As your symptoms improve and your bowel motions normalise you may be able to start reintroducing some high fibre foods. Do this slowly and add one new food at half a cup at a time so you can identify any foods that cause bowel upset.
Write a food diary. Some foods may make your symptoms worse. Everybody is different, therefore only you can tell what aggravates your symptoms. Writing a food diary helps you to identify what foods make your bowel work better or worse.
Eat normally and try to keep your weight stable. This is particularly important if you are undergoing treatment.
If you are losing weight drink some protein drinks in between meals with a milk of your choice, you can add a little psyllium husk or slippery elm powder to make your drink thicker and more fibrous.
Lactose intolerance may persist beyond surgery in some people, a food diary will help you determine this or speak to your health care professional. Lactose is found in dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt and ice cream and some processed and packaged foods.
Make sure you have plenty of water. This is particularly important when you are consuming a higher fibre diet to avoid constipation. Aim for 6-8 cups of water a day, if you like some flavour in water enjoy some sliced fruit in water to infuse some healthy sugars.
Foods may not need to be peeled; nuts, seeds and pips may be added to your diet, write a food diary you if they are not suitable to understand which ones are causing issues. Fruit and vegetables may be able to be consumed raw, steamed and cooked.
Add small amounts - such as one teaspoon of whole nuts, coconuts, seeds, you may be able to eat less tender pieces of meat, chicken and you may start to eat lentils and beans, wholemeal wholegrain and multigrain bread, and dried fruit and fruit with peel.
NOTE: if you experience bowel upset revert to the medium fibre diet again for a few days to settle your bowel
Talk to a health care professional if you are experiencing any soreness internally or externally.
You can add Psyllium husk or Metamucil daily to food or drinks to ensure a well formed and completely evacuated bowel motion. This is a fibre and would need to be introduced slowly to avoid constipation, remembering to increase water intake at the same time.
Breakfast - choose one of the following
• Slice or two of wholemeal wholegrain sourdough or wholemeal wholegrain bread and spread of your choice with two poached eggs with English or silver beet spinach, tomato or mushroom
• Two egg omelette with a sprinkle of cheese and ½ avocado with toasted wholemeal wholegrain bread and spread of choice
• Serving 40 grams dry weight of steel cut oats cooked with passion fruit pulp or pomegranate kernals and one kiwi fruit made in the microwave or in a saucepan. Cook until the oats have swollen and doubled in size – add more water if necessary, add a large tablespoon of fruit or fruit and nut yoghurt.
• Two slices of wholemeal wholegrain bread with spread of choice and two teaspoons of crunchy peanut butter, almond paste or unhulled tahini, with sultanas sprinkled on top
• Silken tofu 100 grams scrambled in a fry pan (with olive oil) with a teaspoon of fresh chives and English spinach on sourdough wholemeal wholegrain bread
• Crusty wholemeal wholegrain sourdough bread with a tin of tuna or salmon and a vegetable soup made from cauliflower, pumpkin, carrot, green bean, sweet potato with 2 teaspoons of tomato paste, chicken stock –blended with ½ cup of chickpeas
• Brown basmati rice with butter chicken, with a ½ cup side of lightly steamed green beans and ½ cup of cabbage or broccoli
• Stir fried vegetables, ½ cup of corn kernels, ¼ cup green beans, ¼ cup carrot, ¼ cup zucchini, garlic clove, salt and pepper to season, with a ¼ BBQ chicken skin off, multigrain rice crackers or seeded crackers with spread of choice
