If you have IBD, you’ve probably found that certain foods can trigger your symptoms – and fiber is no exception to that rule!
Fiber and IBD patients definitely have a love-hate relationship. Fiber can be super helpful, but if you have gut issues it can also create a slew of complications. For me personally, I had SUCH a hard time with any fiber whatsoever, resulting in waxing and waning symptoms of one extreme to the other – so believe me, I get it!
According to WebMD, having 23 grams of fiber a day can assist with your overall health – including cholesterol and blood pressure. The issue is that for people with Crohn’s and colitis, eating that much fiber can create symptoms and even ignite a flare.
Jini advises that the best way to calm a severe flare and produce minimal fecal matter is an elemental diet – but as that can be costly, you can try a low-residue diet first and see if it’s sufficient to calm inflammation. As Jini mentions in this blog post, a low residue diet (or low fiber diet), is less than 10 grams of fiber per day to reduce bowel volume.
Types of Fiber
Now there are 2 types of fiber: Soluble and Insoluble. One of the reasons that the low residue diet is so effective is because it consists of soluble fiber. Jini recommends incorporating these soluble fibers, as they soak up extra fluid in your gut – thus slowing down your digestion to ease diarrhea.
When it comes to fiber and foods that are easily digestible, I have always avoided seeds or skins, or anything sharp like chips or popcorn. These can make tears as they pass through the GI system, and no one wants more ulcerations! Also, the times I’ve been on a low residue diet, I like to ensure my food is the texture of applesauce. I can tell this by picking up my food and squeezing it between my fingers. If I can easily squish it, it’s soft enough for my GI system.
As I’ve mentioned before I personally think of it as babying my system through this hard time, as it’s flaring. Thus, the food should be baby food like in texture! Now, this may not be ideal, and I know texture can be an issue for some. None of us as adults want to eat “baby food,” but this does not mean your food cannot be delicious while still being soft and gentle on the gut.
Of course, your other option is to chew until your food is the texture of baby food before swallowing – but many people don’t have the patience for that. That is also the best way to eat for ongoing health, as it allows the digestive enzymes in your saliva to do their work first before you swallow. If you can manage to chew your food until it’s liquid mush – then go for it!
Here are two fantastic recipes which also provide bowel rest:
We would also love to feature any recipe ideas YOU have which are easy on the gut! Please feel free to drop a comment below with your own recipes, or send us an email.
Happy healing – and remember to listen to your gut!