First Name: Pamela
Medical Diagnosis: Crohn’s syndrome
Geographical Area: UK
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
It is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that affects an estimated 1.3% of US adults. Although no one is sure of what causes the disease, Crohn’s is symptomatic of an autoimmune condition with dysbiosis: a microbial imbalance inside the body. There’s no cure, but diet is known as a way of handling flare-ups. Each IBD patient has diverse biological and clinical characteristics, but maintaining good nutrition is a key principle in the management of Crohn’s and other autoimmune diseases. Wholegrains cause symptoms to worsen, and this is linked to their high content of insoluble fibre. Long, slow fermentation is key.
Pamela was diagnosed with Crohn’s at the age of 25. As part of managing her condition, she had to take medication and undergo frequent colonoscopies. It was not until 10 years ago that she began developing intolerances for foods such as bread, pasta and rice. These foods would cause bloating and general uneasiness in her abdomen, and in time she could no longer eat any carbohydrate-rich foods. She suspected that the sudden onset of these digestive issues might be a side effect of the medications she had been consuming for years.
As she developed these digestive issues, she was in touch with gastroenterologists and nutritionists. She was given the same advice over and over: stay away from gluten or dairy! Just two years ago, Pamela was introduced to the FODMAP diet, which helped her a great deal. It was during this time that her friend Ann Barber came across the Sourdough School and learned the art of sourdough baking.
When Ann began baking sourdough bread at home, she would offer Pamela a slice or two. This was how Pamela discovered that the only bread she could digest without any difficulty was sourdough. ‘At first, I couldn’t eat masses of it, but it was a great feeling that I could eat something that is naturally produced and enjoy it’. Pamela now bakes her own sourdough loaf every week and follows the BALM Protocol. She has noticed that longer fermentation times are important for better digestibility. When asked if she has ever eaten store-bought sourdough bread, she said, ‘Yes, but I was not able to digest it as well, maybe because it was not slow fermented.’