Monday, June 25, 2012

Pancreatitis & Eating Proactively

On a daily basis, I both work toward maintaining a diet that is beneficial to my pancreas while at the same time destroying it with... uhhh... crap foods I shouldn't be putting into my system.

I'm human. This means I'm not perfect, so I don't beat myself up for it. Although, I do try to keep my foot downfalls at bay and to a relative minimum.

There are some things I do for my body on a regular basis  - especially when I haven't been eating as well as I could - to help maintain a decrease in inflammation of the pancreas.

- Proper dietary intake (necessary for living without pain)
- Decreasing stress levels (huge for decreasing pancreatic attacks)
- Sunshine (for Vitamin D)
- Gently detoxifying the body through teas (such as Chrissy's Tea)
- Brazil Nuts (the level of selenium is very cleansing)
- Oatmeal (great cleanser for the liver)

Two of my favorite friends that fight off pancreatitic inflammation are ginger and turmeric. Both roots are all natural and can be bought in any store. I have turmeric powder and buy ginger in the bottle both sliced and minced, by the root, and as a tea. Both are great for cooking and can be very helpful in intercepting inflammation at the time food is eaten since the spice is on the food at the time you are eating it. Now that is proactive!

It doesn't mean I can eat anything with a little ginger on it and all of a sudden I get to go hog-wild. It means that if I eat a limited amount of something with ginger or turmeric I find that the food intake is far less likely to cause me pain. Again, moderation is always essential for me since overworking the pancreas is now always a very real problem that causes very real pain.

Small meals are always a must. Never eating until full is always a must. Then, on top of that, eating foods with anti-inflammatory benefits such as Broccoli with minced ginger and paprika (another anti-inflammatory spice) in limited quantities makes the process of eating easier.

One of the problems with Western medicine is that it refuses to incorporate natures cures into it's prescriptions. Prescribing ginger instead of morphine doesn't buy their new house - so to speak.

In my recovery and longevity, I find it important to address my chronic pancreatitis with foods that heal and cure.

The other day, I read that turmeric heals tissues around tumors which makes tumors less likely to metastasize. As I understand it, a metastized tumor is one that has exploded which is when and how cancer happens. Therefore, the stronger the tissue around the tumor, cyst or fibroid, the less likely it will metastasize.

It is still necessary to decrease the size of the tumor (inflammation) which many say can be done through foods.

When a person has pancreatitis the pancreatitic enzymes are not working properly - and the pancreatitic enzymes help to decrease the likelihood of cancer - people with pancreatic issues need to be especially careful to decrease their chances of creating cancer in their bodies. Decreasing the risk of cancer can be done through better eating and mostly knowing what that means. Decreasing white flour, sugars and processed foods. I like the saying, "Read the ingredients. If you don't know what it means, don't eat it."

Friday, June 1, 2012

Preventing Pancreatic Attacks

Preventing Attacks of the Pancreas

The long-standing principle has been to try and rest the pancreas. This involves giving pancreatic supplements such as Creon (which contain pancreatic enzymes in high concentration) together with drugs which reduce acid secretion by the stomach. Patients should also follow a low-fat diet.

'Letting the pancreas rest' means no food and water (if hospitalized) - the patient is hooked up to an IV to simply bypass the pancreas. This bypassing of the pancreas means the pancreas does not need to function which essentially allows it to 'rest'. Hence the coining of the term.

While caring for the pancreas at home, there have been times that I have needed to let my pancreas rest. My diet during these times has included things like tea and broth only, or sometimes it means really running baby cereal and fat-free yogurt. For some people it means jello and tapioca. When the system is ready for it - which can be a couple days to several weeks or longer - toast and jam or other basics are often incorporated.

Following a low-fat diet was very difficult for the first couple years after I was initially hospitalized with severe acute pancreatitis. But gradually, I learned that I could decrease the pain and increase my quality of life if I decrease the amount of fat I allowed in my system. Fat-free cheese and lean meat makes a big difference. And now, I like foods that aren't as heavy... and my pancreas is always much happier when I take the easier, softer road for its recovery. Basically, when I refrain from eating fatty (or heavy) foods, my pancreas does not have to work as hard which decreases the overall pain I must deal with and most likely extends my life.

These measures reduce the presence of fat in the duodenum, reduce acid in the duodenum and reduce the need for pancreatic enzyme secretion. These measures are very successful in about a third of patients, moderately successful in a third and unhelpful in a third.

I have never really seen or felt any substantial or sustainable relief or positive results from Creon or Pancreatin.

Some eminent specialists have supported the use of antioxidants in the treatment of chronic pancreatitis. These antioxidants include selenium and vitamin C. You should take specialist advice (via your GP) before taking them.

Brazil nuts are very high in selenium. Some say that selenium helps to reduce the risk of cancer. I've read that chronic pancreatitis can turn into cancer. Therefore, I try to be proactive in staying cancer free. Years ago, I read the amount of selenium that was recommended. It worked out to be about 9 Brazil nuts per day. Sometimes, I go months without Brazil nuts. Sometimes, I can't handle more then 9 spread out over the course of a day. Recently, I ate about a 1/4 pound of them. It made me feel awful in a way that felt like the Brazil nuts were cleaning out and detoxing my system. I try to drink enough water at the same time to help flush my system... but honestly, I'm not very good at that.

Source for information in italics: NetDoctor