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Delicious holiday treats for people with ulcerative colitis

Mouthwatering desserts are hard to resist, especially during the holidays. This season, whip up these gut-friendly dessert recipes that won’t irritate UC symptoms.

The holidays are fast approaching, which means that there will be plenty of great food available — including dessert, of course. Problem is, if you have ulcerative colitis (UC), you may have more trouble indulging in sweets than people without inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Although food doesn’t cause UC, certain foods can aggravate your symptoms.

“Everyone reacts to foods differently, so it’s important to know which foods affect you,” says Kelly Kennedy, RD, nutritionist for Everyday Health. In general, though, there are certain foods to steer clear of, such as:

  • Seeds and nuts, which are difficult to digest and can irritate the GI tract, though smooth nut butters are okay
  • Raw or dried fruits with skin, because they’re packed with fiber
  • Dairy, if you’re lactose intolerant
  • Cream, cheese, butter, palm oil and coconut oil, and mayonnaise, because they can increase gas, cramping, and diarrhea
  • Caffeine and alcohol, which can irritate the GI tract
  • Chocolate, because it contains caffeine and sugar, which can increase cramping and stool frequency

Since many holiday treats tend to be pretty high in fat, Kennedy recommends opting for lighter options, which can help avoid or limit symptoms. But if you really can’t do without, she says, “having one to two bites would be better than going ‘all in.’”

Food Ingredients to Avoid if You Have Ulcerative Colitis

People experiencing a UC flare-up should avoid foods that may worsen symptoms. A flare-up may cause frequent bowel movements, diarrhea, bloody stool, and stomach pain, as well as fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

“Limiting sugar is especially important during a time of active diarrhea, as sugar can make this worse,” says Kennedy. “I’d recommend avoiding added sugars at all costs, and switching to unsweetened applesauce instead.”

If you’re thinking about using artificial sweeteners, that may not be such a wise choice, either.

“Artificial sweeteners are controversial, with some people feeling that they could possibly be a trigger food for those with IBD,” Kennedy explains. “It would be a personal choice to include them in a colitis-friendly diet.”

Although the evidence is thin, some research, including an article published in April 2012 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, points to the use of saccharin and sucralose as culprits in suppressing the good bacteria in the gut, causing a disruption that could lead to IBD.

People with UC may also be more sensitive to gluten, a protein that’s found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley. The symptoms of a gluten intolerance include bloating and diarrhea.

There isn’t an ideal frequency for indulging in sweets, but moderation is key. When you’re not dealing with a flare, Kennedy says you may be able to indulge a little, but the main goal is to try to limit the chances of triggering UC symptoms.

“If it just won’t be Thanksgiving without a slice of grandma’s apple pie, then just have a small slice and skip the ice cream,” she says.

And if you need to satisfy that craving for sweets, try one of these UC-friendly dessert recipes:

Avocado Sorbet


  • 80 g avocado, cut into chunks (1 medium avocado or 2/3 to 3/4 cup)
  • ½ cup (120 ml) agave syrup*
  • ½ cup (120 ml) light coconut milk
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
  • 2 tsp finely grated lime zest, preferably organic (from 2 to 4 limes)

*Substitute with pure maple syrup if agave irritates your stomach

For full recipe details, visit

Nut-Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins


  • 1 tbsp olive oil, for greasing
  • ¾ cup zucchini, shredded
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup maple syrup*
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup dairy-free chocolate chips

*Ideally 100% pure maple syrup, which doesn’t include corn syrup

For full recipe details, visit Against All Grain.

Blueberry Galette



  • 2 ¼ cups cashew flour*
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 5 tbsp cold grass-fed unsalted butter


  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon

Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp full-fat coconut milk

*May be substituted with finely ground and blanched almond flour.

For full recipe details, visit Against All Grain.

Gingerbread Waffles


  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup almond butter or sunflower seed butter (unsweetened)
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1/3 cup almond milk or coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp melted butter or olive oil
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

For full recipe details, visit Against All Grain.

Lactose-Free Smoothie


  • ¾ cup lactose-free milk
  • ¾ cup peaches, canned in their own juice to reduce added sugar
  • 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • Ice, to reach desired consistency

For full details, visit Kennedy’s recipe.

Full article by Linda Thrasybule here.

Posted on: December 13 2019

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