The Memorial Day Minefield

Photo Credit: smartvun19 via Compfight cc

 

Since it is the “official” kick-off for summer, we tend to spend some time with our families over Memorial Day weekend. In both of our families, get-togethers mean food – lots of carbs, lots of sugar, lots of alcohol. For Lor and I, this meant that this weekend was going to be a series of excellent chances to really screw things up. Here’s how we did.

Saturday was the combination Mother’s Day/Father’s Day/My Birthday get together at my parent’s place. Mom was out of the country on Mother’s Day, and both Father’s Day and my birthday this year will be taking place during Lor’s first week post-op. We decided to place all our early summer holidays into one giant Memorial Day basket.

Alongside the usual burgers and brats (without buns they work out perfectly for a low-carb diet), I had requested two special things – beer, and Chili Relleno Won-Tons. What the heck is that, you ask? Take a won-ton wrapper, fill it with spices, ground beef, and cheese. Add a seeded and roasted green chile to the center of the mix. Wrap and deep-fat fry. Heaven. These little bombs have been the centerpiece of the High Holy Day of my family’s religious observances (that is, the Super Bowl) for years now – my Dad usually has to make 30 – 40 of them, and we wiped them out every year. Obviously, they will be vanishing from our diet after our surgeries, so Dad made us a dozen of them. I managed to only have two and bid them a fond farewell.

We had also planned on bringing one of Lor’s homemade sheet cakes, but sanity prevailed at the last minute. We baked a dozen small cookies instead of a birthday cake. I had two and called the whole thing a win. I had been planning for this party to be my final beers ever as well, but 2 beers escaped and made their way into my fridge. Since Lor doesn’t drink beer at all, I felt I would not be sabotaging her liquid diet by having them at some point in the future. I decided to hang on to them and drink them later…maybe during the first week of Lor’s pre-surgical liquid diet. Everyone I talk to that has gone through the liquid diet phase tells me that I might need them.

Sunday was our gathering with the Lor half of the clan. Same burgers and hot dogs (just wrap ’em in lettuce and your carb levels are perfectly safe), and a metric ton of fresh fruit. Lots of forbidden foods like enchiladas and Rice Krispy treats and potato chips, but we managed to get through without injuring our diets. Well, Lor may have had a 1-inch by 1-inch Rice Krispy treat, but cut a lady some slack – she goes on a month of nothing but protein shakes starting on Wednesday.

We also got to spend LOTS of time talking about the upcoming procedures. I described the Vertical Sleeve Gastronomy so many times that I started thinking I should carry a banana around with me to demonstrate the size and shape of the remaining stomach post-surgery. We did hear quite a bit of “I could never do that!”, but we also got a few “Tell me a little more about this surgery…” conversations. I am beginning to think we should take this show on the road, trying to bring this whole “surgery to correct obesity” thing out of the shadows and into the light where it belongs. Maybe after both our surgeries – we’ll have a lot more energy then.

Nutritional visits, pre-surgical evaluations,  psychiatric appointments, and the beginning of Lor’s liquid phase are all taking place within the next 5 days. We have arrived at where the rubber meets the road!

Kinda Happy I Saved Those Last Two Beers,

– Hawkwind

45 Grams to Deconstruction

One of the very first changes that was made in our household was institution of a new diet. Before either of us ever met a dietitian, we looked over the (intimidating) packets of information we were sent home with from our surgical consults, and decided there were changes we could make immediately. We amped up our fruit and vegetable intake via smoothie creation once a day, we got rid of all our sugared snacks (goodbye, Ghiradelli), and we immediately stopped drinking carbonated beverages. But things got a bit more complex after the first visit with a dietitian. We were sent home trying to: A) Increase our water intake to 64 ounces a day (but that is a WHOLE other article), and B) Reduce our three meals a day to 45 grams of Carbohydrates each.
Now, 45 grams is not much. 45 grams is equal to, say, 12 ounces of fruit juice. Or a Whole-Wheat Bagel. Or 3 whole Oreos. It was becoming clear that many favorite foods were going to be vanishing from our lives – not at the “2 weeks before surgery” point, but more like the “right now” point. We began our transition from bread, pasta, and cakes to Kale and cheese.
This is where the support of friends and family members can be HUGE. For example, in preparation for our Easter get-together this year, my Mother called me to ask what could we actually eat? This is going to be great training for our lives post-surgeries when options will be even more restricted. We decided to stick with our usual cookout menu of burgers and brats, just without the use of hamburger and hot dog buns. Add a mixed green salad, and a small amount of fresh fruit for dessert, and voila – Lor and I can participate without feeling like we are screwing up everyone else’s meal.
That type of compromise and cooperation is going to be important in the months to come, I think. Both of our families are food-centric, with family get-togethers all planned around who is going to be bringing what food item. As we begin to change our diets dramatically, it is hardly fair to expect every one else in the family to follow along – they didn’t require Gastric Sleeve surgery, after all. But this idea of component-based meals, where Lor and I are free to select items or portions that work within our diets while everyone else can eat as they choose, seems to be an excellent solution. We don’t want to lose out on the social interaction that comes along with preparing meals and sitting down with the family.
We just want to make sure that we are around for the next few decades, so we can continue to spend time with each other.
Already Plotting For Thanksgiving,
– Hawkwind
PS – Since there has been a little confusion, Misdirected is published Monday through Friday. Saturdays and Sundays are reserved for all the stuff I should’ve been doing while I was writing and reading other blogs!