I Have Pancreatitis What Can I Eat?
If you have pancreatitis, the question “I have pancreatitis what can I eat?” may be very important to you. In fact the answer to that question may mean the difference between living with pancreatitis, beating pancreatitis and dying from pancreatitis.
I Have Pancreatitis What Can I Eat Safely?
When the question: I have pancreatitis what can I eat? comes to mind I have a tendency to think vegan. The plant based vegan diet (no animal products, no dairy) is the most friendly diet for pancreatitis however …
The vegan diet allows foods high in fat content such as nuts, avocados, coconut, and oils which are not friendly towards a damaged pancreas so when answering the question: I have pancreatitis what can I eat? ALL high fat content foods should be eliminated. For those of you who are used to eating high fat content foods this may present a problem, especially at first but …
As you learn to accept the fact that your eating habits need to change for “I have pancreatitis what can I eat?” or you will suffer the consequences it will become easier. In time you won’t miss those high fat content meats, sauces, gravies and deserts. You will welcome the pancreatitis pain relief that you will soon experience due to a major change in menu and …
Your new diet for pancreatitis and pancreas healing will become a treasured lifestyle change.
Safe Foods For Pancreatitis
When you are learning about “I have pancreatitis what can I eat?” it’s important to know the TWO main enemies of a patient with pancreatitis are Alcohol and FAT both of which will inflame the pancreas. Alcohol and high fat foods are out. The ONLY safe fat for a pancreatitis patient with an unhealed pancreas is plant based. You are balking already, aren’t you?
I hear you! But …
YOU are the one who is still sick. I have had many, many acute pancreatitis attacks and was finally diagnoed with both acute and chronic pancreatitis in 1979. I am healed. I have learned this information about “I have pancreatitis what can I eat” the hard way (trial and error). You can believe your doctor, favorite nurse, the guy down the street or some book written by the descendants of some dead guy who had pancreatitis …
ALL of whom have never personally had nor experienced the horrible pain, nausea and other symptoms that come with pancreatitis or you can choose to take a flyer and believe me, the guy who has been diagnosed with pancreatitis, told he had maybe 10 years of life left and is still alive 33+ years later and …
Has lived pancreatitis pain free for most of those 33 years because I found out how to DO IT RIGHT. So …
Learn About “I Have Pancreatitis What Can I Eat?”
The list of safe foods for answering the question: I have pancreatitis what can I eat? is a fairly short list. One task you need to do in order to prove to yourself what I tell you is true and more importantly to actually KNOW what foods are safe for you is to create your own food diary. Anyway …
Here is a view of that short list of foods usually safe to eat when you have pancreatitis (NOT when you are just coming out of an acute pancreatitis attack).
- Egg whites (packed with protein – ZERO fat)
- Legumes (beans, lentils, peas)
- Vegetables (all kinds – leafy greens, tubers and cruciferous)
- Fruits (all kinds EXCEPT avocado, coconut or some other high fat content fruit)
- Whole grains (wheat, barley, oats, rice etc)
- Spices (especially good are cayenne, garlic, turmeric, black pepper, ginger)
- Supplements for Pancreatitis
Here’s a free tool I use to find out about foods. What the nutrient density is, the fat content and what kind of fat, vitamin/mineral content and more. You don’t need to buy anything or sign up for their newsletter (which may contain food choices not good for YOU). Simply use the tool.
6 Months Symptom Free
Once you have been symptom free for 6 months or more, while on your “I have pancreatitis what can I eat?” diet, you may begin adding in more protein sources to test how it works out for you. If you have not healed your pancreas enough to have been completely symptom free for at least 6 months DO NOT add these foods.
- Fish (white meat fish such as cod, halibut, bass, crappie, pollack, orange roughy, talapia, catfish)
- Seafood (lobster, shrimp, crab, scallops, clams etc)
- Poultry (skinless chicken, turkey, grouse, pheasant, quail)
The Rest Of Your Life
Once you have been symptom free for a year or more DO NOT think you can vary much from your diet. I have pancreatitis what can I eat will never change. Once your pancreas has been damaged you ALWAYS have the risk of acute pancreatitis and more damage. If the attack is bad enough you may not have to worry about diet and if you make it you have to start all over from square one and re-heal the damage.
