Healing foods to eat if you can’t afford supplements


Having a GI disorder like ulcerative colitis is expensive. There’s the traditional medical route and all it entails – doctors’ appointments, blood tests, colonoscopies, gastroscopies, specialist appointments, hospital stays and medication – and there’s the functional/natural medication route, with nutritionalists’ appointments, tests, supplements and special diets.

If you, like me, have been willing to try virtually anything to heal your gut, you’ve probably found that the damage to your bank balance can be pretty extensive.

When I started seeing a new nutritionalist about three or four months ago, I was pretty upfront with her about the fact that while I was willing to undergo any tests she thought necessary, and willing to try any supplements she recommended, there was a limit to my financial resources. In spirit I wanted to try everything she suggested… but in reality, my credit card cried out in pain. She completely understood and tailored a course of treatment for me that I was able to afford.

Using food as a supplement

She cut down my supplements to the bare minimum for me (Vitamin D, fish oil, a good probiotic and curcumin), and said that it was now up to me to use food to make up the deficit. Although it wouldn’t work as quickly as UltraInflamX, for example, it would work and it would help to reduce inflammation and repair the damage. This is, of course, the whole point of a healing diet, and these foods would form the foundation of it.

Here are the items she suggested I include in my diet as often as possible, preferably every day, to help fight inflammation and heal my gut.

  1. Avocado
  2. Olive oil
  3. Coconut and coconut oil
  4. Turmeric
  5. Healthy fats with all meals and snacks for anti-inflammatory support
  6. Homemade chicken or lamb stock/broth
  7. Peas – a good source of protein. Pea protein to be used in fruit smoothies and soups
  8. Fermented foods
  9. Animal protein
  10. Seeds

I made my first batch of sauerkraut recently and it was really easy. It tastes very ‘sour’ so I know it must be right! I include all the rest of the foods in my diet regularly, if not daily, except for the broth. I just haven’t got around to making it, which is a sorry excuse! I think what puts me off is that not only is it a long process, but we also have a small, poorly ventilated flat and I’m just not sure I want to subject K to those smells!

When it comes to spices like turmeric, you can easily add little bits to curries, soups or broths, which is what I do. As for the pea protein, make sure it’s well blended into your soup or smoothie so it isn’t ‘grainy’, and when it comes to animal protein, always choose meat that has nothing added to it – no preservatives, hormones, spices, sugar, etc. Be especially careful of bacon.

What healing foods do you consume regularly?

Day 13: What my doctor said today

I have an amazing physician whom I really really like. He’s experienced, caring and has a lovely bedside manner, and he’s put me on the path to recovery, for which I am eternally grateful. I had been to other doctors with my weird symptoms and they couldn’t help. Dr Neethling fixed me.

Today was my 2-month check up. He put me on a strong dose of cortisone to get my last flare under control, about 3 months ago. Then he switched me to indefinite Asacol, and wanted to see how that was going.

The short answer is: Excellently. Today’s blood tests showed normal ESR levels – that is, no inflammation!


Inflammation is an indication that your gut is damaged and fighting to recover. My ESR levels and white blood cell count was very elevated in October last year (ESR around 60, when it should be negligable or in single digits). By November, thanks to Pulmison (cortisone) they’d dropped noticeably. Today’s blood test showed a complete return to ‘normality’. YAY!

The 2 important things that this means 

1. I cannot stop taking my Asacol, especially now. While I think that diet is really helping a lot – and I have no doubt SCD is helping to reduce inflammation – I can’t deny that the Asacol got me right. Prior to medication, I was having between 8 and 12 BMs a day. Most days I lost count. The Pulmison cleared that up within days, while the Asacol has kept me on an even keel ever since, with regular BMs, no diarrhoea and no bleeding.

2. Medical treatment for IBD is essential. I believe in following both a medical and an holistic path, and what you choose to follow is up to you. But if you’re flaring; if you’re bleeding and dehydrated and anaemic, seek medical treatment. Even a nutritionalist or naturopath will encouarge you to use science as an immediate intervention in an emergency (and if you’re flaring, you’re having an emergency), and then to phase in the natural remedies when your symptoms are under control.


I’m so glad I got this encouraging result today because I needed something bright on the horizon. I’m SICK of this diet! I actually threw away half my dinner tonight (pureed carrots and chicken) because I could no longer stomach either the smell or taste of it.

I’m also sick of bananas – who’d have thought the honeymoon would ever end?! – but I guess that’s what happens when you eat 7 a day.

The reason my diet is going so slowly is because I’m following the advice of the guys over at SCDLifestyle.com and phasing in a new food once every four days, which I now see they’ve amended to 3 days, which is such a bonus. Nonetheless, even a 3-day gap between each new food item makes the progress infinitely long and drawn-out, but it is the safest way to do it. Here’s why.

And with that, it’s most definitely time for bed, where I’ll no doubt dream of cheating on my diet with my favourite seductress, milk chocolate.