- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
- A day in the life of diabetes
Nov. 5, 2013
- Kitchen fires
Oct. 30, 2013
- What is a good ileostomy diet?
Oct. 16, 2013
- Food insecurity still a problem for many
Oct. 9, 2013
- Is the Mediterranean diet more than a diet?
Oct. 2, 2013
Oct. 16, 2013
What is a good ileostomy diet?
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
A reader recently asked a question that might be of interest to others as well: "What is a good ileostomy diet? I do not eat meat or poultry, and I am having constipation problems."
Before answering, a little background is needed. An ileostomy is when the part of the small intestine (called the ileum) is surgically connected to the abdominal wall to provide a way for stool to leave the body. This procedure is done when there is disease, blockage or other problems that don't allow stool to pass to the large intestine and exit as normal bowel movements.
The small intestine is about 21 feet long and is responsible for breaking down food and absorbing nutrients. Each part of the small intestine absorbs certain nutrients. After part of the small intestine is removed, the remaining intestine adapts somewhat over time to compensate for the section that was removed.
Why is this important? Your dietary needs and tolerances will depend on how much healthy small intestine remains and how much time has allowed it to adapt following surgery. In addition, the type of ileostomy will play a role — if your surgery created an ileostomy that is continent (no collection appliance is worn) or incontinent (an appliance is needed).
With these points in mind, here are some general guidelines:
- Immediately after surgery (for about one month), you'll likely be advised to eat a diet that is low in roughage to allow the intestine time to heal and to prevent blockage due to swelling. Foods with roughage include whole grains, raw vegetables and fresh fruit. This is a temporary limitation.
- Eat meals at regular times, eat more slowly and chew well. Also, avoid skipping meals or overeating. These efforts help your remaining intestine digest and absorb food, reduce gas, improve "regularity" and control output.
- With time you will find that you can resume a more normal diet and you will learn which foods tend to be constipating, which may have more of a laxative effect, and which cause stool to change color, or cause gas or odor. This varies according to the individual and the length of small intestine remaining.
- If your stool is very thick (constipated), some dietary changes may help. Stool-thinning foods may include grape juice, apple juice and prune juice. Be cautious with foods that are constipating. For some people that includes apple, banana, cheese, potato, pasta, rice and peanut butter.
- Make sure to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day. Water is best. Diluted electrolyte beverages, such Gatorade, Powerade or CeraLyte, contain sodium, are hydrating and are helpful immediately after surgery and during hot weather. Eating a lot of bread, especially whole grain bread, can increase your need for liquids.
As you can see, regularity will depend on many things and vary from person to person. When you're constipated, pay attention to the balance between constipating foods and the amount of beverages you drink. If these lifestyle changes don't help, check back with your surgeon or gastroenterologist. Talking with a dietitian also may be indicated.
Ileostomates, please share what works for you.
- Ileostomy. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. http://mayoweb.mayo.edu/sp-forms/mc1900-mc1999/mc1993pf.pdf. Accessed Oct. 14, 2013.
- Continent ileostomy. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. http://mayoweb.mayo.edu/sp-forms/mc1500-mc1599/mc1535pf.pdf. Accessed Oct. 14, 2013.
- Diet and nutrition guide. United Ostomy Associations of America. http://www.ostomy.org/ostomy_info/pubs/OstomyNutritionGuide.pdf. Accessed Oct. 14, 2013.