Acute Pancreatitis and WHY Diet Is Important

acute-pancreatitis-trigger-tamale-pieUntil I found out how important diet was in regards to acute pancreatitis my life was pure hell. I remember having acute pancreatitis while living in a small University town. I had been diagnosed by this time and I had a job selling cars at a Chevy dealership. I had NOT told anyone when I applied that I was sick. I simply didn’t think it was really anyone’s business, anyway …

There I am at work making calls (prospecting for business) when the pain hits. Acute pancreatitis. It came on fast and intense. I made it to the head for water to take my Ibuprofen and Compazine.  I’m about 25 – 30 minutes into the attack, sitting on the floor, against the white tiled wall, leaning forward holding on to my guts so they don’t fall out and panting like a dog when this guy I worked with came in to the head and asked if I was ok.

I was barely coherent but managed to say something like: “Does it look like it?”

He asked me if I wanted an ambulance and I said: “No, they can’t help me.”

BossI prayed alot durng those attacks of acute pancreatitis. I had nothing else to rely on except God, my Ibuprofen and Compazine. After an hour or so the Ibuprofen kicked in and the pain began to subside. I told the boss I needed to go home, and he didn’t even ask why (I must have looked like death warmed over). I didn’t die and in a few more hours I took another one of those horse pills (Ibuprofen). Of course I had to explain to the boss what happened when I returned to work.

Now I was still married to my first wife at the time. She was a dang fine cook, one of those farm gals who was good in the kitchen and she had made tamale pie for dinner the night before. I loved her tamale pie.

As intelligent as Dr. Langdon was (remember, he was the ONLY one who could figure out my condition) he told me to limit fats and drink NO alcohol. And if things went right I’d have about ten years until I couldn’t eat anything and would need a transplant. Then he mentioned that pancreas transplant success wasn’t to good at that time. Well, as lousey as I felt most of the time back then I pretty much thought the doc was right, that I may not live 10 years. In fact, I was beginning to think he was a might generous in his time frame.

Limiting Fat Doesn’t Work

limiting-fat-pancreatitis

I can tell you, from personal experience, that when you want to prevent acute pancreatitis attacks, “limiting fats” doesn’t work. My wife had seen me sick. She knew first hand what I was going through and tried her best to “limit fats” by making sure she didn’t use any extra fat in cooking, draining fat from meat she cooked and so forth. But …

It just didn’t work.

Anyway after some serious thought I decided to make some changes because I could only imagine how difficult it was for my wife, at age 26, to handle what was happening to me and ultimately us. Living with someone who has pancreatitis can’t be fun. I know having it isn’t! If you are 26, wanting a family, etc it has to be difficult.

Several months later I finally figured out that eating the way I was accustomed to eating was NOT a good thing. After all I’d usually get sick soon after eating yet, being single by then and having to cook for myself or go out I wasn’t eating as much nor as often. Since I didn’t have to please a wife by eating the meal she cooked I didn’t eat when I felt lousey. I noticed that I had short interludes where I actually felt better until I ate something deliciously high in fat. I remembered the doc saying to limit the fat. I also remembered a very painful attack within 20 – 30 minutes after I had eaten a dinner my mom had cooked that included potatoes fried in bacon grease. So I started making a list of foods I knew contained a lot of fat. Red meat, pork, lamb, duck, butter, cheese, margarine, mayo, whole milk, cooking oil etc …

high-fat-foods-pancreatitisMy list became quite long.

I began eating only what was on a very short list I had left. Fish, chicken, turkey, veggies, fruit, legumes, and whole grain products. I also started drinking grapefruit juice and taking a multi-vitamin-mineral and vitamin C. And to my surprise …

In a couple months I was feeling MUCH better. The acute pancreatitis attacks stopped. And so it went until I discovered grape seed and curcumin. I actually learned about grape seed extract first and then about a year later learned about curcumin. I am sort of partial to grape seed extract because grape seed really started the healing process. It was probably the new, revised diet, grapefruit juice, vitamin C and grape seed extract combined but I am way ahead of myself and need to back up so …

Once I started doing research, put everything together in regards to diet, including learning to fast for as long as it took to FEEL hunger before I ate again after an episode of pain and started drinking white unsweetened grapefruit juice I was on my way to relief. Then …

Years later, after hours and hours of research I tightened up my diet yet again, eliminated EVERYTHING with fat, basically became a vegan for about six months and started with grape seed extrat. That is when things really changed. After awhile I had way more “well days” than “sick days.” Then …

A Plant Based Diet Helped Me HealTo my suprise and JOY, I was well! At least I felt well. 6 months with ZERO pain. And my abdoninal pain (tenderness) was gone! So I began to try some skinless chicken and fish. I was still ok. In fact I started gaining weight and soon looked like I might live. I felt like I might too, for the first time. In fact, for the first time, since becoming sick, I actually began making some plans for the future because maybe I actually had a future. Then about a year after overhauling my diet and starting grape seed I found curcumin. The combination of diet, grape seed, curcumin and vitamin c really iced the cake.

I mean I really felt good! Yet …

I’m a curious idiot and sometimes have this need to know stuff that gets me in trouble. I wanted to know whether it was my diet or the grape seed and curcumin that were making a difference. So …

I did a test on myself.

I don’t remember whether I dropped the diet first or the pills but either way I became ill again on just ONE. I found out that the elimination of ALL fats and meat (except chicken, turkey and fish) from my diet and the vitamin C, grape seed and curcumin regimen were BOTH absolutely necessary IF I wanted to feel well.

ONE without the other DID NOT work for me.

pancreas-time-off
Leave me be. I hurt. Keep bugging me and I’m gonna make you hurt and puke!

If you are experiencing the pain, whether slight twinges, tenderness or worse along with nausea and want it all to stop, so you can enjoy life, maybe it would be helpful to you as well to consider TWO things:

1) A complete overhaul of your diet
2) The addition of vitamin C, grape seed extract and curcumin to your daily ritual. If you have gallbaldder disease with or without stones or SOD,  curcumin isn’t a good idea.

You can get quality supplements at any good health food store or you can check out the exact ones I use here: Supplements for Pancreatitis

Do You Have Pancreas Pain?

If you have pain, your pancreas is not a happy camper. Pay attention now …

IF you have PAIN your PANCREAS is NOT happy!

Your pancreas is not a happy camper because in some way, whether your fault through alcohol abuse or refusing to change your diet and continuing to eat HIGH FAT foods, it is telling you to “Back off.” You NEED to listen to your pancreas because …

If you don’t listen, your pancreas is simply gonna say “screw it” and destroy itself. If that doesn’t kill you, then …

pancreas-dog-boneYou will either be facing a potential surgical removal of the pancreas (not a pretty picture), living on insulin shots and enzyme therapy or the very real possibilty of death due to NOT having a functioning pancreas because you didn’t qualify for TP/AIT and your pancreas has turned into something your dog would love to use for exercising his jaws and cleaning his teeth on a warm sunny afternoon.

One thing I am certain of is that I had 3 really lousy years (1979,80,81) filled with pain, feeling horrible and I lived so a person must really have to feel rotten to die from pancreatitis. Is eating high fat foods such as red meat, pork, lamb and so forth worth it?

Only you can answer that, it isn’t up to me.

It is your decision.

If you decide to get serious about changing your health click here for some steps you can take.

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