• 8 Ways to Avoid Deficiencies During a Flare

    March 1, 2012

    Can we talk about this pug wearing leg warmers? (Please click on the link to see all of the photos! LOL!)


    I nearly died with cuteness overload when Kelly tweeted it to me this morning.

    I can’t even explain how much I appreciate all of the kind, supportive, and funny emails, comments, photos, and tweets you guys have sent me over the past several days. They totally cheer me up and make me realize that this whole colitis thing is just a little bump in the road. Thank you so much.

    One email that I received recently was from Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RD, LD, who used to work in a pediatric inflammatory bowel disease clinic. She said during a flare, one of the most important things is avoiding deficiencies, so she sent me a bunch of helpful recommendations that she said I could share with all of you:

    1. take a good multivitamin
    2. take a calcium supplement
    3. take probiotics – I recommended eating food, but a supplement may also be helpful
    4. stay hydrated – drink plenty of water and use a rehydrating solution (Gatorade like, but not necessarily that high sugar – you can make your own) if needed
    5. monitor how you feel and avoid foods that promote gas, if needed, cruciferous vegetables (ex. cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts) and beans (try a product like beano first!) – this could be temporary, so as you feel better, you may be able to tolerate some of these in small amounts
    6. manage stress
    7. include healthy fats in your diet and avoid all trans fats and too much saturated fat
    8. avoid high-sugar foods if they cause symptoms

    Sherry also added that while nutritional intervention may not put my colitis into remission, it’s incredibly important to help me stay healthy during a flare. Additionally, she recommended that I meet with a registered dietitian who specializes in IBD, which I definitely plan to do.

    Thanks, again, Sherry!


    This morning’s breakfast was a repeat from the past few days: toasted gluten-free waffle with sunflower butter and banana. Might as well stick with what works, right? I also drank a little bit of orange Gatorade, which, as soon as I tasted it, instantly reminded me of many hungover mornings at college. Oh, orange Gatorade. Good times.

    IMG_0736 (675x900)

    Not surprisingly, I’m starving just a few hours after eating this breakfast. I know eating small meals is easier on my digestive system, but, man, I’m hungry. What’s for lunch?!?

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    { 56 comments… read them below or add one }

    J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) March 1, 2012 at 10:57 am

    So sorry about your flareup! I have ongoing tummy woes, so I feel your pain–literally. Hopefully you find relief. And mini meals are the pits! I prefer BIG meals. Here’s to feeling better! :)


    Nancy March 1, 2012 at 10:58 am

    One thing to keep in mind during colitis flares – you don’t always absorb vitamins well. I find that b12 injections do wonders, much moreso than taking them orally.


    Heather March 1, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Feel better! Yellow gatorade reminds me of college hangovers…I don’t think I have ever had the orange!

    Hopefully today will be a better day!


    Kelly March 1, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I’m going to try and knit some of those adorable legwarmers in the very near future…..what color does Murphy like? :)


    Nancy S March 1, 2012 at 11:09 am

    I’m sorry about your tummy issues! My daughter is going thru some of these same issues and I’m going to pass on a these great tips. Thank you. Feel better. :-)


    Hillary March 1, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I completely understand your stomach issues. No one can seem to figure out what mine are. I’ve always had IBS, but while at baking school in California last year I got really sick and I haven’t been the same since. I’ve seen multile GIs and a naturopath and nothing has really helped. My diet is very restrictive (yogurt that I ferment for 24 hours, small amounts of fruit and oranges, oats and baked corn chips, some hard cheeses and small amounts of meat). I used to be able to eat the rainbow and now I’m limited beyond what I ever thought imaginable. I’m frustrated, but very slowly learning to accept what it is and figure out what will cause me the least amount of pain. For me, the Fodmaps diet has seemed to help the most.

    Just know that there are tons of people out there dealing with stomach woes and we’re all in it together. Good luck and my last advice, get some really soft toilet paper! :)


    Tina March 1, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    @Hillary: Thank you! I will check it out– the soft TP too! ;)


    mollie March 1, 2012 at 11:21 am

    cutest little leg warmers ever!!!!
    hang in there tina =) i think seeing a dietician is a fantastic idea and will help give you a peace of mind-it’s better to exhaust all your options/possibilities and gain as much knowledge as possible which it sounds like you are doing!!


    Liz @ Tip Top Shape March 1, 2012 at 11:23 am

    That pug picture is absolutely adorable!! The pug looks so high-fashion, lol. Hope you’re feeling better!


    Cat @ Breakfast to Bed March 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Having battled UC for so long it pains me to see others going through it. just keep chanting “temporary.temporary.temporary”


    Tina March 1, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    @Cat @ Breakfast to Bed: Yes! Temporary!


