There’s nothing that ruins your day more quickly than a stomach ache.
It breaks your concentration, it’s hard to sit still — and sometimes the normal regimens for relief just don’t seem to work the way they’re supposed to.
Could your stomach pain have something to do with what you have been eating lately? It’s possible. More likely, slightly changing the way you eat can relieve symptoms — especially if you have a specific, more serious medical condition in which a specific diet is required as part of treatment.
Abdominal pain can be a sign of a number of problems related to digestion in other conditions. It is only one of several symptoms of a very specific condition called diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis is a condition in which small pouches along the lining of your digestive tract (usually in the colon) called diverticula become infected and/or inflamed. (The suffix -itis means “inflammation.”) When this happens, it can have serious negative effects on your digestive system, causing pain, discomfort, and more.
Changing your diet while recovering from diverticulitis is quick and simple, and allows your digestive system time to heal. Here is a breakdown of everything you need to know about the diverticulitis diet.
Continue reading to find out more about the Diverticulitis diet and read honest reviews.
Diverticulitis Diet Review
If you have ever gotten an extremely painful and inconvenient canker sore on the inside of your cheek, you have a pretty good idea of what diverticula can sort of feel like along the lining of your digestive system (just in a completely different place in your body). They are not always painful, and they do eventually go away. But at their worst, they can be very hard to deal with.
Sometimes, diverticula develop along the lining of your digestive tract, but don’t cause any problems. The diet isn’t necessary if that’s the case. However, diverticula can become infected or inflamed depending on your current eating habits. Only when that happens will you start experiencing symptoms severe enough to most likely seek medical help.
Before you can determine if the diverticulitis diet is right for you and your digestive system, you first need to determine whether or not you have the digestive condition in the first place. Here are the most common symptoms of diverticulitis.
- Constant pain in the lower left abdomen for several days
- Abdominal tenderness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation or diarrhea
The reason behind why some diverticula become infected and/or inflamed is unknown. However, there are several factors that make you more likely than most to start experiencing these symptoms. Here are the most common risk factors to watch out for if you want to find a way to prevent diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis risk factors
- Not exercising or getting enough exercise
- Certain medications
- Low fiber diets
- Diets high in animal fats such as saturated fat
Diet, along with rest and antibiotics, is among the prescribed methods for treating diverticulitis. A very temporary change in your diet can relieve symptoms and give your digestive tract the time it needs to heal the infection or inflammation, allowing your to recover from diverticulitis. If your doctor has suggested you go on this diet, don’t worry — it doesn’t last long. It’s easy to apply, and you will start feeling better in a matter of days.
Let’s take a closer look at the specifics of this diet, and how you can get started.
Diverticulitis Diet Plan Basics and Rules
The diverticulitis diet is a two stage process: the clear liquid stage, followed by the low fiber stage. The clear liquid stage is meant to relieve your digestive tract and allow it to heal, while the low fiber stage is intended as a way to slowly reintroduce regular solid foods into your diet as you’re recovering from diverticulitis.
The clear liquid stage
This is the first of two primary stages of the diverticulitis diet. It is not meant to “clear out” your system like most liquid diets promote. Instead, its purpose is to allow the diverticula in your digestive tract to heal without the added irritation of normal eating patterns.
This phase of the diet should only last two to three days. You should start to feel better at this point, which is your signal to move on to the second stage. If several days go by and you do not feel better, you should talk to your doctor.
The following are the acceptable foods during this stage of the diverticulitis diet:
- Coffee or tea (no cream)
- Pulp free fruit juice
- Ice chips
- Ice pops without fruit or pulp
The low-fiber stage
Once two or three days pass and you begin to feel digestive relief, you will then move from a straight clear liquid diet to an extremely low fiber diet.
On this phase of the diet you are advised to eat plenty of cooked or canned skinless, seedless fruit. A large percentage of the fiber in many varieties of fruit comes from the skin, which is why, on the second phase of the diverticulitis diet, you’re to go without the skins.
On this second phase of the diet you will also eat vegetables without their skins. Mayo Clinic recommends green beans, potatoes, and carrots. You will want to avoid vegetables with skins at this time for the same reason you will want to peel all fruit before eating it.
You are going to want to eat plenty of healthy protein during this stage of the diet, including fish, poultry, and eggs. These are all low in fiber but also contain healthy nutrients that your body can absorb to restore energy and calories lost during the liquid phase of the diet.
Milk, yogurt, and cheese products are also acceptable to eat during this part of the diverticulitis diet. Some yogurt also contains cultures of good bacteria called probiotics, which can help populate your gut with organisms that promote good digestion as you continue to heal. This is especially important if you are also taking antibiotics as part of your diverticulitis treatment.
Normally, experts advise against consuming refined grains which, unlike whole grains, lack all the nutrition that comes with grains that have not been heavily processed. However, refined white pastas, breads, and rice are lower in fiber than whole grain versions of these foods, which is why they are recommended here.
Low fiber cereal
Certain cereals can be good for healthy digestion, but many are enriched with fiber and other nutrients during processing. Try to avoid those as much as possible as you let your digestive system get back to full recovery.
Pulp free vegetable and fruit juice
Fruit and vegetable juices also tend to be packed with nutrition, but make sure to only drink brands and types that do not contain pulp. Pulp free fruit and vegetable juices will not put too much stress on your digestive tract and make recovering from diverticulitis more difficult.
On the diverticulitis diet, there are a lot of foods you can’t eat. However, the second stage of the diet will help you to adjust back to normal eating patterns. Because the diet isn’t sustainable in the long term, your doctor will recommend you begin eating normally as soon as possible. Monitor your symptoms and get plenty of rest while you munch on the diet’s approved foods as your intestines heal.
From the guidelines of the second stage of the diverticulitis diet, we can now plan out a sample menu for a day’s worth of low fiber meals and snacks. This will give you an idea of what a day on this diet might look like.
Menu and Meal Planning
Since the clear liquid portion of this diet is fairly straightforward, we will focus on the second stage of the diet for our menu sample. As you follow this diet, be sure to refer to the acceptable foods list, recapped below.
- Canned or cooked skinless, seedless fruits and vegetables
- Poultry, fish, and eggs
- Cheese, milk, and yogurt
- White bread, pasta, and rice
- Low fiber cereals
- Pulp-free fruit and vegetable juices
- 1 cup of low fiber cereal with milk
- 8 oz. banana smoothie
- 2 pieces toasted white bread
- Grilled chicken sandwich (2 slices white bread, chicken breast)
- 1 cup canned peaches
- 1 cup Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries
- 3 oz. grilled tilapia
- 1 cup green beans
- 1 cup white rice
- Yogurt with fruit
- Cottage cheese with tomatoes
- Hard boiled eggs
- Homemade rice cakes
- Fruit or vegetable smoothies (without seeds)
Grocery Shopping List
If you do buy and prepare multiple varieties of fruits and vegetables, just remember to remove the skin and any seeds before eating them.
- Coffee and tea
- Pulp free fruit and vegetable juice
- Ice pops
- Ice chips
- Canned fruit
- Green beans
- Canned vegetables
- White bread
- White rice
- White pasta
- Fish, such as shrimp, salmon, tilapia, tuna
- Milk (reduced fat or skim)
- Yogurt, regular or Greek
- Cheese (fresh is best)
- Low fiber breakfast cereal
Hopefully these tips will help you with your diverticulitis. If interested, here’s an article on how to lose 15 pounds in a month.