I KNOW because I did something stupid.
I quit taking my supplements and varied my diet.
Soon I was sick as a dog again.
Be smart, learn from my mistakes and stay on your diet for pancreatitis.
It is a “I have pancreatitis what can I eat?” lifetime commitment but the alternative could be somewhat dim because I understand it gets really dark 6 feet under ground.
340 thoughts on “I Have Pancreatitis What Can I Eat?”
I read that mct oil was good to include in your diet. It is suppose to not require any release of pancreatic enzymes to be digested. Do you know anything about this?
Harla I must admit I know NOTHING about mct oil. Never heard of it. So I looked it up – Medium Chain Triglycerides. At this point I can’t give an educated opinion simply because I am NOT educated on the subject of MCT’s as yet however, I did find one site with an article written by a doctor that said it may be good for pancreatitis patients but causes nausea. So …
I would guess since a doctor thinks it may be ok for a damaged pancreas that it is most likely not good (yes I am a skeptic when it comes to doctors). However, I reserve judgement until I do some research. If you decide to give it a try let me know how it works out for you.
I have been suffering from pancreatitis for over 10 years. I take pain meds, which has caused other problems. Central sleep apnea for one. Which is horrible. I am exhausted all the time, even with the cpap machine.. I follow a very strict diet and have cut out so many foods, but I still seem to be declining. Reading your blog has given me a glimmer of hope. At the rate I am going, I figure I have 2 maybe 3 years left. I have no quality of life because of this disease. If I exercise, by that I mean walking, I am in pain. I have to lie down after 2-3 hours of being up doing normal daily chores, I mean I am in tears. I”m usually in the hospital every 4 to 5 months, because I can’t take the pain. I hate taking so much pain medication. Sometimes I don’t bother because it really doesn’t help, I just wait it out. I’m in pain after eating, but i also became malnourished because I wasn’t eating enough. It’s very difficult to eat several small meals/snacks a day. How did you do it?? I don’t want to die. I want to be able to go to my daughter’s wedding in November, but at this point not sure I will make it. My family do not understand the severity of this and frankly I think they are sick of it. They just don’t get it. Your advice was great, anything
else you can think of that may help me I would love to hear. I am so sick of being sick. I am experiencing spasms now, insomnia, the list goes on and on. They say I don’t have cancer, but I have all the symptoms.
Sorry to rattle on…another sleepless night of pain and anxiety. I was looking up sushi and came across you.
No sushi I guess. I made plans with friends and I never go out. I’ll just have brown rice if available and vegetables. I’ve also lost 35 lbs in less than 5 months. They are going to be shocked. You sounded so different than all the other articles I’ve read and believe me I have read sooo many.
Thanks if you took the time to read all this. Love to hear back from you.
Hi Kim – I understand your fear. Fear is an enemy. Do your best to get rid of it. Yes, people die from pancreatitis I won’t lie to you but it doesn’t have to be today, next month or even next year. I’m proof. Doc told me maybe ten years. That was 37 years ago. Doing what I do will not be easy. For most people it’s a huge challenge. You have to decide you want to live, you want to beat this condition called pancreatitis and that you will not quit. I find there are tons of folks, who say they want to get well yet don’t want to do what it takes, which is a huge lifestyle change for most folks. So, let’s see if we can get you to your daughter’s wedding, well or at least feeling a lot better than you do now. Then once you accomplish that goal you can form others lifespan goals. Smile! There is always hope 🙂
What you have to understand is that I am NOT a doctor. I can not tell you what to do in regards to your health. I can only tell you what I’d do. What Almighty God taught me and told me to share with people like you. So I am only going to tell you what I would do and have done to get well and then stay well. IF I had it all to do over again I’d follow the exact steps I am going to lay out.
