Help me spend less time in the bathroom while I'm on a liquid diet.
April 4, 2012 8:50 AM   Subscribe

How do I keep from having diarrhea while on a liquid diet?

I had laser gum surgery yesterday and need to be on a liquid diet for a week, and a mushy diet for 3 weeks following. How do I keep pooping normally? I was on a post-surgery liquid diet once before for a much shorter duration and spent way too much time on the toilet. Part of this may have been because of too much dairy, which I intend to avoid this time around. Would a fiber supplement help? (Please note that I do not have a personal M.D. to consult, and my dentist did not have any insight into this question.)
posted by Wordwoman to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, psyllium fiber should help. Anything with soluble fiber would probably help, really - so add bananas to your smoothies. Apple sauce is also an old favorite soluble fiber.
posted by ldthomps at 8:57 AM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

IANAD/IANYD, but... fiber capsules? These look like they are swallowed, not chewed. Information on the benefits of fiber for preventing diarrhea can be found here.
posted by Pistache at 8:58 AM on April 4, 2012

Diarrhea is not a typical reaction to a liquid diet; in fact, constipation is a more likely outcome. Sounds like a food intolerance, very likely the dairy products, if you're lactose intolerant. Try not to overdo the dairy products. There are other things you can eat.

Do you have a food processor? It's invaluable in preparing food when you need a liquid diet for dental reasons. A blender might work if you don't have a food processor. Add enough liquid to reach the thickness you want.

Here are some ideas for things to purée:
  • buy some chuck roast or stew meat, brown it in bacon fat or vegetable oil, then cook it in beef broth over low heat until it falls apart.
  • cook carrots and potatoes in water until soft.
  • cook brown rice in ten times its volume of water or broth
  • any cooked vegetable
  • split pea soup, optionally with ham
  • spaghetti with meat sauce (combine the pasta and the sauce together)
You can turn anything into a liquid diet if you're not too picky about appearances. When I last had dental trouble, I used the food processor to make one serving of soup out of each food I was cooking for the family. For one meal, I had chicken soup, potato soup, and broccoli soup, in three separate bowls.

Instant mashed potatoes are not nearly as good as mashed potatoes made from freshly peeled and boiled potatoes, but they're something you can get ready quickly when you need something to eat now. I relied on them. Try using broth instead of milk. Add enough milk or broth and you have potato soup.
posted by Ery at 9:10 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ery is right -- just because you're only consuming liquid doesn't mean it will necessarily come out as a liquid. What's important is eating foods that won't cause GI distress -- typical culprits are refined carbohydrates and dairy.

You can try 'eating' smoothies blended with Greek yogurt, some blueberries or strawberries or whatever (I buy them frozen, which nicely chills the smoothie), a scoop of vanilla protein powder and, if you desire carbs in your diet (they're not actually needed) you can put in a scoop of quick cooking oats. Delicious AND nutritious!

If you're lactose intolerant then obviously use something other than yogurt, or try taking lactase pills with each serving of dairy (they're cheap as hell at Target and Walmart).
posted by imagineerit at 10:38 AM on April 4, 2012

Take Align. It's an OTC gut bacillus thing. It's been a miracle to me and many others. Check out the reviews on Amazon.
posted by PJSibling at 1:24 PM on April 4, 2012

Target makes a store version (Up & Up brand) of those Metamucil capsules that Pistache linked to above. I can't find them on Target's website but they are exactly what you want, work as well as the Metamucils, and cost about $4 for a month's supply. (I have just outed myself as a fiber capsule connoisseur.)
posted by jabes at 2:34 PM on April 4, 2012

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