• Quorn sausage wrapped in a wholemeal wholegrain bread wrap with low salt tomato sauce and two finely chopped mixed lettuce leaves and rocket with fresh grated carrot, cabbage or beetroot
• Lamb or beef minute steak or minced meat cooked (100 grams) with baked whole potato, ½ cup of steamed carrots, and Brussel sprouts
• Stir fry chicken or tofu strips with ½ cup of snow peas or sugar snaps, and green beans add a dash of soy sauce, serve with brown basmati and wild rice
• Slice an eggplant and layer spaghetti Bolognese meat with sauce, with wholemeal lasagne sheets and bake. Serve with salad of ½ cup of mixed lettuce leaves with added raw carrot or beetroot and a sprinkle of dukka
• Soup made of pureed vegetables pumpkin, sweet potato, broccoli, carrot, cauliflower with a chicken/beef stock cube, lentils or chickpeas with poached fresh wholemeal fish and slice of wholemeal wholegrain sourdough bread with spread of choice
• Seeded wholemeal crackers with hard cheese
• Seeded wholemeal crackers with crème cheese and chives
• Seeded wholemeal crackers with Tofutti
• Celery sticks with tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter
• Fruit salad, with guava, grapes, cherries and kiwi fruit and a dollop of plain yoghurt
• Smoothie with milk of choice, teaspoon of chocolate powder and whey or protein powder, fresh banana and a tablespoon of vanilla or fruit yoghurt well blended
• Four squares of dark chocolate with dried fruit and nuts
• Dark chocolate covered goji berries (¼ cup)
• Fruit yoghurt with fresh fruit from list
• Carman''s muesli bars
Meat and meat alternatives
- All meats, eggs, poultry, seafood, egg, protein supplements with fibre. Note: beef, pork, kangaroo, lamb and deli cuts (minimise and consume less than 500 grams per week to reduce bowel cancer risk)
- Vegetarian proteins, Quorn 1 sausage or 50 grams of other Quorn foods, tofu, tempeh, protein supplement with fibre
- Soymilk, tofu, Tofutti, rice milk, oat milk, almond milk, lactose free milk, goat, sheep, camel, cow if tolerated, condensed milk, coconut milk, macadamia milk.
- Cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, cheddar, ricotta, ice – cream, chia pudding (higher fibre content), tofu with fruit and nuts ice cream yoghurt/ yoghurt drinks with fruit, coconut cream/ coconut water
- Multigrain bread, Wholemeal seeded bread, wholemeal rye bread, sourdough wholemeal wholegrain bread, wholemeal fibre enriched bread wholemeal bagel, wholemeal wholegrain muffin, wholemeal whole grain pita bread, wholemeal dinner roll, seeded gluten free bread, wholemeal rice crackers, seeded crackers, pearl barley, quinoa, lupin and hemp flours, besan, konjac noodles
- Brown rice, basmati brown rice, wild rice, wholemeal pasta, quinoa, sorghum, chia seeds, psyllium
- Buckwheat porridge, buckwheat pancakes, steel cut oats, mixed grain cereal, high fibre cereals, all bran, Weetabix high bran, Vitabrits, Carman's fruit and nut muesli
- All beans and legumes
- Dried apricot
- Dried cranberry
- Nashi pear
- Fresh pear
- Fresh apricots
- Peeled nectarine
- Peeled plum
- Peeled paw paw or papaya
- Pineapple peeled
- Strawberries, blueberries or raspberries
- Fruit juice with pulp
- Bitter melon
- Mixed salad leaf medley
- Telegraph cucumber
- Bok choy
- Snow peas
- Sugar snaps
- English spinach
- Green beans
- Fresh or cooked carrot
- Cauliflower florets
- Broccoli florets
- Raw beetroot
- Pumpkin, sweet potato, yam, taro
- Potato with skin
- Cabbage savoy
- Butter bean
- Lima bean
- Mixed vegetables frozen
- Mung beans
- All nuts with skin on and seeds
- Baked beans, corn maize flour, corn chips, muesli bars, wholemeal wholegrain or flavoured rice crackers
- Wholemeal wholegrain biscuits, (Most biscuits are low fibre)
- Tahini unhulled, fruit jam, marmalade, crunchy peanut butter, almond paste
- Soups ready made - aim for soups with vegetables and beans or pulses or read labels for fibre content