University of Florida senior Joelle Krakower was recently diagnosed with Crohn's disease. She said in the days following her diagnosis, she did not realize the large role diet plays in coping with the disease.
"I didn't know that different foods would affect me differently that I had never had any issues with before, and I wouldn't be able to eat half of my favorite foods," she said.
Months later, Joelle is still figuring out what foods work for her.
"I'm still not sure what affects me, what doesn't," she said. "Sometimes something can make me sick for two days, and then I eat it again next week, and I'm totally fine."
Joelle said she knows certain foods will almost always cause her pain.
"Green foods I definitely can't eat: lettuce, spinach, broccoli, peppers -- all of that I have to stay away from," she said, adding that citrus foods and anything acidic, like tomatoes and onions, cause a great deal of pain.
Foods with seeds or any fruits with skin are a definite no, she said.
"So, I can eat a lot of dessert and ice cream, but it's hard to stay healthy and have Crohn's," she said.
Joelle said her condition has definitely affected the way she is in college.
"I can't go out to dinner with my friends if my stomach is hurting, and now that I'm 21, a lot of my friends go out drinking a lot, and I can't drink," she said. "There are some times that I can, but most of the time alcohol affects me horribly. I'm in a lot of pain after drinking it."
Adam, a Crohn's patient who already graduated from college, said the sugar content or mixer used with the alcohol affects him more than the alcohol itself. He said wines cause the least aggravation for him because he doesn't add more sugar.