|May 15, 2013||Filled under General Health, WLS Tips||
I’m heading out today to have lunch with a friend I met while going to school. It’s been almost 9 years since I had weight loss surgery and don’t really think much about how to handle eating out. My friend picked the restuarant but then emailed me to make sure that I would be able to find something suitable to eat. She knows I’ve had a gastric bypass and have issues with reactive hypoglycemia. I was amazed that she even thought of this since most people, including family, never do. They simply figure you will eat whatever is available but just in smaller amounts. I’ve attempted this mutltiple times in the past with varying degrees of success. Sometimes it works and sometimes it leads to the mother of all dumping episodes. Even worse are the times where some food ends up causing serious stomach issues that result in sitting at the table for the whole meal while deciding if your are or aren’t going to throw up. Not a fun time.
Here’s a few tips that I have found really helpful when eating out after bariatric surgery.
* If there is a particular type of food you find you can’t eat speak up when it comes to restaurant choices. Chinese food is a killer for me so I opt out of those types of restaurants. Italian, with it’s mostly pasta filled dishes, is another tough one. Buffets and all you can eat places aren’t worth it if your only eating half of a plate of food. If you know it’s going to be hard to find something to eat try to pick a different place to eat.
* Check out the menu online before going. It’s really helpful to be able to decide on what to get before even arriving. You can see the items that will work for you and avoid those that sound good at that moment but will probably cause some type of problem.
* When I first had surgery people on the various WLS forums talked about getting a card/note from your surgeon stating you had surgery, can’t eat a whole lot and that you should be allowed to order from the children’s menu. The idea was you would get a smaller portion for a lower price. Don’t do it. The children’s menu is filled with stuff that even kids shouldn’t be eating. Mac ‘n cheese, pizza, hot dogs, etc. It’s all basically high carb, high fat junk food. Pass on the kid’s menu and look to see what else is available. I also don’t really feel like sharing with the waiter/waitress that I’ve been surgically altered and can only eat half a meal. I head straight to the main menu to order.
* The servers will always ask if you want to order an appetizer. I pass on those by simply saying no. Sometimes I toss in more information such as “I can never finish my meal if I get an appetizer” if they keep pressing the issue. The server’s job is to keep telling you about all the options so you will order more. The more you order the bigger the tip they get. Telling them your not interested in an appetizer is usually enough. Again, it’s no one’s business but my own and I feel no need to tell them I’ve had surgery and can’t eat a bunch of food.
* Skip the bread, tortillas with salsa, popcorn or any other free nibbles that the restaurant might give you before the meal comes. Most of these items are high in carbs and are usually the culprits in many dumping episodes. They are also the items that many of us return to grazing on over time and contribute to regain. Avoid them when possible.
* To drink or not to drink (I’m talking water, tea, soda, etc not just alcohol)? This one is a loaded question. Most people have been told to not drink 30 minutes or so before or after meals. Not to drink soda. Not to use a straw. We’ve been told all kinds of things. Personally I need a little something to drink during meals. I’ve discovered that I like to at least have some water available in case something should go down wrong and it feels like it’s stuck. Whether you do or don’t get a drink should be based on what works for you. Remember to avoid sugary drinks including alcoholic ones such as margaritas. These fruit based drinks usually have lots of added sugar. Also avoid sipping throughout the meal if possible. This will only create a slurry which quickly moves through the stomach which will keep you from feeling full. In the end I think having a drink available during a meal becomes something each person has to discover what works best for them.
* When ordering look for meals that include protein and vegetables other than some form of potatoes. If your meal comes with fries, rice or potatoes, and your looking to avoid them, ask your server if you can swap them for additional vegetables or even a small salad. Most of the time this isn’t a problem.
* I love eating out. I usually get at least two meals or more from the one I bought. When the server stops back to see how we are doing, and usually asks if everything is ok because I’m not eating much, I find this is a perfect time to ask for a container to package up my meal. I find that the server’s will usually ask again if the meal is good when they see I haven’t eaten much. You can easily reassure them that things are fine by simply saying “I guess I wasn’t as hungry as I thought” which is actually the truth.
* No matter what you end up buying remember to eat slowly, take small bites, chew your food well and put down your fork before that too full feeling kicks in. For many, once that point is reached, it’s already too late. Nothing ruins a meal quicker than feeling so full that your sick for hours afterwards.
