The Mathematics of the Post-Surgery Diet

Photo Credit: Rain Rabbit via Compfight cc

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

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