Low-Residue Diet

I thought it would be useful for folks considering this surgery to talk a bit about my post-surgery diet. It’s called a low-residue diet and I will need to follow it for the first six weeks after surgery (though I think I’ll probably just stay on it until after my takedown surgery, which should be 8-9 weeks after the first surgery). The point of the diet is to minimize the chance of blockages in the small intestines or ileostomy. Accordingly, the diet is extremely low in fiber because fiber has a tendency to ball up in the intestines and is the most common cause of a blockage. So no whole grains, seeds, nuts, raw/whole vegetables, raw fruits, etc. But, other than that, it’s pretty open—provided you moderate portion size, chew well, and eat slowly. My nurse at the hospital gave me the following rule of thumb:  If it’s something that can be smushed completely flat between your fingers, you can eat it. If not, you can’t.

What I can’t eat:
  • Whole-grain foods (e.g., bread, brown rice, pasta)
  • Raw vegetables
  • Raw fruits (except bananas)
  • Dry beans
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Chunky peanut butter
  • Tough, fibrous meats (or meats in casings)
  • Etc.
What I can eat:
  • White bread, tortillas, pasta, white rice, pancakes, etc.
  • Yogurt, pudding, Jell-O
  • Cheese (but no more than 2 dairy servings/day)
  • Canned fruit
  • Cooked vegetables (though I will be introducing these slowly and haven’t yet)
  • Strained fruit/vegetable juice
  • Seedless jam/jelly
  • Ground/tender meat
  • Eggs
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Soup (mindful of the vegetables)
  • Crackers
  • Marshmallows (recommended because they slow stoma output)
  • Rice-Krispie Treats (and lots of them)
Your surgeon will give you all kinds of info about this and there are a lot of resources on the Internet, but the bottom line is it’s really not that bad.
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