Step 1 – I’d do the pancreatitis food diary and prep. This step is extremely important because without doing it you will never know exactly what foods trigger your pain and symptoms. You’ll simply be guessing or worse listening to someone who has no clue. I know what triggers I have to avoid and I lump everyone into the same regimen simply because I KNOW in most cases the two worst enemies of a pancreatitis patient are:
1) Alcohol is extremely caustic to a damaged pancreas or for those people who have the genetic predisposition to alcoholic pancreatitis. No you don’t have to be an alcoholic or a weekend lush to get pancreatitis from alcohol. IF you have a genetic variant that predisposes you to the condition even casual drinking could trigger the disease. Abstaining from alcohol is crucial. and
2) Food (fat really). I began to understand that food is not my friend. Especially red meat, pork, high fat junk food, prepackaged foods, anything with a high fat content. It is ironic but fat exacerbates every billary type disease (gallbladder, pancreas, liver, sphincter of oddi). Some people can tolerate more fat than I can. Others less. But fat and alcohol are the two main enemies.
Step 2 is to start your new diet. I do not have a bunch of recipes. I have several posts that explain about diet, what to eat what not to eat. Using your imagination you should be able to create breakfast, lunch and dinner on a daily basis. When you do the food diary prep you will fast, then cleanse, then try organic veggie juice (hopefully you have a juicer) if not low sodium V8 (available at most stores) can do fine. Then you graduate to solid food.
Step 3 – Supplements. I’d go to your store (fred meyers, health store, etc) and buy the supplements today because I’d want to use them during the fast. The fast is water and supplements only unless you need pain relief (Ibuprofen).
Those are the three steps I’d take, now, if I had to do it all over. Step 2 takes a while. The diary is best done one food at a time according to the directions which is time consuming, boring and challenging. The supplements are necessary for healing. Until the inflammation is totally conquered you will continue to have symptoms. It usually takes BOTH diet and supplements to be successful. When buying your supplements (grape seed extract, curcumin and vitamin C) make sure they are a single, stand-alone formula so that high doses can be achieved without toxicity.
If you have questions ask. Smile you are going to be feeling better and attending your daughter’s wedding 🙂
Dear Sir! I just came across your blog hear and was interested because I was diagnosed bacon August of this year with Pancreatitis and I don’t even drink, and or smoke! Have not for 30 years. But I can say is that I have type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Long story short if I can I was on the traditional meds for both ailments and in my research of pancreatitis it is said not only alcohol and or smoking but other contributing factors such as type 2 diabetes abdominal surgery trauma to the abdominal area, medications etc . After learning that meds could be a factor I quit all asap and as God is my witness my numbers started to come down and stabilize along with the limited diet that I put myself on from research. My Primary Dr and medical profession has not been very helpful frankly. Since August of this year was when I was diagnosed and is when I drastically overhauled my diet as well with vegetable and fruit smoothies with lentils and still having some snacks has been my diet.along with multiple supplements as well. As you I believe that God allowed this to happen so that I might honor this temple more than destroy it with the gluttony that I was indulging in. That’s right I would binge eat which I believe from my research had a huge deal with the diagnose I forget what I was going to say so I will ask my question that I initially wanted to ask and that is what do you mean regarding your comment in the above feed back that you gave about the supplements grape seed extract , cucumin and vitamin c making sure they are single , strand alone formula so that high doses can be achieved? God bless you sir for your information and ministry you have hear in responding to all the readers and writers! By the way weather it matters or not iam a 63 yr old male and along with the diet change I have cut out all dairy, processed and preservative foods coffee caffeine and other things that slip my mind but again by Gods Grace He will help me. Thanks again
Hi Brandon … I’m sorry you have experienced pancreatitis but I commend you on your research diligence and obvious success in learning to heal. Praise God … That’s great! In regards to the supplements and what I meant by “stand alone” is the ingredient list should only list the one ingredient you are taking. Grape seed should be only grape seed extract or a combination of grape seed extract and maybe grape skin or maybe maritime pine bark extract (pycnogenol). It shouldn’t have anything else that may be toxic in large doses such as vitamin A or D or E or minerals etc. The same holds true with Vitamin C and curcumin. Vitamin C often has bioflavonoids and/or rose hips in combination and that is fine too. But again nothing else. Curcumin often has pepperine aka black pepper to enhance absorption and that is fine.
Give it to God. He is your answer. You have one job and that is to believe
For me, nothing spicy at all. I don’t know if that’s because I’m weird or if it applies to others.
