Vegetarian and Chicken Dumplings {and our Crohn’s timeline}

Vegetarian Dumping Soup

There’s nothing as good as a warm bowl of soup when you’re feeling some kind of yuck descending over you. Here are two versions of dumplings for your soup, both using almond flour, as well as a simple recipe for vegetable soup broth.

Veggie Dumplings

I prefer eating vegetarian. Everyone else here, not so much. Bacon rules. But since I cook a lot, and they don’t, there’s less meat around, and more of other stuff, like veggies. Not that they don’t like veggies and fruits too.

Chicken Dumpling Soup

I was curious about chicken dumplings though, so here it is. They came out well, but I’m sticking with the meatless variety for myself.

And now for that Crohn’s timeline I keep promising. While it’s more complicated than this timeline represents, my son’s Crohn’s has sent him on a roller coaster of a ride. Many things have not worked, or not worked fully, as you’ll see. At the moment (as of a month ago) he’s in remission with drugs. Not our first choice, but it’s working for now. Remember two things as you read this: everyone’s disease varies in level of severity, and kids are different than adults, so your mileage may vary.

And don’t forget the recipes after the timeline. Happy slurping.

 Our Crohn’s Timeline (as of 11/13/11)

  • 1994 M is born and has some eczema. The pediatrician gives me tubes of steroid creme. I try eliminating various foods and can’t figure out what works and what doesn’t.

 

  • 1998 We move from the East coast to the West coast. M’s bathroom habits are changing. One pediatrician tells me his bathroom issues are due to me allowing him to drink too much juice. I’m forever in search of a pediatrician who I feel comfortable with.

 

  • 2001 A misdiagnosis of Scarlet Fever sends M to the ER, compliments of the local Fire and Rescue team. They separate me from M for about 30 minutes and pump his body with epinephrine to get him breathing somewhat normally again. Then M spends a week in Children’s Hospital and finally goes home barely walking and lungs filled with fluid. He’s been pumped with antibiotics due to a possible mycoplasma infection of unknown origin. He spends the next 6 months with an open sore on his face (a pilomatrixoma) that finally heals a week before he is scheduled for surgery to have it removed.

 

  • 2005 M is not quite right and he’s experiencing some bathroom issues. The pediatric group decides to treat him for a year with all kinds of antibiotics. I’m beginning to notice that M is going to the bathroom even more frequently. It gets really bad when he’s playing in the finals of a tennis tournament and goes to the bathroom 3 times during the tie-braker. M walks away with the trophy despite numerous bathroom visits. I ask the pediatrician for a referral to a specialist. They send me to a GI surgeon at Children’s Hospital who tells me he’ll probably need surgery. I then request another GI specialist. M has a colonoscopy and blood work. He has Crohn’s. I ask them to lay out his options. We are introduced to a series of drugs, in linear formation, used to treat Crohn’s. No mention of probiotic, which is buzzing around in the press as an option. We’re given the usual entry-level stuff: Entocort, Pentasa, etc., without much improvement.

 

  • 2006 Everyone is concerned about M’s growth. Meanwhile, we try food elimination after a naturopath identifies 44 foods he should eliminate. The pediatricans are skeptical. We try growth hormone as recommended by an endocrinologist, and by the beginning of school M is rushed to the ER for severe pancreatitis. We stop the growth hormone. I’m back sleeping at Children’s Hospital, and the food hasn’t changed at all. This doesn’t make a difference for M because he’s on TPN (food through a tube) and he’s loaded up with prednisone. M is sent home after a week and we’re asked to make a drug decision soon. Despite everyone around us asking us to just submit to stronger drugs (and against my husband’s wishes), M and I decide to try SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet).

