Vegetarian diet for pancreatitis sufferers


Just wondering how many of you have gone to an all vegetarian diet? I have found it to be very helpful…

If you haven’t tried it than maybe it can be helpful for you like it has for me. The pancreas doesn’t have to work so hard. Therefore, doesn’t cause as much pain…eat small amounts throughout the day
and stop by 6:00.

Also, I drink water only with lemon and absolutely no alcohol. Eating whole fruits and vegetables are the best way to get all there nutrients. I hope this helps my fellow sufferers.

GOD BLESS and here’s to a great day painfree…



I have been making smoothies also with the spinach and berries. I have found that if you add an apple it can cover any taste you don't like. What do you use for antioxidants? Do you add it to your smoothies. Thanks.


I did something similar in 2007 when I was going through so many stent placements. I kind of fell off that, but I’m glad that you brought it up again. I am going to the store today. I’m going to try again. Thanks




I was a vegetarian for 18 years. I don’t know why I went off but I did.



Hi Vonnie,

Wow 18 years!!! That’s fantastic… I have gradually become vegetarian
because of the pain it causes. Are there foods that your unable to tolerate and cause problems for your pancreas?




I have found that some days one food is ok then on another day the same food is not. I don’t know why. It may be in combination with something else. Carbs seem to be the best food for me. But even those can hurt.(this may be connected to the hardiness of the grain) I think that everyone is different. I really do prefer veggies, but they need to be well cooked.

I’ve always wondered if a person could specialize in pancreatic nutrition. It could be a whole new field!!




Yes, I find carbs to be best for me to. Cannot do milk products or red meat at all the pain isn’t worth it. Thats why I started doing a vege diet. As time has gone by I have had to eliminate more and more foods from my diet due to pain.

Pancreatic Nutritionist would be great we could all use one of those!




Vegetables hurt your pancreas? What can you eat?



Thank you for all your input. We have similiar diet restrictions. moderate on the salmon Onions went off the menu for me as well. I still want to eat broccoli. Tofu and meat subs do not appeal to me so haven’t eaten them.

Doesn’t seem to be very easy to gain any weight with this lowfat diet. Keep getting comments from people about my weight. making me feel self conscious. Are you experiencing the same thing. I am under a size zero at 5’4.



Wow, that is very skinny!!! What was your weight before pancreatitis? And how long have you had pancreatitis? How are you feeling/looking? For example, if you were very skinny before the pancreatitis and now your activity level is back to its prior level, I wouldn’t be surprised that you are losing some weight on a low fat diet. If you feel you are losing too much, feeling like hell, etc., then you may want to talk to your doctor about how to gain or maintain weight.

I have never, ever been skinny. I was a fat kid with 2 very obese parents. My mother’s family are all very obese. My father’s parents were not, but grandparents and his brother are on the heavier side. I was very, very active and had quite a bit of muscle as well as fat. I’m 5’2". In August when I went into the hospital, I weighed 180 lbs. After 2 weeks of nothing by mouth hospitalization, I weighed 160 lbs. In Oct, I was at 140 and losing about 2 lbs/wk - which is what weight loss books say should happen if you are obese, go low fat, and don’t make up the fat calories with sugar. However, I wasn’t trying to lose weight. I looked like hell. Even strangers were sure I was deathly ill. I felt like they said I looked. My pancreatic specialist said that was too much weight loss and encouraged me to eat more carbs which was hard because my pancreas wasn’t producing enough insulin to keep up with the few carbs I was eating. The endocrinologist put me on Januvia to help increase insulin production. It also turns out that if you are carb starved, eating a few more carbs will often increase your blood sugar. I also lost a hell of a lot of muscle.

