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RLG Notes Secretary Theresa Parr finds regular doses of her own home-made yoghurt help keep pouchitis at bay

Just what is it about pouchitis? What causes this painful seemingly incurable condition that many of us have suffered from time to time?

Years of research projects, in-depth case studies and scholarly medical papers have produced very little so far for patients and medical professionals to go on.

One possible remedy many pouchees turn to has been probiotics – live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your digestive system. However, the people’s favourite, VSL#3, has recently been discredited due to lack of scientific data or testimonials.

Antibiotics are the usual standby as they can give short-term relief and certainly help to allay some of the worst symptoms of pouchitis. 

But what about longer-term solutions? RLG’s Theresa Parr has her own unique method of anti-pouchitis control. “I’ve been lucky and have only had two mild bouts of pouchitis which was many years ago. I didn’t fall into the prescribing category and, as VSL#3 is very expensive to purchase, I looked at alternatives,” she says.

Her solution? Yoghurt. “For many years I’ve been making home-made yoghurt and, touch wood, it seems to be doing the trick and moreover it’s extremely simple to make,” says Theresa.Theresa uses a yoghurt maker she bought from the supplier Lakeland (www.lakeland.co.uk) some years ago. The device has an outer unit housing a heating element and an inner, removable plastic container.  Here then is the Parr formula:

“You put a small portion of your starter culture (plain yoghurt containing a balanced blend of bacteria which consume lactose) in the container, add milk (full fat, semi or skimmed according to your taste or waistline!), give it a good stir and then just ignore it for 10 to 12 hours. 

“If you want thicker yoghurt, then I suggest you strain it *. I tend to use Yeo Valley as my starter yoghurt but that is just down to personal taste. 

“Thereafter, you just use some of your home-made yoghurt to make the next batch and I only resort to shop-bought starter yoghurt if I’ve been away for a few weeks.

“Lakeland now make a new all-singing-and-dancing yoghurt-maker with an adjustable thermostat and a strainer for about £25, while Amazon (www.amazon.co.uk) sell similar for about £18. This can also make Greek-style yoghurt and cream cheese. Fancy!

“I like the fact that yoghurt has no artificial sweeteners, additives or preservatives (and I find I’ve usually eaten it all before it goes off anyway!) and, of course, you can add any extras you like to suit your palette. 

“It is also great as a base for salad dressing or with chives on jacket potatoes, etc.

“I do not know the precise strains or levels of active bacteria in yoghurt, but my pouch is a lot happier if I eat some on a daily basis.

And Theresa’s secret recipe for success? “I just throw some on my breakfast porridge!”

* Put a clean tea towel over a fine mesh sieve on top of a large bowl (at least 1 litre capacity). Then allow to stand until thin liquid stops draining through the sieve (about 1 hour).

Breakfast treat – cereal topped with yoghurt

This article first appeared in ISSUE 59: Summer 2020 edition of ROAR! if you would like to read other articles like this, why not become a member of the Red Lion Pouch Support group? You will receive a printed copy of ROAR! twice a year and have online access to archive ROAR! editions going back to 1994.

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GaryB