Living without a stomach is not always easy, but it is easier than you may think. Generally, I eat whatever I want. Though I tend to focus on foods that are easy to digest, calorie dense, and low in added sugars. My go-to is the peanut butter, hemp seed, and protein smoothie that I explain below.
I also include below a list of other foods that are simple to make and help get me effortlessly to 2000 calories in a day. I usually stick to one serving at a time of each item below. That way I do not eat too much in one sitting.
Living without a stomach: Looking for foods to eat during the first three weeks after your total gastrectomy?
1. Peanut butter, hemp seed, and protein smoothie (add ice and water)
625 calories. Protein from a variety of sources. Very low sugar. Super easy to digest. This is my all-time-favorite go-to stomachless food. I love having it on me throughout the morning in a mug that keeps it cold. Then, I can slowly take in easy calories as my gut warms up for the day.
One serving of Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake
First, it is packed with at least 18 different vitamins and minerals. Second, Vega One contains probiotics to help promote a healthy gut. Third, it has 20 grams per serving of protein from multiple sources (i.e., organic pea protein, organic sunflower seed protein, and organic pumpkin seed protein.. Fourth, Vega One has 500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. Fifth, the ingredients are plant based. Sixth, contains key vitamins from acerola cherries and carrots. Seventh, it has only 1 gram of sugar per serving.
It contains 19 amino acids and is helpful for maintaining healthy joints and bone density, improving mood and well-being, and promoting healthy muscles, hair, and nails.
A serving of coffee protein powder
More protein but also caffeine!.
One serving of shelled hemp hearts
This is one of the few foods that is a complete source of amino acids that your body needs; plus, it’s rich in omega-3s and omega-6s and other healthy nutrients.
One serving of peanut butter
Great flavor and healthy fats.
Also, be sure to add any fruits or veggies of your choice. For instance, bananas, strawberries, and blueberries are delicious and nutritious options.
First, mix it all together with three or four cubes of ice and water in a blender. Second, add enough water until you reach your desired thickness. The NutriBullet is perfect for this.
This smoothie totals about 600-650 calories and is packed with protein from a wide variety of sources, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Also, it’s a well-balanced meal and will help ensure you are getting what vitamins should you take daily. Plus, you can mix it up by changing flavors of protein powder, substitute sunflower butter for peanut butter, and add different fruits or veggies. Changing it up will help make it stick as part of your daily routine.
2. Sunflower butter with banana and chocolate
450 calories. One serving of sunflower butter (a spoonful) with a banana and half a serving of dark chocolate is an easy way to get calories. First, this combination is incredibly delicious. The hard part will be not eating too much. Second, it is relatively low volume for the amount of calories. Beware. It is somewhat high in sugar because of the banana and chocolate. But they are mostly natural sugars and should not cause dumping.
3. One serving of noodles with olive oil
450 calories. Only 2g sugar. One serving of noodles with two servings of olive oil is one of my favorite ways to get calories. It is easy to make. Delicious, too. I add salt and pepper. Sometimes cheese, too. Plus, the noodles and olive oil are soft and easy to digest. Also, by portioning it out, I know I will never feel too full after eating.
4. Power Crunch protein bars
200 calories. 5g sugar. 13g protein. 12g fat. Power crunch protein bars are one of my favorite protein bars. They are wafer bars. The wafer texture makes them easy to chew and soft on the digestive system. For 200 calories, the volume is small. Plus, high protein and low sugar. I eat them as snacks. Take them on the go. Sometimes, I will eat two of them at a time for additional calories.
5. Quest protein cookie
250 calories. 0g sugar. 15g protein. 17g fat. These cookies are great snacks. Like other foods on this list, they are easy to digest. They are calorie-packed and small volume. Perfect as a snack between meals or to throw in your bag for eating on the go. They come in a variety of flavors.
6. Orgain Nutritional Drink
250 calories. 12g sugar. 16g protein. 7g fat. Orgain nutritional drinks are well-rounded drinks that can serve as meal replacements. Packed with calories, vitamins, and minerals, these drinks are a good way to start the day. While your digestive tract is still warming up, it is a proven way to take in calories. I drink them in the morning, between meals, and at night. Really, all the time.
7. Yogurt with peanut butter
400 calories. One serving of yogurt with a serving-and-a-half of peanut butter will supercharge your morning. Super easy to eat because the yogurt and peanut butter are both really soft. Plus, the volume is low. If you portion out this snack before eating, you can take in a lot of tasty calories without feeling too full.
280 calories. 3g sugar. 11g protein. 12g fat. Pizza is easy to digest and calorie dense. One serving (280 calories) is just 1/3 of the pizza. I like making or ordering pizza, eating some, and saving the rest to snack on over the next 24 hours. Plus, pizza is easy to find no matter where you are. I tend to eat it later in the day after my gut is warmed up.
9. Peanut butter and dried fruit on tortilla
500 calories. This snack is high-calories and delicious. Although it is high in sugar, the sugars are mostly natural sugars and therefore less likely to cause any dumping issues. Be sure to portion out your snack. This is an easy one to eat too much of because it is so tasty.
10. Low-sugar non-dairy ice cream
420 calories. 0g sugar. 16g protein. 14g fat. Lenny and Larry’s Complete cookie is one of my favorite snacks. It has super calorie dense. One cookie is 420 calories. Half is 210 calories. Plus, it has no sugar and lots of protein. I like to eat at least one of these each day. It helps keep my calorie count up between meals and is always easy to digest. Having these with me when I travel is essential.
Knowing how the stomach works will help you learn how to eat without it. Among other things, you will learn that the stomach stretches to allow for larger volumes of food and air. Plus, it secretes digestive acids and churns the food to liquify it before entry into your intestine.
Accordingly, without a stomach, you need to eat smaller volumes and will probably burp out air. Also, you should know that it is easier to digest food that is closer in consistency to a smoothie rather than dry chicken salad. Smoothie-like consistency is closer to what your intestines are used to receiving from the stomach, so it causes less discomfort than foods that are more solid-food-like in texture.
Watch this video to learn more about how the stomach works.