After any major gastrointestinal surgery, you need to ensure you get sufficient calories and nutrients once your bowels are functioning again, but you’ll have new concerns with your modified digestive tract. You’ll want to be careful about what you eat, especially in the early weeks, and make sure you don’t cause yourself a blockage, which is caused by food getting stuck in your intestines. Here’s some things to consider about what to eat and what not to eat after HIPEC or any surgery for PMP.
Breads, cereals, and grains
- White breads, waffles, french toast, plain white rolls, or white bread toast
- Pretzels, plain pasta or noodles, white rice
- Crackers, Zwieback, melba, and matzah (no cracked wheat or whole grains)
- Cereals without whole grains, added fiber, seeds, raisins, or other dried fruit
- Use white flour.
Eat with caution:
- Grains, such as cream of wheat. If you eat them make sure they are well cooked and watered down. I tend to avoid them because they act like cement to me.
- Brown or wild rice, whole grains, cracked grains, or whole wheat products
- Kasha (buckwheat)
- Cornbread or corn meal
- Graham crackers
- wheat germ
Please keep in mind this is post op only. You can try adding some of the things listed in the avoid column as tolerated as you recover your bowel function. However, do so slowly, in small amounts, and only try one new thing at a time. Chew well and eat small portions slowly.
- Tender, very, very well cooked fresh vegetables or canned vegetables without seeds, stems, or skins.
- Everything else until you get your calorie count up with the above breads, cereals, and grains and the below listed proteins and dairy as tolerated. I avoid potatoes because even the mashed potatoes seem to clog me which is too bad because they are one of the only vegetables with a decent amount of calories per serving.
Vegetables just don’t pack the caloric punch that you need and they contain troublesome fiber which can make you feel full, which can cause you to eat less, and may contribute to clogging. I recommend eating your vegetables last.
Meat, fish, poultry, and protein
All meats, fish, and poultry should be very tender and without gristle
- hamburger and other ground meats
Proceed with caution:
- Eggs . I eat some but they tend to clog me if I eat too much,
- Smooth Peanut Butter. Again, I eat some but too much acts like cement and clogs me
- Sausage. You should not eat anything with a casing. Without a casing you can try in small amounts. Because it is high in fat I don’t tolerate it right after surgery ( wiki Steatorrhea)
- Shellfish. It’s many times chewy and so can be difficult to chew enough for it not to cause you a problem
- Tofu. I just can’t do it. Causes me to be clogged. You can try it and see.
- Dark meat chicken. Dark meat chicken is higher in fat and more tender and I can do small amounts of it but be careful. Chicken is a meat that moves more slowly through you and thus is more prone for clogging
- Jerky. I can do jerky fairly well. Even beef jerky. This item is from my own personal experience. I have seen nothing in the literature that tells me why I can do Jerky but not regular beef. Thank goodness because it is a main protein calorie source for me even today, over 2 years after my last surgery.
- Bacon. Make sure it is crispy and only eat small amounts at first. It is high fat so can cause some GI distress post surgery (again wiki steatorrhea)
- Beef besides listed above. Even tender cuts are problematic for me.
- White meat chicken
Both beef and chicken have shown to exhibit delayed gastric emptying
- beans, nuts, peas, lentils, and legumes. At least post op do this. You can add these back to your diet slowly as your bowel adapts. I can do some of all these now but it took me some time.
Dairy: Milk and Cheese
Start slowly with Dairy at first. Try small to medium amounts and only proceed if they don’t cause you problems. Dairy can cause gas which is my biggest issue with it. I recommend starting with the more solid forms of dairy as they will move more slowly through you. Start with cheese and yogurt (without active live cultures). Then if those are ok try puddings and cream based casseroles. I just flat out can’t do cottage cheese but you can try it. Cream soups are touch and go- the more milk in it typically the worse I do with it. I can’t do milk either- causes me too fast transit and thus pain/ cramping abdominal pain. However, if you can do it, it’s great nutritionally. Great source of calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Ice cream I love but I pay for it afterwards in bloating and crampy abdominal pain.
Fruit, sugar, juice, and desserts
Because these contain simple carbohydrates. Proceed with caution. Start with small amounts and see how you do with them
- Soft, canned, small amounts of fruit.
- Solid desserts with sugar like cookies and cake without frosting
I would avoid everything else until your gut recovers a bit and then you can try:
- Dried fruits, prunes, and raisins. If you eat them only eat a tiny amount
- Berries. Berries with fewer seeds are better than with more seeds. Again- tiny amounts only
- Fresh fruit- be cautious. The high fiber content tends to give us problems. I really just can’t do fresh fruit even now
- Fruit juice. Too much simple sugar at once. You can refer to my post about carbohydrates.
- Liquid sugar drinks and liquid sugar desserts for the same reason. Too high in simple carbohydrates
The other stuff
- Butter or margarine as tolerated
- condiments are usually ok but I would avoid tabasco or spicy/hot sauce after surgery until your gut recovers
- Chocolate with caution. I love chocolate but it acts as a bit of a laxative. Sometimes I actually use it to make things move through me but I would not experiment solid chocolate until your gut recovers a bit. The chocolate flavored hospital drinks do not count in this category. They should not have enough chocolate to cause this effect.
- avoid popcorn
- avoid potato chips. I tolerate corn chips ok but potato chips are risky. Clog central.
Ok. Well that’s probably enough for now. Although, I’m sure as soon as I stop writing, I’ll think of one more thing I should have told you…