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The Crohn’s Disease Connection

I think it is interesting that there are so many diagnoses in the medical world but not a lot of reasons as to why the diseases in the body occur. One disease whose cause has been undetermined is Crohn’s Disease.

Crohn’s Disease, also known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), is an inflammatory disease of the intestines that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus, causing a wide variety of symptoms. It primarily causes abdominal pain, diarrhea (which may be bloody if inflammation is at its worst), vomiting, or weight loss, but may also cause complications outside of the gastrointestinal tract such as skin rashes, arthritis, inflammation of the eye, tiredness, and lack of concentration.

Crohn’s Disease is thought to be an autoimmune disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing inflammation; it is classified as a type of inflammatory bowel disease. There has been evidence of a genetic link to Crohn’s Disease, putting individuals with siblings afflicted with the disease at higher risk.

When I read about this, I almost felt like I could substitute Celiac Disease, and get the same definition: autoimmune, rashes, inflammation of the bowels, genetic, all key concepts to understanding celiac disease and gluten allergies. The research also makes note of stunted growth and delayed puberty in children, as well as weight loss. More importantly, anemia and arthritic complications are also associated with Crohn’s Disease.

Research has shown that those with Crohn’s Disease also have a high prevalence of celiac disease. In fact, researchers in Italy suggest that patients diagnosed with Crohn’s should go on a completely gluten-free diet. What is fascinating is that those looking for a cure to Crohn’s are aware that there are genetic and environmental factors involved and that the environmental factors are associated with diet. However, there is only a link between the symptoms and the diet relating to an intake of milk proteins, animal proteins and certain kinds of fats. Nothing is mentioned about gluten intake. And in fact, the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease are so broad that doctors often have a hard time diagnosing it in the first place. The prognosis is a lifetime of medications to control the symptoms as well as treatment of acute symptoms as they come up.

I bring this disease up to make people aware of one important thing when dealing with gluten allergies: Doctors may try to label your symptoms as something else. They may tell you to go on medications; that you will have to ‘live with it.’ Be active in your prognosis. Do your own research and, just for the heck of it, go off gluten for a month or so. See how you feel. You may save yourself a great big headache, and stomach ache, in the long run.
I like making lunches for the week for myself. I find that I don’t have to think about what I am going to make each day, especially when I have a very busy day or get called to work at the last minute. These Spinach Rice cakes are great for lunch! They are great when you have left over rice from another meal and you don’t know what to do with it. Feel free to add your own sauces and seasonings to spice things up a bit.

Spinach Rice Cakes


2 tsp. olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
10 oz. frozen spinach
2 ¼ cups water
1 cup basmati rice
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 egg
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup salsa
½ cup mozzarella shredded cheese

Heat oil in large skillet. Saute onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Set aside.
In medium sauce pan, add water, rice and spinach. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
Add onions and garlic to rice mixture.
Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.
Stir in egg, parmesan cheese and pepper to rice mixture.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Form rice mixture into 8-inch patties. Uses about ½ cup of mixture. Make 6 patties.
Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and return to oven for 1 minute.
Serve with a dollop of salsa on top. Enjoy!

About Lisa Velick

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  1. This is a common mistake that authors really need to take more seriously. Your article states, "Crohn’s Disease, also known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)…" This is incorrect. IBS and IBD are two very different animals. Those of us who have an IBD like Crohn's Disease, continually fight to raise awareness that IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), though related, are absolutely not the same.

    As a Crohn's patient, I am constantly correcting people who read that Crohn's is IBS and all that means to them is that I have a problem with diarrhea. When in fact, I have an IBD that nearly killed me three years ago.

    It is incumbent upon us as bloggers and writers of that which is out for public display, to ensure we do our research on the subjects we choose to write about. Those three little letters being improperly used lead to a host of problems for those of us dealing with true IBD.

    • Thank you for making me aware of this. I made the correction in my article. My resources were from other authors and research papers, which probably led to the mistake. I apologize.

      Lisa Velick

  2. Lisa,

    I think you make an excellent point about being active in your prognosis and researching the role of diet in the treatment of your condition. After my 14 year old son, Nick was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, we have spent countless hours researching treatments, complimentary medicine and the role of nutrition in his recovery. It is amazing to me that most doctors have no idea how important proper nutrition is to a better outcome for their patients. While some medications are sometimes necessary, many are not and carry a potential for life altering side effects. Thank you for taking the time for writing this blog! p.s. Nick loves your meatloaf! Do you happen to have a turkey teriyaki meatball recipe that your kids like?

    • Annette:

      Thank you for reading my articles. I hope that they have helped your son. I really do have yummy recipes that do not make you feel deprived. I do not have a turkey teriyaki meatball recipe because we are allergic to soy as well. I do have an awesome meatball recipe that I will have to publish one week, with meatballs and quinoa. Stay posted. Thanks again for your comments.

      Lisa Velick

  3. While we wait for the cause for Crohn's Disease to be determined and for a cure, I've managed to get my own Crohn's Disease under control with a little known treatment that is not alternative medicine or homeopathy and works well for many people, Low Dose Naltrexone. The major benefit of LDN is it seems to have no side effects worth worrying about, a big difference from all the other treatments we are routinlely offered. The scientific evidence for LDN for IBD is building, a Phase 2 randomise, double-blind, placebo-controled trial from Penn State U will publish soon. I would urge anyone with IBD to look into it but make sure you get a prescription from a doctor and don't buy it over the internet – be safe and get well.