Independence Day

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Happy Independence Day to all my U.S. readers!

We are today at the 240th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The whole “anniversary” concept has me thinking this morning, about the timeline we have been experiencing as we move up to (and in Lor’s case through) bariatric surgery and the lifestyle changes that go along with it. I am left to kind of scratch my head and wonder: where are my anniversaries going to be?

Will I celebrate next February 2, the anniversary of the day where I stepped on a scale and saw 302 pounds displayed? The actual “moment of clarity” where I realized that I was no longer in control of my own weight and my own life, and needed to do something about it?

Or maybe, instead, I should note February 28 – the day of Lor’s first Bariatrics appointment. Though my own appointment with the bariatrics team at  ABQ Health Partners was not to arrive until March 3rd, the day that Lor went in to meet with her surgeon and decided to move forward with surgery is the day that this process really got started – where we made the team commitment that, whether or not we were both approved for surgery, we would both go through the lifestyle changes together.

Another possible “independence day” anniversary would be June 1 – the day Lor started her liquid diet phase. Her preparation for surgery had a very profound impact on my own diet and lifestyle as well. It represented, for both of us, the day our old lives ended and our new relationships with food began.

Or, I could just go with the old standard, and choose my upcoming surgery date as my “new me” anniversary date. On the 25th of July, for every year from here forward, I can look back at the hideous self-portraits I keep on my phone and be reminded of what I do not ever want to return to. 3 weeks from today (not that I am counting) I pass the Rubicon – the point past which there is no return.

So many transition points to reflect on and the year is only half over. I am also looking forward to dates like:

  • My first sub 250-pound weigh-in.
  • The first day I can fit into a 38-inch waistline.
  • The day I can bench press 145 pounds again.
  • My first Christmas with both sides of the family after our surgeries.

And so on. Man, I could be giving myself anniversary presents for all of next year.

Enjoy your holiday!

Looking Forward To Personal Fireworks,

– Hawkwind


The Mathematics of the Post-Surgery Diet

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The joy over getting to eat “real food” again didn’t last very long here, now that reality has set in. And the reality is: 2 Tablespoons of protein based food and 1 Tablespoon of “Other” does not a meal make.

Consider the simple mathematics here. One of our favorite dishes has been the “Frittatas” that Lor has been making for a couple months now. Essentially crust-less quiches, they are little, baked disks of egg that I originally discovered at The World According To Eggface. These tasty treats can be filled with any number of things, making them a perfect post-surgery food.

However, when they contain nothing but egg and cheese (all that is allowed in Stage 3 of post-surgery recovery)…their nutritional value drops pretty dramatically. Consider the numbers: One large egg works out to about 6 grams of protein. One cup of shredded “Mexican Blend” cheese contains about 24 grams of protein. A frittata recipe calls for 4 eggs (24 grams of protein) and 4 ounces of cheese (12 grams of protein). This mixture is then ladled into a mini-muffin pan, containing receptacles for 24 mini-muffins. 36 grams of protein, divided by 24 frittatas works out to around 1.5 grams of protein per frittata.

A recently surgically reduced stomach can handle usually 1, maybe 2 of these little guys.

Have you spotted the problem yet?

3 grams of protein, multiplied by 3 meals per day = not nearly enough protein intake for the day. A full day’s worth of protein for Lor, measured in frittatas, would work out to 42 of them. No way to handle THAT load post-surgery.

OK, so let’s just do the egg stuff for breakfast, instead of all day. How about we have some canned chicken for lunch instead? A serving of canned chicken, happily, is 2 ounces – just about the amount a post-surgical tummy can handle. 2 ounces of canned chicken works out to 9 grams of protein. You can dress it up, maybe, add some mayo or some chopped celery or something, but at the end of the day, 9 grams of protein is what you are going to get.

So, Breakfast of 2 frittatas = 3 grams of protein. 2 ounces of (hopefully decorated) canned chicken = 9 grams of protein. That brings us to 12 grams for the day. Dinner had better bring it hard.

So, let’s select something that we are always reading about as a “natural super-food”: Salmon. Surely, some canned salmon for dinner will totally get this daily diet done, right? Let’s see…a serving of canned salmon is…3 ounces. Ouch. That is never going to work, not immediately post surgery. Let’s cut that number in half then, try to work our way through 1.5 ounces instead. A full serving of canned salmon would be…hey! “17.5 grams of protein”! Excellent!

Oh…right. Right. We’re only eating half a serving. OK, so 8.75 grams of protein for 1.5 ounces. Less than the canned chicken, then. Depressing. So Breakfast was 3 grams of protein, Lunch was 9 grams, Dinner is 8.75 grams. 20.75 grams of protein, total.

So, that was depressing. Where else can we get some protein…oh, right! Snacks!! We get two yogurts a day, too! So, let’s grab a yogurt for each of our snacks during the day. Each of our Dannon Greek yogurts is worth…12 grams of protein. So, 2 yogurts works out to 24 grams of protein! Which brings us to a total of…44 grams of protein for the day. Out of a requirement of 60 grams a day for Lor.

Well. That sucks.

Guess we are not done with those freakin’ protein shakes just yet after all.

Wondering How I Am Going To Manage 70 Grams A Day When It Is My Turn,

– Hawkwind