 

  • 2007 SCD works beautifully for 8 months. His thick red hair is shining, his cheeks are full and rosy and he’s running around like there’s nothing he can’t do. But after 8 months, SCD gradually stops working, and all the symptoms return. I now think it was because I believed he could occasionally eat bread (the kind with gluten in it), which was faulty info I received from a well-meaning person. M misses school occasionally, and sometimes just powers through the cramps by hiding under his desk. By May M is back on Prednisone. M makes the decision to try Remicade since he doesn’t eat much and has lost an alarming amount of weight. I’m letting him call the shots at this point mostly because I hate to see him like this. In August we go out to hit before Varsity tennis starts and he can’t run. His knees are extremely swollen and he can barely walk. Otherwise he’s feeling great and he’s growing. He manages to play doubles instead of singles, but this will end up being the last season. He gets permission to use the elevators at school because he can’t make it up the stairs with his backpack. His knees lock up on him often and at home he takes the steps sideways.

 

  • 2008 I request that we stop Remicade and try something else. My hunch is that the Remicade is messing with his joints, but everyone else thinks it’s just a manifestation of Crohn’s, even though he’s never had joint problems, even when his Crohn’s was in a major flare. Onward to Humira. We wait a few months, and his knees get marginally better. I read research articles and find out that many survive with just methotrexate (a low dose of chemotherapy) and I talk M into shifting to methotrexate. His knees continue to get better, but to this day they still lock up and he can’t run too much without them getting achy. It’s possible he has cartilage damage but we’re not dealing with that right now.

 

  • 2010 M’s inflammation markers are rising a bit, and he’s experiencing nausea and occasional cramping. He occasionally skips methotrexate because just the thought of it makes him nauseous.

 

  • 2011 We find a naturopath who has had success with Crohn’s, and begin to meet with Dr. Wheeler and build a plan to shift off the methotrexate. While M gets better, he’s not 100%. We try elimination diet, LDN, Rifaximin, probiotics, supplements, and ultimately SCD. M goes into a Crohn’s flare that no longer responds to any of the above. One thing is clear though – he should not be eating gluten. He accidentally plows through a bag of regular hot dog rolls (Rudi’s instead of Udi’s), and can’t eat for three days.

 

  • Today M is feeling good. He spent the entire weekend away at a debate meet, away from the comfort of home and no problems arose. No pain or cramps, he’s eating a gluten-free diet, and juggling the life of a high school senior. M is being cared for by both Children’s Hospital and our naturopath (Dr. Wheeler). He’s on Humira and methotrexate (gulp). It’s been 1 month. Fingers are tightly crossed. His blood work is normal after one month. Our goal is to get M through the rest of high school, on to college, and then reduce the drug dependency once he is ready (over the next few years). And that’s all for now. One day at a time.

 

Bowl of chicken dumpling soup

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Posted in Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free, Low-Sugar, Paleo, SCD, Soup, Wheat-Free  |  47 Comments

47 Responses to Vegetarian and Chicken Dumplings {and our Crohn’s timeline}

  1. Karen says:

    I am overwhelmed reading your timeline, it gives to so many people who are living this kind of scenario. There is life beyond illness, you and your son are an inspiring story!

  2. Michelle says:

    My daughter with Crohn’s has done really well past 1.5 years, off all the meds for 1.5 years, treated for parasites off and on, which seems to be her culprit. I think too much bad food weakens her immune system and sets her up for “flares” which always respond to the right parasite drug, like clockwork and she is back to normal functioning again…. She goes up and down with that…is freshman in highschool, so temptations all around…Her tummy hurts today and I suspect parasites again. She is home from school, reminisent of prior terrible 2 year period where missing school was common place. Fortunately she has already scheduled follow up appointment with our alternative MD today. Her “flares” have become less severe and frequent and she has been able to function normally for most part…hoping for more permanent healing in time like Jordan Rubin, an author with long term success with Crohn’s…Patient Heal Thyself.

    Your timeline was hard to read…too close to home, but I pray and hope for the best for your son and your family. One day at at a time is good policy…Crohn’s is a challenging illness and few can treat it well..Jini Patel Thompson has a great series of books you may like. She treated herself successfully for Crohns and has been off all meds for some time…uses herbs to treat parasites, candida etc, probiotics…dietary changes…Listen to Your Gut. Anyway, those authors may give you some additional ideas if you are interested…

    Good luck and thanks for recipes as usual..

