Living Without Favorite Foods After Surgery

Sep 11, 2018 11:50 pm

Ok, so I will live without favorite foods but ugh. I get proctolectomy tomorrow (so no colon, no rectum, I get an ileostomy bag) and many say you can't eat certain foods. The problem is they're healthy healing cancer-fighting foods and my favorite foods. Life without nuts, beans, spice (omg the spicier the better I say, at least with a colon intact), salad, greens, peels (like roasted potato with peel) or stuff like onion, cilantro, chunky salsa, peppers, apples. Basically, my cancer-fighting diet was beans and lentils, seeds and nuts, salads, greens, spicy food, chunky stuff (like cilantro and onion). Boo. I don't want to lose weight after surgery but a diet similar to the chemotherapy diet I was on for a bit...soft carrot, boiled chicken, plain rice, toast, mashed potato...ugh. I'm thin and lost 10 lbs with that food. Oh well...sorry...I am just ranting and complaining. See y'all in about a week once I am back to humanity after surgery.

Sep 11, 2018 11:56 pm

Everyone is different, and everyone can be different, meaning I used to not be able to eat dense healthy veggies, etc., and now I can. You can play around a lot with gut flora, I encourage you to look into it. See a naturopath. Made a huge difference with my digestive tolerance given the stuff he had me on. Biggest difference in 20 years! Nuts, seeds, popcorn!!! You name it. So much as everyone is different, you can make changes to be different too. You will be great, be positive, it will suck for moments at a time, but stay focused, and remember they're just moments along the way, not long term.

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Sep 11, 2018 11:59 pm


Good luck with your surgery! I have a colostomy, so my diet is not restricted at all, but just know what causes gas and what doesn't. Everyone is different, so all I can say is you will have to try small amounts of your favorite foods to see how your new buddy responds to it! Keep us posted on how you are doing! We care!


NJ Bain
Sep 12, 2018 12:18 am


As all have said, try small portions first. And as an ileostomate, the best advice is to chew, chew, chew. It's not that you can't have your favorite foods, it's just immediately after surgery it's not a great idea and as everyone has said, you have to see how your body reacts to them in moderation.

With nuts, I suggest chewing them until there aren't any crunchy bits left before you swallow. I learned that one the hard way. Beans and lentils I would suggest taking a Gas-X or Beano before eating and still, chew them up good. Gas pains from obstructions suck.


Sep 12, 2018 3:01 am

Gmed, I have no large intestine left intact and an ileostomy for four years now. I eat everything you mentioned, but as Bain said, chew, chew, chew. Skins and peels can be tricky until excessive chewing is habit, and nuts and seeds should be pasted before swallowing, as he mentioned. The chunky stuff you mentioned like salsa, onions, cilantro, as well as peppers, garlic, mushrooms, and the like, I dice really small in order to partake of the vitamins and flavor without running the risk. I eat raw apples frequently, but I do peel them, mostly because I don't feel as if the extra work of the extra chewing that is necessary is worth the effort LOL. But again, chew and chew some more. Salad greens seem to pass very quickly and are very watery, so you'll want to be aware as to emptying your pouch. Spicy has never been an issue, but even before surgery, I never had heartburn, I couldn't even tell you what that feels like, so I'm not sure if spices will bother you for some reason, but they don't bother me at all. I agree, the spicier the better. Be kind to yourself, you can enjoy the foods you like, but also be aware and cautious, especially until your newly hooked up insides have a chance to heal. The one item that almost everyone seems to have difficulty with is popcorn, although I have continued to eat my white cheddar smartfood, it is not something I eat all that often. Be aware always of your diet, so that you don't overload yourself at any one time with too much of any possible issue-causing items at one time. And always drink plenty of fluids when you eat, when you walk, when you sit, when you exercise, when get the message. LOL Good luck with your surgery.


Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
Sep 12, 2018 5:03 am

Hi there! I had a proctocolectomy also! I've never had an issue with eating anything. Yes, nuts you have to chew very well. And I personally don't like eating bananas only because I just don't like the way it comes out. Sorry, TMI. But I eat everything I want to eat with no issues. So don't rule anything out just yet. See how it goes, you may be just fine and able to eat all the foods you love. Take it slow but give it a try. Good luck with the surgery!

Sep 12, 2018 11:49 am

Don't be afraid to try going back to your favorites, just do it in moderation. I can tolerate almost anything, except nuts, and even then I do OK if I don't have too many of them. Beans and spicy food I've never had too much trouble with, but for whatever reason, jalapenos turn my output to straight water. You just have to see how your digestive system processes things, slow and easy is the way to do it.

