In the enormity of stomal surgery, dietary advice for patients is key to rehabilitation. Yet it is too often overlooked (Porrett and Joels, 1996) and patients are given conflicting advice. These patients desperately want to do what is right. They want to recover, get well and go home. They are therefore happy to follow instructions, but need to understand the rationale for them. The author believes that dietary advice is invaluable and should be offered to all new stoma patients. She also believes that, if dietary advice is presented before and after surgery, in a clear and concise manner, it will equip patients for life with their stoma. Having knowledge brings power and patients are emplowered with a good knowledge base. The formation of a stoma disrupts the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and alters its reabsorptive process, not to mention its flow. Initially, having a stoma is daunting and, for the vast majority of patients, terrifying. Patients need advice from ward or stoma nurses that will give them the confidence to make independent food choices. This, however, takes time, patience and lots of reiteration. Both verbal and written information are helpful. This article sets out to provide an understanding of ostomists' dietary needs to allow healthcare professionals to provide information with confidence, as and when required.