"There's a myth that anyone who has a liver problem has brought it on themselves" This quote is from a Crohn's disease patient living with a blocked portal vein hoping for a liver transplant (Independent 31st Oct 2010)

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

My big fat Greek diet

I've never had any professional dietary or nutrition advice. When the cirrhosis was confirmed, my surgical team just advised 'eat a healthy diet' (do we all have the same concept of what that is?). When I asked my GP for a referral to a dietician he said 'there won't be anyone with that level of speciality at the local NHS hospital'. So that was that.

Left to myself I researched a bit, and asked around a bit. The majority of cirrhotic patients on the hepatitis forums are in the same boat. No advice and making it up as they go along. The consensus seems to be: frequent small meals and snacks instead of 2 or 3 large meals. Plenty of low GI carbohydrates, plenty of fruit and veg, protein mainly from non red meat sources, low salt, not too much saturated fat. Pretty much fits the Mediterranean way of eating.

Anybody with tasty recipes that dont need more than 5 or 6 ingredients, have protein from mainly non animal sources and around 20 mins preparation/cooking time, please send. I get peckish but quickly bored in the kitchen!
By coincidence I've been asked to help on a second British Liver Trust leaflet. This time their 'diet and liver disease' one.

On the health front:
The biopsy results are back but have been passed on to a hepatologist for a second opinion. I've been told verbally that they confirm chronic Hepatitis B and established cirrhosis. Nothing we didnt know already. The second opinion is to look for evidence of active hepatitis.
The CT scan was 2 weeks ago, but not heard anything on that. Probably give it another week before I ring to check.
The gastroscopy I have to wait for a new appointment through the post.
My GP is writing to the consultant to get his opinion on the use of steroids should I have a myalgia flare. He's also telling him about my anxiety over the gastroscopy to see if they will consider a general anaesthetic.
He's ordered another complete set of blood tests (to be done on March 29th) including iron (with liver disease you can store too much) and Vitamin D3 which I'm currently taking as a supplement.


  1. Hello,

    Hope all is well with you today. I just wanted to say hi and let you know I'm thinking about you. I have been having a problem staying logged in at the forum since the changes this weekend but Martin said to give it a few days and we'll see how it is. Saw my doctor at the hospital on Thursday last. No real new news except he thinks I should be back in there soon to see the specialist considering the fluid retention etc. So I guess that will be next on the agenda following the endoscopy at the end of the month.

    All the best,

  2. Hi Fiona,

    Got a nice easy recipe for Sweet Potato and Lentil stew which is really filling (and quick to make)

    Also stuffed peppers are pretty simple and make a nice veggie meal.

  3. Hi Carole
    Yes please to the sweet potato and lentil stew recipe. Though I'm not very patient cooking lentils from scratch - can I cheat, do they come cooked in tins!
    I'm sure you have enjoyed lots of gorgeous Greek food these last weeks. Was thinking of you at our Book Club last night as one of the group travels to Rhodes and Lindos at Easter to stay with daughter and s-i-law, delaying our next meeting til she is back.
    She didnt sound confident that she WOULD be back, think the sunshine will tempt her to stay longer. Hope the trip has helped you to feel more upbeat.

  4. Hi Fiona,

    Yes you use tinned (puy) lentils for this recipe. It's very very easy to prepare. I'll email it to you later this evening.

    Greek food has been lovely indeed, lots of lovely fresh locally grown produce. We eat a mainly med diet at home anyway (Rab was brought up on limited meat etc) but it's nice to buy stuff that comes from the local farms in Rhodes.

    They still have butchers & greengrocers there unlike here in London where the huge supermarkets have just taken over everything.