Are Refried Beans Safe for Ostomy Patients?



I grew up eating Mexican foods, (really miss them) but was told by my ostomy nurse that everything from corn tortillas to refried beans were out. Is there any truth to this?



I'm not aware of that. I discovered the joy of Mexican food 6 months ago and have been loving it so far without any issues.


There is definitely no truth to this one! I often wonder whether ostomy care professionals ever ask about their patients' diets in the months/years after surgery? Perhaps the ones that eat anything and everything (like me) don't need any after-care, who knows?

I love Mexican food and eat it and make it regularly with no problems so far (10+ years), even refried beans, chilies, and jalapenos aren't an issue. As far as I can tell, Mexican food is full of goodness. Can't go past any dish that contains an avocado, after all, one superfood that I could eat every day.

Of course, try a small amount and see how you go, but I'm thinking if you grew up eating it, you won't have an issue.

Buen Provecho! :-)

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Thank you so much for your reply, I am from San Diego, CA. & have eaten it all my life.  
I'm just gonna try it!!


Maybe they advised against it not because it's bad but more of a nuisance with extra gases filling up the bag? Or any food that makes you gassy. But even that isn't so bad from my experiences.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister

Hi tmn,

Ostomy nurses, like all medical professionals, come in all shapes, sizes, and knowledge levels. I can't stress enough how important word of mouth is when dealing with medical folks. If you walk up to a nurse without knowing him/her and ask, "How good is Doctor So-and-So?" they will automatically say he/she is great... because she doesn't know you or your motives and wants to cover his/her ass. But if you were on a first-name basis and maybe joke around a bit with the same nurse, you'd be very surprised at what you could learn about old So-and-So. Same goes for information like what an ostomy patient should eat. There's the textbook answer, which you got, and then there's the real answer that's a little more guarded because it involves the use of common sense that the ostomy nurse can't control and doesn't know if you have any or not.

Put yourself in her shoes. Follow me here... so you ask the ostomy nurse if you can eat Mexican food. You're expecting her to assume she can count on you to have common sense and not overdo it. So she takes a chance and tells you you can certainly eat Mexican, but don't go nuts. But let's say you don't have common sense and you have no clue what "don't go nuts" means (and you weren't smart enough to ask). So you truck on over to Taco Bell and wolf down a couple Beefy 5 Layer Burritos with lots of hot sauce. Next thing you know, you're running into the ER complaining about pain and bloating and gas and excess output, etc. The first thing the triage nurse is going to ask you is what you recently ate... and you're going to tell them. If that nurse has a set of testicles, he's going to ask you why the hell someone with intestinal issues (i.e., you) just ate all that spicy Mexican food. And you're going to say... drum roll, please... because the ostomy nurse said I could. Take a wild guess who's going to be getting called into her boss's office the next morning to explain why she told you it's okay to eat Mexican food?

Anyway, my point is you have to remember that if they don't know you, medical folks will provide the answers for the lowest common denominator... i.e., the stupid patients... just to cover their butts. For that reason, I always make it a point to make lots of conversation, get the names of any medical folks I meet, and show them they're not talking to a blooming idiot. Even if I'm just there for a few hours for a CT scan or a few minutes for bloodwork. You make judgments about people you just meet all the time. Medical folks are no different. The only difference is they'll get their butts sued off for malpractice if they assume anything about you or your intelligence level. So they don't assume anything. I find people will take better care of you if they like you. Seems like common sense to me, but I see lots of folks getting pissed off, yelling, and making a scene in doctors' offices and hospitals all the time. How well would you treat someone who's screaming at you and all up in your face while you are trying to help them? And I'm not saying that's you, just one extreme of their daily lives. I'll just say I've been able to avoid countless idiots in the medical world (doctors, nurses, radiologists, etc.) by getting other medical folks to tell me the truth about who the good doctors, etc. are and who to avoid. Same goes for getting answers to my medical questions. Yes, it does take a little effort on your part... but it's ultimately up to you to find the best healthcare professionals. Remember, it's a job to them... they go home at 5:00 pm and have their own issues to deal with, so they aren't worrying about you all night. But go out of your way to make a friend and the next time you meet them, it will pay dividends. And if you never deal with them again, so what? Some stranger will remember meeting a nice person, and that's all. Still not a bad thing. If you leave your medical care and those who provide it up to the luck of the draw, you will eventually lose... because over time "The House Always Wins". Now go get yourself a nice pizza taco and enjoy it. But just one... and easy on the hot sauce!! And if anyone asks, don't you dare say Bob said it was okay to do so.





Bob nails it again.   Just an addition...If you're eating something with whole beans, remember that the bean hull doesn't like to be digested.   If you don't chew really well, you could have a piece big enough to cause a blockage.   I think the alimentary ostomate mantra should be "chew, chew, chew".


Or if you're an ostomate who's into trains make it "Choo-Choo-Choo".

Feel real bad for ostomates without teeth!!!




Bob, your responses are priceless!


Bob, your responses are priceless!


I had delicious bean burritos last night with no repercussions. I love them. Each person is different. Try each food a little at a time. Even then, sometimes a food will bother you and sometimes there won't be any problems. Bon appétit.


Another note of caution: How recent is your ostomy? The surgery itself messes up your digestive system for several weeks to a few months until your body can heal and get back on an even keel. Most surgeons, ostomy nurses, and dieticians recommend a bland (boring) low-residue diet until your system heals up, and then slowly reintroducing your old foods back a little at a time until you are basically on a "whatever you want" diet with a few exceptions. And you will find those exceptions by trial and error as you slowly resume your normal diet. For me, the exception is popcorn; other than that, no issues at all. And I just ate an excellent Mexican dinner at a lovely Mexican diner just day before yesterday.



Well, I have an ileostomy and eat bean burritos. I take BENO before the first bite. I also eat ground beef tacos. Don't have any unusual problems. Also eat chili with beans. Maybe I am just strange. Good luck! ;Barbara


I eat Mexican that I fix at home. I like tamales and make a burrito using Spanish rice instead of refried beans. I take the flour soft shell, spread cooked Spanish or Mexican rice on it, add ground beef, sauce, avocado and shredded cheese topped with some hot sauce and fold it. I add sour cream if I like. I can also make enchiladas with chicken or beef and use the rice the same way. I can eat lettuce so I can shred some if I like for a garnish. I don't do real well with the chopped peppers or the hot, whole spicy peppers but I can eat chili rellanos (sp). I love those! I made the mistake of purchasing a Mexican bowl with chili peppers and there were chopped green and red peppers in it. I won't get that again because it caused a semi blockage and it was from the peppers. Luckily, I used my blockage checklist and was able to clear it but boy did it hurt!! "Maxine" hates carrots period. I won't feed her those. Like everyone says, chew well! Good luck!


Thank you - and carrots are a definite no for me also!!!


Hahaha, love this. About five minutes after I met my surgeon, he realized I wasn't an idiot. He shot me straight after that, no medical jargon, no best case crap, just facts. When he released me to a regular diet, he said, "I know you'll be smart about this, so eat what appeals to you in small, frequent amounts. If it gives you trouble, stay away from it for a few weeks and try again. You'll know if you need to give it up."

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