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The Best and Worst Foods to Eat With UC

The topic of what to eat and what not to eat when living with UC always seems to be so touchy. It seems like doctors will tell you one thing, patients living with UC will tell you another, and then dieticians will come in and tell you something from left field.

There is no "one size fits all" for diet and IBD

I think it’s so hard to advise patients on what to eat for a few reasons:
Each body and each digestive tract has likes and dislikes. Even in healthy people, certain foods are tolerated among some and not among others.

Each person’s taste buds are different. We simply just don’t like all the same food. We still don’t have enough data on how foods really affect IBD patients. We’re starting to see more studies but there is still a lot of work to do. We have complicated relationships with food outside of IBD for many other reasons.

So what are the best and worst foods for UC patients? The truth is I don’t know. I just know what’s best for me.

All foods were terrible prior to my j-pouch

Prior to my j-pouch, I was living in a constant UC flare. No matter what I ate, it didn’t go well for me. I tried everything I could to get relief. I did the BRAT diet. I tried going gluten-free. Then I tried being dairy-free. Then I cut meat.

When I was at my worst, it didn’t matter what I ate, it all felt terrible going in and out. At a certain point, I stopped trying to figure it out and just ate what I wanted because nothing gave me relief...and at least I could pick food that I liked. I have a lot of other friends who didn’t experience flares like this though. They were able to find “safe” foods, which didn’t cause pain or discomfort, and focused on eating those which further proves that every single one of us is different.

Relief & able to eat again with a j-pouch

Now that I have my j-pouch, I am really fortunate that I can eat almost anything that I want and I know that isn’t always the case for other people with j-pouches. I’ve spent years now testing different kinds of foods to see what works and what doesn’t. Here’s what I’ve found that works for me:

Foods I can tolerate now:

  • All veggies and fruits. Although I avoid celery and carrots, that is simply because I don’t like them!
  • All meats and seafood
  • Dairy
  • Spicy foods
  • All the gluten
  • Candy/Chocolate/Sugar
  • Coffee/Alcohol/Soda

Foods I use caution when consuming:

  • Nuts. I LOVE all kinds of nuts and I can eat them, however, I usually always pay for it with painful bowel movements later.
  • Cheese. Cheese is totally ok unless it’s melted. When it’s in an ooey and gooey delicious format I find that it causes more internal gas and is really uncomfortable.
  • Oranges/Clementines. I recently ate an orange for the first time in almost 10 years because I was afraid of them. I realized I can still eat them but I do very carefully.

Foods I can’t tolerate:

None. I am really fortunate that I can eat what I want.

Test different foods and find out what works for you

This is by no means a guide for other people to follow because I know people personally who cannot consume a lot of the foods I’ve listed above. What this is is encouragement for you to really zero in on what works well for you and what doesn’t. There are endless amounts of lists with things on it that people with UC can’t or shouldn’t eat but that doesn’t mean that it applies to you.

I’m not saying start a riot and disregard all medical advice but you can and should test various foods with caution to see if they will work for you. Start with one new food in small quantities and chew as you’ve never chewed before. This will help you assess how that specific food does in your system and give you a clear picture of whether or not it’s something you should keep eating. Happy eating!

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