Diet: An organic based whole foods diet, high in fiber, is essential for reversing both diverticulosis and diverticulitis, and is also the best way to prevent both conditions developing in the first place. Avoid all commercially processed foods, including sugars of all types, even if they are organic. Avoid all refined carbohydrates, the unhealthy fats mentioned above, coffee and other caffeine containing products, sodas, commercial non herbal teas, alcohol, strong spices, and all milk and dairy products. Soy can be a major allergen, so avoid until you are tested for food allergies. Undergo testing for potential food allergies and sensitivities and avoid those foods to which you test positive. In addition, consider a rotation diet or elimination diet in order to further reduce the likelihood of food allergies. Also avoid food that can easily become lodged in intestinal sacs, such as unblended, processed, or roasted nuts and seeds, as well as fruit with small seeds, such as raspberries. Unless these foods are soaked and blended smooth into sauces, smoothies or spreads, they are aggravating to eat in this situation.
Emphasize a diet rich in organic whole foods, especially plenty of organic, fresh green vegetables and green vegetable drinks. Free-range organic meats and poultry, and wild-caught fish are also recommended. Be sure to drink plenty of pure filtered water throughout the day. Choose organic, raw, virgin coconut butter/oil, which is the preferred oil for cooking and/or baking; and high lignin flax seed oil which can be blended into green juices and smoothies, mixed as salad dressing with olive oil, or drizzled on steamed vegetables or cooked whole grains.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet—A dietary approach that has been found to be effective in the majority of diverticulosis and diverticulitis cases is called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. It was developed by Elaine Gottschall, M.Sc., and is based on the research of the late Sidney V. Haas, M.D., who discovered that most gastrointestinal disorders are caused by an imbalance of carbohydrates in relationship to the microorganisms that naturally occur in the gastrointestinal tract.
According to Dr. Haas, when this relationship becomes unbalanced, the microorganisms grow uncheck and release toxins, causing malabsorption of food, and especially poor digestion of carbohydrates, a staple of the Western diet. To reverse this trend, Haas, and later, Gottschall developed the strict dietary regimen that comprises the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Based on her work with hundreds of patients with severe gastrointestinal disorders, Gottschall has found that the diet can yield complete results in as little as three weeks, but only if it is unwaveringly adhered to. Her book, listed below in the Quick Action Plan, is highly recommended, as is her web site. What follows is a quick synopsis of the diet, with our own additions, that stress the use of organic foods.
Avoid: All processed, smoked or canned meats, breaded or canned fish, seaweed, processed cheeses, seeds, potatoes, yams, parsnips, chick peas, bean sprouts, soybeans, mung beans, fava beans, as well as all cereal grains in any form, including flour. Avoid milk, and all products commercially made from milk, dried milk solids, buttermilk or acidophilus milk, commercially prepared yogurt, sour cream and ice cream. Do not consume soymilk, instant tea, coffee, coffee substitutes, beer, cornstarch, arrowroot, chocolate, carob, bouillon cubes, instant soup bases, any product made with refined sugar, agar-agar, carrageenan, pectin, ketchup, molasses, corn and maple syrup, any flour made from legumes, and baking powder.
Eat: Fresh or frozen, preferably organic meats, poultry, wild caught fish, organic eggs, organic raw milk and cheeses, homemade yogurt made at low temperatures from raw organic milk, and dry curd cottage cheese. Choose from a wide variety of freshly prepared, preferably organic vegetables. Vegetables and fruits are the main stay of this food plan. Use no canned foods with the exception of salt-free canned red salmon, white albacore tuna or sardines, preferably only on occasion. Daily juicing of fresh green vegetables is an important addition for healing and offers you deep nutritional nourishment. With this and all illness, providing yourself with the most supportive nutritional profile possible is of primary importance.
Abide by this diet for as long as your symptoms persist. Adherance can be challenging, but maintenance is essential to obtain the desired results.
Fasting: A water or vegetable juice fast for one to three days is an excellent way to relieve symptoms, especially during acute diverticulitis attacks.
Herbal Medicine: The primary herbal remedy recommended by herbalists for both diverticulosis and diverticulitis is known as Robert’s Formula, which consists of comfrey, Echinacea, geranium, goldenseal, and marshmallow root, poke root, slippery elm, and wild indigo. Robert’s Formula can be found online and at well stocked health food stores. For best results, take it in combination with licorice root tea. As your symptoms improve, continue taking Robert’s Formula; in addition, add liquid chlorophyll in the amount indicated on the bottle.
