If I have my colon removed, can I eat what I like?
You might after colon removal need for your digestive system to settle down. Your Medical team can advise. But it is a suck it and see situation. Don’t hold back, give everything a go. Eat healthy is always a very sensible idea. Yes you can eat what you like, but there is a way in which to do it. We have written a nutritional booklet on this site that discusses how to prepare foods to make them more digestible and how open up your diet to maximise nutrition and make it more enjoyable.
Have a read below!
New eating habits:
‘Drink your food and chew your drink’ (Macedonian saying)
Changing eating habits can aid absorption of vital vitamins, minerals and compounds as well as enable the body to better tolerate fibre and improve output consistency and regularity. Spend time chewing each mouthful to really chop up and breakdown in place of letting the large bowel do the work!
Drink fluids, particularly water or pure juices when eating. After bowel removal our body needs the extra hydration. It also aids digestion and drinking pure fruit juice aids our consumption of vitamins and antioxidants. (Darker juices richer in antioxidants). Try and give the food time to digest, so set aside time to rest a little after eating and try and eat at a table in a good upright position.
Back to basics cooking:
Particularly with a diverse hectic family, one pot cooking can make life better and easier. In that pot ingredients can be added and removed to cater for many needs such as food intolerances or difficulties in our bodies processing elements such as fibre. Slow cooked and one pot meals maximises the goodness we receive as we’re not draining away the goodness. It is being retained in the pot, in the sauce. Vegetables and meat are cooked and made tenderer, breaking down easier, aiding digestion.
When making soups, the stock can be made with fibre-ous vegetables such as kale, spinach, cabbage, which can be strained out of the final stock preparation and served to those dining with us that can tolerate it! Our bodies can now absorb that extra nutrition in the stock without the fibre. Or we can retain a little of the fibre and then whiz it up finely with a food processor.
Smoothies can be made with ‘juiced’ fibrerous fruits that we may not be able to tolerate, combining consistency good fruit such as bananas, probiotic yogurts, a variety of different milks and a dash of finely ground nuts.
Look at food diversity:
Think to add other ingredients to the meals. As examples use sweat potatoes, Swedes and turnips in mash.
Look at experimenting with different milks on the market such as nut milks, (almond, hazelnut), rice, oat, soya and coconut milk in place of our normal cow’s milk.
What other flours can be used to thicken sauces? Arrowroot, fufu flour.
These little changes can add a different dynamic to the goodness we receive, the way we cook and the tastes and smells of foods.
Incorporating a good source of 'stodge':
More stodge doesn’t mean more cakes, steamed puddings and mash!
Porridge (with honey instead of sugar, which can increase output), oat breads, rice crackers, boiled rice, dumplings, polenta (finely ground maize), boiled rice, pasta and bananas are some ideas.
These can improve output consistency and ‘lag’ time.
We need to consider that our bodies need a bit more sodium, fluid and iron as a result of bowel surgery.
Food itself is digested differently and can cause problems such as peas, sweet corn and other fibreous fruit, vegetables and grains.
Supplements can be beneficial, but in some cases can cause consistency problems, as an example iron. Therefore try instead to gain as much as possible through diet. With iron, stocks made from spinach/kale, stews with liver added in or liver pate.
Selenium and Vitamin D have good evidence to suggest their role in cancer prevention. Look at good quality supplements.
Look to finding a good quality probiotic, particularly after surgery, antibiotics and illness. Recommendations can be made through nutritionalist, doctors, IBS nurses, stoma nurses, health food shops.
Diets from around the world:
A lot can be learnt from traditional meals from around the world. Look at Caribbean, African, Indian food as examples.