I’m sure there are many other tips that people have to make eating out at a restaurant after WLS much easier. Please share some of the things that you find helpful in the comment section.
|April 25, 2013||Filled under Misc||
Sure the blog has been gathering some cobwebs over the last month. This semesters classes (medical nutrition, community nutrition and human nutrition science) have been keeping quite busy with weekly quizzes, almost weekly projects and a bunch of tests tossed in just to keep things interesting. During this time I’ve noticed a rather disturbing trend. The place was starting to get over run with spam! No, not this spam:
It’s more this type of spam that’s been filling up the blog as well as my email box:
At first the email messages about comments waiting for moderation would come in once a day. When I saw that they were for something fabulous such as Louis Votton knockoff bags I simply deleted them off. Then the numbers began to increase. Two a day, three a day. The purse comments were joined by those offering sunglasses, music, clothing, etc. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I shut off the comments on the site completely thinking this would help but they still kept coming.
Ultimately the spammers figured that is they couldn’t leave comments on posts they would start commenting on pictures. Who even knew that if you clicked on a picture you could leave a comment. I sure didn’t. I finally realized the problem when the flood gates opened and the emails about comment approval started to hit my email box in huge numbers. Sometimes 20 or 30 an hour! It took a little while but I finally discovered what was happening as well as the solution. While you can shut down the comments to posts and pages in wordpress you are not able to disable media comments. Well, you could if you understood that whole php thing. Then I found this plugin: Disable Comments.
One plugin and the problem was solved. If you have a wordpress blog and are being hit by spam (the comment type and not the food product) I would highly suggest this plugin. It seems to be working well for now. I’m sure the losers that send out the spam will figure out a new way to push their junk but for now this has been a help.
School will be over shortly and then I can finally get back to posting on a regular basis. Three more classes to go and I’m finally done!
|March 26, 2013||Filled under General Health, Nutritional Information, WLS Tips||
Milk. I call it liquid death. Drink it and within 15 minutes I’m thinking that death just might be better than how it makes me feel.
For me, milk is a serious slider food that will cause a rather nasty RH reaction. And very quickly too! I gave it up after a series of crashes that left me wondering what the hell was going on. At first I thought I had become lactose intolerant. Which is a possibility for many after WLS. They have all the GI symptoms of intolerance after drinking milk or eating other dairy products. Gut pain, bloating, gas and a whole lot more. Me? Not so much. It seems to cause a serious dumping episode. If you’ve had one you know what I’m talking about. First the heart palpatations kick in. Then the sweating and shakes. That’s a sign that your blood sugar has spiked and is now dropping. If it’s a small drop then the symptoms slowly subside. If it turns into a nasty RH crash then the symptoms just get progressively worse. Ravenous hunger starts accompanied by flashing lights in my vision, uncoordiated movement and not being able to think straight. Like I said, milk is liquid death for me.
Rather than try to explain milk induced gut death I simply tell people I don’t drink milk because I’m lactose intolerant. It seems to be easier to understand. But then they get that confused look on their face when I start eating cheese. That’s made from dairy so it should make me sick as well right? Yes and no.
WLS induced gut death is caused by the naturally occuring sugars found in milk. Mainly lactose. This is also the same sugar that causes problems for people who are lactose intolerant. They have reduced amounts of the enzyme needed to break down this particular sugar. This is what causes all the GI problems they experience when eating dairy products. While us WLSers may still have enough of this enzyme to do the job the problem is actually caused by our re-routed GI tract. The milk quickly slides through the smaller stomach and hits the small intestines too quickly. The body reacts to this sudden rush of milk sugar ultimately creating a dumping episode.
So, if both WLSers and those who are lactose intolerant have issues with dairy because of the milk sugar why can we usually eat cheese?
When cheese is being made much of the lactose is removed along with the whey when the curds are removed. Even more of the lactose is removed when the cheese is aged. It seems the bacteria used to make some types of cheese use the milk sugar as a source of food. This helps to reduce the amount of lactose present in the cheese. The longer a cheese ages the less lactose it will have. Here’s some cheese tips for both us WLSers and the lactose intolerant:
– Choose a ripened, aged cheese. These are usually hard cheeses such as cheddar, swiss, parmesan, romano, etc
– Avoid processed cheese (Velveeta anyone?). Not only is this type of cheese not ripened/aged but it also has additional milk solids added to it which makes it even higher in lactose.
– Fresh or unripened cheese such as cottage cheese, mozzarella, cream cheese and queso fresco will contain high amounts of lactose.
– Pay attention to how much cheese your eating. A sprinkly of parmesan cheese on your minestrone soup might not bother you. Eating several ounce of cheese in one sitting might cause problems.
– For those who have had WLS another issue that might cause problem with cheese is the fat content. High amounts of fat will cause dumping symptoms for some. It might not actually be the lactose in the cheese causing a problem. It could be the fat.
If you find you also have problems with milk and are looking for a suitable replacement I highly suggest Blue Diamond Unsweetened Almond Breeze and Silk PureAlmond Milk. Both companies also have a vanilla flavor that is good to cook or bake with. I’m not a big fan of soy milk but I hear many people do enjoy it. Be careful when purchasing any type of almond or soy milk. Some are unsweetened and others, especially the chocolate flavored ones, have a lot of extra added sugar.
