The Battle With Beige: Searching For Colourful Food I Can Eat With An Ileostomy

The Battle With Beige Searching For Colourful Food I Can Eat With An Ileostomy

Grateful for my Ileostomy

I am an optimistic ostomist with an ileostomy. Now four+ years down the line from BC to AC – that’s Before Cancer to After Cancer, by the way - I am grateful for my ileostomy, even with its high output. 

All my dinners are beige

However, since having my ileostomy, I do have issues with “beige food”.

Although I enjoy pasta, potatoes, bananas, meat/fish/poultry, eggs, rice and fish, my body cries out for colour and not “beige”, or what you might call “vanilla”, foods. If you have a stoma, you know precisely the type of foods I mean: beige in colour, beige in nature. All my dinners are beige. Bland, bland, bland…but least likely to risk pain or higher output.

My favourite foods are off-limits

Most of the things I like eating best are off-limits since I had my stoma. I love extra strong mature cheddar, but need to eat mild. I love Vindaloos but......well, I'm sure fellow ostomists know what follows if I dare to eat one of those. As for nuts, don't go there. Although these are, admittedly, beige, I am most definitely not OK with nuts. Projectile vomiting in itself is awful but what I actually “projected” was far worse! I simply adore tomatoes and onions, which enhance so many dishes but indulging in these – and a long line of other foods that I’d otherwise love to eat - means I'm in a lot of pain and my stoma goes berserk.

I regularly cheat

I do regularly cheat. Sometimes I’ll go utterly mad with a green salad or fruit…and obviously then suffer the consequences. I just have to, though, once in a while. Korma curries don't spice up my life (beige: bleurgh) nor does a hateful plateful of root vegetables (with the exception of carrots - I like those, such a lovely bright orange). Why can't some root vegetables be green? The only fruit that don't upset my digestive system are bananas and lumpy stewed apples. Though both upset me emotionally instead. Even yellow’s pretty darn close to…*shudder*…beige.

Finding ways to win the Battle With Beige

Nowadays, I mainly try to find other ways to win my Battle With Beige.

To stop myself going Nutty, for example, I now restrict myself to 4 salted peanuts at a time, which I crunch very finely before swallowing. That seems to work OK, as do a few sly toasted flaked almonds on top of almond shortbread biscuits that contain ground almonds in them - I have a lovely recipe for these if anyone wants it?

Through trial and error, I’ve accumulated other recipes that work for me, too. I have a lovely lemon drizzle cake recipe which I will be using when I hold a coffee morning for Macmillan on 19th September. Umpteen slices of this don't seem to upset me, which is excellent: at last, I can have my cake and eat it!

I stumbled on an alternative coleslaw, too, whereby you use grated swede with the grated carrot, black pepper, mayo/salad cream which is OK actually and doesn't give me the same grief that traditional coleslaw does. This is the only suitably amended coleslaw recipe I have found.

Also, last Sunday I cooked a baked cooking apple with the core removed and filled with brown sugar. I had that with cream and I must confess it appeased my craving for some fruit.

Share your tips?

I would love to find a cookery book specifically for ostomists. Perhaps with hints on presentation to make our meals seem more appealing. Instead, I generally resort to brightly coloured dinner plates in a vain attempt to try and deceive myself as to the contents.

For now, hot and spicy is out - meek and mild is in. Beige is the new black (for me!) I guess, but if there are any fellow ostomists out there who would like to share their tips, please do post them in the comments!

This advice will help you to battle beige food and eat more colourful ileostomy friendly food too

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by Kath Holland

About the author

I'm a 50-something woman and 'BS' (before stoma!) loved my jeans and trousers, but now I find the only comfortable option is leggings.