Two amateur cooks explore the world of cooking for a Crohn's and Colitis diet

IBD Stew + Soup = STOUP!

An inflammatory bowel disease “attack” can be frustrating and exhausting, and sometimes even embarrassing (if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and don’t have immediate access to a bathroom).  Recently, Marnina had an attack that caused her to use the bathroom about 5 times within a 3 hour span.  She attributed the attack to not going to the bathroom the previous day, and then running 5 miles the next morning.  Her intestines literally went into hyper-drive after running, and she nearly ran another 5 miler going to and from the bathroom!   She decided to eat light the rest of the day because her stomach was on “the edge” as she says.  If she challenged herself with something mildly fibrous, difficult to digest, or something entirely new, she would fall over that edge and risk the onset of stomach pain, or possibly another attack.

After Marnina ate lightly the rest of the day (she snacked on rice chips, a banana, and some cooked squash), she arrived home from work and emphatically declared that we would be cooking a meal that would be filling but also easy to digest, with an emphasis on the easy to digest part.  We chose a stoup, a dish that is part soup and part stew.  Thanks to a stocked refrigerator, we had all the necessary ingredients to make this hearty meal (we even fire-roasted our own red pepper!).  We pretty much threw everything together in one pot, let it simmer for a bit, and we magically had a soup-stew.  The starch in the potatoes thickened the soup, and since we added an extra sweet potato, the mixture was extra-stewy. We used an extra tbsp. of fresh rosemary because we always find that rosemary pairs very well with tomato-y sauces, soups, and stews.  We ate the stoup with some freshly made bread that soaked up the stew nicely.

Nutritionally, this dish cooks like a soup, meaning the veggies retain much more of their natural nutrients, as opposed to using the slow-cooker, which would have subjected the veggies to heat for a longer period of time, resulting in nutrient loss.  It can be very easy to lose nutrients by overcooking veggies.   One of the most heat-sensitive nutrients in fruits and vegetables is vitamin C, and because Vitamin C is water-soluble, it leaches out into water when the produce is boiled.  The longer the produce is boiled, the more Vitamin C it will lose.  In the case of our stoup, it does not matter that the water-soluble vitamins might have leached out because we were consuming the liquid anyway.  Obviously the best way to prepare produce for maximum nutritional benefit is to eat them raw because eating produce uncooked keeps the enzymes, vitamins and phytochemicals intact.  However, while this rule might be true for the general population, many of those with IBD would not be able to absorb the nutrients from raw produce because the food would not be digested properly!

Pictures below followed by the recipe.

Slicing the onions and potatoes

Onions and potatoes cooking with herbs and spices

All the ingredients in the pot!

Letting the stoup simmer to allow for maximum flavor intensity!

The finished product


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized potato, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium sized white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh or dried parsley or 1 tbsp dried oregano or 1 tbsp fresh or dried rosemary (whichever you have at home)
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 packet of baby spinach salad, or equivalent amount of kale
  • 1 (28 oz) can of fire roasted tomatoes, or a can of diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 roasted red pepper (get it pre-packaged from the grocery store), well drained and finely chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Any shredded cheese you like
  • Any crusty bread to go with the soup.


1) Heat the Olive oil in a large pot and add in the sliced onions and potatoes. Allow to cook until they are lightly brown and soft. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and herbs.Add the chopped garlic and cook for another minute or so.

2) Add the stock and bay leaf, bring to boil, then wilt in the greens. Then add the tomato and the pepper. Mix well, allow everything to simmer together on medium to low heat for about 8-9 minutes.

3) In the mean time, prep the bread the way you like. You could slice up the bread thick, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toast it or broil it in the oven. If you’re feeling indulgent, sprinkle some cheese on each slice, and place back in the oven to let the cheese melt.

The recipe makes a lot of stoup, so feel free to freeze the leftovers.

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine

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