Post-op Day #7: Ode to homemade soup

This time last week, I was in my hospital pyjamas at Capio St. Göran’s Hospital in the Kungsholmen section of Stockholm, walking up and down the hallways to get rid of any residual gas from my operation. I was still a little groggy, but I wasn’t in much pain. In fact, I only remember a little twinging, no full-fledged pain. I had an IV feeding me glucose and, whenever I was back in my hospital room, I was trying to remember to sip water.

One thing that still sticks in my mind: all of the water I drank at the hospital tasted sweet, like someone had added sugar. I don’t know if this was from the anaesthesia or the glucose. Even when I first came home, the water from the tap tasted weird. Now everything tastes normal again (thank God for that). I didn’t like sweet water. It made me grimace.

Since I came home last Wednesday, the thing I have been craving most has been homemade soup. After thirty days of diet soup that was grainy and not very tasty and left me hating life, it felt so good to get the clearance from my surgeon and nutritionist to have homemade food for Stage One: the Liquid Food Stage.

26962129_940084426142427_3264598568451537563_o

The first homemade soup: creamy sweet potato. Yes, I know you’ve seen it already. (Photo: me)

My gorgeous hubby has been taking very good care of me and has so far made three delicious soups for me: creamy sweet potato soup, potato and leek soup and cream of chicken soup. All three have made me and my tummy very happy. They’re filling and they haven’t irritated my stomach.

Whenever he’s in the kitchen making a new batch of soup, my appetite returns and I feel the Foodie in my kicking her heels in glee. Yes, she knows life will be in moderation now, but as long as she doesn’t have to survive on only diet soups made from powder that feel like goo in her mouth, she is happy.

Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 18.45.02

PhotoCredit: Elise Bauer/simplyrecipes.com

Why homemade soup instead of store-bought? It tastes better. You know what’s going into it–no weird E-numbers, no MSG, nothing artificial. It doesn’t take that long to make. And I’ll say it again: IT TASTES BETTER.

Just because you had a gastric sleeve doesn’t mean you don’t want your food to taste good. So make some soup, eat it and feel your tastebuds and your tummy say thank you.

Are you post-op and your doctor has given you the okay to have homemade soup? Here are some recipes I can definitely recommend trying.

Remember to make sure that you use a blender to get a nice, smooth texture. You don’t want any small bits irritating your still-sensitive stomach. Once you refrigerate any leftovers, they’ll thicken up, so add some milk when reheating.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup from Greatist (Note: if it’s too thick, add a little more milk to thin it out a bit).

Potato Leek Soup from Skinnytaste (Note: if it’s too thick, add a little more milk to thin it out a bit).

Creamy Cauliflower Soup from Skinnytaste (Note: if your surgeon has put celery on your “avoid” list, use onions instead. Also, if the soup is too thick, add a little more milk to thin it out a bit).

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup from Pinch of Yum (Note: since I was seven days post-op, we added 40 grams of puréed turkey for even more flavour and it was delicious. We also used homemade chicken broth as our base.)

That’s it for now! I’m off to read a good book. 🙂

My Signature for the Blog

SaveSave

Post-Op Day #3: How much am I supposed to eat?

You wouldn’t think it, but following weight loss surgery, you spend a lot of time eating. The portions are smaller, but you eat… a lot.

Here’s what my eating schedule is like for the next two weeks:

Breakfast: 2 dl porridge, sour milk (it’s a Swedish thing, similar to yoghurt), yoghurt or milk

Morning Snack: 2 dl of a diet shake

Mid-Morning Snack: 2 dl porridge, sour milk (it’s a Swedish thing, similar to yoghurt), yoghurt or milk

Lunch: 2 dl of smooth, warm soup

Afternoon Snack: 2 dl of a diet shake

Dinner: 2 dl of smooth, warm soup

Evening Snack: 2 dl porridge, sour milk (it’s a Swedish thing, similar to yoghurt), yoghurt or milk

All of this comes out to around two litres of liquid meals. On top of this, I also need to drink 4 dl of water, coffee or tea.

I’m trying to stick to it as much as possible, but sometimes I am supposed to eat a snack and I am still full from lunch or dinner. I know I need the nutrients, but I also need to pay attention to how much + how fast I eat.

26962129_940084426142427_3264598568451537563_o

Last night’s dinner, lovingly prepared by Tord. (Photo: me)

Last night, I had homemade sweet potato soup, prepared for me by my gorgeous hubby. He has been so supportive of this, even if initially he was skeptical. I don’t blame him. I was skeptical too. But now when I feel the difference when I take my daily walks, I understand that this was a good thing for me.

I still haven’t had the gas pains that other sleeve patients have mentioned. I think this is because I keep moving around a lot. I try not to sit still too long. I get up, walk around the apartment, I take walks during the day. I’ve even done a few loads of laundry (not lifting anything heavy). I take one painkiller in the morning just because sometimes I feel a twinging. But otherwise, I feel okay.

I notice that two nights in a row my stomach has woken me at 3AM, so that’s how I know I need to eat more. Today, I have managed to have all the snacks I am supposed to have, but I swear it’s not easy.

