The Quirks of Crohn’s Disease

The Quirks of Crohn’s Disease

Most people without IBD don’t realize that a lot of sleeping and eating quirks come with Crohn’s disease. But those of us with the illness can relate to the strange eating and sleeping schedules we follow.

Here are some of mine:

I need a TON of sleep. Even with 10 hours, which I try to get every night, I’m always exhausted — and often need naps, too. Because I’m fortunate to work part-time from home as a writer, most days I can nap as I need to. The exhaustion comes on suddenly and without warning. There’s no use in even trying to keep myself awake. I can go off for a solid two hours of sleep at nap time. Sometimes, even longer.

I eat a lot of dry Froot Loops. I don’t know why, but dry children’s cereals generally work well for me. I have them for breakfast every morning, and I’ve been known to grab mugfuls throughout the day. I know the cereal is soothing and easy on the stomach, so maybe that’s my attraction. But I can feel like a freak with this one. It’s embarrassing to tell my friends that I eat Froot Loops like they’re going out of style. (I try not to talk about it.)

I chew ice because I have pica. Pica is a craving to chew or eat things with no nutritional value, or things that aren’t even food. Pica is often associated with pregnancy — I’ve known women who wanted to eat laundry detergent, dirt, and chalk — to name a few items — during their pregnancies. But Pica also occurs when a person has anemia. My doctor told me that craving ice with anemia is normal. I go through a lot of ice, and I have a specific way I like the cubes. I like to flavor the ice with a little diet soda,  since plain frozen water doesn’t do it for me. I go through many cups of ice a day. This makes my husband crazy when, at the movies or a restaurant, I’m munching on ice. He’s certain that people can hear it. (I don’t think they can. We quibble about this.)

When I’m in a flare, the only foods I seem to tolerate are soup — either French onion, or more commonly, chicken noodle of some sort — and a baked potato or fries. We go to restaurants for dinner and that’s what I eat. Then I DO feel strange. But they’re cravings and I can’t help it. Potatoes, in general, are huge for me during flares. I like a certain brand of baked chips, and it’s not uncommon for me to eat an entire bag during a flare because it’s all I’m eating. You can tell how well I feel by whether or not those chips are in my house. (They’re currently not.)

I’d love to hear from my fellow IBD sufferers — what odd foods or combinations of foods do you eat? Are you a big sleeper, like me? Add your preferences, thoughts, or particularities to the comments section. Thanks!


Note: IBD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of IBD News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to IBD.


  1. GuyWithCrohns says:

    Vanilla Ice cream helps me during a flair up. Don’t know why. I prefer strawberry generally, but if I need something when the meds aren’t working, Vanilla Ice cream will help. Frosted Honey Nut Cheerios are also a good snack for me. I don’t have many weird foods, but I do forage *all* day long.

  2. Ebony says:

    During a flare I drink milk lots of it. It’s sometimes all I can tolerate. I also eat my fair share of potatoes ?

  3. Robert says:

    Fruit Loops and French Fries, wow. You might want to check out the SCD diet and stick with it for a year. Yikes, good luck.

    • Debby'sGotCrohns says:

      That’s a pretty rude thing to say to someone with IBD. Just because it may have worked for you doesn’t mean it will work for someone else. IBD and diet are very subjective things. You can’t just tell someone to “do this diet” and magically they are better. The last thing we need is someone judging us because that happens to be all we can eat during a flare.

  4. Daleep says:

    May I suggest that you stay off milk and gluten products for a few months. Eat mostly freshly cooked foods and organic if you can. That’s what I’ve been doing and it’s helped me tremendously. No flare ups now for two years. And I’m not on any meds.
    Yogic breathing has helped a lot as well.

  5. Jen says:

    Honey nut cheerios. Rice a Roni. Goldfish crackers. Cinnamon toast from scratch under the broiler. Hot water with lemon and honey. Nap time anytime for me too!

  6. Grace says:

    A few years ago, I went through the whole ice chomping thing, even though the cold bothered my my sensitive teeth. I was obsessed with ice, and also experienced the weird reactions! When my gut is getting sluggish and bloated and I know it’s unhappy, or if I’m working through a partial intestinal blockage, I go for things like toast, cheetos, popcorn twists, puddings and Lipton chicken noodle soup. There will always be those people who “don’t understand how these crappy foods could possibly help yo when you’re not well”… unfortunately they will never be able to actually understand, no matter how hard they try or you try. You just have to accept That, or find the people who do and open up and feel comfortable with them and share with them (like what we’re doing here! 🙂 )

  7. Rainy Hickman-Linsdeau says:

    I love your blog. I have suffered from Crohn’s for 20 years. I have had two bowl obstruction surgeries that sent me into remission for long periods of time. Crohn’s came back in December of 2016 and I am once again stuck in hell. I have tried Humira which made me sick as hell and now and going on Stelara, which I hope works. I found your blog and I love it. I feel as if I am not along in my daily fight of this horrible disease. Most common people do not understand the daily struggles, quirks and eating habits that we have developed just to get through a day. I am trying to work while I’m in the middle of this flair up. I am covered my FMLA, but I heard that someone had actually said that I was off of work sick too much. I feelings were hurt. Just live a day in my shoes and come back and talk to me or google Crohn’s and educated yourself. I too sleep a lot. My quirky diet consists of Polish sausage and rice and of course potatoes. Thank you for writing this blog. I love it and look forward to your posts.

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