Crohn's Disease in India

#1 Aug 28th, 2007, 15:53
Join Date:
Aug 2007
  • watl1 is offline
Hi all

I'm new to this forum and have found it really helpful in planning our forthcoming trip to India!

However, my partner has Crohn's Disease and has real difficulty in eating anything spicy - he seems ok with chilli but can't stomach curries without getting terrible tummy pains. We've tried him on dry things as well like chicken tikka but this can cause problems, although not as much as when he eats things with lots of sauce.

We will be in some of the big cities in North India but also plan to travel to some more remote areas.

Does anyone know about the availability of international or non-spicy food, or have any recommendations of what he should be eating?

Many thanks

#2 Aug 28th, 2007, 16:20
Join Date:
Mar 2006
Whitefield, Bangalore, India
  • fly2raven is offline
I think your friend will be OK but his diet may be pretty bland depending on where your travels take you.

International cuisine, stay away from the 'continental' menu at most restaurants as it is generally a spiced up version. If you go the 'international' route Pizza Hut, Dominos, KFC and McDonalds are in the major metro areas and would be a good place to find good non-spicy food, although some of the options are spiced up so make certain you know what you are ordering.

When choosing something from an indian restaurant that has a continental ring to it, such as 'french fries', make certain that you tell the waiter that you want them plain - and send them back if they are served differently. I have found that most places that serve french fries and other continental finger foods spice them up with some sort of masala, as long as you ask them to keep it off you should be safe.

If you are in more rural areas your friend may be only able to get a few things, first there will always be some sort of rice or bread (roti, chapati, parota) available. If he wishes to eat something with it, try adding plain curd for 'curd rice' or honey with the rotis - also, tiffen should probably be available - idly, dosa, uthapam - these items are great and are only made with a mix of rice and dahl flours. These items are generally served with spicy sides though so he will need to steer clear of those.

Also, different types of fruit will be available in both rural and urban places - best bets are bananas if you are afraid of eating the 'skin'. I am not so worried about that and I generally eat all types of fruit as long as I wash it very well before hand.

And there are always sweets...most Indian sweets are great and are not spicy - so your friend will always be able to go for dessert :-)

I would also suggest that your friend pack a few boxes of his favorite meal replacement bar or breakfast bar...even those small travel size cereal boxes - they don't take up too much room and they may come in handy - I always have a few with me whenever I travel outside the city.
Last edited by fly2raven; Aug 28th, 2007 at 16:23.. Reason: adding some info
#3 Aug 28th, 2007, 16:42
Join Date:
Oct 2004
Chennai, India
  • Nick-H is offline
I would also suggest that your friend pack a few boxes of his favourite meal replacement bar or breakfast bar..
That sounds like a really good idea for anyone who is not totally comfortable with the local food. I used to bring packets of biscuits, but it would have been much more clever to bring something more nutritious!

Not all food comes laced with chilly, and not all Indians like it that way anyway. Since marriage to me (on an early visit to UK she used to take chillies and pepercorns out in her bag to make the English food taste of something!) she has very much lost her chilly appetite.

But still, even though there can be no possible language difficulty, they will stillgive very hot food...
Life gets aadhar every day.
#4 Aug 28th, 2007, 16:48
Join Date:
Aug 2005
  • ALPHABAR is offline
Maybe while in India your partner could try some ayurvedic treatment for crohn's? I realise crohn's is difficult to treat (and sometimes may be incorrectly diagnosed) I have a friend who had suffered from a similar condition for many years and had successfull ayurvedic treatment in india.

good luck.
#5 Aug 29th, 2007, 10:00
Join Date:
Aug 2007
  • watl1 is offline
Thanks everyone - that was great advice and my partner feels much more at ease now knowing he won't starve!

One month to go...can't wait!
#6 Aug 29th, 2007, 10:07
Join Date:
May 2003
Northern California
  • wonderwomanusa is offline
And in some places there's good (and non-spicey) Chinese food, if your friend can eat that sort. Look for restaurants that are actually owned by Chinese people...I've found a couple on Kolkata that are very good.

Good hotels, too, sometimes have non-spicey optons. I had a wonderful chicken sandwich at a Taj in Bangalore. Someone else paid, so I don't know the price. Also had lemonade WITH ICE! Oh, that was wonderful!
#7 Aug 29th, 2007, 12:16
Join Date:
Nov 2003
  • Wanderer22 is offline
I was diagnosed with Crohn's in 1991 and at the time thought my wandering days were all but finished. Retired early in 2000 and felt well enough by 2004 to have another try at getting back to India. Before going was worried about how the gut would fare with spicy foods. Fortunately no problem! For six weeks I managed very well on South Indian vegetarian cuisine, mostly dosas, idli and thalis. Also had curd with breakfast most days and fresh seafood when near the coast. I made an effort to avoid chicken and red meat mainly because of sanitation concerns.

A travel doctor suggested taking some Ciprofloxen along in case of bacterial problems and was glad I did. Was able to stop an infection before it got serious and probably averted a flare-up. In case of problems was going to try the so called B.R.A.T. diet that's often recommended to Crohnies.... Banana, Rice, Apple sauce, and Tea. Apple sauce might be a problem, but the others should be easy to find in India.

Good luck with the trip and hope the Crohns doesn't become a problem. My experience is that high stress is another thing that must be carefully managed.... perhaps even more so than diet.

#8 Aug 30th, 2007, 22:35
Veda Chanting & Mantra Yoga teacher
Join Date:
Oct 2003
body in Mumbai, head in Himalaya
  • AvidTrekker is offline


I have taken a probiotic preparation called "Primal Defense" for something similar. The maker of this tablet claims that he cured his own Crohn's Colitis [a very severe stage] with this Lactobacillus cocktail.

Other Companies also sell similar products, but I believe this one is selling better than the rest. It would be worth your while to read up on the net [at least]

Just Google on "Primal Defense" you will find the articles, list of health stores, etc..
The Universe is an ellipsoid?... or a Spheroid?? If the sphere smiles... it becomes an ellipse. This IS Creation.

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