9 out of 10 That Die From it Never Knew They Even Had This Preventable Disease

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9 out of 10 That Die From it Never Knew They Even Had This Preventable Disease

Diverticula are out-pouchings of our intestine. Doctors like using a tire analogy: high pressures within the gut can force the intestines to balloon out through weak spots in the intestinal wall like an inner tube poking out through a worn tire tread. You can see what they actually look like in my video, Diverticulosis: When Our Most Common Gut Disorder Hardly Existed. These pockets can become inflamed and infected, and, to carry the tire analogy further, can blow out and spill fecal matter into the abdomen, and lead to death. Symptoms can range from no symptoms at all, to a little cramping and bloating, to “incapacitating pain that is a medical emergency.” Nine out of ten people who die from the disease never even knew they had it.

The good news is there may be a way to prevent the disease. Diverticular disease is the most common intestinal disorder, affecting up to 70% of people by age 60. If it’s that common, though, is it just an inevitable consequence of aging? No, it’s a new disease. In 1907, 25 cases had been reported in the medical literature. Not cases in 25% of people, but 25 cases period. And diverticular disease is kind of hard to miss on autopsy. A hundred years ago, in 1916, it didn’t even merit mention in medical and surgical textbooks. The mystery wasn’t solved until 1971.

How did a disease that was almost unknown become the most common affliction of the colon in the Western world within one lifespan? Surgeons Painter and Burkitt suggested diverticulosis was a deficiency disease—i.e., a disease caused by a deficiency of fiber. In the late 1800s, roller milling was introduced, further removing fiber from grain, and we started to fill up on other fiber-deficient foods like meat and sugar. A few decades of this and diverticulosis was rampant.

This is what Painter and Burkitt thought was going on: just as it would be easy to squeeze a lump of butter through a bicycle tube, it’s easy to move large, soft, and moist intestinal contents through the gut. In contrast, try squeezing through a lump of tar. When we eat fiber-deficient diets, our feces can become small and firm, and our intestines have to really squeeze down hard to move them along. This buildup of pressure may force out those bulges. Eventually, a low-fiber diet can sometimes lead to the colon literally rupturing itself.

If this theory is true, then populations eating high­-fiber diets would have low rates of diverticulosis. That’s exactly what’s been found. More than 50% of African Americans in their 50s were found to have diverticulosis, compared to less than 1% in African Africans eating traditional plant-based diets. By less than 1%, we’re talking zero out of a series of 2,000 autopsies in South Africa and two out of 4,000 in Uganda. That’s about one thousand times lower prevalence.

What, then, do we make of a new study concluding that a low-fiber diet was not associated with diverticulosis. I cover that in my video Does Fiber Really Prevent Diverticulosis?

For more on bowel health, see:

What if your doctor says you shouldn’t eat healthy foods like nuts and popcorn because of your diverticulosis? Share with them my Diverticulosis & Nuts video.

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

66 responses to “9 out of 10 That Die From it Never Knew They Even Had This Preventable Disease

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  1. Swimming pool chlorine and chemicals toxic to humans through skin absorption?
    Is this true, and a valid concern? Any science on this, Doctor?

    1. Thanks for your question Mich.

      According to a 2017 review:

      “Disinfection treatments are critical to conserve the microbiological quality of swimming pool water and to prevent water-borne infections. The formation of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) in swimming pools is an undesirable consequence resulting from reactions of disinfectants (e.g. chlorine) with organic and inorganic matter present in pool water, mainly brought by bathers. A considerable body of occurrence studies has identified several classes of DBPs in swimming pools with more than 100 compounds detected, mainly in chlorinated freshwater pools. Trihalomethanes (THMs), haloacetic acids (HAAs), haloacetaldehydes (HALs) are among the major DBPs in swimming pools. Other DBPs such as haloacetonitriles (HAN), haloamines, nitrosamines, and halobenzoquinones have also been detected. Researchers have been interested in identifying the precursors responsible for the formation of DBPs. In swimming pools, anthropogenic organic loads brought by swimmers increase the complexity of pool water chemistry. When human inputs (e.g. sweat, urine, hair, skin and personal care products) containing very diverse organic compounds are introduced to pools by swimmers, they react with chlorine resulting in the formation of complex mixtures of DBPs. The overwhelming majority of the total organic halide (TOX) content is still unknown in swimming pools. Exposure of swimmers to DBPs can take place through multiple routes, depending on the chemical properties of each DBP. Toxicological studies have shown that swimming pool water can be mutagenic with different potencies reported in different studies. Many DBPs have been shown to be genotoxic and carcinogenic. DBPs were also shown to induce reproductive and neurotoxic adverse effects in animal studies. Epidemiologic studies in humans have shown that exposure to DBPs increases the risk of respiratory adverse effects and bladder cancer. Association between DBPs and other health effects are still inconclusive. Data gathered in the present review (occurrence, toxicity, and toxicological reference values) could be used in conducting chemical risk assessment studies in swimming pools.”

