Ostomy Eating Habits to Get Into (and Get Out Of)
Good eating habits are essential to everyone. But for someone living with an ostomy, they are even more important. Narrowing down what to do and what not to do can be a bit taxing, considering the amount of ostomy dietary information out there. Today, InnerGood is locking in some “best practices” when it comes to your food (and beverage) consumption. Before you sit down at the table, give this list a thorough read.
What Ostomates Need to Know Before Their Next Meal
1. Eat Frequent Small Meals
You want to optimize your metabolism. Do so by feeding your body frequently throughout the day, but in smaller nutritious portions. Schedule four to five light meals, keeping the protein, carbohydrate, and good fat (essential fatty acids) ratios balanced with each.
2. Chew, Chew, Chew
Life can be hectic, avoid rushing through your meals. This causes you to chew less and swallow portions that have not been broken down properly which can cause digestion complications. Also avoid talking while you eat (listen to your mother!) as this also prevents you from chewing as you should.
3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Water doesn’t remain in your body as long as it does for others. Some ostomates have had a portion of their colon (or entire colon in a proctocolectomy) removed or diverted. The colon is the part of the digestive system which is responsible for absorbing fluid. If this is you, you don’t reabsorb the same amount of liquid as you did prior to your procedure. Therefore, you need to be more mindful of your water consumption than compared to most of the population. In addition to drinking those recommended 8-10 glasses of water per day, follow these ostomy-conscious tips to staying hydrated.
4. Take it Easy on the Alcohol
We’d be remiss to not follow-up the demand to keep hydrated without talking about alcohol. It’s one of the biggest culprits leading to dehydration. You can still enjoy spirits from time to time (in moderation) but follow these 5 tips to drinking responsibly when living with an ostomy.
5. Eat to Be Fit
Obesity and ostomy don’t match. Studies show that going into a procedure with significant weight issues is problematic in itself. However, should your weight gain occur after the fact, any follow-up procedures (from complications etc.) incur risk too. The usual causes of stoma retraction are tension of the intestine or obesity. Simply put, you will need to be mindful of your diet, eating and living to achieve an optimal level of fitness. Think #ostofit! It’s OK to have a “cheat day” (in moderation) but keep it at that, and eat clean for the other six days of the week.
6. Introduce New Foods in a Controlled Environment
In scientific studies, a new hypothesis about a reaction can only be validated if an element is introduced without any other elements being added to the equation. This principle of “all else is equal” applies to your diet. When trying out new foods, introduce them one at a time. Give it a week, and see how your body reacts. If you remain free from excessive gas, constipation, or obnoxious smells at your stoma you are likely free from concern. From there, you may experiment and move on to the next dish.
7. Don’t Forget Supplementation
Anyone who needs to be mindful of nutritional deficiencies should look to health supplements to complement their diet. As an ostomate, you have a direct set of deficiencies to monitor. For example, your whole food consumption may not account for the antioxidants or proteins that you require. These antioxidant-rich supplements and protein delivery systems will help fill that gap. For every deficiency that you have, there is a supplement that will fulfill the need. Consult with your physician to identify these dietary shortages, reference this nutritional supplement section (with your doctor and/or nutritionist), and choose accordingly.
Stay tuned as Inner Good continues to deliver helpful articles on ostomy nutrition, lifestyle choices, and much more.