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.

Recent Comments

  • Maria

    I was just laying in my bed crying because the cuts around my stoma hurt so much,I've had my stoma for 3 years and hate it,mainly because of soreness around the stoma which I got from attempting a reversal aaaaggghhhh, and just realising how much different food is causing even more pain. Then I read your blog (I think it's called a blog) and for the 1st time today i smiled thanku for that Xx

  • Joan Silcox

    Just found this blog. Had my bag for 4 months. Just getting my appetite back and craving spice and flavour. I have made apple and cinnamon muffins which are good for a snack and sugar cravings. I don't normally have a sweet tooth much prefer savoury. I am going to attempt home made chicken tikka- I have tried a ready meal one and found that ok. I have already had one blockage- too much veg and jacket potato skin. Shared recipes is a great idea. Hope someone is still reading - not noticed any recent posts x

  • Kate house

    I have had my stoma for eighteen months now and find its trial and error with food we are all different , I take a high dose of steroids which increase my appetite but try to eat little and often I am lucky not to have had any major problems so far fingers crossed ! Good luck to you all , I always remember no matter what without my stoma I would not be here.

  • Sandra dromi

    I have had my stoma for six years and still can't get it right, I hate going out for fear of leakage or actually bursting both of these I have experienced, just to go shopping I don't have breakfast or even a drink or anything while out, I have given up trying to explain to family and friends how embarrassing it would be so I don't go to family functions, and it seems the more intense I am the more active it is ,

  • Bernadette Scott

    I’ve just found this blog and love it. I’ve had my ileostomy for 7 years now and I’m still learning. Still haven’t plucked up the courage to eat nuts, popcorn or citrus fruit but the rest I do, with consequences of course. I don’t stick to beige.

  • Cookie

    I havn't had my surgery yet, but some of these comments scare me about what I can and can't eat...

  • Patricia

    My daughter found this post for me and I’m so glad she did. I’m grateful for all the comments I don’t feel so alone now I’ve had my iliostomy for eight months now and it’s been all trial and error I have just realise I have to stop fighting against it so far it has saved my life so beige bland and dull is ok I have a sweet tooth so the stewed apples will do me

  • Leslie Doyle

    I had surgery 2 years ago and while food is generally not an issue I recently has a stomach hernia after a severe bout of coughing. Thi s resulted in a hospital stay, and now I am terified of a recurrence and was wondering if anyone has suggestions, I am thinking that being alone is very scary,. I am looking forward to suggestions

  • Mrs Maxine Newbury

    I've had my ileostome for 2 weeks and so far I've enjoyed peppers minus the skins, suede, carrots, tinned tomatoes and beetroot without any problems. I had fish Mediterranean style that was lovely with chunky chips and mayo. So far I'm optimistic about what I'll be able to eat.

  • Eileen

    I have a ileostomy now for 5months. I am in pain when eating any food such as a soft roll.anyspicey food. Noapples on ly . applesauce Hoping I can get a referral next month. Thanks for the site and information

  • Jo

    OMG!! so true on the beige comment, as I said to my friend today, 1 month into my stoma and my diet consists of everything you are told not to eat, carbs, bread, pasta, beige, beige, beige!! I had a blockage only 5 days after my surgery after being reassured before the op"oh people don't have issues with stoma's anymore". Yeah right, I spent another awful 4 days in hospital, with a NG tube, wtg for the blockage to clear itself. I found this quite bizare! Surely there must be treatment or a proceedure for this issue? No, I was just left to puke green fluid from my intestines, gross. So, I am basically terrified to step out of the "beige zone". One of my favourite meals now, is boil in the bag cod with mash potato and carrots, how rock & roll!. At least it has some flavour and the carrots are attractive. Eating out is a challenge that's for sure, but I'll be buggered if I'm going to become a recluse. I'd rather have a jacket potato (no skin of course) and spend some time out with friends being normal, than let this obnoxious appendige rule my life. I'm due an endoscopy in May to see if everything is healed enough for a reversal, scared & depressed at the thought of going back inot hospital again, as my veins are still scarred and sore, but the thought of a chinese blow out will see me through. At least I have the option of the reversal, so should feel greatful for this.

  • Karl

    Hi all I have had my stoma for 7months now and I am struggling to expand my diet I eat a lot of chicken and mashed potato and the usual beige food but I have a real hang up about eating red meat ( how much do I have to chew it I would really love to have a steak or Evan a steak pie ) cake hasn't caused me any problems but I find ice cream makes me very loose can anyone suggest foods that I can add to my diet that not only make it look like a proper meal but taste like one too thank you in advance .in answer to Sandra dromi I have eaten out with my family but I always make it my last call before going home just in case the worst happens hope you all find solutions for your concerns and problems Karl

  • Mick Kerrigan

    I had my Stoma fitted in January after emergency surgery after my bowel perforated. Whilst in hospital I struggled with my output which was very high. My Stoma nurse advised me to take Imodium up to six times a day, I was prescribed it by my Doctor and my output became more manageable and I became more confident as my bag was less prone to leakage. I avoid the obvious foods such as curries and spicy foods but do risk Mediterranean vegetables cooked in a little light oil. I eat more fish than before I had my Stoma but try to avoid fish in batter. I have eaten steak pies and red meat with little trouble. Sweet potato chips are another vegetable to add colour to your plate.

