Yep, you read that right. I can eat salad. But before I proceed I should say that it hasn’t always been that way. I should also give you a friendly reminder that everyone is different and what works for me may not work for you.
I won’t even get into what it was like when I had my colon. I couldn’t even look at salad without it causing me pain. And the first 3 1/2 years after my j-pouch surgery same thing. A bite of salad would send me into terrible pain or cause a partial blockage. And currently any time I know that I am in a flare-up I avoid salad and other pain causing, blockage inducing foods. BUT! If the stars are aligned just right and I am not in a flare-up I can now eat salad. And I believe I found the magical trick that changed it all for me. I’ll tell you about it in a second.
Like I just said, I only recently have started to enjoy salads again. The key for any j-poucher is to start small and slow. I get asked a lot by other pouchers if I eat salad, or I am told that their surgeon told them they can’t. Mine told me I could eat anything as long as my body can handle it and that’s a rule i’ve lived by. I now can eat salads, nuts, seeds, and popcorn.
This tool right here changed it all for me. Yep, a pizza cutter. It all happened when I went up to the hospital I had my surgeries at to meet a reader of this blog and friend (Ron) and his wife (Jenny). Somewhere in between a couple of hours of chatting Jenny mentioned how the salads in the hospital cafeteria were amazing. They sounded so good by the way they were described to me that I decided that I would have to try one, and so a few days later I did. She wasn’t kidding, they were good! And the trick to it was the pizza cutter. I swear! You get to create your own salad from a number of choices and then it gets put in this large mixing bowl and cut up and mixed with the pizza cutter. You guys, this is genius! It chops the greens into really small bitable pieces. I ate my salad and…no pain. It was sure this had to be a one time thing so I tried one again a couple weeks later and no pain again! So now I use the same method at home.
What goes into my salads?
(I recommend not eating this if you are in a flare-up, have strictures, or know that it’s just not a good idea. Remember everyone is different!)
1. I buy the spring mix bag of salad and a seperate bag of spinach and add to the bowl.
2. Dried cherries.
3. Golden raisins.
4. Hard boiled egg whites. (I’m a vegetarian so I try to pack in protein anywhere I can).
5. Sunflower seeds.
6. A small amount of shredded mozzarella cheese.
7. Shredded carrots.
8. Gluten free balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
The majority of this salad is paleo diet friendly if you omit the cheese.
I put all of this into a large mixing bowl (minus the dressing) and chop up into super fine pieces with the pizza cutter. Then I keep the bowl in the fridge so that my salad is already mixed up for me and I can just take the amount that I want out of it when I feel like salad and add a little dressing.
That’s it. My magic salad trick! This doesn’t mean it changes how my body digests things though. I still don’t have a colon which means that most of it is going to come out exactly like it went in, seeds and all (gross visual?).
If you’re a j-poucher or ostomate and wondering if you can eat salad start small. Really small. Like, just a bite small. See how it goes and work your way up. If it causes you pain try again in a month. Remember to chew, chew, and chew some more! And make sure you try this out when you are close to home and don’t have plans. I was an idiot last fall and ate a salad while traveling via Megabus from Michigan to Tennessee. That was a terrible mistake. I was in so much pain with a partial blockage that the first couple days spent visiting my brother and sister were spent in bed drinking nothing but hot tea. I was so miserable that I ended my trip early and traveled miserably back on the Megabus and Amtrak. Long story short, don’t be an idiot.