Doom And Gloom? Eating With An Ostomy

eating with an ostomy

I like many people enjoy or in many cases enjoyed a wide variety of foods before we got sick or had our ostomies. I know before my Colitis came back in my Jpouch I was stuffing my face with an immeasurable amount of salad and vegetables. I learnt certain vegetables aggravated my flare up and then with my ileostomy I have to be very wary of some foods IE onion in my case or be extra vigilant with chewing! But I just wanted to take some time out and generally talk about eating with an ostomy.

I have a very good friend Rachel who is my fountain of knowledge regarding Urostomies which you can read her experiences over at Rocking2Stomas she told me that when it comes to Urostomies you only really have to worry about odour or smell from certain foods for example beetroot can turn your urine a nice shade of red or asparagus can make it whiff worse than before. So I think in some ways that maybe better as you don’t run the risk blockages (or I hope not!)

I have spoken to a few people regarding Colostomies and food, most people said that they can eat almost everything they could before with the odd exception like mushrooms. Food and carbonated drinks can make the bag still fill up with air quicker. I guess with Colostomies you have the added benefit of things get a small chance of longer digestion, whilst the water is wrung out of your large bowel or that was always what I was told – feel free to tell me different on that!

But what about us with Ileostomies? Our output goes through us at a quicker pace and is often more on the liquidy side unless you aren’t getting enough hydration. I have been at both ends of the spectrum with that and do find it hard to find the happy medium, but with foods it has been relatively easy for me.

I have had some horrific blockages and its usually been down to onions, now those little blighters used to make my flare ups worse so typically it would be them with my stoma too! If I don’t chew beetroot or raw carrots properly they also cause me some issues, so 00Steve took much delight in saying the beetroot my Nanna makes us is now his! Erm not a chance matey boy!! I have had to learn to chew more when it comes to raw vegetables or chalk it up as a loss some days and just eat my hummus with pitta bread.

But I do eat all sorts of vegetables now without any fear and have meat free meals quite frequently, the foods I eat I tend to include the hashtag #ileostomydiet and I encourage others on Instagram to use the hashtag too this shows people the wide variety of foods that you can potentially eat. Don’t get me wrong we aren’t all the same and depending on your own body and it’s requirements with regards to diet will affect what you can eat. For instance gluten and dairy free, but what about those vegans and vegetarians with ileostomies?

Well in my opinion I think it is all down to how you prepare your food and unsurprisingly chew chew chew! For instance boiling or roasting your vegetables, ensuring skins are removed from things like potatoes (I can only eat really crispy baked potato skins yet suffer badly from the new potato skins I loved so dearly before my ileostomy was formed) and chickpeas or beans. I refuse to let my stoma prevent me from eating what I deem as healthier food, besides I really like salad.

I know some people find a food diary helpful when it comes to foods and stoma’s; for instance if you only include one new food at a meal and have a less than favourable reaction you should be able to pinpoint it. Or eat only small amounts and like everyone says chew it well, I fully believe that as long as you are sensible very little should be off the menu.

There are other things to think of like certain foods can create more odour for me it’s seafood I can not cope with the odour as I feel like it seeps through too much. Yet I have ostomate friends who eat fish near enough everyday and yes it can pong a bit but doesn’t bother them other people it’s eggs or garlic. Beetroot can make the colour look like your output is swamped with blood! Wholegrain foods or excessive amounts of fibre can loosen your stools and starchy food like white pasta/rice/bread can thicken it up.

It unfortunately is trial and error withing eating which I always found frustrating especially as when I still had my bowels in its entirety I had severe constipation which isn’t common with Ulcerative Colitis. I got so used to being on a high fibre diet to no avail and it taking 18 years to find out onion was my worst enemy. So my body is used to eating high fibre to the point I crave it but with my stoma I don’t dare eat too much in case I get a blockage then a blow out leak! Which I will cover in another post.

If you are vegan or a vegetarian please check out Eric over at VeganOstomy for more ideas, he kept my hopes up about eating vegetables with an ileostomy and Thaila Skye who runs OstoMonday on Twitter has a colostomy and is also vegan.

Do you have any foods that agree or disagree with you now you have a stoma? I would love to hear about it so pop me a message in the comments.