    Michelle

  3. Becky says:

    Wow! First, your recipes are amazing and have helped my husband in so many ways to feel like he “eats normal” on the SCD. THANK YOU!!!! DH has UC and while there are more good days lately than bad days, we have learned that everything happens for a reason. One thing that triggered my husband’s flare-ups was stress. He didn’t realize he had a stress problem, but once he started to manage it, he has had less and less problems with UC. Combine that with SCD, he usually has 1-2 flares each year that are manageable now. He got “Stress Management for Dummies” 18 months ago and loves the book and reads it often.

    Again, thanks for your amazing recipes and many prayers to your family!

  4. Ann says:

    When I was a kid I went through the exact same thing as your son, and i know how hard it was to keep a positive spirit. Your story touched me and I am so glad to hear that he is doing better. I will be praying for your son to stay healthy. And always thanks for taking the time to share these wonderful recipes.

  5. Jenny says:

    Erica, Thank you for sharing your son’s story. I don’t have Crohns, but I have had Ulcerative Colitis for 27 years. I’ve tried many drugs and have been on the SCD for about 6 years. This diet has helped me immensely. After being free of disease for nearly 3 years I started going off the diet in February and got a horrible flare that still has not gone completely away. I need to try harder to stay on the diet and take care of myself (rest!) which is hard to do. I just wanted to say that my SCD experience has been very helpful for me and worth the sacrifice. Your recipes are a godsend! Thank you, Jenny

  6. Laura says:

    Wow — thank you for sharing your timeline. My daughter, Sophie is 5 and we are thinking about trying remicade. She has tried Pentassa and she’s currently on Aziathioprine and a Prednisolone since July. She was diagnosed in June 2010 with UC and we have not been able to get her into remission.

    I’m pretty scared right now about the Remicade but right now her quality of life is suffering.

    I wish you and your brave son nothing but the very best!

    • Erica says:

      The negatives about Remicade are that 1) you have to sit for 3 hours for a transfusion (but it’s only once a month) 2) it’s 50% mouse protein, so there is a chance of rejection. Humira is all human protein, so there’s less chance of rejection. Adding the methotrexate reduces the chance of rejection further which is why my son’s doctor added it on.

  7. Luana says:

    Erica, I’ve known people with Chron’s, but never a child. It must have been excruciating for you to see him go though all that he has. All the best for many more years of good health for him.

  8. Hi Erica, your timeline is a powerful reminder of the hardships that befall those of us with difficult to control IBD conditions. These type “closet conditions” are also so hard to express to your friends and family, especially for a young man or woman. I had many years of hardships while on the SCD 100% and can understand yours and M’s frustration with diets and various meds. Stay strong and keep moving in a positive direction. Two steps forward, one step back.

    Tucker

  9. Erica says:

    Thanks for all the good thoughts! And my best wishes go out to everyone dealing with IBD, or caring for someone with IBD.

  10. heather says:

    I love your blog and all your recipes. Thank you for doing this! I am so sorry to hear about your son. :( Have you ever read Jordan Rubin’s book The Maker’s Diet? I believe he had a very bad case of Crohn’s and was able to cure himself. His story is in the book. Hope you find a cure soon.

    • Erica says:

      thanks. Yes to Jordan Ruben. Everyone’s Crohn’s is different, and unfortunately there’s no cure for Crohn’s yet. Keeping my fingers crossed for that as well.

  11. I have been looking for a dumpling recipe. My 3 year old son has the opposite problem and deals with constipation it is heartbreaking to see what these kids go through. We have been doing a modified version of SCD and GAPS and he is slowly making progress. Almond flour gives us issues so I wonder if I can sub coconut flour.