      Hope this answer helps

  2. Can eating a WFPBD “heal” the Diverticula a person already had when starting the plan?
    Or is the eating just a way to prevent it?

      1. Yes me too!!! Doctors here in Greece are telling people to cut out many of the very things ( mostly plant foods ) that would possibly help them to heal and that can only be keeping them sick! At least this is my estimation and it makes me sad… I understand that in Cananda and the US doctors are no longer saying to avoid seeds etc… Dr Greger any further research on this that you have would be most most welcome! xxx ♥

      2. Don’t know either. But I have plenty of them even though I have been some form of vegetarian or other since college, 70 years ago. No doubt way too little fiber in my “chips and salsa” days. Cleaned up my diet some years ago and went 100% WFP (I don’t like the suffix “-based”), and have never had an attack of diverticulitis. And I am confident, now that I get more than 50 grams of fiber per day, that I never will.

    1. Being one who has first hand experience with these I can share my story…

      Diverticulosis is the formation of pouches on the inner wall of the lower intestine .. these pouches occur for the reasons discussed in the video – high pressures due to lack of fiber. Based on what my GI told me.. once these pouches are formed there is no going back…. It seems like a permanent deformation. .

      When fecal matter gets stuck in the pouch and says there for long time… An infection can develop. When the infection occurs it is called diverticulitis. The treatment I went through was taking some nasty antibiotics to kill the infection.. unfortunately that treatment kills all the good bacteria in your gut too :(

      After the treatment I took probiotics for several weeks along with transitioning to a WFPB diet.. based on the rather subtle recommendations from the internist and GI …

      So today 1.5 years later,, Icontinue with WFPB diet and be sure to get my 80-100 g fiber a day. So far so good.

      Of course I got all the other benefits of the WFPB diet such as an 80 lb weight loss that put my BMI at normal, got rid of my prediabetes diagnosis… And greatly reduced my BP… So in a way diverticulitis turned out to be good thing in that I lived through it and made some major improvement to my health as a result of going WFPB :)

      1. WJB, your progress is quite phenomenal. Of interest to me is whether or not this also resulted in never having another episode of diverticulitis once you established yourself on the WFPB diet. Also, how do you get so much fiber on a daily basis? Could you possibly share a typical day’s meal plan? It would be so helpful.


        1. Hi Lee

          I had one reoccurrence that occurred 3 weeks after the initial treatment – I wasn’t fully WFPB yet … but the drs thought the cause was that the first round of antibiotics was not sufficient so I had to go through a second round. Since that time, no reoccurrence.

          At first it was challenging getting that much fiber but I found some easy (and delicious) ways to reach that goal. Here is a typical day for me:

          Breakfast: 1.5 cups cooked steel cut oats with a handful of sliced almonds, 2 tbsp ground flax, and some fruit (1.5 cups strawberries with 1 banana, or 2 large peaches, or 2-3 apples) this will give about 26 g of fiber

          Lunch: Large salad with 3 cups leafy greens (spinach, spring mix, arugula, etc.) 1/4 cup each of carrots, bell peppers, radish; 1 cup of a whole grain (brown rice, bulgur, farro, quinoa, or mixture there ofetc.); add 1/2 cup of beans (garbanzo, black, pinto, etc.); 1/2 cup potato/sweet potato; flavor with 1-2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar; top with 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds… this gives about 25-30 g of fiber

          Dinner: 8-12 woven wheat crackers, 2-3 tbsp oil free hummus, 2 cup lentil soup, 3 cups chopped fruit (watermelon, cantaloupe, and/or honeydew) or smoothie made from 2 banana, 1/2 cup almond milk, 2 cups frozen mixed berries — this gives another 25-30 g of fiber