    Khushboo March 1, 2012 at 11:35 am

    My friend just got a pug- obviously murphy came to mind :)


    Lily March 1, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I have UC also. I take vitamins in gel, gummy or chewable form – my body can’t digest tablets or capsules.
    I’m sending positive thoughts your way and hoping you get back to remission quickly!


    Hope @ With A Side Of Hope March 1, 2012 at 11:39 am

    These are great tips. This is what my nutritional counselor told me. I am going through a Crohn’s flare-up. It’s really rough. The best thing to remember what I keep trying to tell myself is, “this too, shall pass.”


    Katie @ Peace Love & Oats March 1, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Those are some good tips! Haha and maybe a mid-morning snack will help tide you over to lunch. I’m sure that’s frustrating, I know how it feels to have to just eat little bits all day and never really feel full or satisfied because that would be too much for your digestive system to handle! Hope things get better soon!


    Wendi @ A Southern Yogi March 1, 2012 at 11:42 am

    I live vicariously through you because I want a pug but can’t get one because my cat is hateful :)


    Tina March 1, 2012 at 11:45 am
    Caroline @ After Dinner Dance March 1, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Those leg warmers are TOO cute!


    Lily March 1, 2012 at 11:45 am

    I also take liquid B during a flare up. It really helps to keep up my energy levels.


    Hilary March 1, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Good info…hope you feel better soon!


    Renee C. March 1, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Is there a reason you go glutne- free when you have colitis flare? just curious… :)


    Tina March 1, 2012 at 11:51 am

    @Renee C.: I figured I should start out as easy as possible on my intestines and go from there to see what works and doesn’t work.


    Renee C. March 1, 2012 at 11:49 am

    oops! meant “”gluten-free”


    Lisa @ Fit in the Midwest March 1, 2012 at 11:49 am

    That is great advice that she gave! I follow a lot of those practices too and have just learned them by reading a lot on IBD and nutrition. My doctor advised that I take a gummy multivitamin because they are easier to digest.

    I have been thinking about seeing RD who specializes in IBD this year too. I know I’ll have to pay for the visit out of my pocket, but I think it would be worth it.

    Ugh, drinking gatorade know reminds me of colonscopies and I can’t do it anymore! I switched to Powerade because it tastes better to me.


    Tina March 1, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    @Lisa @ Fit in the Midwest: I agree. I definitely want to see an RD that specializes in IBD.


    Robyn @ Blueberries and Oats March 1, 2012 at 11:57 am

    I’m glad you fall on the Gatorade on the Gatorade vs. Powerade debate!! Hope you feel better, soon.


    Tina March 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    @Robyn @ Blueberries and Oats: Gatorade all the way! :)


    Alyssa @ fit and fun in third March 1, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Ohhh orange Gatorade….. That was a staple in my college mini fridge.
    Hope your feeling okay today!


    Shelley @ MileHighHealthy March 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Haha that dog looks like he is all too familiar with pug modeling…and not quite happy about it!!


    Tiffany March 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Ugh, Tina, I am so sorry you have to contend with this again… I am glad you are taking care of yourself, though, and hope that things improve quickly… I have never dealt with what you are going through, but I have been dealing with a chronic eye issue since October (which has just flared again in a horrible way!), and I “get” the trial and error thing, and how one doctor might say one thing, and another doctor something totally different. It is so frustrating, especially when these chronic situations and flare-ups impact our quality of life on a daily basis.
    I hope your small, “comforting” meals help a little and that you can absorb some of the nutrients you need… Has your doc suggested B12 injections? I noticed someone had mentioned that upstream.


    Tina March 1, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    @Tiffany: My doc didn’t mention it, but some other readers did. Can you just get a Rx from your doc?


    Tiffany March 1, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    @Tina: Well, my mom gives herself B12 injections (she was also a nurse for 30 years, so this is not a big deal for her!). She cannot absorb B12 via her intestine, as she had part of it removed years ago due to endometriosis. (She also has an as-yet-undiagnosed autoimmune disorder.) So, yes, she did receive an Rx from her physician for this. I would speak to your doc about it!


    Theodora March 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Gu Brew (or, Boo Grew, as you like to call it) or nuun are both good electrolyte-restoring drinks that are lower in sugar/calories than Gatorade.


    Tina March 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    @Theodora: I’ve been drinking the GU Brews! I just had moment of weakness at CVS last night. Orange Gatorade is just so delicious!


    Catalina @ Cake with Love March 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Murphy is ridiculously cute!


    Kaelin March 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks for tips, these are probably things we could all stand to do when we are sick with tummy issues.

