Diet can be a very complex subject when it comes to living with a digestive disease. People who have an ostomy can also find that eating certain foods simply don’t work for them. I’ve written about ways in which we can substitute certain foods HERE, but in this post I’ll be explaining a bit more about how I tend to eat.
My diet is evolving, and it’s been a challenge to get back into eating normally after years of not being able to.
I don’t tend to be a guy who eats breakfast regularly, since I usually shift my meals to later in the day, but when I do eat breakfast it tends to be leftovers from the night before (I just finished a plate of leftover pasta as I write this… it’s 11am) or oatmeal.
I prefer to add frozen fruit to my oatmeal while it’s still hot. I do NOT add sugar to my oatmeal and will sometimes make it with a non-dairy milk. Likewise, I really enjoy “ancient grain” porridge too, although it tends to contain whole grains that don’t break down easily.
I’m not into commercial cereals, but when I do eat them, they tend to be the ones that are not sugar-coated (i.e. wheat squares, puffed rice, etc.).
Sometimes, I’ll make a tofu sandwich for breakfast, that simply involves slicing tofu and sticking it between two slices of bread. I’ll add nutritional yeast and mustard, then some ground pepper and salt. It’s filling, tastes good, is rather cheap to make, and is loaded with nutrients.
As with breakfast, I may have leftovers from the night before or a tofu sandwich.
Lunch often falls between 2pm and 4pm, and I often have a bean salad most days
My bean salads are simple and are pretty much made using any combination of the following:
- Lentils, chickpeas or kidney beans (canned).
- Chopped cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, carrots, onion.
- Balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar.
- Avocado or olive oil
Bean salads are nutritious and filling, but it did take a while to be able to consume the quantities I eat now, and these types of salads shouldn’t be attempted by new ileostomates until they’ve eased into eating fibrous foods.
I will sometimes also make either couscous or quinoa with mixed, chopped veg. It takes a bit longer to make this vs. bean salads, but either tastes great!
My favorite meal, which is second only to my late nigh “snack” , is dinner!
Depending on the day, dinner can vary wildly. On weekdays, I tend to make either:
Rice one-pot meals:
My wife and kids may disagree, but I love “loaded” pasta with lots of veg (broccoli, carrots, green beans, etc.). For the most part, I can get away with adding these veggies to my sauce, but more often than not, we eat pasta with just plain tomato sauce (the salads that go with these pasta dishes make up for the lack of veg in the sauce!).
I could eat chili all day, because it no only tastes great, but it’s super-easy to make, makes for great leftovers and is highly nutritious!
I tend to throw chili together without any real recipe, but it’ll usually be something like:
- 2-3 cans of beans (kidney beans are perfect).
- 2 cups of frozen mixed veg (“California blend” with carrots, cauliflower and broccoli) that’s been thawed under hot water.
- 2-3 large cans of whole or chopped tomatoes (include the liquid).
- 1 can of tomato paste (if the chili is too watery)
- We sometimes add textured vegetable protein (TVP) or textured soy protein, which gives the chili some “bite” and is a great replacement for ground beef.
- Spices will vary depending, but will almost always includes powered chili and cumin. I do add ground black pepper and salt most of the time.
- Optional: chopped onions that are sautéed before adding the rest of the ingredients.
Potatoes and Protein:
I love potatoes, and they’re one of my favorite “ostomy friendly” foods. I enjoy them with the skins on, but even peeled, they pack a lot of nutrition. For most large meals, I tend to cut up potatoes in wedges, throw them in a large bowl with spices (garlic powder, chilli powder, salt, pepper, all-purpose seasoning) and olive oil, toss and bake.
I’ll tend to bake or grill tofu when we have potatoes.
Not something I eat a lot of these days, but I do enjoy making stir-fry with either rice or vermicelli. Tofu is almost always included, and I use a full package of frozen (and thawed) veggies. The nice thing about frozen veg, is that you can get them in a variety of mixtures, from “Asian blend” to “Japanese” to “Thai”, and you have zero food waste – you use every, single piece of veg in the package. Yay!
Nearly all of those will come with a salad, and I really, really, really love salad!
While my basic salad usually includes cucumber, celery, tomato, green onion and or bell pepper, I enjoy throwing avocado, chopped apples, hemp seeds or whole nuts/seeds in there too.
On Friday nights and on the weekend, we let loose and eat more “comfort food”:
I was never a fan of cheese and pepperoni, and our pizza tends to be fully loaded with veg. My wife and kids love to add non-dairy cheese (Daiya) on our pizza, but I’m fine with or without it. The stuff melts and tastes as you would expect it to (i.e. cheese), so anyone who likes cheese will probably like Daiya (I never really liked cheese and I don’t mind this).
Burgers and Fries:
My wife makes the bean burgers, and I nearly always include fries with them, but it’ll switch between frozen fries and home fries depending on how many potatoes we have at any given time.
We do sometimes buy commercial veggie burgers, but not very often since bean burgers taste amazing and are super-cheap to make.
Fries With Fake Meat:
My kids and I love fries (either from frozen or home fries) and on “fries night” we tend to add some mock meat to the meal. We’ve been partial to the brand Gardein, as they make some pretty awesome Chioptle Lime “Crispy Fingers” among other things!
This one doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s EPIC. I love lasagna, and have been known to devour more than what my wife and kids can eat combined. My wife makes this, and she’ll regularly use Daiya as a non-dairy cheese.
Who can resist a good wrap? Not me, apparently! Fresh veg with grilled, marinated tofu? Yes please!
Fruit is often my go-to snack, and depending on the season, it tends to be apples or bananas. My favorite apple, by far, is the Pink Lady variety!
In the summer, I tend to favor berries, nectarines, oranges and mangoes. My daughter likes to make smoothies, so I’ll usually have one or two smoothies a day (with lots of blended frozen fruits like berries, peaches and pineapple)
I don’t like sugary junk, and while I love potato chips (crisps in the UK), I might have some maybe once a month.
Popcorn has also been a snack I enjoy, and it causes zero issues with my ileostomy. We buy plain popcorn and top it with nutritional yeast, seasoned salt and a dab of melted vegan margarine or olive oil.
My wife and daughter enjoy baking, so the only time I really have “treats” is when they make muffins, cookies, cinnamon rolls or pancakes. Because prednisone has caused me to have sensitive teeth (thanks, Prednisone!!), sugary treats really bother me. That said, when I do eat one of their treats, it’ll be before they add any icing.
Late Night “snack” (a.k.a. “isn’t it too late to be eating THAT much?”):
Whether it’s because I stay up late, or because I have a disordered eating pattern, I tend to have late night MEALS (not snacks). This can be anything from several sandwiches, very large salads (I’m talking 5+ pounds of veg!) or several pounds of microwaved potatoes (topped with avocado or salsa). Don’t judge me!
Aaaand We’re Done
I hope that gives you a glimpse at the things I tend to eat. I try to focus on whole foods whenever possible, and make nearly all my meals.
My dietary journey through Crohn’s disease, and now my ostomy has caused me to focus on nutrition, but also to respect the fact that every meal should be treasured.