I am back up to 147 lbs and holding steady by indulging my sweet tooth. While I wouldn’t mind losing another 20 lbs, I am trying to be gentle on my body for a bit and let it stabilize for a few months. I just started back to work in late Dec and my energy levels are not what I would like them to be, but better than they were in early Dec. I am beginning to get some endurance back via walking and taking the stairs at work. I’ve also recovered most, if not all of normal insulin production. I have reduced my Januvia and the endocrinologist wants me to take a week or two without it and see what happens to my blood sugar.

If you’ve not discovered them SnackWell makes a fat free devil’s food cookie good enough that no one at the office has turned one down yet. Nabisco, Barbara’s, Newman’s all make fat free newtons: fig, raspberry-fig or blueberry-fig. And I can usually find 1-2 flavors of fat free ice cream in various brands. Angel food cake is usually fat free or very low fat. I don’t like regular angel food cake, however when I go to a larger city, I can often find fat free or very low fat chocolate angel food cake that is a pretty good treat.


I sure am glad that the diet question is going on. I can’t eat red meat. I can eat hamburger occassionally, if I wash all the fat off it after I cook it. Salmon is out, although I love it. Chicken breast and turkey breast every now and then.

I had an ERCP on Wed. and have had trouble getting back into the eating thing. I cooked some rice for my husband last night and the smell made me nauseous. I’ve never experienced that before. Right now I’m living on jello (it hurts), canned soup that goes through the blender with more water added to it, apple or white pear juice. You get the picture. One thing you might consider is going to the health food store and finding a can of rice protein powder. I have mixed that with juice and it seems to work pretty well for me.

I lost a lot of weight in 2006-2007. I was down to 116 at 5 ft. 3". Now I am back at 145 and feel that I need to hang onto that weight. I too look pretty skinny. I look at those clothes now and wonder that I was even able to wear them!! I am looking at surgery in the near future, don’t know what yet although I suspect they will want to do a Puestow. SOOOO, if any of you have had that procedure or one similar, would you please let me know if it has helped? I feel like I have a lot of decisions to make and want to make sure it is the right one.



“soft” things- I can eat fruit once in awhile. If I eat an apple, I need to
take a digestive enzyme afterwards. I can’t seem to digest veggies…even
when they are cooked… can eat cooked mushrooms…when I have a fresh
salad, I pay big time!


Amen to that! :slight_smile:



As a child my mom had me on a lowfat,low sugar diet. None of us were ever overweight. She told me that I was allergic to milk as an infant I wasn’t able to keep the formula down. She had to make my formula from scratch. She said it took her several times to perfect the recipe with the help of my pediatrician. There were also foods she said I couldnt tolerate because of allergies. I remember being sick alot. Never had fast food items growing up that I can remember. But I still would get sick alot I guess my folks thought it was the flu,weak stomach or food allergy. they tried to keep ir under control by low fat low sugar diet.

As I got in my older teens I continued eating healthy but added in a not so healthy diet fast food items and junk . I gained weight to a size 7 as a teen. That’s the most I ever weighed. problems with getting sick more often. As soon as I started working a 9-5 job went to a size 2. I was constantly getting sick with something. even went to the hospital a couple of times they diagnosed me with gastritis and sent me home. I would even fall asleep at work while talking to someone ever have that happen? its really weird,falling asleep with your eyes open. I would Have to take naps and sometimes wouldn’t wake up in time to go back someone would come and get me. I stopped working 12 yrs. ago to be home with kids. working very-part time right now.

I seriously started seeing a dr.about ten yrs.ago. because started to have unfamiliar symptoms and they removed my gallbladder. Didnt seem to help because I continued with the same symptoms and about 4 years ago found a dr. who I have been working with since. He diagnosed me with a closed pancreas duct. Had the procedure and was alot better for a year until now.

