Ulcerative colitis is a debilitating disease that attacks the colon. It makes things like grains and dairy next to impossible and painful to digest. This means a person has to limit the kinds of foods they eat and be very conscious about portion intake. For many, it’s a sad departure from their most beloved foods. So, this begs the question, “Can you eat pizza with ulcerative colitis?”
In general, NO! However, it depends on the pizza’s preparation and your personal food triggers. For lighter cases, pizza should be fine. But, if your ulcerative colitis accompanies a gluten allergy and lactose intolerance, you’ll have to find another way.
While you won’t be able to pick up a slice from your nearest pizzeria, you can make a pizza at home. There are several options available to you without sacrificing flavor or taste and still enjoy this classic Italian dish.
About Ulcerative Colitis
When the colon’s lining (or large intestine) becomes inflamed and then develops ulcers is what they call ulcerative colitis (UC). Not only is this food-related illness painful but the ulcers produce blood, mucus and pus that seeps into the stool.
Symptoms include frequent bowel movements, unsightly digestion, diarrhea, and, of course, abdominal pain. People also experience anemia, nausea, poor appetite, weight loss, fatigue, and fever. These symptoms are not always prevalent but certain foods do cause it to kick in.
Causes of UC
Anything that causes intense bowel activity will induce ulcerative colitis. Oftentimes, people with ulcerative colitis have a gluten and/or lactose intolerance. In some cases, those severely afflicted with UC will have a problem digesting some vegetables, fruits, and meats as well.
Gluten refers to the constituent found in things like wheat, rye, oats, and barley. That means no bread, pasta, oatmeal, beer, and the like unless it’s certified gluten-free. Lactose is a sugar constituent found in many dairy products. Things like cheese, milk, yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, heavy cream, and half-and-half are off the menu.
So, if you’re still asking, “Can you eat pizza with ulcerative colitis?” The answer is a profound no because pizza encompasses both dairy and wheat, which will cause problems.
UC-Friendly Pizza Recipe
Before you start thinking all is lost, it’s not. There is a way to still enjoy pizza but you’ll have to make it at home and a little differently than the norm. Actually, there are some cheeses appropriate for pizza that you can still eat even if your UC accompanies a lactose intolerance. Parmesan, provolone, and gouda are a few.
The following recipe is ideal for those with UC and you can adjust the ingredients to your tastes and condition. For instance, you don’t have to add any amount of cheese. So, technically, you can eat pizza with ulcerative colitis, just not the kind you find at a typical Italian restaurant or pizzeria.
Items You’ll Need
- Medium Saucepan
- Food Processor or Potato Ricer
- Sieve or Colander
- Muslin Cloth or Cheesecloth
- Pizza Pan or Baking Sheet
- Baking Dish
- Parchment Paper
- Measuring Spoons; Cups
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Large Spoon
- Cutting Board
For the Crust
- 1 lb Cauliflower Florets (thawed from frozen) or 1 head Cauliflower (fresh)
- ⅓ Cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Egg (large)
- 1 tsp Oregano or Basil (dried)
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
For the Sauce
You can use whatever pizza sauce you like but if you have a severe case of UC, consider the recipe given here. If you go with a canned sauce, strive for marinara and avoid ones with too many preservatives.
- 1 can Crushed Tomatoes (15 oz)
- 1 can Tomato Paste (6 oz)
- 1 pinch Sugar
- ¼ Cup Carrot (shredded or finely chopped)
- 1 tsp Basil (dried)
- 1 tsp Parsley (dried)
- ¼ tsp Oregano (dried)
- ¼ Cup Olive Oil
- 3 Garlic Cloves (finely chopped)
- Salt ; Pepper
For the Toppings
As with the sauce, you can use whichever ones suit your digestion best. But the ones mentioned below are ideal for those with UC
- 1 can Black Olives (2¼ oz, sliced)
- 2-3 Portobello Mushrooms (thinly sliced)
- 1 Onion (small, halved, and sliced thin)
- ¾ Cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Tbsp Truffle Oil
For the Sauce
- Sauté the garlic in the olive oil in a medium saucepan until tender and add the rest of the ingredients
- Cover and simmer for about an hour.
- Be sure to carefully taste and season your sauce with salt and pepper throughout the cooking time.
- Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature before putting it onto the crust.
For the Crust
- Thaw the cauliflower in a sieve or colander. You should do this a few hours before you plan to make the pizza. If using fresh cauliflower, cut off the stem and cut it into florets.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- In a food processor or potato ricer, cut the cauliflower into tiny bits.
- (Skip if using frozen). On a baking sheet lined with parchment, spread the cauliflower into a single layer and bake until it’s tender for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- With the muslin cloth or cheesecloth, put in the cauliflower bits and twist the excess material to squeeze out as much water as possible. The idea is to get the cauliflower bone dry.
- In the large mixing bowl with a spoon, add the cauliflower, parmesan cheese, egg, and seasonings until a dough forms. Understand, however, this isn’t going to be like any “dough” you’ve handled before. But, you’ll see how it works beautifully.
- Cover your pizza pan or baking sheet with parchment paper and put the dough ball on top.
- Work out your cauliflower dough to the desired shape and size while maintaining a thickness of ¼ inch.
- Put this in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the crust is just golden brown.
Make the Pizza
- With a knife and cutting board, chop the Portobello mushrooms and onions.
- Open the can of olives and get it ready along with your sauce, truffle oil, and cheese.
- Once the crust finishes baking, spread your sauce over it followed by the cheese, onions, mushrooms and then the olives. Drizzle the truffle oil over the pie.
- Put the pizza back into the oven until the cheese melts and gets a little bubbly, about five to 10 minutes (more time for a thicker crust).
- When the pie finishes baking, allow it to cool for five minutes before cutting, and make sure you serve it warm.
Tips ; Notes
- If you absolutely cannot consume any amount of cheese, you can replace the parmesan with plant-based imitation cheese or real cheese processed with lactase to remove the lactose. Otherwise, omit the cheese altogether.
- You do not have to use the toppings suggested, you can add whatever you like.
- Do not expect a soft, chewy crust with cauliflower. It will be thin and crispy only.
- If you want a chewier crust, you can use gluten-free premade pizza dough or a kit. The Authentic Foods Company or Bob’s Redmill has the best at-home pizza crust kits available but you have to buy the yeast separately.
- Commercial pizza sauces are not advisable for UC because of the preservatives and additives they use. Therefore, if must have real pizza sauce, make it yourself.
- Once you eat the pizza, pay attention to how you feel and what your digestion does. For some people, certain ingredients mentioned above may trigger symptoms. If you have any doubts, confer with your doctor or other healthcare professionals.
So, to solve the mystery question, “Can you eat pizza with ulcerative colitis?” Yes, you can eat pizza but a huge caveat attaches to it. The crust must comprise gluten free flour or cauliflower with a low-acid marinara sauce and veggie toppings. Adding cheese relies on you and its reaction with your ulcerative colitis.