  • Kate Joy

    Hi, folks. I am one of the fighting the beige brigade. I smiled when I read Jo's post. My favourite meal now is one that I would not have been happy with before. It is cod in a little white sauce with mashed potatoes and carrots. For excitement, and nutrition, I may have a few very soft cooked peas. Portion size is vital. M&S do this wonderfully but the fish can become a problem. But toast is not a balanced diet, marmalade or not.
    Now to my confession. "Another inch or two and this would be an ileostomy. I would sue". This was the Nursing Sister. The problem is my stoma was done as an emergency and it behaves like an ileostomy. There are consistency differences but the 'you suffer from variable output' (stoma Nurse). The reality is that my stoma does not obey the Colostomy rules. It quietly rules my life.
    I had a salad sandwich yesterday. A helper made it for me. Loving her food, she simply made a nice, medium sandwich. Within minutes, I was "Oh, no". Hours later, Imodium shares rising,and some sleep beckoned.

  • Kate Joy

    Sorry last line got missed......
    I am very tired today but so pleased I found this site. My tummy is waging war on food but I can get away with beige. As for carrots, this previously insignificant vegetable is now so cheering. And that coleslaw tip sounds great.
    Hello fellow whimsiostomates. They saved our lives but they are, well, rascals! XX

  • Karl

    Hi all this is a bit of an unusual question but I am big into fishing "something that I thought I would have to give up after having my stoma due to emptying " now I only fish venues with toilet facilities and don't have too much of a problem . The problem I do have is what to cook on the bank when I session fish for a couple of days /nights the usual pot noodles are out of the question so I usually just have a sausage sandwich for breakfast and cold chicken and instant mash for tea can anyone suggest any quick camping style food that will make a nice tasty quick meal without carrying to much bulk in my fishing bag (I did say that this was an unusual question but it is just one of the things that I am trying to carry on doing as normally as I can )thank you in advance and I hope you all find solutions for all your concerns and problems .Karl.

  • Karl

    Thank you Mick Kerrigan for your reply I am goin to try a steak pie tonight it is chewing it enough that I have a mental block about as I was told that it could cause a blockage if it wasn't chewed small enough so fingers crossed . But looking forward to my pie and mash tonight thank you karl

  • Janice Elizabeth Warren

    Make use of your slow cooker - even the toughest meat gets so tender it falls apart. I use mine several times a week. You can sling all your veggies in too, so they are very soft but still retain their flavour and colour. Oh, and it also saves on the washing up!

  • Caroline Randall

    I have had my ileostomy for 25 years. It does take a while but I have eaten just about everything for years. Still have to be careful about nuts and uncooked apples - sometimes I just can’t resist and eat too many nuts. ... not good but blockages do usually work their way through, albeit quite painfully. I have travelled all over the world, including India, the Far East and South America and eaten all the local food. So I just wanted to say there is life after an ileostomy.

  • Julie

    I have had my ileostomy 42 years you do get to know over time which foods you can eat everyone is so individual I am lucky to be able to eat most veg and fruit and occasionally rest my system by using my amazing soup maker which makes wonderful smooth soup with vegetables

  • Sheelagh

    I was very happy to see this site because there is lot's of good advise and it's helpful knowing how others cope. However if there is anyone out there who is in the same situation as me i would like your input, l had my Surgery nearly four years ago but two years later I had a Hernia and after five emergency Hospital admissions I finally had my Hernia repair....that's when my problems began, before the repair my Stoma was extremely manageable I sometimes could forget I had one,but after the repair the problems started instantly because my Stoma was now flat against my skin and was slightly concave on one side and now I have terrible leakage every day and night,l am constantly aware of it and feel paranoid about smells,my husband assures me i I don't smell but I am always aware of it,my life has changed so much that I have no confidence anymore, I asked my GP to refer me to a surgeon to have it resited and to have a"spout' once more, she agreed but months later I still don't even have an appointment to see one. I am very unhappy about it,any words of encouragement will be appreciated, if you read all of this, thank you.