When I saw my dr. about 2 mos, ago he diagnoed me with pancreatitis. I told him about my weight loss from size 4 to 0. He said to take three enzymes w/each meal. He said it probably wouldn’t work but to try. That’s also when he told me I have pancreas divisum. Need to Cut my duct open again and put a stent. remove stent a few days later and than do a surgery on my pancreas. The pancreas surgery seems pretty complicated. I was pretty stunned when he told me. I guess it explains alot of my illness throughout the years. Do you know anyone who has this or has to have this done? not as much pain with lowfat and low sugar diet.That is what i have found but still have my bad days. like today has been a bad day so I am trying to take it easy.


The key to keeping the pacreas happy is to eat things that are easy to digest. Protein is a big issue with many pancreatitis patients. My original GI put me on low fat, low protein, high carb diet. Now with my PEG-J tube, my formula is high in protein but it does not seem to bother me, maybe because the J port is so far down the GI tract. When I try to eat anything, it puts my pancreas in a spin. Doesn’t matter what it is. I guess everyone is different so trial and error is the way to go. At least with the PEG-J, I am getting nutrition and some hydration. I, too, am 5’3" and a size zero. Pretty sad when your ten year old son gives you hand me downs. Doc K would like to see at least 5 more pounds on me and I try like hell but some days the stars just are not in alignment.

Good luck to all and prayers for pain free days and nights (last night was a horrible one, up since 2am with nausea and pain).



Thank you everyone for all your input. I think it’s great that we can all be here suporting eachother. Trial and error that’s for sure and plus it’s just like vonnie said some days the food item might be fine but the next day it’s not. I wonder if it would help to write in a journal.

My prayers are with you,


Thanks. I appreciate your kind thoughts and support.


Did any of you develop food intolerances at the same time as your pancreatitis? I mean lower abdominal cramping and/or diarrhea related to certai foods, rather than foods that directly aggravate the pancreas pain.

This has happened to me, and I’ve assumed that it was unrelated. But I noticed someone, I think Amanda, mentioned something about this on another thread. Is this a common issue with CP? I find that dairy, corn and citrus definitely cause this problem, and sometimes other foods.

Also, is anyone else sensitive to sugar? My internist told me that sugar (including fruit juice, etc.) is almost as hard on the pancreas as fat is. Indeed, when I stopped living on apple juice the pain decreased and I was able to get back to solids sooner. Now I avoid juice and sugars as much as possible, and seem to feel worse all over if I have more than a little. But then, I have other inflammatory problems other than the pancreas. It seems like the sugar and inflammation go hand in hand. I wonder about other people’s experiences with this. It’s ironic because the solution for the times we can’t eat solid food is supposed to be drinking juice or soda. I guess that works for some.

So far I can and do eat lots and lots of veggies and fruits unless I’m in a flare, and reading your posts makes me realize I’m really lucky for that. When I do have trouble eating them but can handle some amount of solids, I use my blender and make smoothies and purees and find that’s easier to take. I can’t handle the Ensure type products, and hate the thought of them any way, just fat, dairy and corn syrup, none of which I can handle, with synthetic vitamins added. But for times when I can’t eat, I actually wish I could tolerate the stuff.

Last question, and I guess I know the answer but I have to ask anyway. Has anyone, or their doctors, found a good way to gain weight when your absorption is really bad. I’m another one of those unhappy size zeros, lost 35 pounds when this came on and can never manage to gain and hold on to more than 4 or 5 pounds before it crashes again. Building a reserve of weight seems critical, but how on earth do you do it?



RKG are you taking enzymes? That will help with the absorption. I had malnutrition, but once I got on the enzymes, they just redid my blood work and now I’m just border line malnutrition, so it’s getting better. I’ve also gained weight since I started to take the enzymes with each meal.


I’m glad to hear your encouraging results.

I have been taking enzymes for nearly a year. They just tripled, or more, the amount I take, after the function test that showed such poor function. I’ve been on the higher dosage not quite a month yet. Hopefully my vitamin and weight levels will both rise.

Do you credit any particular eating strategy to your weight gain (more carbs, protein, whatever)? Or is just down to enzymes and absorption, and it doesn’t matter much what you eat as long as you absorb it?