March 28, 2010

Nutrition and Calorie Balance

I have just finished my first 10 days of solid foods, and for the most part it has gone pretty well. I am good at eating small bites and chewing well, but I realize that I have been eating way too quickly and have paid for it a few times by becoming ill immediately after a meal. I dislike vomiting and am now doing much better with this!

I have found that I do need to eat 5-6 times a day - one of these mini-meals is often a protein shake and the others contain about 2-3 ounces of solid protein, with perhaps an ounce of vegetable and a spoonful of whole grain, such as quinoa, or of beans, if I have room. I have not been eating any white carbs at all. Sometimes I have yogurt or ricotta for one of these mini-meals. I do feel very hungry at times - usually about 2 hours after eating - sometimes drinking fluids helps, but it does seem most comfortable to me if I eat some protein about every 2-3 hours throughout the day.

I have been tracking my daily intake and I averaged 746 calories a day over the past 10 days- These calories are comprised of an average (from the last 10 days) of
96g protein (51.4% of daily calories);
33.89 g carbohydrates including 7.89 g fiber (17.1 % of daily calories); and
28.37g fat (33.3% of daily calories).

(Yeah I know that doesn't add up to exactly 100 - blame FitDay, not me!)

The fat is all from fish/meat and cheese, plus a bit of olive oil in cooking or in homemade salad dressing. I am eating more meat and less cheese the last few days and this helps a bit with carbs and fat counts.I haven't eaten any processed foods or eaten out, other than some sashimi (raw tuna).

I'll be able to get carbs lower when I stop taking chewable supplements - which by themselves are 12-14g carbs/day right now.

I post all of this as info only for other post-ops. I personally worry that calories and fats are too high - but for the time being, this seems to be working, so I'll keep tracking and posting updates.

Recent Meals (Salmon with Shallot and Lime Salsa Fresca, Green Eggs and Sausage

So I promised to start taking some photos - and actually charged up the camera and did it! This weekend the scale has continued to cooperate and I have lost 5 pounds total over the past 10 days - yeah! More exciting though is that I am actually starting to see the difference in the mirror. I am starting to have an actual waistline again and the apron of chub that I call my belly is steadily shrinking. Also I fit into some jeans yesterday morning that haven't fit for about 4-5 years. The pounds lost since my pre-op diet total 25, over a six week period, which I logically know is a lot of weight, but which feels a bit slow to me at times. The inches lost though are really what is exciting to me. I am a bit worried however that I will have the appearance of a physically fit shar-pei when I am done with all of this...

Anyway, as promised, here are the recipes and photos:

Salmon with Shallot and Lime Salsa Fresca

Salmon fillet or steak - your choice, as much as you need to serve yourself / family / guests

1 Large Shallot
1 Lime
1 large clove garlic
salt and pepper
2 Tbs Olive Oil - (Walnut oil would be delicious also!)
Splenda (to taste) if you like it a little bit sweet

To make the salsa fresca:
Peel and then mince the shallot finely and place in small bowl
Grate about a teaspoon of zest from the green skin of the lime and add to bowl (Don't grate the white stuff - it is bitter - and use a zester or the smallest holes on your grater.)
Squeeze juice from the lime, add to bowl
Mince or put garlic through garlic press, add to bowl
Add Olive oil
Mix well, add salt and pepper to taste
A bit of Splenda takes some of the bite out - we like it with citrus marinades and salsas like this one

Let sit until salmon is ready.

I prepared salmon on the stove top, sauteed in a bit of olive oil - but you could also bake it or grill it. If you do grill it (My favorite - especially if I add some soaked wood chips to the fire), zest your lime, cut it in half, then set the halves. cut side down, on the grill for a few minutes until they char a bit. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze the juice from the charred halves into the salsa then proceed with the remainder of the recipe as usual - very very tasty this way!

Portion cooked salmon onto plates, top with salsa fresca and you are good to go!

I served this with some fava beans, topped with peccorino cheese, and with some sauteed corn.

The picture below is of my meal on a salad plate - I couldn't finish it all - ate most of the salmon, a few of the beans, and yes, all of the corn (it was just a tablespoon, and I know it's full of carbs, but so tasty...!)

This morning I made oatmeal for my nine year old, who won't eat eggs, and Scrambled Eggs and Sausage for my husband and me.

Green Eggs and Sausage

Cook your sausage, any type, as usual or according to package directions


For the two of us (and he is a big eater)

3 large eggs
2 Tbs Almond Milk, or soy/dairy milk or cream
2 Tbs prepared pesto
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/2 c Shredded Cheese (I used a pizza blend that comes pre-shredded because I am lazy in the mornings!)

Scramble eggs in small bowl and mix in remainder of ingredients, except shredded cheese.

Heat oil or butter over med-high heat and scramble eggs, adding cheese when egg mixture is almost, but not quite set.

Divvy it up and serve.

