Lemon Poppyseed Biscotti

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Nutritional Info

Serving Size 1 biscotti

Servings 15

Calories 120

Carbs 12 grams

Protein  3 grams

Ingredients

Biscotti

2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup granulated Swerve Sweetener

2 Table poppy seeds

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 Tablespoon lemon zest

1/4 cup melted butter

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Glaze (Optional)

1/4 cup Confectioners Swerve

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

Biscotti

Preheat oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper

Whisk together the almond flour, Swerve, poppy seeds, baking powder, xanthan gum and lemon zest. Add butter, egg and lemon extract and stir until dough comes together.

Turn out on prepared baking sheet and pat into a rectangle about 5×10 inches.

Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned and firm to the touch.

Remove and let cool at least 20 minutes.

Reduce oven temp to 250F.

Using a sharp knife, gently cut into 15 even slices.

Lay each slice cut side down on baking sheet and return to oven for 15 minutes.

Gently turn over each slice, turn off the oven and let sit inside until cool.

 

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Peppermint Meringues

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Nutritional Info

Serving Size 1 Meringue

Servings 20

Calories 5

Net Carbs 0

Protein 1 gram

Ingredients

4 egg whites, room temperature

6 Tablespoons Swerve Confectioners

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 drops red food coloring

Instructions

Preheat oven to 250F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper

In a clean, dry bowl, combine egg whites, Swerve, extract, cream of tarter and salt.

Beat on medium  high til stiff peaks form and mixture becomes glossy. DO NOT BEAT TIL STIFF.

Brush 1-2 drops food coloring down the sides of a pastry bag fitted with a large tip.

Fill bag with egg white mixture and pipe into desired shape.

Bake 18 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 200F and bake another 15-18 minutes.

Turn off oven and without opening door, let meringues sit inside for 2 hours til crisp.

Remove and carefully peel off parchment.

 

Triumph or Tragedy?

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It Begins

We talk a lot about personal choices because choices are constantly guiding your health and wellness. Look at any specific day and all of the choices that you made in that day. See them like a flow chart. If you decide to have a healthy breakfast, how did that affect you? If you decided to scarf down doughnuts and coffee at the office instead, how did that affect you? It’s necessary to look at both the short term and the long term effects. The doughnuts will give you an immediate sugar and serotonin rush and drop you like a rock in just a little while. The sugar will keep you addicted  and odds are,  you will repeat a similar behavior at lunch and throughout the day. Since we tend to be creatures of habit, you may get up the next day and do this again. The long term ramifications of this one decision are staggering. Not only are you eating unhealthy foods, you are robbing yourself of good nutrition so you will suffer the consequences of the bad nutrition and the lack of essential nutrients that your body needs to maintain optimum health.

Are They Worth It?

Some habits are so bad that it should not even be necessary to being them up but unfortunately, it is. Do you smoke or use alcohol? Smoking destroys Vitamin C in your body and this can lead to multiple health problems. Collagen repairs your skin and is responsible for giving you a smooth, youthful complexion. Vitamin C regulates collagen production. Are you willing to age early and poorly for that cigarette that will most likely ultimately give you heart disease and/or cancer? Toss the cigarettes and all other forms of tobacco. There is absolutely nothing good about it. Alcohol is high in calories and is usually mixed with high calorie mixers. While beer is not mixed, most people will have more than one and the calorie count rises fast. Too many calories means too much body fat. If you are prone to drink too much then you must also consider the possibility of cirrhosis or other liver problems. With an increasing alcohol habit comes the possibility of damaged relationships and even an increase in accidents that may be fatal. Is that beer worth the complications that may accompany that decision?

Be Accountable

Are you aware of what you eat? In order for us to truly be responsible for our nutrition, we must keep a food diary of some type. The idea is to always read nutrition labels and choose your food wisely. A food diary will accomplish that for you. Keep track of your calories, carbs and protein. There’s several articles here on the blog to help you make wise food choices. Go to the “Menu” and look under the “Health” tab for articles about diabetes, cancer, heart health and stress. Look at the “Nutrition” tab for information on Intermittent Fasting and Product Reviews of foods that are marketed as healthy options or foods that we simply believe need to be discussed. There are all kinds of recipes on the “Recipes” tab including sugar free desserts. Take advantage of this free resource. Soon we will have a calorie chart that you can also use to help guide your food choices. If you have never downloaded your free calorie allowance from our Calorie Counter Pro, do that now. Aim to lose one pound per week. That’s a comfortable and healthy rate of loss. You will find all of these free resources on the Home Page Menu.

