To help you reach your health and diet goals, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.
Drinking more water will keep your body hydrated and your digestive system functioning well. With an ostomy, your body doesn’t absorb as much water, so it’s especially important that you drink at least 6-8 cups of water daily. To avoid empty calories make water your drink of choice versus sodas and other high-calorie beverages.
#2 Schedule Eating
Try to eat meals at the same time each day. By sticking to a schedule you’ll be able to manage your output better. You might also consider eating several small meals throughout the day instead of the traditional three meals. More frequent meals can help you minimize gas while regulating output.
#3 Keep chewing
Take time to chew your food thoroughly. Breaking food down into small pieces as you chew aids in digestion and makes it easier for the output to pass through your stoma. Keep in mind that hard to chew foods such as celery, broccoli and pineapple can cause blockages.
High fiber foods have complex carbohydrates, which take longer for your body to digest. They also contain compounds that your body can’t break down, so your output will probably be bulkier and may even cause some discomfort. Some people with ostomies find that eating too much fiber leads to bloating while too little can cause constipation.
#5 Go skinless
Consider removing the skins on some fruits and vegetables before eating to avoid potential blockages and other digestive issues. Again, each person is different so you may find that certain fruit peels don’t affect your stoma at all, while others do.
#6 Do Not Overeat
Eating too much will likely result in increased output, not to mention causing indigestion, bloating and excess gas. Try keeping your portion sizes in check by serving food on salad plates instead of larger, dinner-sized plates and reviewing food labels to figure out the right serving size.
#7 Keep A Log
Keep a log of the foods that you eat for a week. Record the time and amount you ate. At the end of the week review your entries to figure out your own eating habits and how you can improve. For example, if every day at 3 p.m. you reach for a cookie, maybe you need to plan for your craving and have a healthy alternative on hand. This log can also guide you to avoid certain foods that might cause constipation, diarrhea or gas.
*After ostomy surgery, your doctor may put you on a special diet and then have you gradually reintroduce foods to minimize digestion problems. Talk to your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns about your diet.*