    • Erica says:

      I suspect you can use any flour, but coconut flour sucks up moisture – I would half the amount of coconut flour (at least) if you try it. I haven’t tried it. By the way, we went for years with loose stools to years of constipation. The constipation is bad because it allows bacteria to backup. Get rid of it any way you can (including natural laxatives).

  12. Tabetha says:

    God bless you and your family! When you said your son’s bowel habits were changing in ’88, what was that like exactly? My toddler has eczema and so now I’m jumping straight to looking out for anything like Crohn’s, but I’m hoping it’ll disappear…may be my husband’s genes in tending to suffer from severe arthritis in teen and older adult years. We try to eat healthier and lead natural lifestyles (I’m wondering if steroids and antibiotics when younger really tripped out your son’s body’s natural defenses when he was already biologically set up to develop Crohn’s…I almost hate doctors and antibiotics sometimes!) but we haven’t totally eliminated any foods for our kids (except for fast food and other junk foods). I see that you have tried almost everything as a treatment, but I’m curious if you’ve tried an all raw diet? I suspect that it’s the only truly pure diet that if you’re doing it right, it’ll work or nothing will. You’ve probably heard about it and my husband’s done it, but it wasn’t for treating a bowel disorder, it was just for health. I guess a raw/juice diet could work wonders too like was evident in the documentary “Fat, Sick, and Almost Dead” – that was awesome too! Just some thoughts and questions.

    • Erica says:

      Yes, to raw. I love eating raw, but not 100% – Maybe 50% for me. I think I’ve exhausted my son’s willingness to experiment and power through pain. But I hear you.

  13. Crohn's-Wife says:

    I also can relate to your timeline, so sorry to hear what your son has to go through. I have Crohn’s and the doctors of course recommended the same drugs to me (I just couldn’t bring myself to take any injection therapy though after reading the potential side effects off of the drug’s website). Anyways, I have recently been to a naturopath doctor because I could tell there was something missing with SCD and my treatment- SCD was definitely helping, but not enough; My naturopath recommended a food outline by Dr. Melvin Page. It is eerily similar to SCD, only a little more restrictive. His main “thing” is food combinations. For instance the body creates certain digestive chemicals to digest starches, something different to digest meats, but an acidic setting to digest fruits, so when you eat the those in various combinations (i.e. meat and potatoes, ham and beans, fruit and meats, etc.) your body’s chemicals cancel themselves out and food ends up not being digested. So I no longer eat fruits in combination with any other food, and I don’t eat like meats with beans, etc. It has really been helping me. I also take a few whole food supplements that I have listed on my blog. I am sure that your young son is exhausted of changing his eating habits, but I though these suggestions may help him, as I have experienced the benefits of them. I hope he continues to grow healthy!

    • Erica says:

      Thanks for sharing what is working for you – it helps us and many others who read this blog. It’s always great to hear how people modify their diets to change their health. SCD is just one way, and it’s quite complicated when it’s a disease like Crohn’s. My son is 17 years old, so he’s not young, but he is exhausted from trying various things, diets, supplements, etc. I agree with the food combination theory as well. So glad to hear something is working for you!

  14. danielle says:

    So sorry to hear about M’s struggle with Crohn’s. Have you heard of or tried the GAPS diet? There have been many testimonys of completely recovering from Crohns because of this diet.

  15. Joslyn says:

    Thank you for sharing the time line. I have Crohn’s myself but am watching my 3 kids like a hawk for any indication of the disease manifesting in them. My youngest is 3 and has asthma already, was also effected by eczema as an infant. My oldest has Vitiligo. I’ve read that if you have one autoimmune issue that your body starts to “collect” more. I’m scared, but hopeful, and thankful for people like you and your son who have gone through this before me. Thanks again for sharing your stories and having this blog.

  16. Stef says:

    Thanks so much for this wonderful blog. Regarding the recipe, you say to discard the veggies but in the pics veggies are in the soup. At what point did you add veggies?