  • Deb

    My husband had surgery June 5th. He has a permanent ileostomy and I am trying to be creative about preparing nutritious and colorful meals for him. I’ve used ground white meat turkey to make a sloppy joe. He’s had rotisserie chicken, chicken and noodles, and spaghetti with meat sauce. Vichyoise, a potato leek soup done in a blender,. He’s eaten canned green, beans,but vegetables seem to be the biggest problem. Are butter lettuce salads ok? How about mozzarella and peeled and seeded tomatoes? Slices of avocado with balsamic and olive oil? I’m making meatloaf tonight. How about hummus?
    Key lime pie was well received, red roasted bell peppers with the seeds removed added a splash of red. Julie what soup maker did you use? Caroline what has been your secret to eating everything? I found a Kalimata olive tapenade with finely ground olives that I think will be good on toast and a great seedless raspberry spread with no seeds at Whole Foods by Crofters. Be specific about what you’ve tried that works!

  • Sandra W

    Has anyone found a cook book or recipes that are iliostomy friendly.. any help gratefully accepted . Thankyou

  • Lynne L

    If anyone has found a cookbook with recipes in please could you let me know. Thank you in advance.

  • Francine Hiscock

    I had this surgery twice now both emergency operations I have been in hospital since 1/06/18 going home tomorrow I’m always sore with leaks hoping I can manage this at home

  • Lynn M

    I’ve had my ostomy for 2.5 years and I’m still emotionally having a hard time accepting it. Had ulcerative colitis for a short time and then J pouch for about 10yrs until major complications which ended up in removal. Was a major surgery for me. I’m also recently experiencing more gas and reflux lately. Anyone have this issue?

  • Heather

    Hi Everyone, read all your comments with interest and agree with the horrible ‘beige diet’.
    I used to eat lots of salad and fruit but now it’s rockmelon, banana and rockmelon and banana-did I mention rockmelon? Sigh - boring
    Going to actually try strawberries after dinner tonight!! It’s been 18 months so gonna try other foods now
    The surgeon said to me ‘ don’t eat a big steak’ so that’s out but do eat most other meats- nothing tough but can get pricey!
    Veggies are mostly boiled to death, bland and boring

  • Rachel McLaughlin.

    I have my illiostomy for a year now and have constant problems with bleeding at the joining of skin and stoma. Also problems with outbreaks. I don’t go out much due to my little friend. I would love some recipes of any foods please. Thanks.

  • kirsty

    Hey I've had my stoma a year ago and made permanent this year and I'm still struggling with foods. I've found that sometimes blending things like leeks or onions and then add to my cooking helps otherwise severe agony!!! I've only started to eat fruit now (peeled of course) and in small amounts. melon, peaches and anything in tins works! I've been trying to loose weight however tricky with the diet of white and bland foods!!! it takes alot of trial and error to get right but would love a cookbook suited to us!!

  • Lisa

    Looking for recipes. Also list of foods to eat.

  • Jenny

    Hi, had my op on 22nd August and was shocked when I saw the stoma as it wasn't expected, however mine is reversible as all the tumour was removed. I hate the damn thing! But I have had some nice meals. Try a cheese pizza and add some finely chopped ham and add a few thin slices of courgette (zucchini ), or and drained tinned carrots. Also try adding finely chopped parsley to a white sauce to add colour. With rice, try adding a stock to the water and try a food colouring , it doesn't interfere with flavours. Add a quarter teaspoon of horseradish sauce to mash potatoes for an extra bit of flavour x hope this helps x

  • Karl Spoors

    Hi all I have just had some good news from my surgeon he has told me that a possible reversal can be done but now I'm worried about the jpouch and the deteriation of this over the years to come I realy dont want to carry on with my stoma as it is but dont think I can face knowing that operations will be needed further in the future has anyone on here had a long time reversal with no problems
    Thank you I hope you all fine solutions for your problems

  • Caitlin Grainger

    Hello :)
    I've had my Ileostomy for 5 months. Like everyone here knows only to well its been a bit trial and error when it comes to diet but here are a few recipes that work well for me and arn't BEIGE! Hallelujah!!

    I love love love risottos just now. I have found that roasting and blitzing whatever vegetables I choose in with a stock cube, wine and hot water (so its all one big liquid puree) makes cooking fast and easy on digestion.
    I dice up shallots/ onions and garlic, saute in a bit of oil, add a cup full of risotto rice and bit by bit add in stock and vegetable puree, allowing the rice to soak up the liquid before adding more. Stirring every few minutes until rice is soft. Then add in what ever cheese (mascerpone, goats cheese, creme fraiche) and herbs you like and thats you!
    My favorite combos just now are...
    Roasted Beetroot, Goats Cheese and Thyme
    Roasted Red Pepper, Sweet Potato OR Butternut Squash and Feta

    Another quick meal I often do it a veggie curry.
    Using a blitzer machine with the grating blade I grate all my vegetables together...normally I whack in onion, garlic, carrot, courgette and parsnip.
    Pop grated vegetables into pan along with x I tin of chopped tomatoes and coconut milk. Add in what ever spices, I normally go for turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and garamasala. Sometime to change it up I add in paneer or tofu too!
    I serve this along side couscous or rice, tzatziki yogurt (I make my own by finely dicing up fresh mint, coriander, parsley and garlic along with zest and juice of a lemon, salt, pepper and mixing it in with a big big big dollop of lovely natural yogurt.) and POPPADOMS or nan or toasted pita breads.

