Knowing what you should – and shouldn’t be – eating following ostomy surgery is one of the first steps to ensuring your journey following a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy a little less bumpy!
As an ostomy wearer, there are a few things you probably already know you should be doing – and a few things you may not know just yet.
The good news is that while you may need to make some changes to the foods you eat, you probably will not need to overhaul the way you eat completely.
You probably already know you should be:
- Eating small, frequent meals (trying to have six small meals throughout the day instead of 3 large ones).
- Eating slowly and chewing your food well (a good rule of thumb is to count to 32 with each bite of food).
- Drinking eight to 10 glasses of water every day.
- Eating low-fibre foods.
- Introducing new foods into your diet one at a time.
Which foods are off-limits after ostomy surgery?
Technically speaking, there are no “right” or “wrong” foods to eat following ostomy surgery, but experts do recommend you choose low-fibre foods as they’re easier to digest and produce less – you guessed it – bloating and gas!
The following are good low-fibre options:
- Non-fat (skim) or low-fat (1% or 2%) milk
- Powdered milk
- Non-dairy milks (such as soy milk and almond milk)
- Lactose-free dairy products
- Low-fat ice cream or sherbet
Top tip: Eggs may cause a bad odour when you open your pouch, so try and eat them on those occasions when you know you’re flying solo when changing your stoma bag.
Other food recommended for ostomates, include:
Lean animal proteins, such as:
- Meat without visible fat
- Skinless poultry
- Nuts and nut butter (such as peanut butter)
Just remember that while vegetables are great for giving your body a vitamin and mineral boost, some vegetables may cause gas or odour for some people, so be picky when you make your choice.
Lastly, an important inclusion when it comes to ostomy bags is ensuring you have enough liquid in your diet. So be sure to drink lots of water and decaffeinated coffee or tea.
Foods To Limit With A Colostomy
Foods that sometimes need to be limited to make it easier to manage your colostomy include:
- Raw vegetables
- Skins and peels of fruit (fruit flesh is OK)
- Dairy products
- Very high fibre food such as wheat bran cereals and bread
- Beans, peas, and lentils
- Corn and popcorn
- Brown and wild rice
- Nuts and seeds
- Cakes, pies, cookies, and other sweets
- High fat and fried food such as fried chicken, sausage, and other fatty meats
A Word On Chewing
And last but not least, be sure to chew everything you eat thoroughly!
Chewing is an important part of the digestive process, and we all chew our food to some degree. However, if you make a special effort to chew food very well, it will help you manage your colostomy more easily. Try to chew everything until it’s liquid in your mouth.
Vera SA is a proud partner of CANSA and The South African Society of Ostomates.
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