• Welcome to Crohn's Forum, a support group for people with all forms of IBD. While this community is not a substitute for doctor's advice and we cannot treat or diagnose, we find being able to communicate with others who have IBD is invaluable as we navigate our struggles and celebrate our successes. We invite you to join us.

Switching from being a vegetarian

I'm just wondering if anyone on here has actually stopped being a vegetarian because of CD?
I've been vegge for 4 years, and had been one for 6 years previously. My docs have banned all legumes, and I've had a few misfortunate forgetful slip ups with them, that have solidified that ban. I've also not taken well to the same tofu and meat substitute products that I've been eating for years. I'm worried that I'm not getting the protein that I need. I don't live in the UK or US, so it's quite difficult for me to get all the whole foods products that are on the market there.
I've taken up eating fish a lot more that ever before because of the CD, and I just wonder if my more meat might help (of course not the gristly, steaky types.)
I'm at the point where I'm weighing my ethics vs. my health.


Hi Eilsew -

I became mostly vegan after my CD dx based on suggestion from my complimentary care doc, who recommends vegan for ALL of his patients. My GI disagrees, he says, "Dude, you gotta have meat." There are books out there advocating both veganism and high animal protien for CD so it's confusing! I think we each have to find our own way.

I started adding meat slowly after about 8 months of the vegan business because I was severely anemic. I was getting enough protein, but not enough iron. And non-animal iron sources (like spirulina, black strap molasses, green leafies) can be VERY high in iron, they are not absorbed as well when not combined with animal sources.

For me, health with ALWAYS outweigh ethics. I'm Jewish and we choose not to have pork or shellfish products in our house. BUT...I just ordered some krill oil and I am overlooking the shellfish aspect of it because of the health benefits. If someone told me that eating a pork chop every day would keep me in remission, I would slaughter the pig myself.

It can be really hard to get protein without beans and those you should be careful about the tofu/soy products - some of them are sooooo processed, you'd be better off eating a nice piece of chicken. And unless you buy non-GMO soy products, there that whole issue. Monsanto, those bastards! And there are so many conflicting reports about soy and women's health, it can be overwhelming!

Good luck finding the path that works best for you!

- Amy
hey eilsew,
I'm a vego' and have been for a long time. Since it can be painful to eat legumes and whole grains due to the fiber, I use protein powders (whey protein isolate) with maltodextrin (carb) to boost my protein intake, as well as firm cheese with veg rennet- no fiber and almost no lactose. Fish would give you plenty of protein if you eat a lot of it. Not sure what's available in Bahrain. I do ok with tofu but not the meat substitutes!
all the best to you.
I'm just wondering if anyone on here has actually stopped being a vegetarian because of CD?

Other way round for me.

I started being a vegan due to UC. I avoid legumes unless they have been thoroughly cooked to mush or they have been sprouted.

You could try soaking legumes for longer periods, as that helps them become more digestible.
ameslouise mentioned that her problem was not so much getting enough protein but rather getting enough iron and I just wanted to reaffirm this.

Getting enough protein is not actually something many people need to be concerned with. Most people get more than enough. It is true that if your diet is limited to refined carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables -- basically, you eat no whole grains, no animal products, no dairy product, no nuts and seeds -- you DO need to watch your protein.

But much more common is being deficient in iron.

I would really eat what seems to be the most beneficial to you. Weigh the pros and cons of eating a certain way.

Don't overload on the protein because that puts a lot of stress on the kidneys.
The protein overload thing is a bit misunderstood. It only really occurs in a ketogenic diet (one where there isn't enough carbohydrate intake, so the kidneys start trying to process fats to get the required sugars, which strains them.) If you get plenty of carbs with your protein it isn't a problem. There was a fad diet to lose weight where people only ate protein and no carbs which led to the whole 'kidney strain' issue. 30% calorie intake from protein is considered a good balance - and yes, iron intake is very important. A good multivitamin can be useful. Happyballerina is quite right that most people who eat animal products (and digest them ok) don't need to worry at all about protein- only vego's with Crohns (like me) need to be mindful!
Thanks for all the replies. I didn't know that sprouted legumes were safer. I'm still a bit wary though after my last few experiences. I also try not to eat too many carbs, especially not wholegrain ones. It's just frustrating when the food you know and have loved for years suddenly causes great pain.