I love to eat. Actually, I like to eat so much I sometimes feel I will explode. Not ideal, I know, but it’s so good! I have a very serious relationship with food ever since I dropped fear and started walking on my 1st birthday trying to catch mom carrying snacks. With this attitude it’s not surprising that dealing with Crohn’s and ostomy did not stop me from eating what I want and when I want. Except in times of bad illness outbreaks.
I was therefore quite surprised, when during my activities among ostomates, I found out that not everybody does the same. Many ostomates are afraid of blockages, diarrhea, constipation…
No wonder. The amount of information a new patient receives to his diagnosis in the hospital is either very limited or overwhelming. The only thing anybody is interested in is surviving the surgery and getting the hell out of there. Fear, nausea from treatment and pain do not allow the brain to work fully. When you leave the hospital, you can barely remember how to treat wounds, when to eat pills and when to come back for a check-up. Unfortunetely Czech healthcare system does not care much how you will treat your body afterwards. You can max visit a nutrition specialist, that are not my favorite. It’s because I disagree with their advice very often. It’s clear to me, that in a country with highest amount of colorectal cancer patients in the world, eating habits suck. Hence any mention of fruits, vegetables, nuts is greatly appreciated. But why do we still stay on the same old list of usual ingredients, that do not help healing?
My top items on the list are dumplings, pastries, dairy products, lots of meat and pasta. “Healthier” foods are recommended, but in limited variations and methods of processing. In the last couple of years I’ve met many people, who even half a year after their surgery still east strict low-residue diet. Because nobody in the hospital took the time to explain what and when to eat. These people are stressed out from trying new ingredients. The fear of hospital bed is stronger than the scent of a brisket. Ridiculous. Of course there are exceptions. I’m talking about an ostomate, whose status and diagnosis allow processing varied diets without issues.
If, after the operation, I had no opportunity to eat my favorite food freely, I would feel more like surviving than living. Food is a big part of my happiness and life satisfaction. And let’s not forget that for doctors I am a great example of uncontrollable Crohn’s. So, I should behave 😊
Let’s put it this way. During illness outbreak and after a surgery it is necessary to follow a strict diet. I personally however see low-residue diet as mixed vegetable soups or fruit smoothies. Definitely not bread rolls with cheese, which give no nutrition to my weak body. And after a couple of weeks, when feeling better, I recommend slowly including diverse kinds of food. Bit by bit, trying out how the body reacts. Because everybody has different body type with varied preferences. There is no general table better than personal experience.
I wish you the courage to try new and undiscovered. Enjoy life and Bon appétit!