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I struggle on an almost daily basis over what to put in my mouth. I know there are gastric bypass patients who pretty much eat whatever they want at some point after surgery, and some are fortunate enough to have learned a lesson and can do it without gaining weight back. There are two things that frighten me about food. The first thing is I will eat something and it will make me sick. The second thing is I will eat something and it will NOT make me sick. So I have come up with a list of “safe” foods that I feel comfortable eating, that fill me up, that make me feel like I’m not depriving myself. I do veer off of the safe foods when I go out to eat, although I admit that since soup is typically a safe food for me, I usually look at the soups on a menu first. But my one daily staple, no matter what, is pretzels. I eat a LOT of pretzels. I probably eat more calories in the form of pretzels than all the other foods I eat in a day – easily. And then I got this emailed to me through my support group:
What are slider foods?
Kaye’s Answer: In a malabsorptive procedure the pouch is made and the stoma or outlet is attached to the lower part of the middle intestine called the jejunum. The majority of caloric absorption takes place in the jejunum, so depending upon where your surgeon created the outlet the level of absorption can vary. Skilled surgeons will adjust the length of intestine bypassed according to their patient’s projected needs based on dieting history and pre-op psychological screening.
Slider foods slide right through the stoma into the jejunum. My first test of the slider foods was graham crackers and coffee for my after work snack. Now imagine, I could eat a stack of graham crackers and wash it right through the pouch with the coffee and never feel any satiation. What resulted was an easily absorbed slurry that my jejunum sucked up like a sponge – it didn’t have to do any work to absorb this simple carbohydrate slurry. Of course, weight gain resulted and I had to give up this little indulgence. Another popular slider food is pretzels. I speak with post-ops all the time who are addicted to pretzels – again, this is a simple carb that your jejunum is very happy to receive and convert to fat. Traditionally dieters are encouraged to eat pretzels or popcorn – fat free and fiber, right? But that doesn’t work so well for us. Giving our re-routed bodies these simple carbs is dangerous because our bodies have spent years perfect the art of fat storage – slider foods are to the body a great big lottery win.
By the way, in my example I spoke of a slurry from graham crackers and coffee. Simple carbs, however, will slide right through without the added benefit of a liquid. And several others can talk about cheese nip crackers, popcorn, mashed potatoes, ice cream/yogurt etc.
Lots of times I hear, “But I don’t like that uncomfortable tight feeling of solid protein in my pouch.” But the very purpose of the pouch is to signal fullness, which often comes by way of slight discomfort when we are eating in compliance with our bariatric owner’s manual. The slider foods will never ever signal fullness. They are dangerous and in most cases non-nutritional. When I feel that full-pouch discomfort I try to mentally psych myself up, “YEAH-BABY! The pouch is on the job!!” Silly, but whatever works.
I’m one of those people who does not like the uncomfortable feeling I get when I eat solid foods. I have never in my life been really full. I could go to a buffet and know to stop eating because I could hear John Pinette echoing in the recesses of my brain doing his Chinese buffet skit (“you’ve been here four ow-a! You go now!). But I’ve never had that feeling where you wish you had worn stretch pants. Until I had surgery. And it’s not a good feeling. I’ve also had the feeling where food is backed up. I wish I could describe it to someone who has not had surgery, but it’s a feeling like the stuff I have eaten and swallowed has gotten down to the mid-chest area and stopped. And it’s not going to move until the rest of what I ate moves along first.
Pretzels have been my friend. They are a “snack” – something I thought I had lost forever when I had gastric bypass surgery. They taste good – especially after a protein shake or bar or a cup of steaming hot vanilla latte. The salt complements the other foods. And I don’t get that full feeling from them. They do slide right down without any difficulty.
And that’s why I can go through 4 pounds of pretzels in a week or so.
So after I finish the bag and the tub I have, no more pretzels for me (said as I reached under my desk for the tub of peanut butter filled pretzels). Apparently, pretzels will slide me right back to obesity. I will have to learn to deal with the discomfort of a full pouch. Starting today. Munch. Munch.