    • Erica says:

      Ah, thanks for that catch. Yes, for the vegetable stock, I toss the vegetables because they void of flavor. I added a note in the method to add your favorite vegetables when simmering the dumplings.

  17. Tina Kalvelage says:

    I made the vegetable stock from the book “Breaking the Viscous Cycle” and strained it per instructions, however, I was wondering if anyone has used the vegetables that they say to discard in another recipe? I am considering using it for a vegetable chili. do you think that’s ok? I’d use the stock as the base as well. Just a little nervous since they say to discard all those lovely veggies!
    Thank you!

    Tina

  18. Jill says:

    I was just about to give up on SCD recipes/diet when I found your site today! I’ve printed out tons of your recipes! I think I can do it, now! My 10 year old son is just beginning his journey with a very severe case of Crohns (they started him with Remicade from day 1)that came out of nowhere 5 months ago. His very sick colon tore at his initial colonoscopy, so he’s had a temporary ileostomy to top everything off. He has bad reactions to wheat like your son, and he tested reactive to gliadin at our naturopath’s. Thank you for helping burned-out moms like me to see that you CAN feed a family well on SCD, and your child CAN make it through this nasty disease!

  19. Sweetypie says:

    Erica,
    Your timeline brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing this with us. I was diagnosed with UC in September 2011 and just recently got over my first flare. Couldnt believe how long it took to recover. Now that I am feeling better and able to eat somewhat real food. Im scared and dont know what to stay away from or what is ok to eat (I think Im just scared to eat). I found your site and it is very helpful. I printed out some receipies and will try them very soon. Thanks again!

  20. Stephanie says:

    It astonishes me how many children get misdiagnosed with crohns disease. Glad to see
    That your son is doing well! I was diagnosed with crohns when I was 11 years old,
    After a year and a half of being told that I was faking the sickness and doctors telling me it’s
    Nothing.. Due to the lack of enthusiasm to really find out what the problem is by the doctor.
    After loosing 40 pounds in 2 weeks and almost dying, and plenty of hospital trips. I decided mentally
    Enough is enough. I felt as though the medication was making the crohns
    Worse. I made an executive decision without telling my parents or the doctors, that I would
    Stop the medication all together. I stayed in remission for 7 years, with no medication.
    Only positive thinking, using meditation, healthy eating, and natural remedies. I just recently had
    A colonoscopy and I was told that there is no sign of crohns disease, and it is possible that I have
    IBS. But I know that’s not what I had before. Is it possible to be cured Of this disease?
    I’m not sure what it is.. But I know that I will stay healthy from now on.. And I’m a medical
    Miracle/mystery that doctors don’t want to believe. Because all I used
    Was the power of my mind and the power of mother earth.
    I hope everyone with crohns will one day be cured.
    Namaste.

  21. I recently read parts of the 1951 book by Sidney V. Haas, M.D. and his son Merrill P. Haas, M.D. “Management of Celiac Disease.” Dr. Sidney Haas created the SCD. He gives the history of treating celiac disease and it’s fascinating. It may give you insight into ways to help your son. I know he has crohn’s but since that’s also treated by the diet, it might be useful. (This was from all from just before the gluten-free diet caught on.) I ordered it interlibrary loan. It’s also available in a reprinted version.

  22. Shonda says:

    Thanks so much for this timeline. Like others, it also brought tears to my eyes.
    My 10 year old daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s last year. She has been in an 11 month flare with 2 hospital stays(just got home day before yesterday), 2 blood transfusions, and trying med after med with no success. She had her first shot of methotrexate on Friday. It is so hard to have a child on a restricted diet. The whole kid world seems to revolve around food and treats.
    Do you have any suggestions for “stage 2″ type of meals? Right now all she is eating is broth, poached eggs with gluten free bread, potatoes and Boost. The hospital’s answer is white food which is all gluten. It’s so frustrating. And to top it off, she is picky! Gah!
    Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes and support!

