Friday, November 18, 2011

Nutrition after Ileostomy

The very end of your small intestine, that little ilieum place right before the large intestine is where B12 is absorbed. For ileostomates, that little hook of intestines is folded back and sewn onto their abdomens, making the absorption impossible.
People with low B12 are also much more prone to develop chronic shit like heart disease, fibromyalgia--which is where like your entire body is a cut-glass assembly of horrible pain-- and the dreaded cancer.
B12 is essential for blood to form and tissues to grow. The reason why you're fatigued with B12 deficiency is because it helps fat and protein to metabolize in your body. When that happens--bam! Energy! When it doesn't, you're tired as shit.
B12 also reduces homocystein levels, which, if it's all elevated and shit in your body, ya'll can develop cancer, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson's and wham you with a stroke, not to mention you'll forget everything except for your shitty childhood when you get Alzheimer's. :(
For Norms--people without ileostomies, B12 can come in poultry, oysters /seafood, Eggs, milk and meat. For those with ileos like me, all meats are hard to digest, no matter how many times you grind them up in a baby grinder. I can eat a little bit of eggs, but not nearly any seafood I can think of, though I take a multivitamin a day to keep me active.
B12 deficiency is classified as

*mental confusion
*balance is waaay off
*Kinda feel foggy and floating and weird as shit
*you can lose your appetite, and maybe even barf
*You're super weak, and can't really do a lot before you suddenly feel super exhausted like an old person

I went to my primary and had my blood levels drawn, and after speaking with him about my deficiency, he decided to give me a shot of B12 once a month as well as me taking a B21 supplement sublingual (under the tongue) from Wallgreens. I fill up the eyedropper top, and squirt it under my tongue, where I let it sit and absorb for a minute, then I swallow it. Doesn't taste too bad.

But this isn't just a post about B12. I also drink Ensure plus, Pecan flavoured, every day. Sometimes a bottle and a 1/2.

Whether you want to admit it or not, whether your nurses will ever tell you or not, your body WILL  be deficient of vitamins after you have an ileostomy. You MUST take supplements like multivitamins and for the ladies, probiotic pills---to make your Vag doesn't get any weird infections--in order to keep yourself running.

For the proper amount of calories, I recommend putting a little tablespoon of coconut butter in cocoa to drink. The coconut butter doesn't have any trans-fat or anything that would get clogged in your heart. I only recently came across this with my husband's insistence. It has no flavour, so it swims in a clear shimmer on the top of your cocoa, but it's not big deal to stir.

Every morning, I drink an 8 ounces glass of V8. It actually has become something I look foreward to, before I fry my pita-bread in olive oil with garlic and smear on cream cheese. It's delicious, and when I get  the pita bread to a crunchy crumbly fall-apart consistency, I can actually eat it. I get calories from the olive oil, get my carbs from the bread, and I get satisfaction spreading cream cheese on it and sprinkling that with garlic powder.

That brings me onto my next part: CALORIES.
Maybe before your ileo, it wasn't a problem getting too many calories, maybe it was just the opposite. Although alot of people with Ileostomies have no trouble at all eating whatever they want, there are a great deal more who, I've found out, are more like myself. With their severely restricted diets, it's quite a challenge to find foods they can actually digest that wont cause a blockage, and this often leads to body-weakening malnutrition.
You need to take multi-vitamins every day anyway, but I also recommend Omega-3 fats, like from Fish Oil. Because the gel capsules I'm too wary too attempted swallowing, I take a teaspoonful of liquid Fish Oil a day, something I found in the organic section of our Supermarket, although Heath Food stores should carry them too. Look online, maybe there's a nice little shop from where you can order them.
Anyway, Calories.

Olive oil
Virgin Olive oil I pretty much put with anything. Some people actually drink this stuff by itself. Gag. Puke. But it's one of the healthiest monounsaturated fats, regulates heart health and helps maintain your cholesterol.
As Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat, it helps insulin levels and blood sugar control.
It took a while to get used to the strong taste of the healthier cold-pressed version, but it really does benefit your health.
 I use a mask for my hair that includes olive oil, and restores shine to it once I rinse it out. I have an organic lotion where olive oil is a key component, so I rub it in tiny amounts onto the very dry patches on my face, namely my giant cheekbones.

