Toli’s story

Meet Toli – father of 2 with Crohn’s Disease

Several years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and was immediately put on long term immune suppressant medication and short term steroids to reduce the inflammation. However as much as that helped, surgery was still required to remove a section of the large intestine.

Following on from the surgery together with the daily medication, I felt surprisingly well, which continued for about three years. However it was then that my weight started to go down which hinted at a slight flare up. It was therefore decided that stronger medication would be required, which I was not looking forward to.

At that time a family member recommended I see Professor Hunter from the Adenbrookes and Nuffield Hospital in Cambridge whom he had read about online who was supposed to have been able to help Crohn’s sufferers regain control of their condition by following a diet.

I was very sceptical at first, I mean how can a simple diet treat a condition which some of the strongest medication cannot.

However, it was decided that I would go to see Professor Hunter. I was asked to go on a two week elemental liquid only diet which would ease and calm down any inflammation in the bowel. If I were to say it was easy I would be lying – it required commitment, however not only did it make me feel much better by the end, but my weight also started to go up.

The next stage was the food diary which was divided into two parts. Again, this was quite hard to keep to but well worth it. Research has shown that certain foods are more likely to cause problems than others, and this knowledge has been abbreviated into a diet called the LOFFLEX diet- the LOw Fat, Fibre Limited EXclusion diet. The LOFFLEX diet allows you to eat a wide variety of foods that rarely upset patients with Crohn’s disease. Once Crohn’s disease is in remission with a liquid diet, the LOFFLEX diet is followed for two weeks, before reintroducing foods in a planned manner.

Following on from this, an exclusion diet is prescribed. For several weeks, I carried around a small notebook to record everything I ate and drank, while at the same time keeping a note of any symptoms and their severity. The foods tested were the ones most Crohn’s patients have trouble digesting, such as gluten products, dairy foods and some fruit and vegetables.  Each food was tested for four consecutive days at a time.

The background of the diet is that certain bacteria in the gut feeds off various foods which then manifest itself in the patient as uncomfortable painful symptoms which can worsen if left untreated. By eliminating problematic foods, one in turn doesn’t allow the bacteria in the gut to feed off anything so they all die thus essentially after a period of time, the Crohn’s completely burns itself out.

For those of you who are worried that cutting out foods will make meal times so much harder are quite mistaken. Today one will find in most stores a large range of free from products due to all the allergies and intolerances out there, which are quite often healthier and sometimes tastier.

Once I had established which foods were causing problems, I completely cut these foods out of my diet with the guidance of one of Professor Hunter’s dieticians. I was then feeling so much better and putting on weight and so much more in control of my condition.

Six years on and I am now married with two children and no longer have to take any medication.

The reason why I am giving such a detailed account is to make readers aware that treatment such as this does work if one is serious about it. Furthermore it has come to my attention that Professor Lovat who practices at UCL and the Wellington Diagnostics (Golders Green) has now adopted this approach and is currently treating some of his patients with it and those interested should approach Professor Lovat, as sadly Professor Hunter has now retired from practice.

Some may ask, if this treatment is so successful then why is it not so well known. Well the answer is that the drug companies make so much money from bringing out new drugs (infliximab costs £1800 for one treatment). With this diet there is very little profit as the only product used is the Elemental liquid, so regrettably word doesn’t get out.

One more point I would like to make is that some of you may think well what happens if I can’t eat certain foods such as bread, then how will I fulfill various mitzvos relating to food such as having challah on shabbos or having matzah. Well if you ask any Rav or Rabbinical Authority, they will undoubtedly say that health comes first. Furthermore Halacha has laid out many substitutes for those with medical conditions, for example one can drink an extra reviis of wine at Kiddush and is then exempt from making hamotzi. Gluten free oat matzos are also available for the mitzvah of achilas matzah.

May we soon know of a time of complete healing of the body and a healing of the Soul.

To contact Professor Lovat:

Secretary 020 7183 7965 or 07960 389738