when the disease is under control, often the weight isn’t. In that case, a liquid like ensure, will boost the calorie intake. Ensure is relatively inexpensive and sold most everywhere. Liquid meals can be lifesavers during flare-ups, when symptoms like diarrhea, cramping, and constipation are at their worst. Consume as many calories, either as liquids or solids, as you can tolerate during flares.
Making your own liquid meals can save money and be convenient if you make a batch and save it in the fridge. Here is an easy smoothie recipe. Blend milk (if you can tolerate it), or almond or soy milk if you are lactose intolerant, with yogurt or soy yogurt, protein powder (soy, egg, or whey), and a banana. But there’s no need to slave over a blender if you’re not into it. Just buy liquid meal replacers instead.
One thing that would be true of almost everyone who has Crohn’s disease is that they are unlikely to tolerate dairy products in a flare. If that’s true for you, skip milkshakes which contains nonfat milk, and go for Ensure or Boost, which contain milk protein but not lactose. Or you can make smoothies with lactose-free dairy or soy products. After a flare, try to reintroduce dairy such as yogurt, to see if you can tolerate it. Sugar is probably not going to be your friend during a flare. Look for liquid meals that contain calories from fat and protein so you know that not all the calories are coming from sugar. If you are making your own smoothies, plain coconut water is a good low-sugar source of electrolytes and vitamin.
Sugar-free products are not necessarily diarrhea-free. They often contain sugar alcohols that can make diarrhea worse. Look for ingredients like xylitol. Nutrasweet tends to be more tolerable for people with Crohn’s disease. Vitamin deficiencies can plague people with Crohn’s, depending on the location and severity of their disease. People often have vitamin B12 and vitamin D deficiencies, especially if the disease affects the ileal or lower section of their small intestine, as it is often the case. Damage higher up in the small intestine is associated with deficiencies in zinc, iron, and B vitamins.
It can be a challenge to spark your appetite, especially if you are limited to liquid meals. Soups can be a nutritious, savory break from sweet smoothies. Anything that’s broth based is good, like tomato soup, chicken, turkey, or fish broth. High-fat creamy soups may worsen diarrhea and constipation, however, try adding peanut butter, frozen peaches, or mango chunks to smoothies.
And last, but not least, chew your food well! You can also make solids easier to digest by cooking them well—think mushy, boiled vegetables or rice. These steps can make the solids you eat go down almost as smooth as the liquids