Monday, November 21, 2011

Pancreatitis & Thanksgiving

thanksgiving turkey and pancreatitisIt is possible that I am beginning to have a better understanding of and relationship with food. This more advanced relationship will help with the holidays.

It seems like now might be the perfect time to talk a little about how to survive Thanksgiving without enduring a pancreatic attack.
Alcohol should not be considered an option. People with pancreatitis have a pancreas that is too weak or dysfunctional to properly digest alcohol. Therefore, the only safe option is to stay away from it.

Some people are usually used to celebrating with an alcoholic drink. It is fine that such a place
Martinelli's Sparkling Cider
is where you have come from but it is now time to realize that drinking and holidays are not where you are at anymore. Why? Because you want to keep living for as long as possible and you would like to do that pain free. Therefore, celebrate with something that won't hurt you. Martinelli's Apple Cider might be a nice choice. (Hint: The Martinelli's Website has a whole section on non-alcoholic drinks!) Maybe a cold premade anti-inflammatory tea that you can that you can put in a high baller or something like that if it makes you feel better to have a drink in your hand.

Calories in Turkey





Calorie in Turkey-Dark Meat

3 ounces

Excellent source of protein.


Calories in Turkey Gizzards

3 ounces

Excellent source of protein. Good amounts of zinc and B Vitamins.


Calories in Turkey Liver

3 ounces

Excellent source of protein. Good source of Vitamin A, folate, zinc and riboflavin.


Calories in White Turkey

3 ounces

Excellent source of protein.


Maybe a simple green salad with sliced carrots and radishes and slivered almonds? Remember not to weigh the salad down with added calories. Sugared walnuts are bad. Dried cranberries have added sugar. If you use a salad dressing, perhaps opting for a 'lite' or fat-free dressing will be proactive in protecting your fat intake.
The potassium in potatoes is necessary. Smothering the potato in condiments kind of defeats the point. I love lots of sour cream. Thankfully, there is fat-free sour cream. Fat Free Margarine or the equivalent will be easier on the pancreas then a rich butter.

The goal is to be able to eat and enjoy the holiday food while not suffering the ramifications of a pancreatic flare-up as a result. The goal is balance.

If you eat sugar and want a dessert than go for a fat-free dessert. There are fat-free pies and chocolate dishes.
If you are spending the holidays with others than be participatory and bring a dish. No need to tell them it is because you need a fat-free option. Heck, do you even need to tell them it is fat-free. Just be a helpful guest and bring a food dish. This will also help ensure that there is food to eat. If your sister or friend is also going and the group doesn't know you have pancreatitis maybe your sister or friend can also bring a fat-free dish which will mean you will have at least two dishes you know will be safe to eat. No one needs to know your circumstances if you are a private person. None of this needs to be a big deal. It's just something you can set up as a safety
measure, a precaution to ensure you can both enjoy the holiday in a participatory way while not suffering from a pancreatic flare-up as a result.

Holidays and Pancreatitis
If Auntie Mame is insisting you eat a little of this or that and you know it will hurt you but she's trying to guilt you into it just look at her lovingly directly in the eyes and say, "Auntie Mame, I love you and I want to see you again next year but eating that could kill me so I'm not going to have it so that next year I can come back and see you again." Smile, kiss her on the forehead and continue with what you were doing. She'll probably back off.

Enjoy the holidays!

Note: The above is for not meant for people who are just out of the hospital and not on solids. Each person is different and their process to recovery and maintenance will vary. Toast w/Jam, Chicken broth, baby cereal, jello, tapioca pudding, pureed veggies, etc are going to be much better options for many pancreatitis sufferers who are feeling more sensitive and tender and who have systems that are not in the mood for solids. Some people will only be ready for an IV hook-up. Some will only be ready for clear liquids. We're all different and each stage of recovery needs to be respected and appreciated.

Holidays do not affect our current stage of pancreatitis and what a person, at that stage, can eat. Being alive while enduring a life with pancreatitis gives us an awful lot to be thankful for... and isn't that really what Thanksgiving is about. Homemade Turkey pictures and turkey hats are just as wonderful as any other aspect of Thanksgiving. There are many ways to celebrate the holiday and thankfully we are alive to enjoy our options!

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