This was the face I made a few weeks ago at the ER doctor after he confirmed that the pain that landed me there was in fact diverticulitis. This was still my face as I realized that a large percentage of the foods that I eat regularly are going to have to be eliminated from my diet…possibly forever. What is diverticulitis? Well… Wikipedia says:
Diverticulitis is a common digestive disease which involves the formation of pouches (diverticula) within the bowel wall. This process is known as diverticulosis, and typically occurs within the large intestine, or colon, although it can occasionally occur in the small intestine as well. Diverticulitis results when one of these diverticula becomes inflamed.
Patients often present with the classic triad of left lower quadrant pain, fever, and leukocytosis (an elevation of the white cell count in blood tests). Patients may also complain of nausea or diarrhea; others may be constipated.
Less commonly, an individual with diverticulitis may present with right-sided abdominal pain. This may be due to the less prevalent right-sided diverticula or a highly redundant sigmoid colon. Some patients report bleeding from the rectum.
The most common symptom of diverticulitis is abdominal pain. The most common sign is tenderness around the left side of the lower abdomen. If infection is the cause, then nausea, vomiting, fever, cramping, and constipation may occur as well. The severity of symptoms depends on the extent of the infection and complications. Diverticulitis may worsen throughout the first day, as it starts as small pains and/or diarrhea, and may slowly turn into vomiting and sharp pains.
What a lovely way to start my 2014! [Note the sarcasm.] So like any good foodie, I wasted no time researching all the things the disease was preventing me from so I could formulate a dietary plan. Because of inflammation and fear of rocking the boat I followed a very strict diet while I took my pain medication and antibiotics of clear liquids and yogurt for days until I was able to start moving my bowels. [TMI? Sorry this is a digestive and colon related problem, there will be more of this to follow if you are still with me. I know, I know, “girls don’t poop, ” right? Ok, well, gentleman even toddlers know thanks to a very famous book that EVERYBODY POOPS.] After about 4 days of that I had moved on to a restrictive diet that was similar to the B.R.A.T. diet for people with the stomach flu or other ended issues. And of course, because I am part hoopie or hippie [whichever is more appealing], I was also sure to add in natural laxative tea, DGL licorice, probiotics, prebiotics, and fiber in addition to sticking with the live and active cultures in my Greek yogurts. After all this I realized I was going to be hungry soon, and what were my meals going to consist of now? At this point I was steering clear of any fruit or vegetable with a seed or a skin, no nuts, no popcorn, no spicy foods, no caffeine, no high fat dairy, limited red meats, nothing in the gaseous family [i.e. broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts], and avoiding any other meats with “skins” like kielbasa. I did not want to land in this position again if I could help it, and I was still very much in pain after a week of medication. So I searched for foods rich in fiber, foods that I could still tolerate, and foods that wouldn’t do a number on me if I had to start eating them more often.
As I have been Pinteresting and Googling and searching for family recipes I thought, ‘why not blog these delicious dishes for the world of folks suffering from diverticulitis like me?” And here we are. I plan to “test drive” all the meals, snacks, and sides that I attempt, alter, create, or inherit from others. I realize everyone is different and can tolerate different things or specific things at specific times. I am blogging this as my journey living with a new disease that dictates, at least in part the things I can put on my plate.Please feel free to stop by and check out my posts of belly [and colon] friendly meals. Happy eating!