You Burned HOW MANY Calories?!?

How active are you? A common mistake that many people make is to over-estimate their level of activity. David has written extensively about this. We have both known people who routinely wildly over-estimated the calories that they thought they burned exercising. If you walk for thirty minutes that does not give you the calories to eat a large pizza and a six-pack and a tray of brownies. Exercise is intended to enhance weight loss and strengthen you and give you a healthy heart. You may get stronger eating everything that doesn’t eat you first but you will not increase your heart health or lose fat. Eat wisely and work out, with  your doctor’s permission, to lose those stubborn pounds. Exercising to be able to eat more will do little for you in the long run. It may make your problem worse if you use those calories to eat junk foods that damage your health. Swimming all afternoon just so that you can sit in front of the T.V. and scarf down hot dogs and potato chips is probably doing more harm than good.

You Are Important!

Are you taking responsibility for your emotional health? Do you allow yourself to be a doormat for abusive people in your life? Are you content with your life on a daily basis? Our psychological well-being is strongly linked to our overall health and well-being. We teach to “make your world small” by limiting the people who have access to you. This will automatically reduce your level of stress. Stress is related to almost every major illness. It can exacerbate many of them and make them worse if they are already present when the stress begins. You know how certain people and events affect you. If you make the decision to allow negative, destructive people in your life, you will suffer the ill effects of their behavior. Take control of your periphery.

Get Informed

Are you informed on the topics of heart disease, cancer and diabetes? If you are not informed concerning these major killers then how can you try to avoid them? Make the decision to educate yourself. We have many well-researched articles on these topics. Read, ask questions and become pro-active concerning your health. Just because others in your family have certain health challenges that does not necessarily mean that you will. If you believe that you are at greater risk for specific ailments and diseases then fight against it with everything in you. Make the decision that you will not be a victim of poor health choices.

The Truth

We know if we are living responsibly. If there is information that you don’t have, get busy and learn about your body. Quite often we try to shirk our responsibility to ourselves by pleading ignorance. In this enlightened age where all of the wisdom of the Universe is as close as a click, there is no excuse to be ignorant of your personal responsibility to your self and to those whose lives you touch. Always remember, poor health choices hurt you and them and wise choices help you all. So tell me, if you write the story of your life, and most of the time we either write the whole thing or at least the rough draft, then what will you write? Will it be a Triumph or a Tragedy? The choice is yours.

How Long Do You Have?

Yesterday, Brenda Sue wrote an article entitled “How Long Will It Take?”.

We have had a few of our clients ask us this question. It is understandable that one who is seeking weight loss and a healthier life would want to know the answer to this common question. However, I believe the question that truly needs addressed is:

How long do you have?

How long have you been over weight? Are you willing to commit this amount of time and then some in achieving a healthy body fat percentage?

  • Remember, a healthy rate of weight loss is only 1 to 2 pounds per week. Anything more rapid than this can be bad for your well being and should only be done through your doctor’s supervision.
  • Odds are, if you have been over weight for a significant time and lose your weight too fast, there will be the issue of excess and unsightly skin left over. This excess skin can cause other issues for you such as infections within the folds, and psychological simply because excessive loose skin is not pleasant to see in the mirror.
  • If you have suffered a weight problem most, if not all of your life; how long will it take for you to wrap your mind around the concept of actually being slim if you have dropped weight rapidly? Know that there is a strong likelihood you may still see yourself as being over weight for quite some time after your weight loss. It may take time for your mental image of yourself to change along with your newfound physical appearance.
  • It can take a significant amount of time to get accustomed to the amount of calories you need to consume each and every day. For example, if you are a sedentary 5′ 2″ tall female with a starting weight of 300 pounds, it is highly likely that you have the appetite of two 150 pound women. If your goal is to lose 1 pound per week until you reach a goal weight of 140 pounds, you will need 1881 calories per day to do so. However, once you have reached 200 pounds, your weight loss will have slowed; 1837 calories per day would be what it takes for you to maintain a 200 pound body. At this point, your caloric intake is going to need to be lowered to about 1350 per day in order to continue your 1 pound per week weight loss. As you can see from this basic explanation, these caloric figures require continuous adjusting during your weight loss journey. Now bear in mind that once you have achieved your goal of 140 pounds, your body is going to require 1510 calories a day to maintain this weight. You are going to have to be accountable to yourself by measuring and weighing your food.
  • Weight management should take you the rest of your life. Once you quit holding yourself accountable and begin eating anything and everything that tastes good again, plan to regain all that you have taken off in significantly less time than it took you to lose it.

