T Nation

No Colon: Having Nutrition Difficulties


#1

I'm not going to bore everyone with my story, but I have absolutely zero colon. It's gone. Lost it at age 24 in 2009. I'm 29 now and have a J-Pouch (aka my small intestine was reconfigured to act as a large intestine).

I was afraid it would derail my life as a lifter...but I can thankfully say I'm stronger now than I've ever been in my entire life. But leaner and more defined? No. At one time, yes. After my final surgery when my body was basically in super-compensation mode, I was absolutely ripped. But after that brief period, it's been all downhill. I'm still very lean by normal American standards (about 13% BF), but as a fitness enthusiast, I obviously wish I could be in the 9-10% range and also keep on muscle easier. I also struggle with energy levels that are about 8 times lower than they were before losing my colon, but that's another thread for another time...

What's changed with my diet? Everything. Here are some key things I've had to adjust with what I like to refer to as my "new body":

  • Caffeine is a no go. I finally accepted this one recently, to much chagrin.

  • I'm Gluten Free.

  • Vegetables are INCREDIBLY hard for my gut to handle. I'm to the point where I won't even risk it anymore. Health benefits? Great. Doesn't outweigh an entire morning and afternoon in the restroom 4-10 hours after consumption, though. I'm referring to cooked vegetables, for the record. Raw vegetables and hardly chewed nuts/beef jerky are the absolute #1 biggest no no's.

  • Red meats are very limited. I can handle them once in awhile, but they have to be fatty and fresh off the grill/oven/stove.

  • Seafood and eggs risky. I'll only do Salmon if I do seafood.

  • Very acidic foods, like pasta sauces, are an absolute no.

  • I have trouble using powdered supps, at least ones with tons of weird ingredients. I also have trouble with supps because as someone with no colon, I'm not supposed to take in a lot of liquid at one time, even if it's water. I'm supposed to take small sips throughout the day to get my water in. So a lot of these supp protocols, like the ones on this site? I simply cannot tolerate the heavy liquid intake.

  • Lactase enzyme has been an incredible addition to my diet, so now I'm more able to handle dairy, like whey isolate (a couple times a day). Cheese (particularly melted cheese) is also very good to my gut when on lactase enzyme. And yogurt's always been good to me, so I try to eat quite a bit of Greek Yogurt throughout the day.

  • I'm hungry enough to eat 6-8 meals a day, but whenever I eat, I know that means more frequent restroom trips...so I try to only get in 3 or 4 meals and no in-between snacking unless absolutely necessary.

I try to do a modified version of the nutritional guide my surgeon's and doctor's gave me (for people like me with no colons). They essentially advise child like diets:

  • Highly refined, starchy carbs (like white bread, white rice, Chex cereal, etc.)

  • Apple Sauce

  • Peanut Butter

  • White Meat/Poultry

  • Marshmallows

  • etc.

Obviously those foods are not very "aesthetic" friendly. I try teetering the line between healthy eating and this list...but at the end of the day, foods like the ones directly above are the only ones that I can have confidence in. When I try going super healthy, that's when I run into problems.

So this is my lot in life. What do I need? Some strategizing? I don't even know for sure. I'm just looking for any opinions and thoughts on the matter. A lot of people would suggest to suck it up, but that's easy for people who aren't stuck for hours in the restroom if they make one wrong move with what they eat. It's incredibly frustrating. It's even more frustrating being with family and friends for Holidays like Thanksgiving and not being able to convey why I can't eat a lot of things without it going into really embarrassing territory.

Overall Summary:

I struggle with eating enough to stay optimally muscular, lean, and energized (furnace burning, that whole bit)...but when I do try to make sure I eat more, I can only do it with foods my body can handle....which aren't aesthetically optimal.


#2

I would contact John Meadows. He’s a bodybuilder who writes a lot about general health, and I think he has the same condition as you. He has a website where he can be contacted.


#3

Have you tried goat milk and cheese? It’s proteins and fats are more easily assimilated and digested by the human digestive tract than cow’s milk/cheese. You can also find goat milk protein powder to buy. I have also read that Spirulina (blue green algae) while it is high in certain amino acids, is nutritient dense and supports digestion. Is liver a no-go for you? If you haven’t tried it, it might be an extremely nutrient dense addition of your body will take it, as it is only served in 4 oz. portions, (maybe it could be divided up throughout the day in .5 oz portions) and is loaded with vitamins, minerals and protein.

As for fat loss… What does your cardio look like? How much sleep do you get? Stress levels?


#4

there is a member on forums name minusthecolon
you might want to try to talk to him


#5

[quote]Yogi wrote:
I would contact John Meadows. He’s a bodybuilder who writes a lot about general health, and I think he has the same condition as you. He has a website where he can be contacted.[/quote]

Yeah, I’m aware that his condition is similar to mine. Thanks for mentioning him though…I really do need to try contacting him sometime. I’ve been hesitant to contact him simply because I know he advocates a lot of nutritional things that I personally know I can’t handle. So that tells me his “non colon” is less sensitive than mine or something. But you’re right…I really should try regardless.

[quote]Cherrybomb wrote:
Have you tried goat milk and cheese? It’s proteins and fats are more easily assimilated and digested by the human digestive tract than cow’s milk/cheese. You can also find goat milk protein powder to buy. I have also read that Spirulina (blue green algae) while it is high in certain amino acids, is nutritient dense and supports digestion. Is liver a no-go for you? If you haven’t tried it, it might be an extremely nutrient dense addition of your body will take it, as it is only served in 4 oz. portions, (maybe it could be divided up throughout the day in .5 oz portions) and is loaded with vitamins, minerals and protein.

As for fat loss… What does your cardio look like? How much sleep do you get? Stress levels?[/quote]

Wow thanks, I’ll look into all of that. I used to have goat cheese and milk when I was younger, and I’ve always been a fan of it. I don’t think I’ve had much though since losing my colon. As for the liver, I’ll give that a go to see if that works. I forgot to mention this earlier, but I definitely need foods that are extremely dense in nutrition so I don’t have to eat as high a volume. The less volume for me, the better. So that’s an awesome idea, thank you.

For cardio, I used to play intense basketball 5 days a week…but after 19 years of competitive 'ball, I finally called it quits now that my knee is completely shot. So now I shoot hoops by myself averaging a heart rate anywhere between 90-130 before or after my workouts for 15-30 minutes. Sometimes 60.

For lifting, I just switched to a split routine…hitting each muscle group once per week with higher volume (15-20 sets per workouts). I was really enjoying a HFT plan by Layne Norton that I got excellent strength results with (and even some fat loss), but my bum knee caused the switch.

I get about 7-8 hours of sleep a night. But it’s never “good” sleep because I’m always waking up to either use the rest room, or because my stomach hurts.

Stress is always high…on a count of my various health problems. No colon, Raynaud’s disease, Ehlers Danlos, intense ear problems, etc. I know everyone suffers through things in life…but I feel completely snake bitten, and it’s hard to ignore it all and push on.

[quote]cavemansam wrote:
there is a member on forums name minusthecolon
you might want to try to talk to him[/quote]

Thanks, I’ll look him up.