It is crazy what goes through your mind before surgery. Of course, I was worried about all the big things like how painful surgery would be, and how well my stoma would function, and if I would have any complications. But many times, other goofy little worries would pop into my head that should not have been on my radar screen. One of those was whether or not I would be able to eat GORP.
GORP, or good old raisins and peanuts, was a staple of my wilderness diet. I would create all sorts of great mixes with dried fruit, nuts and a variety of chocolates and candies. Yet nuts and raisins are both on the list of foods to be cautious with when you have an ileostomy. I feared that I would never be able to take one of my favorite treats into the wilderness again.
Just as one has to be a bit adventurous when deciding when to try certain outdoor activities after surgery, so it goes with food. I was very cautious during the first eight weeks following surgery. I ate a bland diet, and even that sometimes gave me painful gas or watery output. But once I got past the two-month mark, these things started to go away, and I became brave. There were certain foods I just missed too much to not give them a try. Not to mention that I am permanently on a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease. I didn’t want to restrict my diet even more if it wasn’t necessary.
So one by one, I slowly introduced foods back into my diet. Beans and legumes were first on the list. Much to my surprise, they did not give me any more gas than any other foods. Nor did steamed broccoli, beer (gluten-free, of course), or carbonated beverages. Popcorn was my next adventure. The first time I only ate about ten pieces, then upped it to ¼ cup before graduating to a full cereal bowl’s worth. For a while, I was peeling casings off of sausages but that got old fast, so I tried to eat them complete, chewing really well. Again, I had absolutely no problems. I even enjoyed a couple of ears of corn a few weeks ago with great success. I still avoid really tough veggies like Chinese vegetables, raw carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, but I do fine with lettuce, spinach and tomatoes.
As with most things ostomy, everyone’s experiences are different. As you try new foods, introduce them slowly and one at a time so you can tell how they are affecting you. Eat smaller quantities of the foods that may cause problems and chew, chew, chew. Try foods before you head into the wilderness so you know what to expect. And lastly, drink plenty of water.
Today’s video post features tips on packing food and other ostomy-related items for a backpacking trip. Which brings me back to the GORP. I had tried a few nuts here and there, but one evening I was at a Colorado Rockies game, and I couldn’t help myself. I dove into the bag of freshly roasted peanuts. It took me a whole inning to chew my way through ¼ cup, but it was a success! By morning, the peanuts had made their journey just fine, and then I knew I would once again be reunited with my favorite trail food. Well, sort of. I still haven’t gotten adventurous enough to try the raisins. Maybe next time.