Coconut Butter
I use this in cooking as a substitute for butter.
Coconut butter has medium-chain triglycerides, which also reduces cholesterol, heart disease, promotes calcium-absorption so y'all don't get osteoporosis, boots immunity with Lauric Oils and slows down aging. Damn, dude.
It is 120 Calories per tablespoon, but unfortunately, people tend to lose weight instead of gaining it while using this oil, as it stimulates the metabolism.
Still good stuff, in my world. I add it to tea, where is swims around all flavourless and clear at the top.

DehydrationBig-ass deal for a lot of folks with Ileos. Their squirter squirts a little too much a little too often. They always say "drink 6-8 glasses of shit a day", but for smaller kids, that's obviously a recipe for water-intoxication, and for much bigger people, that's not nearly enough! It's so stupid how they keep on doing this "one size fits all" for health care, especially in the very backwards-thinking US. Don't fit the machine until it breaks down entirely, is the mentality with health care here. I couldn't get get my permanent Ileostomy by my original Dr Asshole surgeon, because he said he "didn't care about quality of life" and that I'd need to have "a life-threatening emergency" in order for him to make it a permanent one.
Luckily, my second surgeon was from Sweden, and got it right away :)
Anyway, keep a bottle of juice or water with you at all times. Pedialite makes a powdered package of flavours you can pour into the water when you are beginning to feel fatigued, and they apparently also make freezer pops.

The symptoms of dehydration are as follows:

*Dry, sticky mouth
*Tired and sleepy as shit
*Decreased urine output
*Dry skin
*Dizziness or lightheadedness
*Low blood pressure
*fainting and shit, dude

This is why I always keep a bottle of water/juice with me in the car, wherever I go. I also do that because I have trouble with my blood sugar, and it had gotten hella low in the past. I need to keep that up and keep my ileostomy digesting well.

To add more calories to my diet, I melt Promise Butter with my mashed taters and add garlic and pepper afterward, and also use vegetable oil for things I cook, or use olive oil. Ensure is also one of the best things keeping me alive. I drink it throughout the day. It is good for you, and if insurance covers it---whee!

I also take a powder called "Mus L Blast"
I know I linked to a scary body-building website, but shut up. It's actually super healthy for you, with fuck tons of amino acids and vitamins and shit. I have been taking this powder in milk since I was 12 years old, trying to gain weight to please the people around me who never let me forget that being skinny was hideous.

Let's see... what haven't I covered? 
If you can think of anything else I should add, please let me know!!

<3 Tinylittlelifeform

Hey duh. I'm not a doctor, although nearly everyone in my family
works in the surgical, nursing, phych, OR, and ER. I've gained lots of info from
them over my lifetime, alot of info I don't even want, but if something
is seriously wrong with you, don't be an idiot. Go see your primary or set up an
 appointment at the hospital to find a doc who you can call your primary.
 Or call your surgeon, if that's available.
 This info is for getting ideas, not the end-all be-all God's truth.


  1. Hey there TLLF! This is awesome advice - just awesome. Thanks for posting.

    The only thing I can think of that has helped me hugely and hopefully may also be of assistance to yourself and other folk in similar situations to ourselves, is to chew, chew, chew our food to a pulp. It really does aid digestion, and importantly the uptake of nutrients etc.

    This was such valuable advice shared by a fellow ostomate when I was in hospital, who in turn had been recommended to employ that habit by her dietician, and OMG has it helped me, both while I had my temporary high output ileostomy (what a hight maintenance baby that was!), and likewise now that its been reversed, as I have shortened bowel syndrome.

    At first I wondered how long I should chew - when would it be the right time to swallow the food etc., but I quickly discovered that there's this wonderful natural process that takes place where really, all we need to do is concentrate on continuing to masticate and the pulped up portions of the food will simply automatically slide down!

    What really helps with this is to try not to have a conversation while eating as we tend to gulp down our food only partially chewed when we're chatting while dining. Yeah, I know, that part of it can be a 'lil bit of a bummer as dining & chatting with others is such a wonderful socially interactive thing, but I just brief folk on why I won't be able to fully partake in any chats while the foods around, let them do the talking, enjoy the conversations around me, and bring up any pertinent related stuff later.

    <3 Always ...

  2. The chew-til-your-jaw-drops IS a definate number one, not sure why I didn't add that on the list... probably because I can't get by without eating pureed and mashed up watery things to begin with:/


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