Kylie i hear tons of people say what you just said while they still eat steak and other high fat crap. I can eat any spice and i eat tons of garlic, cayenne, chili powder, black pepper, salt, onions. if it’s hot and anti-inflammatory i eat it. never bothers me. But … i don’t eat steak, roast, bacon, pork, lamb, duck, mayo, butter, or use oil in cooking or as an ingredient. I stay away from high fat foods and alcohol. i watch labels on products i buy. lard is either pig fat or beef fat and is used in a lot of stuff especially baked goods. unless you have done the food diary prep correctly and then started a food diary you will never know what is really good (safe) for you or bad (unsafe) for you. that is just the way it is.
Healhy Guy. Porade help. First of all, your blog is fantastic. I have been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis four yours ago, had my first attack when I was 18, now I’m 34. My doctors always told me that I developed this terrible disease due to alcohol, treated me like shit at ER or hospitals, I almost lost my mind. After 15 years of searching for right Gastro doctor I finally found one. After week of tests he istelling me I have Celiac Disease untreated fir many many years. None of my previous doctors noticed it. Oh man, makes me wanna punch them right in the face. Now, I know what untreated celiac disease can do to pancreas. I have already EPI and have to be on creon always when I eat, since my pancreas outputs so little enzymes. I’m not diabetic…..yet;))) I follow the same diet you do plus added grape seed and curcumin. But Celiac disease changes all that. Now to my question finally;) Man, what do you ea?..you mension you have this combo CP+CD as well. How do you get by? I need some tips, feeling like shit these days, really:(. Please, if you can give me some gluten-free tips that are also low fat and are in line with CP diet. Thank you sir!
Matt – you lucky devil! You have chronic pancreatitis and celiac disease, like me? Lucky you dude! What do I eat? It sure isn’t steak, biscuits and gravy! I’m one of the lucky guys. Simply going gluten free (normal gluten free diet) didn’t work for me. Ah hell no. I had to cut out corn, oats and rice too. I thought, since I’d had it since I was a kid (CD explained the mouth sores, nausea and sometimes diarrhea). I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2009. Went on the reg gluten free diet. No change to speak of. Found this doc online named Osborn. Specializes in CD. He explained that some celiacs who didn’t get well via the normal GF diet also had to dump corn, oats, or rice or all three. I dumped corn first, then oats and finally had to dump rice so I am one of the lucky few who illicit a response from more than just wheat, barley and rye. So to answer your question about what I eat ummm veggies, fruits, fish, chicken, turkey, potatoes, yams, beans, peas anything that doesn’t contain high fat content, alcohol, wheat, barley, rye, corn, oats or rice. Life is good but not a food smorgasbord!
I love the Blog. Landed here because I have been all over the internet and my search terms are getting pretty specific, because I’ve noticed that the people who know what they are talking about have found out some of the same things.. and all are things which the best docs in the country have not. SO .. kudos and glad to be here. I know this is an old post, but I had a question about the eggs. You mentioned stocking vegan, but adding eggwhites. So meat fats and dairy are pretty much the no no’s eh? Just curious if there was a method. I have some input on vegan protein drinks etc if you’d like to blog on it. Also.. For the celiac.. glean some info from the specific carbohydrate diet if you can. It is the specific types of carbohydrates that feed candida and cause gut wall inflammation (laymen’s terms). So killing the candida and taking 10 grams of l-glutamine a day speed the regeneration. Once the leaky gut goes away, the response to grains diminishes drastically as well as many other allergy symptoms. Thanks again for getting this info out there. Very cool. Me? Recovering from the diagnosis of “moderate to severe crohn’s/colitis with autoimmune pancreatitis.