  • Mandy wilde

    I had my stoma 2013 i seem to be lucky can eat most things, my only issue is i also have gallstones so if i feel hungry i have to eat other wise they play up then my stoma does too. I do drink water but that in its self makes me feel hungry. My advice is try everything and see if it doesn't work for you then try something else. My stoma saved my life and im guessing it saved yours too, so treat it well and she will be good. Keep smiling we are all special.

  • Linda G

    Here is a recipe site for cancer patients.

  • Carole Mohler

    I've had my illeostomy for almost 12 years and I'm still having problems with food. I find that I can only eat any veggie one time - I cannot eat it again the next day because my pouch will have a blockage at the stoma. As well as having problems with some foods I am also lactose intollerant which cuts out all of the dairy. What can I do?? It's so frustrating especially with the holidays just around the corner.

  • Adria

    I just had ileostomy surgery on November 5th I’m having a problem with my skin being raw around my stoma and I’m in constant pain. I try to leave my bag on for a few days but it still hurts. I asked my dr if it could get an infection but she told me it’s not likely to happen. Is there anything that I can do to get through this. I cry everyday. Pain pills are not working. I feel like I’m losing sleep also.

  • Dilly

    Hi, just found your blog. Loved the last comments by Mandy. So true she saved my life!
    I have only had my stoma since September. Had kidney problems inasmuch as they were not performing properly. Ok now. My problem is the "beige" and the fact I'm a fussy eater and have a poor appetite, so need it stimulating! My stoma is not too much trouble although at times watery.....I take loperamide regularly.
    I need recipes please! I like to cook. Living on my own I can get lazy and not bother too much. I'd like a tikka recipe.

  • SecuriCare_Team

    Hi @Carole
    Some patients with an ileostomy can find certain foods problematic, especially foods with skins like sweetcorn and tomatoes and extra care needs to be taken when consuming these foods, if they continue to cause a blockage then you should avoid them completely.

    We have a nutritional advice booklet available here: and we would also suggest you consider speaking to a dietitian especially as you have pre-existing dietary needs.

  • LindaJ

    What a wonderful site. I have had my ileostomy, since September. I am so happy to see that there are other people out there like me. I wasn't wanting the stoma, but it did save my life. Not sure if I will have it reversed as I spent 63 days in the hospital and 10 days in rehab. So I am not real gung ho on jumping back under the knife. I have been very fortunate, to not have many problems with my stoma. But I am happy that there is a site here that if I do have a problem I can come and I can ask questions thank you

  • Kathryn

    I have had my ileostomy for five years now and still get freaked out by leakages for,reasons I cannot work out. Initially it was great but has retracted twice now and is tiny. I find the only way to conquer the beige problem is to purée all fruit and veg. My daily main meal consists of chicken, purreed spinach, purreed tinned tomatoes and purreed carrots seasoned with cardamom. At least I am getting orange green and red! I cannot cope with rice, potatoes or pasta but poppadoms go down well...other than that it’s white bread for breakfast, lunch and tea. Yoghurts are a daily must which I freeze for 2-3 hours to make like an ice cream and I also part freeze purreed fruit to make a kind of sorbet....would love to have it refashioned...

  • Darlene evans

    Had emergency illieostomy, told it was reversable, what does that entail? Are there problems associated with that?
    Thanks for the info

  • Darlene evans

    Are reversals usually sucessful?

  • Heather Morse

    Hi Everyone, had my illeostomy 2 years and eat mostly beige haha
    It can and does get boring and being hot now in Oz made the family chook/ham salad at the weekend- the salad looked lovely but I couldn’t eat it,only the potato salad

  • SecuriCare_Team

    Hi @Darlene for information regarding a reversal please talk to your healthcare practitioner or give us a call on 0800 585 125 and we may be able to advise.
    There is a lot of information available online, including amongst our blogs where many others discuss their option of a j-pouch and reversal, Just search our site for things like 'j-pouch' 'reversal' and 'surgery'.

    Best wishes,

    SecuriCare Team.

