What should I eat with diverticulitis?

Welcome back to another Wellness Wednesday topic. This also concludes this month’s series of posts on Diverticulosis/Diverticulitis. Be sure to read through the other 3 posts if you are interested.

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Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis are kind of sister diseases. You won’t get Diverticulitis without having Diverticulosis first. Most people don’t even know they have Diverticulosis until they get Diverticulitis. The video below explains it all really well. But, as for what you should eat if you get Diverticulitis, it is kind of the opposite of Diverticulosis. The video shows images of the colon. If you do not like those kind of images you may wish to not watch.

With Diverticulitis you may be instructed to:

  1. Eat liquids only for a few days to allow the bowel to rest and decrease inflammation.
  2. When you do start to eat foods again, eat a soft diet, and an easy to digest diet such as scrambled eggs, toast, soups, broth, etc.
  3. Eat a low fiber diet. Fiber is harder to digest than other foods, and the bowel needs time to rest from all that work.
  4. Your doctor may even tell you to eat nothing by mouth for a day or so, if you have a really bad case of Diverticulitis.

That is pretty easy, right? Well you want to avoid the complications that can come with Diverticulitis, which can lead to perforation, Peritonitis, and even surgery to repair parts of the bowel. Some people could even need a resection of the bowel.

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what is diverticulitis?

Welcome to another Tuesday edition of Health Tips on Tuesday. August is Colon Health Awareness Month and I have been discussing Diverticulosis. Today, I am going to talk about Diverticulitis. It is a sister disease to Diverticulosis. You can read the other posts on this topic in the archives.

Diverticulitis is very common especially as we age. You have to have Diverticulosis to have Diverticulitis. Why? Because Diverticulitis is inflammation, and or infection, of the Diverticulum that are present in Diverticulosis. Remember that diverticulum are pouches that form usually in the lower colon and can not only become infected but also can blow, or perforate causing much larger issues.

There are 3 videos below that explain Diverticulitis and have images to help you visualize what I mean. It may be disturbing to some people, so watch wisely. The 3rd video is in Spanish, to explain it to any Spanish readers that may visit this blog. I only know a little Spanish, so I can not verify what he is saying. I tried to find it in Sign Language as well, but I could not locate any, except for one with signs for common symptoms. So, I will share that for any medical people so you can have at least some basic signs to communicate with hearing impaired patients.

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what Should I eat with diverticulosis?

A quick note before I begin. I was going to talk about Fiber and how it helps prevent someone from getting Diverticulosis in the first place. However, I have been studying this topic for over a week now and there are very conflicting opinions, and test results for fiber as a preventative to getting Diverticulosis, and whether it may actually increase one’s risk of getting Diverticulosis. For that reason the fiber issue, here, will only be discussed in relation to people who already have Diverticulosis.

If you want to learn more about preventing Diverticulosis discuss with your doctor about a diet that would be best. Studies are showing that a job where you sit a lot may actually be the highest risk factor for getting Diverticulosis. More about activity in a later post So, what if you already have Diverticulosis? What should you eat? Well, some of that is a loaded topic because it probably will depend on some other factors such as other illnesses, medications, activity level, etc. But, in general if you have Diverticulosis your doctor most likely is going to advise that you avoid processed foods, eat a more plant-based lifestyle, and of course increase your fiber intake. Be sure you drink enough water, or you may end up constipated from too much fiber. This goes for anyone who eats a high fiber diet. Start slow, don’t go from 10 grams of fiber per day to 50, your gut will not be happy at all.

How much Fiber? First let me say you need to know how much fiber you are already consuming, before you decide if you need to eat more. A food diary, for a week or so, will help you decide that. Be accurate and consistent with your food dietary intake. There are apps that can help you. I use one called Track-Nutrition Calculator. If you are a female under age 50, and have Diverticulosis 25 grams of fiber, if over 50 then 21 grams of fiber per day. If you are a male under age 50, and have Diverticulosis 38 grams of fiber, if over 50 years of age 30 grams of fiber. These number recommendations are from 2012, so they may be different, or the same in 2021.

Why is Fiber Important for Diverticulosis? It keeps food and waste moving through the digestive system, not allowing backups and waste from getting into the pouches in the intestines that define Diverticulosis. It is when these pouches get food, or waste in them, that they become inflame or infected causing Diverticulitis. If you have a bout of Diverticulitis you will be told to eat a low fiber diet. That is for next week ‘s topic.

Foods High in Fiber: Fruits and Vegetables are going to be your first thought most likely. There are other foods high in fiber, that are also plant-based such as: beans, peas, nuts, seeds, legumes, brown and wild rice, whole grain breads, whole wheat or whole grain pasta. Get used to reading labels and calculating fiber per serving. Most processed, and fast food options are going to be very low in fiber if it has any at all.

I know I say this in almost every blog post that has to do with diet modification: learn to cook and eat more at home, then out. It is cheaper and healthier. You can control the fat, sodium, sugar, and fiber of each meal you eat. Check out Meals with Melissa, if you need help with meal planning, cooking, prepping, etc. If you have any other medical issues that require diet modification, be sure and speak to your health care provider before making any drastic changes to your diet.

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the case of the disappearing bacon!

Hello, and welcome to Tuesday! I figured out was wrong with my pool after dumping a gazillion chemicals into it, lol. There was a small tear in the hose that leads from the skimmer to the pump hose. It was literally just blowing the algae back into the pool instead of through the pump. I fixed the issue and today the pool is blue, yay! Sadly, all it has done is rain since yesterday afternoon, Boo! But, that leads me to invite you sign up for my newsletter below so you can learn about my two health challenges for August.

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If you read here often then you know I have stage 3 CKD, which is slowly improving over time and with lifestyle modifications, and that through the years I have modified my eating patterns many times to help slow progression of CKD, and for overall health. I am mostly plant-based at this time. Every now and then I will try some other regimens to see if I can knock off a few more pounds by surprising my metabolic system. The only one I absolutely will not try is Keto. I am always interested in articles, videos, webinars, etc. on Nutrition type topics.

This morning I was reading Fox Business. I read it pretty much every morning. I read an article that pork prices could go up 50% due to a new California law. Yesterday, not on Fox Business, I read a headline that said bacon could go away forever! Now, I don’t really eat bacon so I am not all that concerned. However, I do enjoy some extra lean pork chops once in a while, and my family still eats meat, even though I have chosen to drastically cut my meat to once or twice a week, in small portions. Please note plant-based does not mean Vegan. If you would like to read my rant about that topic please go here. I am here to say that if pork prices go up 50% we will not be eating any pork, except on special occasions like a good expensive steak. I already feel like bacon is a garbage food and plenty expensive. I certainly won’t pay more for it. That does not mean my husband and daughter will agree. Lucky for me I do the shopping and meal planning. Even cheap bacon is like 4.99 a pound, now double that. It would definitely disappear from our table. Don’t even get me started on ham prices. Good grief!

But, why will pork products be going up? Apparently, California voters voted for Proposition 12 and it passed way back in 2018. This means pork producers had 3 years on working towards the standards. The standards are ethical standards for baby animals, and breeding animals mostly regarding space and ability to move around. You can read the full ballot here. What I found of particular interest is that PETA decided to oppose the passing of this proposition on the premise that they want people to eat no meat products at all. That means everyone would have to become a Vegan. I honestly don’t see this ever happening, ever. So, if the lives of animals can be improved, and made more humane, that has to be a good thing. There are several great reasons to eat less meat, but there is a place for meat in a healthy diet. That is not the topic today, though. Today, we are talking about pork and the prices of pork going up.

Then I read another article, which is actually older, that bacon causes Cancer. Well it isn’t just bacon. Any heavily processed meat, and especially smoked meats apparently, increase the risk of Cancer. But, as you will see in the video below the risk is like small. Still it is a proven risk, and of course you will have to decide if the risk is too high, or not.

Bacon is very high in Fat, and Sodium. I find it to have a very small amount of protein for the amount of fat and sodium per serving. So, to me it is a low quality protein source at best. There is of course the debate about fat, especially saturated fat, and whether it is as unhealthy as we think. We know that our brains need healthy fats to function. We also need to consume fats for absorption of other nutrients. However, again, not for this post. But, there is absolutely no debate about Sodium and the fact that is unhealthy, and most Americans consume way too much of it. Depending on the type, and cooking method bacon can start at 175 mg per one slice. Most people do not eat one slice of bacon. What about Canadian Bacon? While leaner than regular bacon, it really is just ham and still quite heavy on the sodium, but way less fat.

Below are some interesting videos on the topics discussed today. But, what do you say? If pork prices go up 50% will bacon, and other pork products disappear from your food list? To me, and I may get scolded by someone for saying this, for health reasons I would have no problem with bacon disappearing. By the way Proposition 12 was not just about pigs. It is for other animals as well, but for some reason everyone is hollering about bacon.

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