    • Erica says:

      Hi Shonda. I suggest reading Breaking The Vicious Cycle, my post on what SCD is, and the list of allowed foods (http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/legal/listing/B/) to gain a good understanding of SCD (if that’s what you’re planning on following). I’ve heard the “white food” diet mentioned before, but always steer towards easy-to-digest foods, specifically broth and cooked vegetables. The Boost is not a bad idea, but is not SCD legal, and either is the gluten-free bread and potatoes. Also, take a look at this post about “stages in SCD”: http://scdrecipe.com/blog/archive/2012/02/09/stages-scd/. It basically says that you don’t follow stages necessarily. Hope that helps. Best wishes.

  23. Rebecca says:

    All this time I’ve been reading and loving your site and recipes but never read the story of your son. So sorry for his and your…pain, frustration, worry. Please update when you can on how he is currently doing. My 19 yr old daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s when a junior in high school. She has done well on SCD and is a sophomore in college now, living away from home and making SCD work on a college campus. I hope your son will have the same success!
    Thank you so much for your site!

  24. MaryAnna says:

    Thank you for posting this, I am currently looking to moved to a new healthier diet for me and my DD. She had UC and has had a colectomy and now has a J-pouch so some foods I have to avoid bc of blockages and absorption issues. I am hoping I can use your recipes and be able to implement them or alter them to her needs. We just started our journey, do you have any words of advice?

    • Erica says:

      Hi MaryAnna. I think everyone is different, but I would take a look at both SCD and GAPS. I know when my son is ready again, he and I both think that eliminating dairy, grain, and sugar are key. When he’s sick, broths are the best! Hope that helps. Best wishes.

  25. Cammie Grace says:

    Hi ~ I somehow stumbled upon your site this evening…and then onto the story of your M. I am the mom of a child with health issues related to diet and in addition to my empathy for the sheer exasperation of not being able to cure the problems for your child…I also much admire your perseverance out of your love for your child! I too have had to completely change gears in our diets, many times, it is a lot to learn entirely new ways of cooking and yet, so worth it when we see our children flourish and able to come into their own when their lives are not wrought with health issues that overshadow daily life for them.

    Keep up the great work! Your son and family will be in my prayers!

  26. anna jenkins says:

    Hi my name is anna,
    just thought you may be interested for your son, that i suffered from ulcerative colitis and have been without any drugs for 7yrs with using homeopathy. You need a good homeopath but i would recommend it above anything else with alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle. It made such a difference to me i have studied as a homeopath for 4yrs as i wanted to be able to help others like me. If you want anymore info just email me.

  27. Melissa says:

    I wish your son well in college! I was diagnosed with Crohn’s and ankylosing spondolitis (arthritis in hips, knees and ankles) while in college and had to be put on humira right away (no fun and tough while in school!)

    My wonderful Mother found SCD and it changed my life, but the distractions of college (midterms, projects, finals, socials, beergardens) and endless restrictions of SCD put me in positions where I was constantly pushing my luck with the diet. The only way I got through it was by identifying which illegal foods were triggers for me (e.g. pizza, candy, dark alcohol) and which sucked but were bearable (white wine, red wine, rice chips). Not easy and I definitely wish him luck!

    PS – Now out of college, cooking on my own and no longer medication and in remission. It gets better!

  28. Nicole says:

    I too am the same age as your son and was diagnosed with Crohn’s 4 months ago. I have been on prednisone ever since. starting on Remicade next week. Please update us on your son! Thank you for your recipes!

    • Erica says:

      Hi Nicole. My son is 19 and is a sophomore year in college now. He’s doing well and is trying to get off medication once again (fingers crossed!). He has eliminated dairy from his diet and does not touch gluten. Time will tell, it’s only been a few months now. He is also hoping to be part of a fecal transplant study. If you’re going to go the biologics route I suggest taking a look at Humira instead of Remicade. You can self-administer it on your own and it causes fewer rejections or complications (in our experience and what I’ve heard from others). Best wishes!

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