A Guide to Surviving Christmas Dinner with a Stoma
Stomas & Christmas food
Christmas is almost here. December is a month of indulgence and eating things you wouldn’t usually any other time of the year. Having had Crohn’s disease for nigh on 20 years and a stoma for those for nearly 6 years, I can be honest and say December fills me with a serious amount of anxiety regarding food choices.
I have to remember, I am not normal, and my own digestive tract will suffer one hellish amount of consequences should I decide to eat what I want and to hell with the consequences right?! Wrong so very wrong.
This year come Christmas I will be 8 weeks post-op following the refashion of my loop ileostomy to an end ileostomy, and my insides are still having the occasional grumble.
So how on earth am I going to survive the festive period when I can’t eat half of what’s being waved under my nose…
What to do?
For most of us having a stoma is both life-changing and gives us relief from what we were suffering with prior to the stoma formation. There are many ostomates that have a very varied and normal diet yet some ostomates can’t eat a varied diet and may be filled with anxiety regarding what they can or can’t try.
My disclaimer for this: best advice I can give is CHEW, CHEW, CHEW. If you don’t think it’s worth the risk, then PLEASE DON’T EAT IT!
My kryptonite over the festive period has to be going to relatives for Christmas Dinner. Having two sets of relatives and then extended family it can get rather tedious having to explain what you can and can’t eat. Don’t get me wrong both families are fantastic and for the best part, I can eat what’s being served. If I can’t I just pick around the plate and slip it onto Ben’s plate…
Having a stoma means foods affect us differently, I have compiled a list of foods below to either avoid or eat in small quantities due to the effects they may have:
- Cabbage- causes excess wind
- Brussels – causes excess wind
- Nuts- fortune favours the brave. I myself can’t eat these but others can
- Satsumas, oranges – due to the skins these have the potential to cause a blockage
- Stuffing- excess wind
- Chocolate – all those tins of chocolate can have a laxative effect and cause the stoma to flush. Small quantities are fine, just not the whole tin
- Dried Fruits
- Mince pies- love these but please be careful and chew well
For those of you worried about increased output over the festive period, this could potentially be caused by the amount you’re eating, the more you eat then the frequency of output will also increase.
Alcohol & fizzy drinks
- Beer & lagers – Can cause excess wind
- Fizzy drinks – Can cause excess wind – please bear in mind diet versions can cause the stoma to flush more frequently.
Alcohol should be enjoyed in moderation, this has both a diuretic effect as well as causing dehydration. Plus, no one likes a hangover.
Christmas at the relatives
If you are relatively new to stoma life then the best advice I can give is to put in your food requests with the people hosting that particular day, so you can be relaxed and at ease and not worrying about having to leave half the plate.
Packing a stoma kit is usually advisable over the period as one to many sherbets or being just plain tired can cause plans to change and you staying over for the night. I usually pack enough to last me 3 changes to account for the odd mishap or just needing to change my bag
That’s about as much advice as I can give for festive period. Stay safe, have fun and most importantly have a fantastic Christmas.
Many thanks for reading
If you want to know more about nutrition with a stoma, please read our Exercise and Nutrition booklet.
This blog post is intended to give advice to ostomates. The information given is based on Louise’s personal experience and should not be taken as clinical advice. Each ostomates needs are unique to them and their stoma care routine. Please consult with your Stoma Care Nurse before undertaking any changes to your stoma care routine.