Oh, you do not have time to weigh and measure your food, nor the inclination to track how much you eat?

  • How are you going to be accountable to yourself if you do not track? The easy answer is you cannot be accountable if you have no method of tracking your caloric intake.
  • Some will go on about not having the time to weigh and measure their food as they cook it. How much extra time do you think it takes to do this? Seriously, if you cannot find the time to weigh and measure your food, just what in the world are going to do with that extra 3 to 5 minutes per day? Inquiring minds would like to know…
  • There are a few good nutritional tracking apps available to you online. But, this is not even necessary in western countries as food items have all the nutritional information on their labels. For example, from the time it takes for me to pull a can of pinto beans from my pantry and then walk over to my can opener, I can see there are 3.5 half cup servings per can at 110 calories per serving, 0 grams fat, 21 grams carbohydrates and 7 grams of protein. Surely, if you have read a label such as this only a few times, you will remember this information in order to write it down in a notepad or log of some type. You can look nutritional information up on any food source, and soon we will have an extensive nutritional chart on this blog for you to use as reference.

Many people today will consume unhealthy meals from a fast food drive through while claiming they do not have the time to cook a healthy meal at home.

  • Seriously? Can you honestly say it takes less time to get in your car and go through a local drive through? How long will it take to get there, wait in line, place your order, retrieve it and then return home? While hoping the order did not get botched. Lord knows you might have to return Timmy’s burger because it had onions on it that were supposed to be left off.
  • With a little pre-planning, you can prepare a healthy meal at home for your family in less time than you would burn going out to get fast food. It only takes a few minutes to pan sear any type of meat in a little olive oil, and heating up vegetables and cutting up a salad can be done in just a couple minutes.
  • Can you honestly say you do not have time to prepare a healthy meal at home when you can and will burn more time going to a fast food restaurant?

How long do you have to enjoy your children and or grandchildren while they are young?

  • Are you able to walk around an amusement park or community zoo with the kids and actually enjoy your time with them? Or, does the walk around the park make your feet and knees hurt? Can you walk very far without getting out of breath and over heated? How much fun is it to sit out rides solely because you no longer fit in the seats?
  • Riding bicycles with children is a great opportunity to enjoy being outside and get in some exercise for yourself. If you are out of shape, how long can you enjoy this endeavor, or anything else that might require being even a little bit physically fit? You and I both know, if an activity makes you uncomfortable and unable to breath easy, you will not stick to it long.
  • The time you have to enjoy with the little ones in your life is limited, do not limit yourself further. Before you know it, those little ones will be chasing after little ones of their own.

If you feel you do not have the time to eat healthy or exercise because of what ever of any excuses you might be able to muster up. How much time do you have for:

  • Time off from work in order to visit your doctor because your sedentary lifestyle and dietary habits are causing you health issues.
  • Your health can benefit greatly from as little as 30 minutes of exercise 3 days per week. If you cannot make the time to dedicate 1 1/2 hours to bettering yourself, just how in the world can you make even more time for doctors visits when you do not feel well? Have you ever felt the frustration that comes from sitting in a waiting room for a couple hours to see a doctor, only to go sit in your pharmacy waiting on a prescription for another hour or so?
    1. How much time do you have for checking your blood sugar multiple times per day once you have become diabetic?
    2. How much time do you have for healing when diabetes has caused you to begin having appendages amputated? Even the loss of your pinkie toe is going to take time to get over.
    3. How much time do you have left on earth once you have ailments that all can be traced back and connected to a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating? Metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, cancers can all be related to how you live your life.

Brenda Sue and I have written extensively on this blog about health issues relating to diet and exercise, or the lack thereof. We provide you with easy to understand and the highest quality of information to help you in weight loss/management in order to live a healthy life. The information is there for you and the blog will always be free to you. In open discussions with family, friends and private discussions with our clients, we get the question of how long will it take quite often. Well,I want to know how long do you have if you do nothing about living healthy? How long do you want to have?