    I am glad I am not the only one who associates Gatorade with hangovers. I can hardly drink the stuff now. But it was usually just the ticket for getting through the day after a “fun” night out in college.


    RunEatRepeat March 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Are you and Murphy getting matching leg warmers? Doooo it.


    Tina March 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    @RunEatRepeat: YES! Mal too!


    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey March 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Those are all really great tips! What about tea? I know a lot of teas have a calming effect on your GI tract!


    Karen March 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    I’m a fan of xylitol, so I made note of this for my colon cancer surviving mom when I read it on Ask Dr Ellie’s this week (http://askdrellie.blogspot.com/). Maybe others would like to look into it, too.
    “Xylitol passes through our digestive system as fiber but in the colon it behaves as a probiotic, improving digestion and helping to make the colon wall healthier.”


    Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife March 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Great tips to clean it all up and help with nutrition! I also like herbal tea and natural (100% pure) essential oils. HELPS tons!!


    Suzanne March 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    What a cute picture, I want legwarmers for my two pugs, Izzy and Nando. This is my first time visiting your blog, its terrific! Sorry to hear about the colitis, sounds like you are doing all the right things to keep yourself healthy.


    Lisa @ Jogging on Coffee March 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Aw, those dog leg warmers are adorable :)
    I hope you feel better soon!


    Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life March 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I find it interesting that your doctor didn’t seem to think it matters what food you are eating, but Sherry had some great nutritional tips! Just goes to show how different information can be received depending on your doctor! I hope your flare up settles down soon Tina!


    Ellie@Fit for the Soul March 1, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    ahhh those are great tips!! I agree that cruciferous veggies and water are the BEST for bowel issues~take care and hang in there girl :)


    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama March 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Can’t wait to see the picture of everyone wearing their leg warmers! :)

    Nuun is great for replacing electrolytes, too. I can’t stand Gatorade just like you said – too many hangovers!!


    Kerry @ Totes My Oats March 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    That pug picture is adorable!! Glad you’re feeling better!


    Christine @ Oatmeal in my Bowl March 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Sorry to hear you have colitis. My ex had it. I felt bad for him because there wasn’t really anything I could do to help him. For a while we thought my son had it, too. Luckily he does not…


    Michelle March 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Just wanted to send a quick thanks for being so open about your colitis and what how you’re handling it. I’ve had quite the GI problems over the years and through many doctors, diets, ect., I’ve just learned to listen to my body and be honest about all going on in a department no one typically wants to know about; but I’m always up for (PG-rated) sharing about! ;) Reading your trials and errors makes us all feel less alone! So, thank you again!


    Cait's Plate March 1, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I say definitely stick with what works! No use aggravating your system more than it already is! Hopefully this flare is over soon!


    Jen @ Such a Funny Fat March 1, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Hi Tina – I know that the hydration part of those helpful hints you got are super important. I was in the middle of a Crohn’s flare (having really bad diarrhea) to the point where I ended up being hospitalized and the nurses had a really hard time getting an IV put in because I was already so dehydrated. I hadn’t thought of using something like a low-sugar gatorade but I suppose it makes sense… I’ll keep that in mind. Hope you continue feeling better.


    Melissa @TryingtoHeal March 1, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    I’m catching up, but while you have a flare up try to stay away from nuts that aren’t in the form of nut butter. I’ve noticed that helps me!


    J @ ... semplicemente ... j March 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Too cute … hope you keep getting and feeling better!


    Katie @ Talk Less, Say More March 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    You poor thing! :( But I totally get it! I had some major intestinal issues a couple years ago and then this past November I was hospitalized with a serious infection that worked it’s way into my intestines. Definitely keep yourself hydrated and eat what you can while keeping it simple. It’s bad enough without eating something to make it worse!


    Laura March 2, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your problems with colitis. I was diagnosed with UC last semester and have been in pain for about 2 years now. 2 colonoscopys, biopsies, etc. later they finally came up with the UC diagnosis. I have about 1-2 bad flareups a month and about 1 or 2 bad days a week.. Have you seen a gastro doc? What foods do you eat/avoid? I am so tired of being in chronic pain, cramping, etc. and want to alleviate it as much as possible.

    Do you still try to work out? I have found the more active I am, the better I feel, but it’s hard to find a balance between exercise and not being able to eat… I just get EXHAUSTED. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated!


    Meg March 2, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Hey Tina,
    I was diagnosed with Crohns in the fall. It’s has defintely not been an easy path. As the RD wrote up above, stress and change of seasons(our crazy weather) have both been linked to flares.
    Gotta love those small meals.


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