Past Member
Sep 12, 2018 2:48 pm

Eat whatever you like, just in small portions at first and see how you get on. I'm told I have a cast iron stomach. I can and do eat anything.

Sep 12, 2018 3:10 pm

Hi, after my initial surgery in July 2017, I could barely eat anything. I was in severe pain for 7 months and lived on soup and Ramen. Finally, I went back to the ER for the umpteenth time and a CAT scan showed a serious issue. I was rushed back into surgery and had to have everything re-done. Now I have new maxine and have graduated to eating many of the foods I was unable to process the first time. I think you have to experiment with things after giving yourself a chance to heal. The things that I won't eat are carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, and any other fresh vegetables. I am now able to eat some lettuce such as iceberg and romaine, and I can eat spinach. So don't give up, just slowly experiment and write down what does and doesn't work for you. Good luck!

Sep 12, 2018 5:25 pm

It seems to be all the same message: everything in moderation and chew! Keep a food diary if you're concerned, so you can track any patterns should you have upsets.

I haven't had issues with spices or vegetables as part of a mixed main dish. I did get scared off salads for a bit, but I'm working on that one. By chewing.)

If you are having any problems, I see a hint of the probable culprit in your post. You eat cilantro. Cilantro is the devil's weed. It is evil and can overwhelm other, better spices and garnishes. Join the Stop Cilantro Movement. We need your support. (Yes, I am one of those people for whom cilantro tastes like soap --- shudder.)

Sep 12, 2018 7:14 pm

Lol...YES!! Stop cilantro. It's against my religion. Lived in South America for 6 months and they sneak it in everything!

Sep 19, 2018 9:14 pm

Hello, best of luck with your surgery!

I have had my ileostomy for 30 years. At first, I followed all the recommended restrictions they suggest. Slowly over time, I wanted to try the "forbidden" foods. So I introduced items, one at a time, small portions and really paid attention to how they digested. To this day, some foods are "home" foods, but I don't have dietary restrictions at all. Tons of raw vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds...all of it. Give yourself time to heal, then try some of the favorites in small portions. Everyone is different!

Sep 19, 2018 9:22 pm

Once you are healed, you can pretty much eat everything. No skin on veggies, fruits, and no corn. Easy on the lettuce. Just start off slowly until you get used to the foods and spices. I gained weight. I was super thin before.

Sep 19, 2018 10:50 pm

I guess everyone is different but don't believe everything you read or hear. I eat anything and everything. Do I have issues? Well, things keep flowing - seeds, skins, onions, mushrooms, and popcorn or anything else. So my advice is to try things and see what happens. I cannot think of anything that truly bothers me or has caused a blockage or pain.

Sep 20, 2018 2:36 am

I have an ileostomy and I eat everything. In addition to moderation and chewing, also try favorite foods again later - your body is always adjusting and healing, so something that doesn't sit so well today might be fine in 6 months.

Don't give up on your favorite foods.

Sep 23, 2018 5:32 pm

My 2 cents echoes NJ Bain - moderation and chew, chew, chew...

Sep 24, 2018 11:43 am

I eat almost everything. If you want nuts, sweet corn, green peas, etc., without them popping back out in your feces, then liquidize them into a mush. Your body will then digest them.

Sep 28, 2018 4:32 am

Go slow at the beginning. Add more foods. Moderation. Some foods have too much fiber/starch and may cause cramps. Stay away from them. Keep a list so you know what does not work for you. If you get cramps, try juices - apple, orange, coconut water, tomato. Those will thin things out.

Oct 16, 2019 5:54 pm

Lots of great advice in Dadnabbit's post. I myself (ileostomy for less than 1 year) am still being very cautious by following most of the food rules without any experimenting at all because ending up back in the hospital with another blockage is just not something I want to repeat. I almost fell over when I read on this website that some people eat mini marshmallows to slow their stoma activity during appliance changes! That's just insane to me. In addition to chewing all my (allowed) foods and having fluids, I also follow every meal up with a cup of hot decaf tea (no sugar) to keep things moving in there which I got from a blockage tip article. The only fruit & veggies I eat now are Gerber baby food ones or cooked veggies in soup! Luckily, I've always been a meat and mashed potatoes gal, so I can still eat some of my old favorite foods. I do break a few rules once in awhile... like having fried mozzarella sticks as an appy when I'm out with friends. I also eat plain pizza weekly without incident and a few beers here and there have gone ok. I eat Pringles to satisfy my snacking urges; and when I'm craving popcorn, I just eat Pirate's Booty or white cheddar rice cakes. Hope some of these substitutions help other rule followers.