At David’s Way, we promote a healthy lifestyle, not a diet plan with an end point. If you believe that you can simply go on a diet and then resume your current lifestyle once you have lost your weight, then you have already failed yourself. If you think you can achieve a weight loss goal and then not spend the rest of your life managing it, you are doomed to an unhealthy life. You may get away with this kind of living for a while, but as you age, it is going to begin catching up with you. The travesty is a great many ailments are entirely preventable simply by investing a little time for yourself with exercise and healthy eating habits.

How long does it take to maintain a healthy body? The rest of your life.

How much time do you have? This is largely up to you, how much do you want…

How Long Will This Take?

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The Question

Almost every person that launches a program to lose body fat and get fit has the same initial question, “How long will this take?” This in itself sets us up for failure because the unspoken truth here is simply that we want to get this work over with so that we can go back to that to which we are accustomed and that’s what caused our problem.

Instant World

Everything in our environment is geared to instant gratification, drive-thru food, grocery delivery, cell phones that make us constantly available and always in touch and instant credit compete for space in our brain to teach us over and over that we don’t have to wait for anything. Guess again. Our bodies are complex organisms of over 37 trillion cells. Any change that is going to affect our overall body size and shape has got a lot of material to manipulate. To effect a sudden change in an organism this size requires something more traumatic than most of us want to experience. That’s why so many people either quit before they reach a satisfactory goal or even worse, resort to drugs and surgery to attain their desired results.

Compensation

A hormone called leptin inhibits hunger. Rapid weight loss disturbs the leptin balance and leaves us with insufficient levels to quell hunger. This causes us to eat more and makes weight loss almost impossible. To keep the hormones that regulate hunger and metabolism in balance simply go to the Calorie Counter Pro on the Menu here at David’s Way and input your information, which is always private, we can see nothing except whatever name you enter, and receive your free instructions concerning the desirable number of calories to lose 1 pound per week. Stick to one pound for the best results. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your ultimate body be built quickly. Great architecture takes time.

All “Weight” Is Not Equal

When we lose weight too quickly we will lose lean muscle. It happens because our bodies are desperate for energy and muscle is a quick and easy resource to mine for fuel.  It’s important to eat enough to support our basal metabolism and also to fuel our workouts. Nothing is less attractive than a muscle depleted, “skinny-fat” body that has been formed through years of binge eating alternating with fad dieting. You know the look, a thick waistline and skinny arms and legs, it’s not attractive.

Brain Fog

There’s a trend to abandon carbohydrates almost entirely to promote rapid weight loss. Without adequate carbohydrate intake, our brains cannot function properly and we can’t learn new things. We also have trouble using the information that we already have. Carbohydrates are the brain’s main fuel source. I never decrease my carbs below 100 grams. I need focus to fuel my workouts and that means carbs. Balance is the key to safe weight loss. Without focus we can’t get the full benefit from our exercise program because our form will falter and without proper form we are wasting our time.

Relax Already

Read David’s Way and get involved here on the blog. You can start a topic of discussion on the “Forum”, contact us through the “Contact” button for support, get your personalized program through the Calorie Counter  Pro and experiment with hundreds of healthy, sugar free, diabetic friendly recipes. It’s all FREE. There is no charge. There is no rush. David’s Way is a lifestyle, not a diet. Simplify your life by “making your world small” (David) and focus on getting healthy. We’ll be here.

 

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Tenders

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Nutritional Info

Servings 4

Serving Size 4 oz.

Protein 26 grams

Net Carbs 1 gram

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons avocado oil

2 Tablespoons Sriracha

2 Tablespoons Swerve, Confectioner’s

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon soy sauce or liquid aminos

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 pound boneless chicken tenders

salt and pepper

Cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

Whisk together avocado oil, Sriracha, Swerve, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Add tenders and toss to coat. Marinate 2-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with foil. Remove chicken from marinade (reserve the marinade) and arrange in a single layer. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, transfer the marinade to a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by about half. Drizzle over the tenders before serving.

