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Diverticulitis… What is the Best Diet to Eat?

DiverticulitisAfter having a severe attack of diverticulitis, nutritionist, David Mulvain, was asked what was the best diet to eat and if it was okay to take the Shaklee Cinch products. Here is his response:

There is no reason that you cannot use the Cinch program. It seems that you have a doctor that realizes the importance of fiber for diverticulitis. The old recommendation was a low fiber diet, in fact, I just read a medical protocol on the internet that was still recommending the low fiber diet. You may have been advised to avoid foods that do not break down completely like popcorn and corn. The skins of some fruit, like apples, were also thought to be a problem because small particles might lodge in the diverticula’s. I do not recommend popcorn, but softer residual foods like apples and corn have not been found to be a problem if they are chewed properly. Some doctors also advise not eating nuts, however they are okay if well chewed and there is adequate fiber and water in the diet.

Diverticula’s do not become a problem unless they become infected. The big problem is foods high in starch, especially refined foods made from grains and legumes (peas, beans etc). When starchy foods are a large part of the diet they attract infectious yeast and bacteria. Conversely, the soluble fiber in the vegetables and fruit tends to clean the gut, and promote healthy gut function. Fiber also supports gut health because it feeds healthy bacteria. They break down soluble and insoluble fibers and make short chain fatty acids that are essential to the health of the large intestine, especially the last third of the large intestine, the descending colon. That part of the intestine gets 60% of its nutritional requirements from the fatty acids produced by the bacteria when the right bacteria inhabit the gut. The primary cause of diverticula’s is a result of a lack of nutrients and energy to the intestinal wall because of too much starch and not enough fiber in the diet. Refined starches like breads, cereals, pasta and other refined grain products have the opposite effect of fiber. The starch is broken down by yeast, which in turn replaces the healthy bacteria with starch and sugar fermenting bacteria. The most noticeable clues are gas and bloating. Gas and bloating are symptoms of the cause of the problem. They are not caused by the diverticula’s.

Cinch drink contains 6 grams of fiber per serving that support healthy gut bacteria. The Shaklee Fiber Plan is also a healthy addition; great way to add extra fiber. I suggest adding it to a morning Cinch/Protein drink.

The Shaklee probiotic, OptiFlora, is very unusual in that it has a triple coating that guarantees the delivery of live bacteria to the gut. The survival of conventional pro-biotics is 0 to 4%. The Shaklee prebiotic is also very important. It feeds the bacteria. I recommend one serving of each per day taken at the same time.

Lack of Vitamin C may also play a role. Vitamin C is needed to keep the connective tissue strong. It is generally thought that the diverticula’s form in weak areas of the gut because of pressure. Vitamin C is important to keep the connective tissue strong and resistent to damage, but I believe the primary cause is a lack of structural integrity of the lining of the gut because the tissues are not getting adequate energy from the short chain fatty acids produced by the healthy bacteria that should inhabit the gut. One of the Shaklee Vita-C twice a day would be adequate.

Alfalfa also has several properties that contribute to a healthy digestive system. I recommend 5 to 10 per meal.

I am not sure of the direct effect of NutriFeron on intestinal infections. It is an overall powerful immune stimulator, and may have some preventative effects. This is a nice addition.

The Stomach Soothing Complex is designed to combat gas and bloating and may also be helpful.

Diverticula’s and Diverticulitis probably did not exist until about 10,000 years ago when mankind took up farming. The ideal diet would be about half low carbohydrate vegetables and ideally most of the rest of the food would be animal products. The problem foods in our diet today are agrarian foods made from grains, legumes and dairy. Highly processed versions of these and other foods and manufactured foods are even worse.

It is difficult for most people to return to the hunter/gather diet, but do eat meat and/or eggs with every meal if possible, try to avoid meals in which most of the calories come from grains, legumes and dairy products. When you do eat those agrarian foods, try to get then as close to the way they would occur naturally. Remember, the big protectors are low carbohydrate vegetables and whole fruit. Make half your plate veggies, both leafy greens and things like broccoli, celery, cucumber etc. The other half should be meat with the starch serving being less than or equal to the meat. Two or 3 servings of whole fruit a day is recommended. This diet works great for weight loss as well, especially when combined with regular exercise.

I think it is always helpful to understand why conditions like diverticulitis occur and the theory behind the remedies.

Good health, happiness and long life, – David

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