When I was first diagnosed with Crohn's disease, I knew that there were certain symptoms I would have to struggle with for the rest of my life: diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, etc. What I didn't know that I would be dealing with on a daily basis and what I would eventually learn to consider as my worst symptom, is chronic inflammation. When you have Crohn's disease, your body sees pretty much everything as it's enemy, constantly churning out chemical responses and white blood cells in order to fight off these make believe monsters. This response causes chronic inflammation and damage, not only to your intestinal lining, but to other areas of the body as well: your eyes, your mouth, your skin, your joints.
My eyes are routinely red and dry, not only my actual eyes, but the skin around my eyes as well. I can only wear my contacts for a handful of hours at a time and never when I'm sleeping. I have learned that eye drops help a lot to refresh my eyes and I now try to carry them with me at all times. I can't wear make up because it only exacerbates my symptoms. I get painful ulcers in my mouth that luckily only last a few days but when they're around, they are the worst. My skin and my scalp get dry really easily and I'm constantly trying to figure out how to keep people from noticing. My joints get achey, especially the ones in my arms and my back. Taking NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) is not really an option because they contribute to the lesions that I already have in my small intestines due to my Crohn's. So... what I can do is... I can be mindful of what I'm eating!
Luckily for me, the foods that make inflammation worse, are foods that I rarely eat anyway: sugary treats, white bread, fried foods, soda, red meat, margarine. And, the foods that reduce inflammation, are foods that I really enjoy: leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, olive oil, berries, nuts, fatty fish, and my personal favorite..red wine! Ginger and turmeric are also on the list, so....more Indian food for everyone!
Unfortunately, when I was diagnosed with Crohn's, no one mentioned that there were foods I should be avoiding, no doctor prescribed a healthy diet as a tool for managing Crohn's, I was never asked to visit a nutritionist, no one asked me about my own nutritional habits. Chronic inflammation is just one more bullet point on the list for me under Reasons Not To Eat Crap. No longer do I eat healthy foods to repair my gut, I eat healthy foods to repair my whole body.