Sugar Free Condiment Product Review

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I never thought that anybody would outdo Log Cabin but I like Maple Grove Farms Sugar Free Pancake Syrup better than Log Cabin’s variety. Maple Grove Farms is easy to find at Walmart and is cheap at less than $3/bottle. It has a true maple flavor and has a slightly thick, sticky consistency that adheres to pancakes well. It’s just sweet enough and the maple is stronger than the sweetness which avoids the overly sweet, artificial sweetness of some sugar free products. This syrup is a staple in my pantry. I use it in beans, oats and even full fat, plain Greek yogurt at times paired with Saigon cinnamon for a traditional “brown sugar and cinnamon” flavor. Combined with a little Dukes Mayonnaise and mustard, I can create honey mustard that rocks. There are only 15 calories per 1/4 cup and 6 grams of total carbohydrates.

I started buying Heinz No Sugar Added Ketchup years ago when the only bottle available was an 8 oz. bottle. My son liked it much better than regular ketchup and now at 25 years, he still does. In 1 Tablespoon it has 10 calories and 1 gram of total carbohydrates with that 1 gram being from the natural sugar in tomatoes . It’s a perfectly balanced tomato flavor that is equal parts tangy tomato and slightly sweet. I challenge you to find a better ketchup of any type. It’s really good. The 29.5 oz. bottle is a bargain at about $3.98.

Ah, now the cream of this crop, Duke’s Real Mayonnaise. Duke’s is not a special sugar free recipe. It’s always been sugar free. It’s creamy and slightly tart and perfectly spiced. I believe that the reason it’s so good is that this is an old family recipe that contains more egg yolks than other mayonnaise, with no added sugar resulting in it’s characteristic tangy flavor. It is the third largest mayonnaise brand in the  United States and has 100 calories and 0, ZERO grams of carbohydrates. You can pick this delightful product up at Walmart for $3.39.

Condiments add flavor and varied textures to good whole foods. These choices here are low in calories and diabetic friendly. Children love condiments and you can feel good about allowing them to have these products in moderation.  I can remember my Mom taking the ketchup off the table because of all the sugar and calories in the products available then. It’s nice to count the calories in your entree and have plenty left for a calorie conscious sauce. Condiments can transform a plain meal into a mouth watering delight. I hope you try these products the next time that you plan your menus. I believe that you will be glad that you did. Enjoy!

 

Blueberry Breakfast Bars

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Serves 12

Calories 120

Net Carbs 3 grams

Protein 3 grams

Ingredients

Filling

1 cup blueberries

2 Tablespoons water

1/4 cup Swerve, Confectioners

1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

Crust

1 1/2 cups almond flour

3/4 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup Swerve, Granular

2 Tablespoons coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Filling

1-Combine blueberries and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes until berries can be easily mashed and mash them up a bit.

2-Whisk in the sweetener, and then sprinkle the surface with xanthan gum and whisk vigorously to combine. Let cool.

Crust

1-Preheat oven to 350F

2- Whisk together the almond flour, coconut, sweetener, coconut flour and salt. Stir in the melted butter and the vanilla extract til dough begins to clump together.

3- Press half the mixture firmly into the bottom of an 8×8 pan. Bake 10 minutes then remove  from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Spread the crust with the blueberry filling and sprinkle with the remaining crust mixture. Press the top crust into the filling lightly to adhere.

3- Bake another 20-25 minutes, til golden brown and bubbly. Remove and cool completely.

 

Women and Weight Loss

We have all heard it and many of us believe that we have lived it, it seems easier for men to lose weight than women. There are differences, no doubt, but we can’t use that as an excuse to be overweight and unhealthy. We will suffer the consequences of overweight/obesity if we allow ourselves to be that way. We will also reap the benefits of extreme health if we work for it. Again, it’s merely a choice.

Men have more muscle than women and this gives them a higher resting metabolism. Women burn fewer calories at baseline. Since we are usually smaller, we burn fewer calories doing the same exercise. Our bodies also hold onto fat stores more efficiently than men’s to assist with pregnancy. In order to offset some of this make sure that you stay away from extremely low calorie diets that cause you to burn even fewer calories by getting your metabolism off balance. With your doctor’s permission include strength training in your exercise regimen to hold onto the muscle that you have and build more. It will stoke your metabolism to burn more calories.

As women age and estrogen levels plummet, metabolism slows down. As a result, women lose muscle and gain fat, especially around the midsection. Research also indicates that as women approach menopause, they tend to exercise less. Offset this tendency to put on this sneaky fat by getting more active. Amp it up to the degree that your doctor will allow and prevent the muffin top.