          Since this diverticulitis event, I have been using a food tracking software to log everything (more or less) I put into my mouth each and every day (I use the one at http://cronometer.com but there are others out there). This tallies all the nutrition elements and (along with helping me monitor my weight) gave me a means to make sure I get the essentials as I transitioned to WFPB diet. Eventually I stop doing this daily logging once I get confident I can make the right choices and not worry about missing something vital ;)

          1. wjb, thank you so much for taking the time to detail your experience.  You have no idea how much this inspires me.  I don’t know if I can eat quite that much as you do in a day but I am going to print out your example meal plan and try to incorporate it for myself.  It will go on my fridge much like the woman who wants to lose weight and posts a fat picture of herself!  haha…..seriously, I am very grateful.

          2. P.S.  I think my biggest problem will be eating salad greens without benefit of dressing.  I notice you refrain from using any additional oil.  I wonder if anyone has ideas of how to eat salad without benefit of oil?

            1. Eating salad without dressing: I enjoy expensive balsamic vinegars, sold in my city but others may have to look online. Cost is like wine. But so good. Also, the liquids in some fruits in the salads work to add flavor, such as orange juice over a beet salad. Smoked salt or paprika works in some recipes.

              1. There are also several oil free salad dressing recipes that add a lot of flavor – you can check out Dr McDougal’s website for a bunch of recipes for example: https://www.drmcdougall.com/health/education/recipes/mcdougall-recipes/?searchitem=dressing

                and also use Google for more ideas … for now I am OK with balsamic vinegar

                I’ll admit that I am not totally oil-free as it is so very hard to do that unless you completely cook/prepare every food you eat — I try to minimize as much as possible though.

                Also while it sounds like a lot of food – it is not really that much … in a caloric sense. That’s what great about a WFPB diet – -you can pretty much eat all you want until you feel full – for me there is definitely no deprivation ;)

              2. Thanks Pcg2015 I didn’t realize balsamic vinegar was legit on this plan Maybe what I read about vinegar on this forum confused me I can definitely get on board with that and with the orange juice Thanks so much!

              3. You need a little bit of fat to along with your vegetables for better absorption of nutrients. There are a lot of healthy animal based fat but since you probably want to be vegan, then try avocado, or coconut bit. Vegetable oil is OK if it is not rancid.

                For flavor then use lemon and/or vinegar (apple cider or balsamic). Don’t use the commercial dressing because they are full of transfat and other preservatives and junk.

            2. It’s easier than you might think. Think of the greens as a bed for any number of flavorful staples kept in the fridge. I chop the greens medium fine because I want to stir in all the other goodies. Thinks like: Roasted veggies (no oil); diced onion or garlic, diced cooked sweet potato, imitation bacon bits, raw veg like tomato, radish, carrot, mushroom, beans etc. And … I use air popped popcorn as croutons. I used to add avocado but wanted to reduce my already low fat intake to under 10% per the consensus of Drs. Greger, McDougall, Esselstein, Kahn, Klaper et al. If it seems too Spartan at first, then do it gradually.

            3. Lida,
              I eat loads of fresh vegies but I never eat salads. They take too long to chew. I belong to a CSA farm and get a box of produce once a week, June to November. I pay a little extra and also get an added greens box each week. Last one was red kale, almost too pretty to bite. Last year I set aside a load of lacinato kale for lunch and spent one hour chewing. My jaw was sore. I ate a good amount of the kale but one hour is too long. I work in a factory part time and get breaks of 10,20 and 10 minutes, again, not much chewing time.

              To avoid oils (almond butter, tahini) I make hummus with garbanzo beans, garlic, turmeric, black pepper (thank you Dr. Greger), curry powder, some whole citrus like a lemon, a blood orange, a grapefruit, some walnuts and then I use that as a spread on oil free, whole grain flour bread. Add tomatoes from the farm, sometimes heirloom and always tasty, some green or regular onions, and pile on greens until the sandwich looks like the Beverly Hillbillies’ model T. Yesterday’s sandwiches had fresh basil, salad mix–about a dozen mini greens like tatsoi, mizuna, god only knows what else–fresh mint from the farmer’s market and red kale.

              So there’s the greens for lunch.