This is my portion (again, on a salad plate)

The leftovers - half a sausage, about a tablespoon of the egg.

March 25, 2010

Learning to Eat (Recipes: Halibut with Fresh Salsa, Roasted Asparagus, Chicken Parmesan and Vietnamese Noodle Salad)

This week I have been struggling a bit at times. I am weighing my food at every meal and tracking my intake on daily - and it does help me see where I need to make adjustments to my eating plan. On the other hand, it also makes me a little bit obsessive about food in a way that feels slightly eating-disordered. So, I will see if things settle down as I get used to this process. I really am not accustomed to thinking a whole lot about fat and carb balance and thought I was doing pretty well just to manage to keep my protein up to about 70 grams and carbs below 30 grams- now I am trying to adjust calorie balance and finding it difficult. One of the more successful programs recommends aprox. 70% of calories from protein and the rest divided more or less evenly between carbs and fat. If I do this on my 600 - 800 calories a day, this means I need way more protein... anyway, I will report back as I progress.

I have also figured out that I am eating way too fast. My doc suggests that it should take me about a half hour to eat my little meal (about 2 ounces of protein max at the moment). I have been eating in about ten minutes, which may explain why I have thrown up after eating a few times over the past week. So, working on it! (little teeny bites, chewed slowly and thoroughly, taking a break between bites...)

I have made some tasty meals. I am going to try and start taking photos of meals starting this week, so that I can post pics for you along with the recipes. Earlier this week I made some roasted pork, Vietnamese style, and ate it over the week with a small salad consisting of chopped mint, basil and cilantro, bean sprouts and shirataki noodles, with a Vietnamese dipping sauce of lime, fish sauce, garlic and chili poured over the top - yum!

Vietnamese Noodle Salad - Low carb and VSG friendly version
Vietnamese Grilled Pork: 
1 lb pork loin - trimmed of any visible fat and sliced about 1/4 thick (I may use pork butt next time - a bit fattier, but less tough once cooked.)

1/4 c sugar (don't worry - not much ends up in the final dish!
1/4 c water

1 Large shallot
1 Tbs fish sauce
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs peanut oil

Cook the sugar and water together in a small pan over medium heat (bring to a boil, then simmer), watching carefully, until sugar caramelizes and turns medium - dark brown. Remove from heat and carefully (watch out for spatters!) add a few tablespoons hot water. Let cool.

Take the shallot and puree, or mince, or pound in a mortar. Get the pieces nice and small
Mix with the fish sauce and soy sauce, then mix in the cooled caramel

Marinate the pork slices for 20-30 minutes, then add a tablespoon of peanut oil and mix into the marinade/pork mixture.

Remove the pork from the marinade and discard the remaining marinade (including quite a lot of the sugar!).

Grill pork over very hot fire, or under broiler - a couple of minutes each side until the edges of the meat stars to look dark brown and crispy. (the hotter the better in this situation - so the meat does not get tough (and hard for us to eat) before the coating starts to caramelize)

Let the pork rest for a few minutes then slice into strips and set aside.

Salad Mixture

Handful of mint leaves
Handful of cilantro leaves
Handful of basil leaves
Handful of bean sprouts
One cucumber, peeled, seeded and julienned
1 package shirataki noodles (any type) rinsed, parboiled 3 minutes, cooled

Chop the herbs roughly and mix with the rest of the ingredients - set aside.
You can add some chopped romaine or shredded cabbage if you want to stretch this a bit further.

Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce)

1 packet splenda, or your choice of sweetener
1/4 c fish sauce
1/3 c lime juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 Thai or bird's eye chili - seeded and finely chopped (I actually used a jalapeno, because that is what I had)
(optional - add a couple tablespoons of shredded carrot)

Mix all together, and set aside.

Here is how I ate this salad: (I just stored leftovers in separate containers and ate this throughout the week)

1/4 c. salad mix in bowl
2 ounces pork on top
a few tablespoons of the dressing poured over the whole shebang.

I topped it all with a few chopped peanuts.

Here is what else I made this week:

Halibut (just now came into season!), seasoned with salt and pepper, baked in oven about 15-18 minutes at 375 degrees. Served with this fresh salsa on top:

5 or 6 cherry tomatoes (or 2 plum tomatoes), chopped
A handful of basil, julienned
1 tsp lemon zest
Juice from 1/2 of the lemon
Teaspoon of capers
salt, pepper (to taste)
1 Tbs Olive oil

Just mix it all together - mine was a bit acidic, so I added about 1/4 package of splenda and this seemed to mellow and round out the flavor. My husband and I loved it - my daughter had her halibut plain. Served this with some Asparagus, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt, and roasted in the same oven as the halibut, but for a bit longer (maybe 20-25 minutes). Daughter and husband had some roast baby potatoes too. (Prepared just like the asparagus.) I added a drop or two of balsamic vinegar to the asparagus when it came out of the oven. Very tasty and looked pretty gourmet-ish on the plate!