  • Sha B

    As to beige food-my son has a ileostomy about a month ago. He’s on a low fiber diet but I think we’ve got a hand on food. So far I’ve made meatloaf using white bread for binder and I used a coffee grinder to powder any dry, leafy type herb. I’ve made peeled, sliced, cinnamon spiced apples. Puréed carrot soup in a chicken soup base, tuna salad (no raw vege) on a store bought croissant, pulled bbq pork nachos with avocado, banana pudding (I use lactose free milk), Mac and cheese (made with sharp cheddar and lactose free milk), banana-canned skinless peaches, coconut milk smoothies...I’m being creative, working within the confines of the suggested lo-fiber foods-it’s daunting at times but it’s doable!

  • Margy

    I was given a colostomy last May 2018. I could eat anything with it. Then last October 2018 was given an ileostomy.

    I have to restrict what I eat..I don't have any skins on any fruit or veg.

    I'm lucky not to have had a blockage so far.

    As for nuts I have a few now and then, but chew them to nothing.

    I've introduced Melon to my diet, it does make the output runnier. I just take loparamide to thicken it up.

    Food can be so boring with an ileostomy , plus I'm on Chemo which does nothing for my appetite.

    But I'll do anything to prevent a blockage.

    I'm also introducing some veg, but have only small amount.

    To have a thick output I'd have to cut out fruit and veg. But I also want to eat healthily.

    So small amounts is ok.

    Also don't over eat, say a roast. I suffered with tummy cramps and extra thick output.

    So I only have two roast potatoes, 1 slice of meat, I small amount of veg and 1 Yorkshire pud.

    Small meals and eat when you're hungry.

  • Niccie

    I have illostomy 6yrs I eat everything I've had watery out put to thick out put I all ways after meals rub round my belly in case anything is stuck in there never had blockage guess am lucky one the thing I fear is leakage it's my worst nightmare I've had a few and I get in a right state about them xx

  • Julie McGuckin

    Hello everyone
    I have had my stoma for 5 weeks now. I think we're friends even though I'd rather it wasn't there! My output can go from runny to thick, back to runny for no apparent reason. Like most of you, nothing with skins, unless they can be peeled. My ileostomy is temporary. But food is still trial and error. Bizarre how we should eat what's not great for us! In the first couple of weeks I found tinned tuna and mashed potato, or tinned chicken in white sauce with rice was flavoursome. Good luck everyone. Julie

  • Amanda

    I’ve had my ileostomy sense 2014. I have a huge peristome hernia and a lot of food gets “stuck”. If I eat mushrooms they will be digested painfully. Popcorn is painful as well. When I have to have something I chop it very small and try to chew it very well. It’s always a let’s see what happens approach. I don’t have problems with spicy things at all. They also make more refined whole wheat things now. I miss strawberries and freaking salads!

  • Amanda

    My diet is awful. I dont eat anything healthy anymore. Ive a permanent ileostomy and although Im worried about blockages I also really don’t like finding “bits” in my bag when I empty. Ive been living on protein drinks and “crap” foods. Its easier to throw some cake or chocolate in my mouth than eat properly. I live on toast mainly. I have now had severe nausea and vomiting twice in 3 weeks and Im wondering if this is just pure sugar overload. No blockage or pain just

  • Dwayne

    25 years for me next month... only serious blockage I've had is one evening after having large cut homefries for breakfast and not chewing them good enough... I eat everything without any issues... I do notice that certain foods digest differently than others... I love orange juice and if I drink alot of it the acid will wear out my "apparatus" quicker...
    for those who avoid eating while out .. not eating has a worse effect on your discharge... your stomach is hungry and the discharge tends to be more of a liquid and has more digestive enzymes and potentially more leak issues than if you just eat on a consistent schedule...
    I got mine in my mid 20's and I'm 51... it's never slowed me down and it takes a little time but you'll get used to it and learn some tricks to make life easier...

  • Jan

    I’ve had my ileostomy for 30 years and have been grateful for it saving my life. I had my second child 2 years after surgery. I’ve traveled all over the world, just returning from Sicily last month.
    For years I was able to eat most items except for corn and popcorn. However, in the last ten years that has changed due to a return of Chrones. I only eat eat fruits or vegetables that have been roasted (great option for delicious soft veggies), mashed, or blended. Having said that, sweet potatoes, yams, squashes, and pumpkin are great to eat, with high nutrition and color. I blend a smoothie every day and use both fruits and vegetables in it (I precook carrots as that works better for me.) Blended sauces can include the spices you tolerate and veggies for color.
    I got turned on to fruit/veggie combos available easily transportable pouches in both the baby food aisle and for adults (places like Starbucks) that provide an easy way to consume those nutrients or to add to your cooking.
    My advice is to be proactive about understanding your situation and issues which I’ve found is usually pretty individualized. When I travel, I am cautious about eating. For family gatherings, I bring a dish friendly for me to share and don’t worry about what others think.
    A lot of social activities center around food, so seek out options that don’t.
    If you are having stoma issues, working with an ostomy nurse specialist has been way better for me than talking to my internist.
    Good luck everyone.