              Liquefication is my other method. I put most of my weekly vegies in the Vitamix with water and some fruit, occasionnally some nuts or seeds for a mealier texture. We had cantaloupe this week so I chucked the seed laden jelly goop into the Vitamix. A mango and a peach too. Greens, by volume, go WAY down in a blender with a little water. You can drink an hour’s worth of chewing in a minute or two and except for the altered form, the food’s still all there, inside you.

              The other main thing is to blend greens and use them as a base for soup. I cook a pot of whole grains, kamut these days; a load of beans with whole food bbq sauce; saute in water three or four containers of fresh mushrooms with all the alliums I can find, maybe some cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinegar; finally I oven roast a bunch of the vegies, making sure there are some crucifers, grate fresh ginger over the vegies with lemon zest and juice. Now I have several big pots of food and throw some of this and some of that together for soup, always with the blended greens and other vegies.

              So I don’t eat salads but I eat everything in a salad save the dressing and don’t miss it. I use lots of fresh herbs and spices and since I don’t eat processed food, I’ve taken to lightly salting my soup.

              A few other things I throw in the smoothies and soup are seaweed, whole citrus cut in pieces, seed goop from squash, Hmong greens–big population in my area. I bought an unknown Hmong green this week at the farmers market and the best ID I got was the literal translation for the green: “little bush.” I’ve been having a Hmong mystery green the last few weeks. The only named one so far is pronounced “gatto.”

              My main eating plan comes from Joel Fuhrman. He says to eat GBOMBS every day, that is greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds. I’m sold that greens are number one so I have plenty every day. This spring and early summer I was picking dandelion greens on my walks. A small handful takes some chewing but you’re just walking, looking about and thinking so plenty chew time. A cool side effect is forgetting the dandelion greens in your pocket for a couple days. Now you have dried greens, little different taste and faster to chew.

              Maybe drying is another way to get the greens in but I fear I’ve already chewed your ear too much.

              Mike Smyth

              1. Mike Smyth, that was hilarious!  Informative yes but also very amusing.  This could be the first chapter of your book!  Thanks so much for this helpful post.  I don’t have access to the plethora of greens that you mentioned.  Where I live the local growers are available only during the summer months and even then it is difficult to find organic. So although my selections may be limited, I shall plod on.  Thanks again.

                1. Lida,
                  Thanks for the kind words. I’m a writer and have been thinking of starting a blog on how I eat a WFPB diet. This reply to you was my first foray.

                  Here’s an idea for greens that might work for you.

                  Do you have any vegetable farms in your area? Our CSA is 25 miles away but if it were 100 miles away, this would still be worth it. Non-organic farms count.

                  Pick broccoli greens.

                  Our farm raises 30some vegies and a few fruits in a season but they do nothing with the broccoli leaves. I wait until they’ve picked the broccoli florets and before any killing freezes–this is in middle Wisconsin so it’s usually, I think, in late October. I fill four plastic bags with the leaves, crammed full. The labor is less than an hour and a pleasant time in the fall air.

                  Take them home and cut the central spine out. This makes the leaves easy to stack flat. I double or triple bag them and put them in the freezer. I pile the leaves a few inches high and squish them down. Wrap them tight. The pile is the size of a dinner plate. Those are my main greens until next growing season.

                  I cut off or break off a chunk of the frozen greens and throw them in the blender. That’s my first step in making Joel Fuhrman’s cancer soup. Or throw them in already hot soup, sans blender, if you want to see the leaves in your food.

                  Think of it.

                  Dr. Greger tells us broccoli kills cancer cells in vitro. He and others tell us the dark greens are the most nutrient- laden part of the plant. Broccoli leaves are a dark blue green and in the blender make a color so bright, you think of LucyintheSkywithDiamonds. He also advises eating crucifers/brassicas daily and broccoli is a member of that esteemed family. And, they’re free!

                  I still have a third or so bag left from last fall. With fresh greens coming in every week, the broccoli patty has languished in the freezer. But they always get me through the winter and spring.

                  Another datum from our friend, Michael Greger: the good nutrients in produce outweigh the bad chemicals on the produce. If you have non-organic farms only, no problem. Just find somebody that grows broccoli and ask if you can pick some leaves after they’ve harvested the florets and before the remaining plants are composted or plowed under. If not broccoli, there are many other crucifers whose leaves are not commonly eaten. Cauliflower comes to mind. Probably brussels sprouts and cabbage as well. Many others I suspect.