Hi Mick glad you like my blog. Crohn’s/colitis with autoimmune pancreatitis. That doesn’t sound fun at all. Are you a Celiac as well? I’m guessing there is a reason you referenced to wanting info on carbs for Celiacs. I’m a Celiac that is why I asked. I’m one of the rare Celiacs who is completely grain intolerant. IF it is a grain with “prolamins” (wheat, barley, rye, corn, oats, rice, or cousins etc) it usually causes an unwanted response in my system. Since I am a long-term, undiagnosed until 2009 Celiac (had it since childhood and docs missed it) I have other things now such as lactose intolerance. Anyway about the eggs and meat …
Once someone has done the food diary prep and then slowly introduced vegan foods (plus egg whites for more protein) and remained a “modified vegan” (no oil, nuts, or fat etc) for 6 months, symptoms have cleared and the subject is feeling much better then skinless chicken (roasted, boiled) cooked in a way that the fat drips off and stays out of the meat or other food to be eaten can certainly be tried. White meat fish usually works as well. Both of those provide excellent sources of protein. The fish is especially beneficial because fish usually provides more B12, potassium, other minerals and omega 3’s. Exactly why white meat fish and skinless chicken are better tolerated than other meats I have no clue, they just are. If I missed the answer to your question tell me and I’ll retry. 🙂
I was literally just diagnosed last night in the er with chronic pancreatitis (thought I was my gallbladder for about a year), the catch? I also suffer dvt (deep vien thrombosis) for year’s now have taken warfarin & that’s no longer an option… having to go through my spices one by one, cros referancing each for both conditions (as I’m back to square one in controlling dvt without blood thinners anymore) and crfoods, like referencing foods like leafy greens, good for one, bad for the other ect. it’s a nightmare, just a day into recovering and still enjoying the full effects of the pain since the Dr prescribed vicodin for pain since ibuprofen and insaids aren’t an option, and the pharmacist then warned my that the acetaminophen in vicodin is only going to further inflame the pancreas…. it’s so hard to focus, do you have any pain management tips that don’t involve pain medications?
Kristina – grape seed extract, vit C and curcumin. You can read about all on this site. Have someone go to the health store and get them and try them. They work. And all 3 are important. They work together synergistically. The brand NOW Foods grape seed 100 mg Vcaps have BOTH grape seed extract and Vit C. If money is tight that is the ONE I’d choose. I use it daily. It has worked for me for YEARS. IF all three supplements are possible budget wise that is even better! Like I said they work together really well. IF you have gallbladder issues (inflammation, stones sludge) or have been diagnosed with SOD (sphincter of oddi dysfunction) DO NOT get the curcumin. Just take loads of grape seed extract.
Can u tell us the name of the doctor?
Im really finding your info So Helpfull The Health Guy, I have only just got out of hospital and am in a lot of pain i have hardly eaten for 6 days and really want to, is 6 days too soon to be starting to eat obviously i have been having lots of water and fruit and also the odd bit of potato and vegetable, just a little worried as my pains havent gone away i still have to be taking Zapain tablets (8 a day) and still hurting, I have upcoming hospital appointments and further scans just wondered could you offer any advise on what to do in the early stages of an attack, I was diagnosed 6 days ago.
Thank You So Much
Richard – since you have just been released from the hospital after an attack of acute pancreatitis (I’m guessing?) I would suggest you stop eating and rest your pancreas. IF you are still in pain your pancreas is still inflamed. And IF it were me and it’s not, it’s you so you have to do what you think is best but IF it were me and it has been me more times than I like to remember I’d dumped the Zapain for a couple reasons. #1 Codeine is a narcotic that only masks the pain at best. It doesn’t address the inflammation of the pancreas and the Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, can and does destroy liver tissue. And acetaminophen is a very WEAK anti-inflammatory. I’d get some Ibuprofen which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Advil can be bought at Walgreens, safeway etc. It comes in 200 mg tabs. I used to take 800 mgs to literally STOP acute pancreatitis. When the inflammation is eliminated the rest of the symptoms (pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating etc) resolve. Grape seed extract, Vit C and curcumin (if you have SOD or GB issues do NOT use curcumin) coupled with Ibuprofen is a POWERFUL cocktail (water + cocktail only by mouth).
Once the pain and other symptoms resolved I’d continue to fast (water + cocktail only by mouth) for at least another 72 hours (3 days). Then I’d try some veggie JUICE. If you don’t have a juicer you can get low sodium V8 juice at the store. I’d do the juice for another 72 hours (3 days). IF I had ZERO symptoms AFTER 3 days of water, then 3 days of juice I’d consider some solid food such as rice or veggies or rice and veggies. NO OIL, NO BUTTER, NO FAT of ANY kind! Then …
I’d do just what I say I did and do on this blog. If you invest the time on this blog you’ll find out how to do a proper food diary, what you can eat etc. THIS Page contains links to imprtant info about beating pancreatitis.