  • Mary

    Hello I had my operation in February 2019.

    I eat white toast and marmite (read the contents contains vitamins and vegetable juices) for breakfast followed by dried apricots soaked in orange juice with almond nuts blitzed in my nutribullet and plain yoghurt, if output is loose I add a banana or stewed apple or I eat marshmallows. I eat a cheese and salty crisp sandwich at lunchtime. Then a smoothie in the afternoon, consisting of concoctions of strawberries, blueberries, peaches, small peeled apple, raspberries, tinned fruit, not pineapple, some stem ginger and watered with apple juice in the nutribullet. I have eaten stuffed pastas with passata and recently arriabaita sauce, avocado, olives well chewed, fish (bit smelly) but fish gingers ok, chicken, lean thin steak, lamb, potatoes, always peeled and oven chips. Carrots, parsnip mashed and courgettes well cooked.

    I am touching wood as I say this, so far ok. I think after reading this blog which is very welcome, my ignorance has been bliss for me and on a positive note it could have been so much worse. I can eat cakes and biscuits, ice cream and choc ices, but output can be runny I usually make sure I am home. Hopefully a reversal after six months. I wish you all well and I hope my diet gives some colour and I am sorry for those who are beiged out.

  • Kath tharme

    I cook for my husband who has has an ileostomy for 5 years. I would like to know can he have food that contains cooked onions. He has had a few blockages in the past , not nice. So many recipes have onions in and he likes them but we would like to know if they cause blockages.

  • Sherry G

    Hello fellow ostomates! I am new to the game LOL. My surgery was June 16th I had to have an emergency colectomy. I have an 18 inch scar on my abdomen and a stoma over to my right due to ileostomy. I have been getting used to the stoma which my sister has named Maggie! I will be having a reconnecting of the ileum to the rectum in about 3 months so in the meantime I am trying to get used to the foods that I have been eating. As you all say beige. But I have found that I can have ice cream, Ginger snaps, baked potato chips with tuna fish and white bread, chocolate pudding, fish, broccoli and a host of other foods within the low fiber diet. My question is has anyone tried shellfish like crab or lobster or shrimp? Sag

  • Hayley

    Hi all I've had my ileostomy five months now emergency opp six weeks in hosp two of which my ileostomy had shut down and was coming out through my mouth yuk but couple of ng tubes and patience it worked I had leakage troubles but changed bags to convex with salt rings and flanges and touch wood been great since I'm lucky so far as I eat everything steak filet or ribeye and cook lots with tinned tomatoes peppers red and white beans I eat jalepenos lots pizza Curry's no problems strawberry's I love grapes I eat chocolate with nuts in almond flakes wallnuts mushrooms onions well you get my just everything so don't be afraid try these things pinapple is high out put but I still eat it I couldn't eat stodge all the time I love my food and eat out often maybe I'm just lucky but I've not stuck to the bland foods even eat brown seeded bread I do see a variety of things coming back out but haven't had a major food problem and we like spicy food so I could not go without jalepenos so try these things don't be scared just chew well and live your life this ileostomy saved my life so I'm going to live it not be afraid and I was told there may be chance of reversal but it would mean diarrhoea most of time so I said why would I do that no thanks I'll say as I am good luck with yours but please live a little

  • Tracey

    Hi All, I had my illi 6yrs ago as I had slow colonic transit and was blocked all the time. 2yrs ago I had a panprocolectomy as because of enemas every week for 12yrs I'd got chemical colitis. My diet used to consist of the odd meal, crisps and chocolate pre-op, and I've never been able to eat spicy food as just one grain of pepper burns my tongue. I've started on the slimming world diet and found I'm eating lots of tasty food, mostly cooked in slow cooker so it's all tender. I eat salads, but not nuts or sweetcorn, and love pears and melon. I have had lots of blockages, lots of leaks and plenty of 'pancaking' but I just shrug change my bag and get on with it.
    As I'm typing this I made the mistake of thinking apples were ok and am now massaging my gut trying to clear the blockage and taking tablets for the colicky pain. It was great to read other peoples success and stories of woe, it makes you remember you're not alone with your accessory.
    Now for those that don't like to go out because they have a bag, they fear leakage etc Just do it! take a spare set of cloth, bags etc and don't worry about it. I've been out more times than I can count since mine...what is the point in having an operation to give you your life back if you don't live it! Good luck everyone

  • Angela

    Hello everyone I got my illnospey Aug 7 2019 so I'm very new and still healing and learning. I have not got my appetite back yet, but I do find that eating baked chicken and white rice is my go to meal. I mostly live on animal crackers and Ritz crackers. I've been reading all comments and thank you guys for taking the time to comment.