                  I like the broccoli leaves because they’re so big, easier to pick more food faster. I use one of the farm’s curved, serrated knives, made for fast work in the field.

                  I like the taste too. I still most like the taste of steak and chocolate layer cake but I like living more.

                  Good luck, Mike Smyth

    2. Thanks for your question,

      I did a bit of research not the topic but it seems that this diseases is not reversible, but a plant based diet may alleviate symptoms and decrease the likelihood of developing new diverticuli.

      I highly recommend you to watch this video regarding nuts and the disease (see here).

      Hope this answer helps.

    3. From all of my research, the answer to your question is, No.
      I suffered for three years with chronic diverticulitis, the infection of diverticula. The threat of gut surgery (for this was the only option presented) scared me and I refused the operation.
      I weaned myself off of fats, heavy salts, and processed foods. I gave up meat and dairy; I still eat small amounts of cheese, because it tastes good, but small amounts.
      I started eating more fruits and vegetables, gradually increasing my fiber intake. Too big a change too fast is something that is very uncomfortable. I don’t eat from boxes or cans anymore and have learned to enjoy food again. I eat more nuts and seeds than I ever have. I buy good whole grain and seed bread.
      All of my life I’ve had dangerously high cholesterol. I have not had it tested since my diet change but I can feel that it has dropped.
      I strongly suggest to people to change their diet don’t just “go on a diet.”
      I sleep better, I feel better overall and my stomach doesn’t bother me anymore either.
      I haven’t seen a doctor in eight months, and I’m happy to not be making their boat payments anymore.
      I’d like to thank NutritionFacts for helping me change my life and live better.

      1. Steve, I am a bit confused.  Are you saying that your research indicates that diverticulitis cannot be cured but that your own experience proves otherwise?

    1. yveshomsy, I can’t tell you if Budwig’s protocol helps with cancer, but as a cancer survivor I can tell you what T Colin Campbell proved over many years in his lab at Cornell and human studies in China: Animal protein stimulates cancer. Plant protein does not. He was able to stop cancer growth in mice by restricting animal protein to no more than 5% of calories. At 20% of calories the mice all died from the tumor. At the low level the tumor essentially disappeared. At protein levels between those extremes, the cancer growth also fell between the extremes. You can get the details in his important book, The China Study. Or you can find his talks on Youtube.

      The protein he used was casein, the most prevalent protein in milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. But animal protein from meat told the same story when he studied people all over China. The more of it they ate, the more cancer the population of that area had. The areas where people ate little or no animal protein had no, or very little, cancer.

      I hope this helps you in your quest for wellness.

  3. When I first saw the title of this post in the subject line of my email I thought it was click bait from some spammer. Then I saw it was NF blog. Please don’t go this route of titling. You don’t need that. Please just say, like you usually would ie: Nine out of 10 who die from diverticulosis never even know they have it.

    Mark G

  4. Over 60% of Africa Africans and Chinese use squat toilets which also ease defecation, even of tar like stools. In the US a high fiber diet and squat toilets would reverse the diverticulitis trend in one generation.

    1. Jerry, are you still eating oils? If you eat out much you’re probably eating a lot of them. It would be worthwhile for you to eliminate all oils to see if this makes a difference.

      Do you have genetically high cholesterol? There are lots of videos on this site about cholesterol, as you may know. Perhaps you can find an answer in one of them. Or maybe one of you doctors could speak up.

  5. The idea of Africans getting so much fiber from leafy greens had me intrigued. So I googled to see which leafy greens Africans typically eat and was mystified by the names I came across. These are not the leafy greens we are accustomed to here in the USA and many of them are not cultivated but grow wild. So the question arises, which leafy greens that are available to us here in the USA come closest to the ones that Africans eat? Which ones have the most fiber and the least potential for digestive distress?

    1. Thanks for your question Lee.

      Harvard has a great summary that covers fiber intake and its effect on health in brief (see here).

      The Academy o Nutrition and Dietetics has a good article explaining how to increase fiber intake (see here).

      I believe you should get fiber from a variety of plant based foods and not try to focus too much on comparing sources. In this sense, Dr Gregers new free app will help (see here).

      Hope this answer helps.