There is evidence that women are more likely to be an emotional eater than men. When a woman eats her emotions, she is more likely to reach for high calorie, sugar laden foods than men. To curb some of these cravings, avoid sugar which causes intense cravings for more sugar and stay full of good, nutritionally dense whole foods. We don’t usually want to eat when we are full and our nutritional needs are met. The worst time for cravings is when we allow ourselves to get empty and our blood sugar falls. Then we crave sugar and simple carbs to give us a quick lift. This is 100% controllable with minimal effort. Eat well and often and always remember that women cannot eat the same portion size as a man normally. They are bigger and require more calories. If you eat like your much larger husband, you will be his size.

And for Heaven’s Sake ditch the all or nothing thinking! Emotional creatures that we are, if we “mess up” one time, sometimes we want to just give up. Remember, a “diet” will not help you. That’s temporary. You are in this for the long haul, it’s a lifestyle and there will be ups and downs. Get up and keep going.

Eat more protein. A high protein diet can decrease cravings and boost metabolism. There is a study that indicated that increasing protein intake by just 15% decreased daily caloric intake by an average of 441 calories resulting in an 11 pound weight loss. (1) Make sure to get enough fiber. Fiber binds with protein to keep you full longer. A favorite snack of mine is a cheese stick with an apple. That combination keeps me from being hungry for a couple of hours.

Keep a food journal to be accountable for what you eat. It’s easy to forget the extra bites if we don’t keep an honest record. Every bite counts.

At David’s Way we encourage Intermittent Fasting. Read David’s article 16:8 Intermittent Fasting for some good information concerning IF. It helps almost everyone lose weight. With your doctor’s permission, give it a try. When we allow our blood sugar levels to stabilize, our insulin levels subside and we release stored sugar from our fat cells to use for energy. I promote IF, especially for women who have difficulty losing weight, because it worked for me when nothing else did.

Although women have unique challenges with weight loss, there are ways to lose the weight and keep it off. Read our articles, avoid sugar, work out with your doctor’s permission and commit to IF, again with your doctor’s permission. IF may not be suitable for everyone, especially diabetics. Whatever you do, don’t use being female as an excuse to be unhealthy. You deserve better. Get up and pursue excellence. We have given you the tools.

(1) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/weight-loss-for-women#section3

Don’t Let The S.A.D. Kill You

Have you ever heard of a condition called Diverticulitis? Maybe you or a loved one has suffered from this painful condition, it really is pretty common in western society now days. About 35% of Americans over the age of 50 have diverticulitis while about 58% over the age of 60 have it. Many have this condition and will never know it. But when it does raise it’s ugly head to let you know it is there, you will damn well know something is wrong for sure. There will be no doubt that something painfully wrong has gone wrong in your colon.

What is Diverticulitis?

From: MayoClinic.org

Diverticula are small, bulging pouches that can form in the lining of your digestive system. They are found most often in the lower part of the large intestine (colon). Diverticula are common, especially after age 40, and seldom cause problems.

Sometimes, however, one or more of the pouches become inflamed or infected. That condition is known as diverticulitis. Diverticulitis can cause severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea and a marked change in your bowel habits.

Mild diverticulitis can be treated with rest, changes in your diet and antibiotics. Severe or recurring diverticulitis may require surgery.

Symptoms

Again, from MayoClinic.org

  • Pain, which may be constant and persist for several days. The lower left side of the abdomen is the usual site of the pain. Sometimes, however, the right side of the abdomen is more painful, especially in people of Asian descent.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Fever.
  • Abdominal tenderness.
  • Constipation or, less commonly, diarrhea.

How the Stand American Diet causes Diverticulitis

Today in America, our Standard American Diet has become pretty crappy. Not only are we consuming too much sugar, unhealthy fats, sodium and preservatives, many of us have diets that are quite low in fiber. In a nutshell, because of low fiber diets, people are constipated to some extent, and therefore are not as regular with their bowel movements as they should be. The problem with this is when these people strain to have a bowel movement, greater pressure than normal builds up in their colon. The result of this pressure is the formation of bulging pouches within your colon and digestive tract. Think of what happens to a rubber inner tube with a weak spot when you inflate it; a bubble will form where the rubber is weak. Your colon does the same thing from it’s internal pressure which causes marble-sized pouches to protrude through the colon wall.

