Friday, February 18, 2011

Pancreatitis & Chocolate

chocolate and pancreatitisThere are certain times when I crave chocolate. A couple days ago was one of those times.

Instead of being level headed about respecting my pancreas and its needs, I chose to gobble down an entire bar of milk chocolate with hazelnuts.

I'd like to tell you that there was a gun to my head and I had no choice. I could tell you that before eating the chocolate I felt justified because I was sooo good on Valentine's Day.

Honestly, my pancreas doesn't care about reasons or justifications. It only cares about and reacts to the truth. And, the truth hurts when you eat an entire chocolate bar if you have chronic pancreatitis.

As a result I've tried very hard to be frugal about my overall food intake since the chocolate bar incident. I've had no choice. It's one of those times that chronic pancreatitis sufferers know all too well. It the time when we limit all food and drinks.

Fortunately, I'm still eating and drinking. I'm trying not to eat or drink too much juice or
chocolate and the pancreas
caffeine. The latter is a terribly difficult vice for me to put down. And I'm trying to steer clear of too much food.

One of the problems was that I had a decent sized steak within the same 12 hour period as the chocolate bar. It was too much for my system. Too rich. Too much fat. Simply too much.

Sometimes, when it has been a while since my last painful episode with my pancreas I forget just how delicate it is. There is no recovery for this disease. Only survival and a goal of longevity. Overeating will never increase my survival rate. I must remember that. Is any food - no matter how much I crave it at that moment - worth the potential reduction of lifespan? Clearly not. This simply train of thought can be easily forgotten once a little time has passed and I begin to feel better for a while. Nonetheless, the only way I can continue to feel better is by respecting my pancreas and it's needs.
pancreatitis and chocolate
My pancreas needs me to eat lightly and without too much fat intake. It also prefers it when I lay low on the juices. While I need juice and the nutrients juices offer I also need to balance these needs with the needs of my pancreas - which means small dozes. 2-4 oz of juice at a sitting is fine, once or twice a day... when I'm feeling well. Right now, it's a bit much.

When my pancreas hurts I do not take pain killers. The goal is to stop the pain, not to cover it up. By covering the pain I could continue to overeat which would decrease the longevity of my pancreas... and thereby me. Therefore, I want to know how food makes my pancreas feel. This way I know when I need to be careful with my food intake, how much I can eat and how foods make my pancreas feel. I can feel better when I eliminate bad foods (ie: chocolate is not good for the pancreas) from my diet. Fatty foods, rich foods and acidic foods don't seem to mix well with my pancreas.

What I'm working on: Eating right. Staying away from chocolate. Why? It hurts my pancreas and can affect my lifespan. I'd rather live longer than have a chocolate bar. I'm working on keeping it in perspective. The remaining question is do I toss or find a new home for the 5 remaining chocolate bars in the freezer.

I made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas fine. Who knew Valentine's Day would be the ring dinger! Humph!


  1. thanks so much for your blog. I'm just recovering from my second attack of pancreatitis. I discovered this website after the first one a few months ago. I've learned more from you than I've learned so far from the doctors. I'm supposed to go to see some specialists next but in the meantime it's good to read what you have gone through and how you take care of yourself and "respect your pancreas" -- something I'm learning as well.

  2. Thank you so much for this post. Four weeks ago I was in the hospital for accute panc. My CT, MRI, and ultrasound all came back negative for gallstones. I hadn't had an alcoholic beverage for two weeks prior so basically they said they didn't know what caused it which happens in some cases. I do know that evening, maybe 5 or 6 hours before the pain started, I had consumed a bunch of chocolate. Mostly Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. Like maybe 6 or so. (kids had been trick or treating recently)

    Recently I drank some Carbmaster Chocolate milk. A substantial amount of it. It's fat free and low carb, yet very chocolatey. It didn't cause extreme pain but I did notice a discomfort starting in that area and immediately began drinking lots of water to try to dilute the situation which seemed to help eventually and did require a trip to the hospital.
    I'm beginning to think CHOCOLATE is the trigger...
    Does this sound familiar to you or anyone else reading this? I love chocolate but if that's all I need to avoid to prevent this then that's what I'll have to do...