    2. I agree, most of our produce has been hybridized for our preferences, which is often at odds with what is best for us. Here in S Florida the usual crops we grew up north won’t grow here over the summer, so I had to learn a whole new plant lexicon of greens I had never heard of before, but so glad I did because they grow like weeds and are full of nutrition, fiber and variety! My current favorites are greens that grow on trees and shrubs, like chaya, moringa, nopales, cranberry and other edible hibiscus, katuk, ethiopian kale, then the yams and sweet potatoes, whose greens are also edible, taro and other tubers, llots of alternative “spinach” type greens, tropical pumpkins and yams, not to mention all the foraging options, which I love to do also! Some things are definitely an acquired taste, but I love mixing it up and expanding on the limited choices in the produce dept. You might enjoy browsing here…http://edibleplantproject.org/ Even though it’s for FL, much of it can be grown seasonally too, or wintered inside somewhere.

  6. Both my wife and I have had major problems with colon resections and I remember asking the Dr. who is a well regarded Laparoscopic surgeon,what caused it- he really could not say. I suggested pollution maybe chemicals now used -he really did not have an answer.And I was seeing young boys next to me with the same problem.Thanks for addressing this Dr Greger.I was eating more fiber that most but still too much meat.Now I know……. thanks.

    1. Hey Ron, thanks for writing! I was curious about this myself, since I had never seen any evidence for this. Back in 2002, I asked a friend and co-worker (Nehme Gebrayel, a Gastroenterologist/Internist and Board-Certified Nutritionist) if there was any evidence that seeds cause diverticulosis/diverticulitis. “None whatsoever,” was his reply. Lack of dietary fiber, and a meat-based, refined grain diet are still the chief causes of this disease.

  7. My friend has been hospitalized twice in the last year with diverticulitis. I was quite shocked when she told me her medical doctor told her it was not diet related!

  8. I was diagnosed with diverticulitis when I had a diverticulitis attack about 4 months ago.My doctor did a endoscopy and found I have diverticulitis, hiatal hernia, GERD, and more. I lived on tums for years thinking it was only heartburn (which only mask the condition).
    I was also on many medications. He told me to change my diet and watch out for seeds.
    I changed my diet and became a Vegan. I dropped 40 pounds in the past 2 months and I’m off all my medications. I am trying a more plant based diet and this changed my life.
    I only take B vitamins and feel better then ever. I do have spinal stenosis and herniated disc and sciatica and this diet helps with inflammatory issues.
    Also I noticed a change in the taste of food. The food taste amazing and I get filled up because of the fiber. I still put flax seeds in my smoothies and I eat nuts and legumes and still no attacks or heartburn.
    I wish I knew about this years ago.

    1. Hi Luann, congratulations on this remarkable achievement.  We share a good many of the same conditions but unfortunately my journey may be much slower and far less dramatic.  I still get occasional complaints from the area of my diverticulosis though thankfully has not erupted into another diverticulitis.  It was so helpful to me to have wjb share his daily meal plan.  I wonder if you would consider doing the same?  Just some examples of what you typically eat throughout the day.  It would be a great help to newbies such as me to get some ideas especially from someone like you who has made such significant strides.