Note: I find asparagus stems to still be a bit too fibrous for my new tummy - so I just eat the tips off of two spears and that's enough for me.

Also made a lower-carb chicken parmesan - it was simple!

Chicken Parmesan - the low carb, lazy way

Chicken breasts (as many as you need), pounded flat with frypan, rolling pin, or meat pounder

1 cup (you may need a bit more) of almond meal
Mixed italian seasoning to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup Grated parmesan

Spray a baking pan, big enough to hold all the chicken in one layer, with non-stick spray

Dip the flattened breasts in the crumb mixture (both sides should be coated) and arrange in baking pan

Bake about 20 minutes, turning chicken over, halfway through
Top each piece of chicken with marinara sauce of your choice (choose a low-sugar variety!) and a handful of shredded mozzarella or pizza cheese)

Return to oven until cheese is bubbly, then serve.

Easy / tasty / and easy on my sleeve!

March 18, 2010

Dinner Out

I get out of class late on Thursdays, so the new routine is for me to take my time getting home, rather than dealing with the rush hour crush on the buses. Mike and Sarah have a little father-daughter time together and go out for dinner, and I get a little no-one except me time and I go out to dinner too. Well I haven't eaten out for a while due to diet restrictions, but tonight I went back to my favourite sushi place and ordered some sesame spinach and tuna sashimi. I had a few bites of spinach and three pieces of the sashimi, and had the rest packed up to take home - where I'll eat it, probably, for breakfast and lunch tomorrow.

Here is what is amazing. I used to order the sashimi plus, usually, two sushi rolls for one meal. That means that I can get three meals out of what used to be just 1/3 of one meal. I guess that is why this surgery works! (Also makes a night out at the sushi bar a heck of a lot less expensive!

March 15, 2010

Shirataki Noodles!

I tried shirataki noodles yesterday and LOVE them - they are pretty much a free food - no calories, no carbs. Only - they fill me up and I need to prioritize protein right now since I have a lot of restriction. I just now read the link provided above, and it appears that these suckers swell up in water once you eat them - which would explain why they are so filling.

Yesterday, I sauteed some tofu cubes and minced garlic in grapeseed oil and added a spoonful of Thai peanut sauce, some rice vinegar, a few drops of sesame oil, and some soy sauce to the pan - then stirred it all together for a minute or two until it looked saucy to me. I dumped the pan on top of some tofu shirataki noodles that I had rinsed, and then parboiled for 3 minutes. Yum. But very filling. (And kind of a mish-mash of Asian ingredients - I'll call it Pan-Asian Peanut Noodles I suppose.)

Next time I will try some shredded chicken or pork and maybe some cut up veg in this (grated carrots, chopped mushrooms and onion, sauteed with the chicken) and use way less of the noodles. I also have a recipe for my very favourite Asian dish - Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Barbeque Pork or Shrimp - It is pretty low carb, with lots of good fiber and will be perfect with these noodles!

Week 4 - One month since surgery

It has been a SHORT month, (due to February).

Here's what is happening; Still stalled, dammit; HOWEVER, did my measurements today and everything is down a bit - and an amazing 4 INCHES lost from my waist! Yeah! And total weight loss for first month (including a couple extra days for pre op diet) = 22 pounds - so no complaints really!

I start real food this week on Wednesday and have been planning my meals for the week. I have already been eating some protein in food such as tuna salad, tofu, beans, eggs and cheese. Also had some small meatballs, chewed very thoroughly. I really wish I could get off of the protein shakes, but find that I don't get in enough liquids if I eat solid food often enough to get in 70 grams of protein. Consuming the protein easy, the liquids hard.

Check subsequent posts for my favorite recipes so far...

March 7, 2010

3 weeks post-op

Weight loss has been stalled all week. I am surprised to find myself unconcerned for now! I have heard about the notorious third week stall, and I suppose I am right on schedule - have been bouncing up and down the same pound all week on the scale. I am continuing to feel pretty good and when I visited the doctor he was very happy with the reduction in co-morbidities - we are cutting my blood pressure medication to half my current dose, and I hope to be off of it completely in a couple of months.

This week I have been working hard to get in proteins + water + a few bites of mushies. Sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day! I rarely feel hungry, and it doesn't take much to satisfy, so sticking to the plan has been easy so far. I have another week and a half of mushies/purees, then I get to try real food again!

March 1, 2010

Short term benefits

Happy Monday everyone.

Today I have lost a total of 22 pounds since starting the pre-op diet, 15 pounds since surgery.

It is AMAZING what a difference 22 pounds makes. My blood pressure is WAY down. I am not having any stress incontinence and am no longer waking up to use the bathroom 2-3 times a night. My joint pain is significantly reduced, even without the use of any painkillers at all. And, I am sleeping more soundly and snoring less.

Can't imagine how great I'll feel after 50, 75, 100 pounds!