What are the forbidden foods after an operation?

In my more than 35 years of surgical practice, a very common question being asked of me after an operation: “Anung bawal kainin?”  What are the forbidden foods after an operation?

I have always wondered why patients would ask this question.

Initially, I thought these patients should be concerned with the foods that they eat even before an operation.  They should be concerned with eating healthy diet even before an operation.  Why are they concerned with healthy diet right now just because of an operation?

My usual answer to this question of my patients who would ask “Anung bawal kainin?” is like this.  Bawal ang lason. (Poisons are forbidden to eat.).  [They usually laugh at my first answer-statement.]  You can eat anything as long as they are not poisons, as long as they are eaten in moderation and varied or balanced.

I would usually add or admonish them that actually they should be concerned with healthy diet even before the operation.

Later, I would find out the real reason why patients usually ask this question: :Anung bawal kainin?.  They still hang on to the folk’s medical advices or  old wive’s tale – eating malansa or fishy foods will hinder wound healing.

Nowadays, I usually add to my above answers after knowing the background of the question —  eating malansa or fishy foods does not hinder wound healing.

Wound healing is affected by a lot of factors.  Eating malansa or fishy foods is not one of the factors.


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