      1. Hi Lida, Breakfast:  Organic steal cut oats mad with water…then I add almond milk after cooked. I also add sweetleaf and either bananas, blueberries, any fruit available but these two are my favorites…even mix fruits, Somedays I will make a green smoothie or green smoothie bowl for breakfast. I blend spinach,kale, 2 cups water, add about 3 cups of fruit,  for a smoothie bowl I use less water or almond milk to make it thick…There are many green smoothie drinks and bowls recopies online.I also take Vitamin Code raw B vitamins…since doing a plant based diet could lack in Vitamin B…Also for breakfast a few times a month I will make sweet potato pancakes  or something similar as a Sunday treat.
        For Lunch and dinner…it varies to what I make or leftovers. I make vegan Black Bean Burgers and use Flax bread and garnish with sautes onions, bread and butter pickles, spinach, cashew cheese, ketchup, everything organic….or I make tacos (I buy all organic re fried beans and shells and make my own salsa….I make spaghetti and meatballs made from either black beans, Chick peas or seitan with whole wheat or pasta made from beans..(I stay away from all rice products)I have recipe books and look for vegan recipes online. I made vegan eggplant Parmesan, lasagna,  and more…I change it up so the family enjoys eating healthy.
        I found soups in my Stop and shop in the organic isle that are vegan. We eat lot’s of salads, sweet potato’s, I make lot’s of baked vegetables and use assorted vegetables that the family likes and mix in Barley or Buckwheat. I use to use Quinoa but that upsets my sons stomach…and Barley is really good.
        For snacks I toast flax bread and put almond butter and bananas, I make ice cream from frozen ripe bananas and mix some almond coconut milk and any fruit you like. I make my own humus so raw veggies is good with that.
        I make Cocoa Maca Root Frappes to satisfy my chocolate urge!
        I’m not 100% plant based because it’s hard to find variety. But I try to incorporate as much plant based in each meal.
        example of whole wheat pasta, I will chop up eggplant or zucchini or a mix of veggies and add it to my tomato sauce. I add spices and sea salt to most meals  I bought most of my books on amazon like the minimalist baker, oh there she glows, the fire engine books, but I get more simple recipes and ideas just by searching online.
        Also to note: what started me to loose the weight and change my eating habits is JJ smith’s smoothie and detox books…then I added more healthy eating…Her smoothies and detox methods are good but her dinner/lunch recipes are not vegan or vegetarian…   I hope this helps 

        1. Luann, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to send such a comprehensive review of your vegan journey.  You have made me feel quite ashamed of my reluctance to dive in with as much energy and time spent on preparing interesting and creative meals.I shall read and reread your post many times to continue to be inspired by your suggestions.
          And as a general note to all the many people on this forum who show such compassion for others trying to join in on this journey, may i offer a heartfelt thank you to all for your great suggestions, information, and support.

          1. No problem at all,  My son and others helped me out when I started to become Vegan. You need support because there are people out there who will make fun of Vegans, Vegetarians and Plant based diet eaters and it can become annoying. I actually made a Vegan dinner for my boyfriends friend who posted all over facebook how stupid he thought this way of eating is. I made butternut squash soup/ salad,eggplant cashew Parmesan,pizza mushrooms and for dessert banana strawberry ice cream. He said he was surprised by the taste and loved it and never posted a negative thing about the way people choose to eat again.
            When I started I made lot’s of big dishes like eggplant Parmesan and lasagna…Then I noticed this was getting too expensive and too much time to make and not as healthy. Now I stick with Black bean Burgers, easy pasta and grain dishes like Buckwheat with baked vegetables, oatmeal, and smoothies. I’m still searching for more recipes.
            I started 3 months ago and as of today lost 40 pounds…I also walk as much as I can with my dogs for exercise and will try to start the gym again when my back gets better.
            I am never hungry eating this way and feel great when full (not tired)…I have no more diverticulitis attacks, heartburn and off all medications and even take less pain meds for my back.  This diet with weight loss contributes.
            I wish I knew about this years ago and will never go back to eating meat, diary or processed foods again.
            I also drink lot’s of water and even bought the Kangen filter for extra benefits.
            Best of Luck! Keep in touch, Luann

  9. Ok her is my spin. I grew up a terrible meat eater and junk eater. I quit eating beef/pork back in 1993 but kept eating Chicken and Fish. I am also milk intolerant. I had diverticulitis so bad a couple years ago I had to change something. I still have diverticulitis outbreaks and it has gotten much better since I pretty much cut out all meat/dairy products in the last 4 months.

    I always hear people say “Don’t eat nuts or popcorn the will trigger your diverticulitis ” Guess what? I eat nuts and popcorn. No problems.

    You used the inner tube analogy, and therein lies the issue. The milk based products. (Which they put in everything) was causing me GAS which in turn, I believe, caused me the diverticulosis/diverticulitis ) Maybe an increase in cheese in a lactose intolerant society since 1907? (Approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy- lactose intolerance cause intestinal bloating)

    I have “Put this to the test” recently. If I eat the one food that still gives me gas, too many beans (Two days in a row for example) then I get a bout of diverticulitis. If I stay away from foods that make me gassy, no problems. Another thing I would like to throw out there is my buddy never had diverticulitis until he had a colonoscopy. Guess what they do when they give you a colonoscopy? THEY PUMP YOU FULL OF GAS. Maybe some research needs to be done.