Diverticulitis occurs when the pouches, or rather, diverticula tear, resulting in inflammation or infection or both. When this happens, you are going to feel it in a big way, I guarantee. This is a very painful condition.

Complications

From MayoClinic.org

About 25 percent of people with acute diverticulitis develop complications, which may include:

  • An abscess, which occurs when pus collects in the pouch.
  • A blockage in your colon or small intestine caused by scarring.
  • An abnormal passageway (fistula) between sections of bowel or the bowel and bladder.
  • Peritonitis, which can occur if the infected or inflamed pouch ruptures, spilling intestinal contents into your abdominal cavity. Peritonitis is a medical emergency and requires immediate care.

Risk Factors

  • Aging. The incidence of diverticulitis increases with age.
  • Obesity. Being seriously overweight increases your odds of developing diverticulitis.
  • Smoking. People who smoke cigarettes are more likely than nonsmokers to experience diverticulitis.
  • Lack of exercise. Vigorous exercise appears to lower your risk of diverticulitis.
  • Diet high in animal fat and low in fiber. A low-fiber diet in combination with a high intake of animal fat seems to increase risk, although the role of low fiber alone isn’t clear.
  • Certain medications Several drugs are associated with an increased risk of diverticulitis, including steroids, opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve).

Now, study those risk factors and think about how this painful condition is self inflicted. Do you watch what you eat and try to manage your weight? Do you try to make healthy choices and do all that you can to not be obese? Do you really need a cigarette to live? How often do you exercise? Or, are you a couch potato? Those risk factors are all about life choices you make every day of your life. Are you setting a good example for your children so they do not know the misery that can come from diverticulitis? I sure hope so.

Prevention

From MayoClinic.org

  • Exercise regularly. Exercise promotes normal bowel function and reduces pressure inside your colon. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes on most days.
  • Eat more fiber. A high-fiber diet decreases the risk of diverticulitis. Fiber-rich foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, soften waste material and help it pass more quickly through your colon. Eating seeds and nuts isn’t associated with developing diverticulitis.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Fiber works by absorbing water and increasing the soft, bulky waste in your colon. But if you don’t drink enough liquid to replace what’s absorbed, fiber can be constipating.

Treatment

MayoClinic

Uncomplicated diverticulitis

If your symptoms are mild, you may be treated at home. Your doctor is likely to recommend:

  • Antibiotics to treat infection, although new guidelines state that in very mild cases, they may not be needed.
  • A liquid diet for a few days while your bowel heals. Once your symptoms improve, you can gradually add solid food to your diet.
  • An over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).

This treatment is successful in most people with uncomplicated diverticulitis.

Complicated diverticulitis

If you have a severe attack or have other health problems, you’ll likely need to be hospitalized. Treatment generally involves:

  • Intravenous antibiotics
  • Insertion of a tube to drain an abdominal abscess, if one has formed

Surgery

You’ll likely need surgery to treat diverticulitis if:

  • You have a complication, such as a bowel abscess, fistula or obstruction, or a puncture (perforation) in the bowel wall
  • You have had multiple episodes of uncomplicated diverticulitis
  • You have a weakened immune system

There are two main types of surgery:

  • Primary bowel resection. The surgeon removes diseased segments of your intestine and then reconnects the healthy segments (anastomosis). This allows you to have normal bowel movements. Depending on the amount of inflammation, you may have open surgery or a minimally invasive (laparoscopic) procedure.
  • Bowel resection with colostomy. If you have so much inflammation that it’s not possible to rejoin your colon and rectum, the surgeon will perform a colostomy. An opening (stoma) in your abdominal wall is connected to the healthy part of your colon. Waste passes through the opening into a bag. Once the inflammation has eased, the colostomy may be reversed and the bowel reconnected.

This condition is pretty damn serious. Last Saturday I attended a Celebration of Life for a young friend who had suffered from diverticulitis for some time. His diverticulitis finally burst and spilled the contents of his colon into his abdominal cavity. The resulting fatal case of peritonitis caused this young man to die a very painful death. He leaves behind a wife, and three young daughters.

Might there be cases where an individual suffers the worse case scenario with diverticulitis despite having consumed a good healthy diet combined with regular exercise? Sure, I guess it might be possible. However, go back and read the risk factors again, and think about how many of them might apply to you, and then decide if you are going to do anything about it. Life is about choices, choose wisely my friends. Choose wisely.