Get well Richard and stay well. 🙂
Can I EAT SALAD?
Martha – sure just be careful of what you put on that sald.
Hi Health Guy, I hope you get this. I have done so much research on pancreatitis to try and see what’s wrong with me but I think I already know. You see I haven’t been diagnosed yet as I see it is very hard for CP to be diagnosed. Since December 2015 to May 2016 I have had four blood tests and all four I have had slightly elevated Lipase levels-see my results. 1st time-121, 2nd-199, 3rd-82, 4th-130. The third test was the best (only 82 and normal is 70) and my doctor was happy but I know at that time I was working out and eating much healthier so it dropped from 199 to 82. BUT…once I started back eating poorly and not working out for about a month I had retook blood and it shot back up from 82 to 130. My dr didn’t really believe it could have been diet and said that is a myth. I think the fatty foods and all those Macaroons helped shoot my lipase levels back up. Do you think so? I am a drinker but have stopped for a month now. I am afraid that I might have CP. I did have a bad episode back in Nov where it was the worst diarrhea I ever had and I had stomach pain but not pain that would have sent me to the hospital. I had to vomit but didn’t but I felt nausea. I wonder if that was an episode of AP? What I want to know is do you think I may have CP? My CT scans and ultrasound/MRI all came back normal. he even took an autoimmune test and normal liver kidneys fine and no diabetes and no gallstones as yet. I go back to my dr in Sept to take blood again as his goal is for my blood test to be back in the normal range. If it comes back elevated I am going to get a second opinion. My current dr does believe my pancreas may have been inflamed slightly and has told me to stop drinking alcohol and to retest. Should I start taking supplements like pancreatic enzymes (which I brought and my dr didn’t really want me to take them) now to help whatever it is go away? I am afraid to because if I have it I want to be diagnosed so I can start doing what I need to do to get healthy again . Please give me any advice you may have -thanking you in advance 🙂
Hi Tasha – this is gonna blow your mind but keep in mind I’m a celiac and so I have researched celaic disease – a lot. Celiac disease causes nausea, vomiting and in most people mild to severe diarrea. Celiac disease will also elevate pancreatic enzymes (check this out). And Celiac Disease can manifest as pancreatitis (read last paragraph under “Clinical Manifestation”. So could the increased fat in your diet have resulted in your lipase increase? YES! Celaic Disease is “systemic” and attacks other organs NOT just the small bowel (villi). And it has been proven to attack the pancreas. So get tested because most doctors do NOT even have a clue as to how much damage Celiac Disease can actually do when left undiagnosed and untreated 🙂
I agree, it’s everything I’m putting in my mouth, I’m buying a food juicer and going to a vitamin store to get everything I need, for me my biggest challenge is my morning coffee witch is killing me. There’s just got to be a coffee I got to figure out if it’s the coffcan have or it’s the fat free creamer I’m useing, all I know is I’m in horrible pain. And I’m planning on getting off this pain meds and useing ibrophen. The pain meds are, I believe and my doctor believe are not doing me any good. Thanks for all your info
Charlene read the label (ALWAYS read labels) on that non-dairy creamer! Most contain oil, usually soybean oil and often lecithin too (oil). I am willing to bet it is the creamer not the coffee. I hope you are better soon 🙂
Yes I think your right, well now I have painful like cyst in my mouth and elbows, I looked it up and it from my pancreas,I just don’t know what to do,my doctor referred me to Miami university a month away, I need help now
Another site said eliminate spices?
Hi Martha – yeah there are tons of folks who have no clue what works and what doesn’t. I eat all kinds of spices. I like my food to have ZIP! I eat cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, cumin, turmeric, garlic and almost any other spice that I deem necessary for flavor. Spices have never hurt me but foods high in fat certainly do.
How about sugar? How does it affect the pancreas? I went to ER last night because my abdominal pain persists even if my Lipase numbers are significantly lower, they discharged me with some pain medication and a referral for a gastroenterologist. When I got back home I had some pineapple juice and the pain came back even after I took the pain medicine, they didn’t give me any anti-inflamatories however.