  • Toni

    OMG, I can't read all of the comments! Some people seem to have a harder time than others. I have had my i-lee for 1.5 months and whilst I am worried about getting a blockage, I am doing okay with food. I have a hernia though behind my stoma due to a nasty cough (wish I had been told to hold the stoma whilst coughing!).

    I am missing fibre so much. I miss beans and pulses and spicy foods. Also many veg which I am struggling with. It's really hard!

    Here is what I eat:

    Brocolli, carrots, onions, spinach, asparagus, beetroot, parsnips, swede, turnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes and mushy peas. I also eats loads of soups and tins of tomatoes.

    Beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, all fish, prawns, mackerel, tuna, mussels, cockles, salmon, smoked salmon. Plus eggs and all cheeses of course.

    I have never had a blockage or tummy ache. My output can sometimes be runnier than the porridge like consistency they tell you to aim for, but it doesn't bother me!

    Hope this helps people ☺️

  • valerie eker

    I have been married to my husband who has an ileostomy for nearly 3 years. He is enormously forbearing with my efforts at cooking and very uncomplaining. However I am bored on his behalf with the limited range of foods he can eat, so went online to look for interesting recipes I could try in my efforts to introduce variety for him.

    I have been interested to see how other people also struggle with "bland" and "beige" and how many times people ask for recipes.
    What if everyone on this site were to offer one of their own favourite meal ideas which could then be compiled into a book for all to use?
    Obviously what suits one won't suit all, but we could pick and choose from amongst one another's ideas.

    What do others think?

  • Christina Stopka

    Have had my ileostomy since August after emergency surgery. It has been an adjustment food wise but I am not letting that stop me from eating pretty much what I want, although there are a few things I have been avoiding like nuts, beans and whole grains. I try things in small quantity and see how my body reacts, A couple of days ago we went to a Chinese restaurant and I had shrimp with broccoli and carrots - there were also onions but I didn't eat those - and it was so nice to have green and orange food on the plate. My output was thicker than normal but everything seems to have passed well. I take it one day and one food at a time. I miss my nuts and whole grains! Count down to reversal in the spring!

    Some great suggestions and info in the comments.

  • Maggie Green

    About onions use a slow cooker with a medium Spanish onion left whole.
    It will cook with your root veg can be removed whole and you will get all the flavour. Without eating the actual onion.

  • Carol S

    What a relief to find this site! Having suffered unbearable pain and incontinence due to a stricture in my bowel following aggressive radiotherapy I elected to have a colonoscopy with the added attraction of maybe reversing my need for my double nephrostomies. Not to be, the reversal was impossible and due to a bowel perforation I woke up a day later with an illeostomy. 4 months later I hate my situation, bags dangling everywhere, uncomfortable, unreliable, frequently becoming unstuck, needing emptying during the night, the list goes on! I really felt I was conned having been told it would be the best thing I’d ever done ,I would get my life back- dare to leave the house and best of all be able to eat normally!!! Your posts have been so reassuring as I felt something untoward was going on as I have permanent stomach cramps and unreliable stoma output, timing and consistency. I thought this would be the end of my pain but I need regular pain relief, it seems this is par for the course and I am not alone. It is hard to be positive as I want to live not just exist but I’m grateful to know that not everyone’s stoma is their ‘best friend!’

  • Gillian

    I had an ileostomy in August 2019. I had never heard of Colitis or a stoma so it was all a bit of a shock. I am managing well with the bags etc and eating all foods that I ate before without problems. ( I try and avoid skins). Having read many of the above comments I am feeling very lucky. I didn’t want my diet to be restricted so hope I won’t pay a price further down the line.
    I am going on holiday next month and flying to my destination. I am struggling to find out if I should use a sticker on the vent during take off because of the change in air pressure and possible ballooning. Does anyone know or had experience of? Thanks in anticipation.

    • SecuriCare_Team

      Hi Gillian, you may find this blog helpful:

      Please feel free to give us a call on 0808 256 5400 if you would like to speak to someone for advice.

  • Debbie Self

    I had an ileostomy last August due to bowel cancer. It was supposed to be reversed in March but because of Covid it didn't happen and no idea when it may happen now! Like most of you I desperately miss colour in my food and my best discovery is roasted and peeled peppers, sliced and cooled then dressed with oil and balsamic vinegar (& sometimes chopped fresh parsley) Its great with crusty bread, cold meats or anything I would have had salad with. I also find avocado is ok so will often have that mashed with salt and pepper in sandwiches or on toast or with eggs. I manage fine with Apples peaches and pears if I peel and core them and chew well. Sadly I haven't found any salad leaves I can manage but finely chopped fresh herbs look good, give some flavour and seem to pass through without causing any pain or blockage. Great hearing we are not alone!