How about you? Have you had problems with milk or dairy products since surgery? Do you just avoid milk or have you been using a milk replacement?
Picture: ulterior epicure
|March 19, 2013||Filled under General Health, Misc, Nutritional Information||
Lately I’ve been hearing more people talk about eating in moderation. I know I’ve done it myself. Usually it’s been a way to justify eating some type of junk or fast food. Like the day my mother came over to visit and brought fast food burgers and fries as a “treat”. She bought cheeseburgers, small fries and diet soda instead of large sized meals and regular soda. It’s that whole moderation thing. Super sized meals = bad. Smaller sized meals = good. Or at least better for you. But is it really that simple or is the phrase eating in moderation really becoming a trap that only benefits the fast food and processed food companies?
The fast food companies give us ads to promote their products such as this:
Egg McMuffins wholesome? Really? With an ingredients list like this:
Enriched Flour (Bleached Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Yeast, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Wheat Gluten, Soybean Oil and/or Canola Oil, Contains 2% or Less: Salt, Calcium Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Citric Acid, Calcium Citrate, Yellow Corn Flour, Corn Meal, Rice Flour, Barley Malt, Artificial Flavors, Natural Flavors (Botanical Source), Dough Conditioners (Ascorbic Acid, Azodicarbonamide, Datem, Tricalcium Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Enzymes, Calcium Peroxide), Calcium Propionate And Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Soy Lecithin.
USDA Grade A Eggs.
Prepared with Liquid Margarine: Liquid Soybean Oil and Hydrogenated Cottonseed and Soybean Oils, Water, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Artificial Flavor, Citric Acid, Vitamin A Palmitate, Beta Carotene (Color).
Pasteurized Process American Cheese Allergens: Milk, Cream, Water, Cheese Culture, Sodium Citrate, Contains 2% or Less of: Salt, Citric Acid, Sodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Lactic Acid, Acetic Acid, Enzymes, Sodium Pyrophosphate, Natural Flavor (Dairy Source), Color Added, Soy Lecithin (Added for Slice Separation).
Canadian Style Bacon: Pork, Water, Sugar, Salt, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Sodium Diacetate And Sodium Nitrite (Preservatives).
I’m sort of failing to see the wholesomeness of it all. Sure it’s probably better than some of their other breakfast items which are a nutritional disaster but is it really wholesome? Or better? How often would eating something like this count as moderation? A few times a week? Once a week? Does anyone know?
Perhaps the Hershey’s company can tell us with their moderation nation thing they have going on.
Given the amount of processed foods that Hershey’s produces I have my doubts about them helping us with moderation, health and nutrition.
Perhaps instead of giving these foods the green light when “eaten in moderation” we should begin by giving people the truth first. All the fast food, all the processed stuff isn’t healthy at all. Even in moderation. I think that when we keep telling people that it’s fine we aren’t doing them a favor. It keeps them thinking that what they are doing doesn’t affect their health and they put off making changes that could improve the way they feel. Instead of thinking that the Monday through Friday breakfast sandwich (made with egg whites so it’s healthy right!) or the afternoon pick me up of a small bag of chips (baked not fried!) or the snack bar whose label says it contains whole grain (healthy again right?) is ok perhaps we need to look at it like it really is……highly processed junk that affects our health no matter what the amount. If we realize it’s junk we then may begin asking ourselves do we really want to eat it? Is there a better option?
I’m not the food police and I’m guilty of using the idea of moderation to keep eating junk. I spent a good portion of my life trying to keep eating the processed “bad” foods that I liked by replacing them with less “bad” foods…..in moderation of course. It didn’t work out so well. It’s sort of like someone trying to justify that smoking a few cigarettes every day is OK because it’s better than smoking a pack. These days I’ve started to just call it what it is…..junk that makes me feel lousy. And, just to prove the point, I barely made it through half the cheeseburger and a couple of fries before my rerouted guts informed me that what I was doing needed to stop. The gut death pains kicked in to remind me that no amount of moderation was going to make the crap that I was eating any better for me.
And everyone else? My husband quickly fell into junk food induced sluggishness and took a nap. Had he been at work and ate this for lunch I’m sure he would have got a coffee and a snack to keep himself awake for the remainder of the afternoon. One of the kids soon complained of a stomachache and another had some bathroom issues a few hours later. My mother called later in the day, once she had returned home, and said her blood sugar was high…..could the hamburger and fries have done this? Yes. Even though it was just a small one. Yes. Ah the price we pay for moderation.
How about you? What do you think of the idea of moderation? Good, bad or it all depends?