      1. Diverticulosis are the pouches in someone’s colon. Diverticulitis is when those pouches get inflamed and in my case, it feels like someone kicking me in the colon or running a 3 foot samurai sword through my colon. If one of the diverticulosis ruptures fecal matter can go when your body Cavity and kill you. The signs are you slow down because you’re fighting out an infection, and this may sound gross but you can feel your stool go through your colon.

      2. Not sure I’ve had diverticulosis but I used to have occasional bouts of minor intestinal infection. After this I started using probiotics….also stopped any CAFO chicken.

        Interestingly…sometime after I started on the probiotics I passed a very nasty bit of stool which might have been the last gasp of the nasty bugs.

        The right probiotics will even things out a lot.

        Still can have issues if I indulge in too many nuts…especially peanuts.

      3. Hi Rain: Some of the signs and symptoms of diverticulitis can include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal tenderness, and change in bowel habits. If you’re not feeling well, we advise you to seek medical attention in order to receive a proper assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.

  10. Hi everyone,
    Could there be a link between Diverticulitis and Fibromyalgia? Have a friend who went through both these conditions in that order. Still suffers badly from the later.
    Thanks for any links to this if any.

  11. Is there such a thing as diverticulitis and gluten sensitivity? I’ve been on a gluten free diet to elevate symptoms over 25 years ago. Now because I gained some weight and the dr scared me about prediabetes, I’ve been trying different foods. Now that I found dr Greger and his videos, I am transitioning to a PBD. I have a huge salad mid day, but need my 2 waffles for breakfast with coffee and almond milk. Quit dairy. Can’t stomach beans. Occasionally lentils, in a soup, but not plain. I also started juicing celantro, parsley, kale, dill, and add to it moringa powd, chlorella, iodine drops. What else can I do? I am also gluten sensitive and make gf challah rolls for Shabbos. I can add ground flax to my rolls. I also just stocked up on Navitas healthy berries to add to salads and smoothies. Any recommendations for smoothies with NO Bananas. Don’t like. Plus I am going to try to add whole dates to my diet.

    I am totally new to this so advice is appreciated.

    1. Shalom Nechama and welcome. Diverticulitis is very real. Eat a whole food plant based diet and you’re likely to avoid this terrible disease. Keep in mind that PBD is not enough. You need the “whole food” in there too. Processing usually removes vital dietary fiber that prevents diverticulitis. Waffles are processed carbs, which means all/most of the dietary fiber has been removed leaving highly refined carbs behind for you to absorb rapidly, spike your insulin, cause metabolic syndrome and leptin resistance….all of which you want to avoid. Try getting some whole wheat flour (or better yet grind your own) and make your own whole wheat waffles. Coffee won’t hurt you and almond milk isn’t too bad as long as it has no added sugar or fat. Check the ingredients for “cane juice” etc. Although veggie juicing does not have much sugar in it, when you juice veggies you are trashing all the vital dietary fiber. Remember the mantra: “whole food”. Juice is not a whole food. Do what I do: put all the veggies you love in a blender, add water, and make a veggie smoothy. Think of it as cold raw soup. Either way, it’s pretty refreshing and super healthy. Gluten? Gluten sensitivity and intolerance is real. In some people it manifests as a real allergy called Celiac disease, but this disease is rare and you’d need to be tested for it. Gluten is an excellent source of protein and unfairly demonized by a group of “the herd” of tin-foil hat nuts. Yes, some people are gluten sensitive too. Talk to your doc about this before you jump to conclusions. Also be careful of supplements unless you can find real clinical studies showing benefits. Are you sure you need iodine supplements? You can get tested for iodine deficiency. You don’t want to overload on it. Keep in mind that the main possible deficiency will be B12, so maybe supplement this, but don’t overdo it. You can only absorb 10ug/day and only require about 2.4/day if your gastric mucosa is healthy. Again, this can be tested by your doctor. Smoothies? If you live near a “big box” store you can usually find big bags of organic frozen fruit that are great for smoothies.

      Dr. Ben

    1. Hi Mark: Diverticular disease is different. Diverticula are small, bulging pouches that can form in the lining of your digestive system. You can see an illustration of what they look like here.

  12. I recently purchased your book “How Not To Die”. Due to recent family medicine affects on our bodies I started reading today. I am not going to stop reading! Thank you for your knowledge sharing! What type of person can help us with good foods to eat and getting off Meds?

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