  • Mark-Trouble-Marscha

    My permanent stoma 1 year on
    Gone backwards with food because of blockages.
    So ok with chicken,fish,veg-mince,carrot,mash,chips,veg-sausage-burgers,custard,puddings
    Question what herbs can I add to my foods & what herbs not too?

  • Maggie Green

    Carol S your are an absolute star. Love your post just what I needed

  • Denise arobinson

    Thank you so, so much to everyone who has contributed to this site ( which I have only just found ). I now feel like a normal human being again learning that I’m not alone with the beige diet and problems that we illeostomists have to face - not all the same problems, but to learn after 7 years that I’m not alone. I am so grateful to have found this site.

  • Nancy L Campbell

    I've been fighting the beige with some creative cooking.
    EX: MY "Orange Soup":
    1 bag of baby carrots, cooked until soft
    1 bag of frozen butternut squash, thawed
    1 sweet potato, cooked until soft, jacket discarded
    1 can pumpkin puree
    2-3 c. Stock (chicken, veggie, etc)

    Combine all on blender or use immersion blender. Serve hot.

  • Andrew

    Hello, I have a brand new illy... got it Nov 2020, and learning to live with it. Managing ok with foods but agree it is all a bit beige! I have cooked my signature spaghetti bolognese with just the mushrooms omitted. That was good. Have not yet attempted my signature chilli con carne though! My question to you all is about timing... my developing pattern is a quiet stoma all day, maybe a small output late morning, and then it starts early evening and I get around 5 full bags between 6pm and 8am, including two middle of the night wake-ups. How can I make it go quiet overnight and get a good solid night's sleep?

  • Sadie

    The key is to try a little of everything you like and you will soon find out what works for you as everyone is different. I get blockages from peanuts,popcorn, sweetcorn, mushrooms and too much high fibre fruit and veg. I can still manage onions, peppers, carrots, peas, beans and as for salad, a little maybe once a week. The key is to chew food thoroughly and have a glass of water or squash with your food. Also try and sting around 2.5 litres of fluids a day, can be milk, water, juice,tea, coffee, a variety. A little of what you fancy is fine, the problems start if you eat too much of it and often. Unfortunately we learn through experience and that includes leakages and embarrassment at times. I recommend always travelling with a bag/backpack with spare supplies, a change of clothes and baby wipes.

  • Carol

    I have read so many people in this and I to have a ileostomy. I’ve had mine for 2 1/2 years .oh I too have had trouble with eating but I’m sure it save my life I’m 69 years old and I still try to eat food that I know I shouldn’t and I do pay for it just like some of you out there so it is a lot of trial and error good luck to all of you .please don’t give up and when I get clogged up I drink hot coffee hot juice and water usually in time things start coming through.

  • Audra Hairston

    Thanks for all the personal experiences. I’ve had an ileostomy for one month and struggle with the foods I can eat. I used to eat salads and fresh fruit daily and can’t anymore. It’s been a very drastic change. I’ve been eating chicken, used my food processor to chop up things. I had split pea soup tonight. I’ll cook some squash and pull out my crock pot soon. I stay away from fruit with skin, popcorn, most beans. I’ve eaten hummus, guacamole and mashed potatoes. Eggs are good too. I prefer wheat bread, but have switched to potato. I eat Jasmine rice more often. Canned green beans seem to work and broccoli florets. Applesauce and bananas are my friends. My stoma is sore and I am not sure why. I do empty the bag several times a day and carry supplies now whenever I leave the house.

  • Bronwyn Smith

    I’m blown away by everyone talking about no red meat - I was told to eat lots of meat for protein to help me recover from surgery! I eat steak, pies, mince, probably more often than I should (although no bowel no so no more bowel cancer risk!) My understanding is that animal products get attacked by your stomach acid, and so don't cause an issue, it is only the fibre and mushrooms usually broken down in the large intestine that can ball up and cause a blockage. Mind you, I have an ileostomy, so maybe advice for other stomas is different.

    But I still am trying to broaden my diet, I am 3 months with a stoma and eat way too many slices of toast, pies, and chips! Now it’s summer here I’ve started eating chopped mango, the odd well-chewed grape, strawberries I was told are fine as the seeds are too small so I eat those and their jam. I’ve eaten a few mulberries without issue. My fave vegetable dish is a kind of ratatouille with grated carrot, grated zucchini, canned tomatoes (peeled) peeled eggplant, and finely chopped onion and garlic - eat that over pasta and it doesn’t feel beige any more!

  • Bronwyn Smith

    Oh yes and avocado on toast with a squirt of lemon and plenty of salt, is at least green!

  • Bronwyn Smith

    Sorry, I keep thinking of other things… if you are desperate for some fruit and veg, visit the baby food isle! Those little pouches don’t cost much and if a 4-month old can handle them, I’d say so can most ileostomates ;)

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