Q. A couple years ago you offered a recipe for coconut macaroons that helped a young person with colitis or Crohn’s disease. I have misplaced the recipe, but my son was just diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and I want to make them for him. Where can I find it?
A. Many readers have offered testimonials about the value of coconut in easing chronic diarrhea. This is one of the troublesome symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis.
We first learned about coconut macaroon cookies from Donald Agar, who discovered that eating two a day was a better treatment for his chronic diarrhea from Crohn’s than the medication Imodium. Animal research suggests that coconut oil may indeed have anti-inflammatory activity in the large intestines (Journal of Nutrition, March, 2009).
Coconut macaroon cookies contain shredded coconut, egg whites, almond extract, salt and sugar. The recipe is in the book we are sending you, Recipes & Remedies From The People’s Pharmacy.
Here are a few testimonials. From RES:
“I have been using a tablespoon of coconut flakes plus 1/2 banana on my cereal every morning and my diarrhea has been under control completely. The coconut really works & one tablespoon a day doesn’t cause any great problem.”
“I ALSO HAVE IBS and drink coconut water, or milk, or dry coconut with no sugar added. all of them work for me.”
“I keep dried, unsweetened coconut on hand and eat some if and when I feel there is a need. It not only stops the diarrhea but growling and other complaints my intestines make. I like it better because I try to stay away from sugar. I have had trouble with nausea for about 4 months now and had forgotten about the coconut so I am going to try using it to see if I can get rid of this nausea. Thanks for the reminder. Try the coconut, even if you are skeptical. It can’t hurt you. I do not mix it with anything and it is kinda dry so be careful and chew it well.”
“I’m a health information professional and the mother of a previously healthy nonsmoking, non-substance-abusing, non-soda-pop drinking, non-red meat-eating, and primarily lacto-ovo vegetarian teenager. Despite all these good habits my son was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the age of 13. 15-20% of the 1 million Americans living with inflammatory bowel disease are under 18 and some of them are infants and toddlers. Our family has learned to take statements about dietary prevention or “cures” for digestive diseases with a considerable amount of salt.
“Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis are thought to be autoimmune diseases, and like the other 80-odd autoimmune diseases out there, they are subject to an incredible amount of individual variation; some people go into remission lasting many years with no interventions at all; others, like my son, have great difficulty staying in remission.
“Jordan Rubin’s website indicates that he has Crohn’s Disease, not ulcerative colitis. These two make up the principal inflammatory bowel diseases, and are treated with many of the same medications, but have different clinical courses. Neither has anything to do with IBS. The term “colitis” used by itself is confusing. IBS used to be “spasmodic colitis” years ago.
“I can’t tell if the people recommending coconut are talking about IBS or ulcerative colitis. It is true that many people living with inflammatory bowel disease find that following particular diets and avoiding particular foods makes a big difference in their symptoms. Be very wary, however, of anybody who says that any food is a cure or that these diseases are caused by food. This has been extensively researched for decades, and probiotics are being extensively researched now. There is no scientific evidence that diet is implicated in causing inflammatory bowel disease and it’s too early to tell about probiotics helping.
“Visit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America website (www.ccfa.org) to find more information, support and resources, including a discussion board and a help line. I can also recommend an excellent and very helpful book, “Colitiscope”, written by a man living with ulcerative colitis. Check out the Amazon reviews or read about it at http://www.colitiscope.net/.“: