Good morning! What an incredible and much needed sleep. The world is going by this morning as I awake at almost 8 a.m. A whirlwind week has passed with worries of quarter end which has gone very slow and with data issues this time due to system failures and unbalanced data. I have had some other stresses as well, causing me to do some extra podcast listens on certain subjects. Mom’s house walk through and closing and subsequent move is nearing in with less than two weeks to go. The “challenge” sitting in the back of my mind with great failures this week on the days we have been hurried, slammed, or without sleep. Not enough water, eating horribly and on the go, and not even having time to look at the check list much less try to improve anything. My head needed the long break and I’m grateful for it. I have the whole two days before me of this weekend to rest, rejuvenate, and get some things done.
The above paragraph is about the only thing I have to share personally, as it’s been mostly all work and no play except for this awesome author I found with a great narrator and I treated myself with a mani/pedi yesterday after work.
Since not much else to talk about I thought I’d type up some information about diverticulitis for a friend and blog reader that has had some recent issues. Instead of just typing a long email to her, I will type it here as it might help someone else.
So if you are not interested in this part, then just skip down to “The Weekend” heading below. 😉
Diverticulitis: My Efforts at Preventing It
Diverticulitis can be very serious, depressing, and devastating when it hits, especially if it cannot be kept in control, the colon gets damaged, and surgery is required. And quite frankly the problem is worse in areas where our “Western Diet” is mainly embraced. Almost any other culture has “better numbers” (fewer cases) with a different cuisine, especially those with more of a Mediterranean culture or just about any culture where less enriched bread, less red meat, and less processed foods are found in the eating culture.
I have been part of a Facebook group for a few years now. It’s a support group and mainly the group tries to help one another “get through this” and also shares what works, what doesn’t work, and those going through surgery get some really good support from those having gone through the same, or just from people who care.
Having seen a lot from this group I’ve learned that diverticulitis is very different for just about everyone. What works for one, might not work for another. But with enough people on there, I can see there are some trends that tend to work for a lot of people. It also seems that it depends on how damaged the colon is as to what will work or not. Some people tend to have very sensitive colon walls, some just seem to have diverticula pockets, while others have perforated colons or colons so damaged by diverticulitis repeatedly or severe over time that their colon is just breaking down and obviously sections have to be removed at that point. Sometimes instead of just constipation and diverticula (pockets in the colon that things get stuck in causing blockages) the issue can be infection and in that case it’s best to have the doctor prescribe the antibiotics. And quite frankly it’s best to be under a doctor’s care anyway when this is going on because it is nothing to mess with.
I’ve noticed that some can no longer do spicy foods. I, myself, can eat spicy foods, but I can’t eat ketchup anymore – and this is a very good example of how everyone is different. Ketchup and some tomato sauces, but not all, will burn my colon wall and create blisters. I know it does because I know what it does to my mouth! Then I have trouble with pain in my stomach. Many people also seem to have a problem with lettuce, but I can eat that – but I question kale as it has a sharper edge to it and harder to digest. I’m afraid to eat it as I had an attack twice when I had consumed it. Maybe it was it, maybe not. But each person has to try and learn their specific triggers. That said, I truly believe it is mostly the western diet with our processed breads, meats, oils, etc that cause us our issues.
It seems to me, the best one can do, in addition to prevention entirely, is to try and minimize the situation before it gets too bad, when it does happen. So without going through all my experiences I’ll just sum up a few tips here.
Let me list some of the ways that I’ve found keeps me from having issues.
- Drinking lots of water
- Keeping the “flow” going good (preventing constipation at all costs)
- Daily Probiotic (research the best kind for diverticulitis)
- Switching up the kind of daily probiotic each time you end a bottle and start another
- Eating less red meat, processed meat
- Might have to eat less spicy foods if that bothers you
- Eat softer lettuces if you can tolerate it as opposed to raw and tough edge kale
- Severely decrease bread consumption with it’s fillers and enriched flour ingredients
- Choose whole grain or possibly sour dough (less is good)
- Eat more fish and chicken
- Eat less fried – the oils are not good for you and can lead to unhealthy gut quickly
- Listen to podcasts or YouTubes on healthy gut or avoiding leaky gut- it’s so helpful
- Increase vinegar foods – pickles, salad dressings, slaw with vinegar, or even a tbsp of apple cider vinegar daily if you can stand it.
- Eat a lot of fiber foods – bananas, apples, beans, etc.
- Increase your greens daily
- Increase fresh fruit (not juices but fruit)
- Less alcohol as it’s very drying to your system
- Take blood pressure meds with water pills or any water pills in the daytime when you are awake and can replenish your system with water as these dry you up inside your colon too
- Drink less ice tea as it can be dehydrating, I have found – for some reason.
- Don’t overeat – isn’t this the hard one?
- Greek Yogurt – once a week
- Protein Shakes like the wellness company I do
- Lower stress levels
- Eat much less sugar!
When You Get Constipated, Feel Bloated, or Haven’t Had a Movement
Sometimes your gut begins to get out of whack and you need to get it back in control before you dive into a diverticulitis situation. Each time I’ve gone down the path with a spell of diverticulitis, I had constipation, bloating, and no movements or hard movements (sorry TMI) – either starting to happen or did happen. It’s time to get serious and get it under control fast. In addition to the above I do the following.
- Don’t eat until you are really hungry again.
- Continue drinking a lot of water perhaps enhanced by hydrating types of liquids (Gatorade, Isagenix Hydrate)
- Eat soft foods only, cooked veggies, soups, fiber foods, maybe even some yogurt
- Coffee or herbal teas
- DO NOT eat steak, pizza, bread, hot dogs, sandwich meat, kielbasa red meats, etc.
- Fruit is probably ok – apples, pineapple, etc. Although keep in mind some people cannot handle the texture of the skins within pineapple or the seed like things in strawberries.
- I have a special drink I like to drink called “Hawaiian Ginger” by Goldthred, which I’ve found only at Publix and quite by accident. It tastes like a Moscow mule (ginger) w/o the alcohol. It puts the stomach in a better pH.
- Avoid foods that are harder to digest like raw veggies at this point
- Avoid sugar and desserts
- Avoid alcholic drinks but I think 1 small glass of red wine might be ok as it’s pretty good for the stomach, but keep in mind alcohol is dehydrating and that is opposite of our goal here. But the Bible says a little wine is good for the stomach, lol.
When You Have Pain in the Colon
I want to be clear here that you likely might need to just see the doc, but there have been times for me now that I have been through this several times, where I can pull out of a situation if I’ve just started having slight pain having been constipated and not pulled out of it.
- Switch to liquids only immediately: water, coffee (it helps with movement), herbal teas, broths
- Exercise and move
- Massage the tummy
- Take a hot shower and allow the hot water to hit your tummy area (we’re trying to get movement here)
- Pray for movement
- When the movement comes and pain subsides upgrade to eggs, jello, creamed potatoes, Mac and cheese, white rice, jello (no not the healthiest) but it sustains you til you can eat again. You have to switch to foods that are easy to break down for the time being. Then switch back to healthy when the scare has passed.
- If you have excruciating pain or it doesn’t go away and correct itself, you might need to go ahead, call doc and get set up on antibiotics. If you can’t take Flagyl (one of the antibiotics that most can’t tolerate) there is another choice – not as effective but it’s worked for me.
While Under Doc’s Care / While Going Thru Diverticulitis Attack
If you can’t stop it and find yourself in the midst of an attack, give yourself a break. The world will have to stop itself til you get better. It’s no fun to go through. We love to eat and it’s bad enough you can’t participate but use this time to do a few things you love around the house. Watching shows, reading, taking a walk, planning things to do when you feel better, catching up with friends if you feel like it, play computer games, be a kid again. Converse with those in a support group like on Facebook. And try to enjoy the down time. It’s really the best way to cope because it is scary, and you feel alone.
Keep Certain Foods in Stock
I keep those drinkable bone broths available, instant Mac and cheese cups, instant potato cups, and jello. That way I can switch immediately when needed. I keep them at work and at home. I also find that the wellness company shakes also give me nourishment, protein and vitamins during these potential attacks. Once full blown though usually milk products not recommended. But some of these shakes are plant based and might be ok for sustenance in the period unless you are having to do clear liquids in case of testing etc. And those Hawaiian Ginger drinks. I’m going to have one of those today as I’ve eaten horribly this week and I feel very full, bloated and feel that non digestible feeling starting to happen as we’ve eaten horribly this week.
There’s likely very obvious things I’ve forgotten to mention. I’m not a doctor, but this is how I personally cope with this. I kinda know when I’m likely to have an attack and it’s during times of overeating, stress, being very busy, no exercise, probably not enough rest, we’ve eaten horribly. I have had one of those weeks this past week so I know I’m in a danger zone right now. And I need to turn it around. So I’m in that first zone up there where I’m beginning to feel out of whack and I’ll do my Ginger drink, hydrate drinks, lots of water, take a walk, move a lot (I’ll be cleaning today). I’m going to eat soft foods – probably eggs with spinach mixed in, and just not eat a lot today. I’ll likely avoid pop corn b/c I can only eat it when the flow is good. :-O I’ll probably skip breakfast and have my eggs for lunch.
Well let’s see. Believe it or not – those that like to make fun of our list making – we really don’t have much of a list for the weekend itself. Oh I do have a list that is ongoing, personally. But I will do household chores and laundry first. Mom has some things she needs help with ordering on line. I will also do some Christmas shopping on line. I want us to list our Thanksgiving dry ingredient items and go ahead and get those in the pantry. I’ll go to the store tomorrow. Also will get some things bought for the work week and this last week of quarter end crunch. It’s likely to be a very long week. I may not get to blog as much as I may have to give up personal time this week and go in early and stay late. I do get my hair cut next Wednesday. Unless I have something significant and fun to share, I’ll likely just hold off blogging until something is interesting that I want to blog about. Right now my brain is all over the place. I’ll probably switch to doing every other day either blog or video editing. I started editing the next video, of course. I’m hoping to get some of it done this weekend, but I am also needing to work on a Christmas project for George that will take some time and I fear if I don’t get it done this weekend, it’s probably not going to get done! Sadly. and Likely Not. But we’ll see. I’m just excited to have a Saturday and Sunday at home.
Ok over and out. What you doing this weekend? Did you throw out your onions? (Recall – google it for details). We kept ours as we’d been eating off the bag and hadn’t been sick.