So, as part of prep for the Gastric By-Pass surgery I’m planning, I have to start changing my diet now. Some of that change is an actual shift in the kinds of food I eat. No more fast food. No more junk food. More fruits and vegetables. Reducing fat and processed food intake. More whole grains, less simple carbohydrates. I do not drink soda or sugary drinks, so that’s not a problem for me.
Most of the time I am good with this. It is hard though. I have to make sure that I have good food in my house at all times. Then I actually have to cook this food. I am a good cook and I like to cook. But working from home, I am cooking 3 meals a day and whew that’s a lot. I do not know how stay-at-home moms do it. Well, actually, I regularly cook 2 meals a day. Pouring soy milk over a bowl of Great Grains, slicing a nectarine, and nuking two turkey sausage patties is hardly cooking.
To make sure I had enough healthy food for a couple of weeks, I ordered my groceries online from Peapod.com. At 8:00am Monday morning, they were at my door with bags and bags of food. I love it. I know it is super lazy, but I live in a big city and I do not have a car at present. Paying the delivery fee and tipping the driver is cheaper than renting a car or paying cab fare. And I do not have to carry heavy bags of groceries up a flight of stairs.
Ordering groceries online is kind of fun, but you really have to know what you are doing. It helps to have a general idea of quantity and size. It also helps to read clearly the description of the food you are ordering. One time, I thought I was getting a good deal by ordering 42oz of oatmeal. Unless you can think spatially, it is hard to gauge how much 42oz is. Most oatmeal containers are 16oz-20oz. The containers are a little bit bigger than a 64oz soda. Here’s the thing though, oatmeal is lighter than liquid. So, if 16oz-20oz is about he size of a 64oz soda, how big a container do you think it takes to hold 42oz of oatmeal? Pretty darn big. I pulled it out of bag and exclaimed “holy cow!” Needless to say, I ate a lot of oatmeal for about two months.
This week, I checked out all of the specials and they had a lot of buy-one/get-one specials. One of bogo specials was mini seedless cucumbers. I thought I read the special clearly. I thought if I bought one cucumber, I would get another free. What they were selling was a pack of 5 mini cucumbers. If you bought one, you got one free. So, now I have 10 mini cucumbers. I have to make sure I eat at least one of them a day or they will go bad. I did same with chicken breasts. I thought I was buying two breasts and what I bought was two packs of two, so now I have four chicken breasts. Thank goodness for freezers. I did good with everything else. I did not buy any super large sizes I wasn’t prepared for. I made sure that I compared the sizes or ounces to what I already had and was about to run out of.
I’ve gotten better at ordering my groceries online. I have fewer OMG instances. But it is still an adventure. I find it fun to compare what I thought I was buying to what actually shows up on my doorstep. So, eating healthier food…I’m getting better.
The second thing I have to do to change my diet is change how I eat my food. I am not supposed to drink 30 minutes before I eat, while I’m eating, or 30 minutes after I eat. This is to help me prepare for how I will have to eat after the surgery. I also have to chew my food to the consistency of apple sauce. This is very hard. So much harder than I thought it would be. It is easy to get you food and just start chowing down, especially if you wait too long to eat, which I often do. Sometimes, I am a couple of minutes into my meal before I remember to slow down and chew, chew, chew, and then chew some more. And I often forget not to drink until I take a drink.
This is OK for now because I am practicing for later, but I need to get better and be more mindful of what I am doing. I will not have much leeway with slip-ups after surgery.
Here are a list of things that tire me out while chewing:
- Some bread
- Hot dogs on a bun
- Most meat
- breaded foods
- large bites of any kind of food
- complex foods
What do I mean by complex foods? Great Grains cereal with chopped up fruit. Chinese foods like Kung Pao Chicken or fried rice. Food with many small parts that want to quickly fly to the back of my mouth to be swallowed or hide behind my teeth. That makes it tough to chew fully.
I have found that to be successful with the chewing, I have to take small bites. If I take a big bite of anything, it takes me a long time to chew and it is very difficult. Even with small bites, I find it hard to make sure that I chew the entire bite of food before I swallow. Your mouth is programmed to start swallowing almost as soon as you start chewing. Overriding that urge to swallow immediately is tough. I was not aware of this until I started trying to be more mindful of how I eat.
It has been a challenge to make sure that I have enough of right kinds of foods in the house, shopping better, and cooking nearly every meal, forgoing junk food and fast food, and practicing proper eating techniques, but I have learned a lot this past month.
I know I may have grossed some people out with my talk about chewing, but I felt compelled to talk about it. And if anyone who reads this post may be considering making the same choice that I have made, I think it is important that I am frank about some of the things they may face. This is a big decision and not be taken on by everyone. I feel that it is the right choice for me, but people need to make their own decisions. If anything I say can help someone either prepare for what they may face, or motivate them make a different decision about their own health and diet, I think it is important that I am honest.