Before we get into the steps necessary to achieve pancreas healing from chronic pancreatitis, which are very similar, I think it is best to cover pancreas healing for acute pancreatitis.
Hopefully you have only suffered a mild acute attack which with proper diet will heal and allow you to be one of those lucky few who heal completely and never have another episode of AP or even minimal change chronic pancreatitis.
One of the things I think that the medical teams do wrong is to introduce to much of the wrong foods to those who have just come out of an acute pancreatitis attack. Even though the majority of the pain may have subsided and your nausea has been controlled chances are very strong that your pancreas is still inflamed and has likely sustained some damage that if addressed properly may completely heal yet I read story after story of patients being given solid, high fat content foods to early and foods that most likely will make the person sick again. So ...
Step # 1 - The Introduction of Foods After Acute Pancreatitis
If you have been hospitalized with mild acute pancreatitis and have been ordered NPO (Nothing By Mouth) in order to rest the pancreas and allow the inflammation to subside food should be re-introduced in 'baby steps." For example:
I have read where acute pancreatitis patients are immediately re-introduced to food with a sandwich, salmon or something similar and that is just asking for trouble. If it were me and it has been me to many times, I'd start really slow with food in liquid form such as pure vegetable juice in enough quantity to allow for decent nutrition. Fresh, organic vegetable juice made from tomatos, beets, carrots, celery, green pepper, spinach, broccoli, red onion and fresh garlic if possible (you'll need a juicer and the veggies) but low sodium V8 juice which is high in potassium will work almost as well.
I'd also drink white unsweetened grapefruit juice (Ocean Spray is a good brand). Grapefruit juice has been shown to offer protection against acute pancreatitis so it could protect you against future episodes even stop them from happening, like it did with me in 1981-82.
Step # 2 - Will Someone Please Get Me Some Supplements!
If it were me I'd have someone run to the nearest health food store for vitamin C, grape seed extract and curcumin (those with gallstones or SOD should not take curcumin) and I'd be swallowing 200 milligrams of grape seed extract 4 times per day, 500 milligrams of vitamin C 4 times per day and 500 miligrams of curcumin 4 times per day to fight the pancreas inflammation and begin the pancreas healing. In fact, I'd do this BEFORE I began re-introducing food to my pancreas. See the Product Regimen page for information on supplements.
Step # 3 - Start a Food Diary.
When you begin solid food you should keep a record of what you eat. A food diary is important because the way you introduce a new food and how you keep track will tell you exactly what your pancreas will and will not tolerate. Read my post on how to prep for and start a food diary.
Step # 4 - The RIGHT Solid Food
After 72 - 96 hours (3 or 4 days) with no symptoms from the pure vegetable juice you can be slowly, in small amounts, introduced to solid VEGAN type food such as rice, beans, peas, lentils, egg whites (NO yolk, just egg whites for protein and vit B12) and vegetables that have NO oil or FAT (butter, margarine) either in content or preperation. TRUE vegans allow no animal products of any kind; NO meat, NO Dairy, NO Broths or soups made with meat or dairy, No fish. They do eat things that contain fat and you will not. This means NO nuts, NO Avocado, No Coconut, or anything else that VEGANS may use as ingredients or in preparation that contains fat. Then ...
After several months of a pure modified vegan diet (no oil or foods such as avocado, flax seed, sunflower seeds, nuts, coconut all of which have HIGH FAT content) you can try introducing different foods, one at a time to see how you do. Eat that food several times over the next week, along with your newly acquired modified VEGAN diet and WAIT at least ONE WEEK more after the last serving before introducing another food type. This gives the body time to completely digest the new food to see if it causes pancreas inflammation. IF you notice pain or nausea upon introduction of a new food you'll know that food should be eliminated from your list, at least for now and maybe forever depending on how well you heal.
Step # 5 - NO Alcohol
If you have been diagnosed with alcoholic pancreatitis you'll need to bite the big, bad bullet and stop drinking. Alcohol is an absolute no-no after acute pancreatitis, no matter what caused it, especially if you have enough damage to cause chronic pancreatitis because alcohol is extremely toxic to a pancreas, especially and inflamed, damaged one so ...
If you don't stop drinking make sure you grab yourself a permanent vacation home at the cemetary of your choice because you'll end up there, probably sooner than you expect.
By following the above 5 steps you may be one of the lucky few who have one acute pancreatitis attack and never have a problem after. I hope you are that lucky! However ...
IF your CT, EUS, MRI, MRCP or ERCP have shown you have damage then the damage is most likely enough to cause chronic pancreatitis and we'll cover the necessary steps to achieve pancreas healing with chronic pancreatitis in the next post even though they are very similar.