Homeopathy: Useful homeopathic remedies include Belladonna, Bryonia, and Colocynthis.
Hydrotherapy: Hydrotherapy is the application of water, ice, steam and hot and cold temperatures to maintain and restore health. Treatments include full body immersion, steam baths, saunas, sitz baths, colonic irrigation and the application of hot and/or cold compresses. Hydrotherapy is effective for treating a wide range of conditions and can easily be used in the home as part of a self-care program. Many Naturopathic Physicians, Physical Therapists and Day Spas use Hydrotherapy as part of treatment. We suggest several at-home hydrotherapy treatments. Please seek the advice of your alternative health care practitioner before undergoing these procedures to make sure they are appropriate for you.
Hyperthermia: Hyperthermia involves artificially creating fever in the body for the purpose of boosting immune function. Hyperthermia can be a highly effective method of eliminating toxins and heavy metals, as well as infectious bacteria and viruses that cannot survive in elevated body temperatures. We suggest several at-home hyperthermia treatments. Please seek the advice of your alternative health care practitioner before undergoing these sweat-inducing procedures to make sure they are appropriate for you.
Juice Therapy: Useful juice combinations include carrot, celery, beet, and cabbage juice; green juices; and the combined juices of papaya, apple, lemon, and pineapple.
Lifestyle: If you smoke, stop, and also avoid exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke. In addition, learn how to effectively cope with and manage stress. Also engage in a steady exercise program that you can adhere to.
If you are currently taking aspirin or other NSAIDs, consider replacing them with safer, more effective natural remedies. Painkillers, especially ibuprofen and aspirin can be highly damaging to the digestive track.
Nutritional Supplements: Useful supplements for both diverticulosis and diverticulitis include B-complex vitamins and vitamin C, as well as probiotics such as acidophilus and Bifidobacteria. Two other highly effective supplements are fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and soil-based organisms. FOS is an all-natural carbohydrate microorganism that has been shown by researchers to serve as a fertilizing agent that enables Bifidobacteria to thrive in the large intestine, where it helps to protect against harmful bacteria. Digestive enzymes may also prove to be a valuable addition. Working with an alternative practitioner that uses kinesiology or electral dermal screen testing will help determine if you need enzymes; alternatively, you can try some yourself and see if they make a difference in digesting your meals. Try using hydrochloric acid with all protein based meals, which often offers great relief.
Soil-based organisms are beneficial microbes found in soil. Taken as a supplement, they go to work to detoxify the gastrointestinal tract while eliminating fungi, molds, parasites, viruses, and yeasts. They also help to improve the absorption of nutrients and both immune and overall cell function, including the production of RNA and DNA. In addition, they act as natural antioxidants.
Self Massage: You can work on your own belly, providing yourself with nurturing soothing touch, which can relax the intestinal duress experienced with all types of bowel disorders. A well known technique is, when you wake up every morning, rub your belly nine times in each direction, clockwise and counter clock wise, using the flats of your entire hand. Applying the aromatherapy mixture above or any other soothing oil such as raw virgin coconut butter/oil or apricot or almond oil, can further enhance and extend the time of self massage. If you have painful cramps or gas, try massaging your abdomen in various positions until you find one that provides relief. The tendency is to grip and constrict when you are in pain; the solution is to breathe and relax, and self massage can be an excellent means to relief when uncomfortable.
Stress Reduction: Stress reduction techniques are often helpful in relieving distress associated with diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Stress reduction techniques are also very helpful for dealing with emotions such as anger, depression, and hopelessness that can exacerbate symptoms. Holistic health practitioners help their patients accomplish stress reduction through the use of various mind/body medicine, such as biofeedback, hypnotherapy, and relaxation exercises. Meditation is another form of stress management that can be highly effective. There are many ways to meditate. One of the easiest is simply to sit comfortably in a chair with your eyes closed as you focus on your breathing. Do this for five to ten minutes twice a day and gradually extend each session to 20 to 30 minutes. To enhance your efforts, concentrate on mentally repeating a peaceful phrase each time that you inhale and exhale, allowing all other thoughts to arise and pass without becoming involved in them. At first, this may seem difficult, but with committed practice you will eventually find yourself able to do so while experiencing greater degrees of calm and peace.
Action Plan for Diverticulosis
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