Anyone who thinks that getting a gastric sleeve is the easy way has no idea what they’re talking about. It’s not easy and it’s not a short cut. It’s a tool and you have to learn the right way to use it.

Well, it’s dinner time and I know because my tummy is poking me and reminding me that we still have yummy sweet potato soup left. Going to warm some up now and enjoy.

My Signature for the Blog

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to Me

rich-helmer-457611

No, I did NOT have cake.

Today is my birthday and, instead of doing as I would normally do–that is drink far too much champagne, consume lots of cheese and bread and essentially splurge all day long–I’ve tried to stay within my 900-calorie limit. I probably went over it a tad bit, but the rest of the week is back to the usual meal plan.

You see, it’s Day 8 of my Pre-Op Liquid Diet, but I was granted a cheat day for my birthday. As much as I wanted to eat a slice of Budapest cake, I didn’t. My husband asked me what I wanted for breakfast. I just couldn’t have yet another boiled egg or a powder smoothie, so I asked for half of a waffle, a small piece of sausage and a fried egg. I washed it down with coffee and oat milk. That kept me full until well past 2PM. I probably should have had a shake or a smoothie, but I wasn’t hungry. I had some tea instead.

Later, I walked to my local café and had a cup of coffee and read a few chapters of Halsey Street by Naima Coster. If you are a bookworm like me, then I wholeheartedly recommend that you add this novel to your TBR list. It’s a fantastic story of family, loss and gentrification set in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn. While I was reading, I was reminded of observing the good and bad of gentrification in my own old neighbourhood in Philadelphia, but that’s another discussion for another day. When I came home, my husband and I toasted to my day with one glass of sparkling wine.

So now the day is slowly creeping towards dinnertime and for the first time since this morning I am beginning to feel hungry. I initially thought I wanted soup for dinner. I’d picked out a great recipe from Pinch of Yum for spicy peanut soup with sweet potato and kale, but then I found another recipe that sounded more like what I was in the mood for: spicy chicken sweet potato magic bowl, so that is what my gorgeous husband is making for me.

There will be no cake today. I’ll content myself with a cup of coffee. I have to keep reminding myself that I am making good progress. Got to keep my eyes on the prize: January 23 – surgery day.

If you’ve already undergone a sleeve, how do you usually celebrate your birthday?

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

SaveSave

3 cookbooks for my soon-to-be sleeved life

All of my life, I’ve loved food. I grew up surrounded by family members who knew how to throw down in the kitchen. My great-aunt Francis, my grandmother Gertrude, my great-uncle John, my cousin Yuhnis, my great-aunt Louise, Aunt Florence…the list could go on. Every holiday meant good food and plenty of it.

My appreciation for good food started early.

So now, when I have made the decision to get a gastric sleeve, I wanted make sure that I could still enjoy good food without feeling like everything post-op would have to be bland. I needed inspiration and advice beyond what my nutritionist has said. I needed to know that I could have good food again, without stinting on flavour. I spoke to my friend, Pernilla, who assured me that I could live the sleeved life and enjoy a glass of wine and flavourful food again.

Yes, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I also wanted to make sure that my husband (who is not getting sleeved) and I would be able to eat together and enjoy what we eat. So I started doing research and found a few cookbooks that will hopefully ensure that I will not go through life grimacing at bland food.

Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 18.50.12

FRESH START Bariatric Cookbook

by Sarah Kent, MS RDN CD

I ended up ordering the FRESH START Bariatric Cookbook from Amazon UK since neither of the Swedish online bookstores I usually use had it in stock.

I used Look Inside and was pleasantly surprised that this cookbook contained more than just recipes; it also included advice on things to consider and what to order when eating out at restaurants, judging portion sizes, etc.

This particular cookbook rated high with many readers. The fact that this cookbook was written by a registered dietician and nutritionist also helped tipped the scales in favour of ordering it.

Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 19.20.59Eating Well After Weight Loss Surgery

by Patt Levine and Michele-Bontempo-Saray

I’m not one who can settle for just one cookbook. When I read the reviews Eating Well After Weight Loss Surgery received (and it was recommended to me by someone who’d already undergone a gastric sleeve) I decided to order it.

A Look Inside revealed some very tasty sounding recipes as well as advice for post-surgery life. The sample recipes seemed easy to follow and the slew of good reviews convinced me that this was a cookbook worth having.

Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 19.29.52Weight-Loss Surgery Cookbook

by Shasta Press

Another cookbook highly recommended by someone who has already undergone the operation. I have just ordered Weight-Loss Surgery Cookbook, so hope to receive it in the coming days.

From a Look Inside, I found a list of recommended pantry staples and a selection of recipes that sounded right up my alley.

Once I have all three cookbooks, I will ask my husband to test prepare a few dishes. I want us both to be able to enjoy eating together so that we don’t have to feel like we always have to prepare two separate meals.  Based on the reviews all three books have received, we should be okay, but I will definitely keep you posted. We are both picky about food, so if we don’t like it, we’re kind of vocal. 🙂

If you’ve already gone through weight loss surgery and have recommendations for good cookbooks, drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.