There are really only two words you need to know right now if you are recently post-op. Pro. Tein. Yeah, okay, so it’s only one word, but doesn’t it look much easier to swallow broken up that way? Good, because for some of us, protein is not easy to swallow at all, and we spend a good bit of time in those early post-op days trying to find creative ways to get it in.
Your surgeon should tell you that you are going to need something like a bazillion grams of protein. Well, alright, not quite that much. But you should know that now that you’re bypassed, you are only going to be able to absorb about 25 – 50% of the nutrients you actually consume. What did she just say? Yeah, I said it. You’re only going to get half of what you need in your food – the rest becomes, well, you know what the rest becomes. There is no way you can eat enough food to get all of the nutrients you’re going to need.
And guess what? That bazillion grams of protein, well, it might as well be, because to some of us, the 100 – 140 grams we need is just as hard to get in as the bazillion!
Remember when you were trying to get your kids to eat their vegetables, and you’d mash them up into spaghetti sauce or puree them and add them to your meatloaf, or you dredged them in batter, fried them in oil, and drowned them in cheese sauce? Yeah, well, that’s the kind of creative thinking you might need now.
My best advice on the protein thing is sample. If you belong to a Weight Loss Surgery support group, suggest a protein exchange. Everyone can bring in zip-top bags with one portion of their favorite protein shake and you can swap them. It saves you from investing upwards of $25 for a can of protein, only to find out you hate it. Visit websites like www.vitalady.com and order samples of things you think you’d like. And keep in mind – not all vanillas are the same. If vanilla is your thing, order samples from two or three companies. Some are super sweet, some of them don’t seem to blend well, and some are just way too chalky. So if one brand of vanilla doesn’t work, don’t assume you all of a sudden hate vanilla.
But don’t be surprised if you do!
You know what I did before I went to the hospital? I stocked up on Jello and chicken broth for my liquid diet stage. Who knew that I’d come home from the hospital hating Jello and chicken broth? So even if you’ve experimented before surgery to see which shakes you like, don’t buy them in bulk. I had no idea that some things would be so offensive tasting to me after surgery. I learned the hard way there really is always room for Jello – in my trash can 🙁
And did you know you can experiment with protein shakes? Why, yes you can! If it just doesn’t taste quite right with just the plain protein, add a half of a banana. Throw in a little peanut butter. Vanilla is better with a splash of orange juice added. You can add flavored coffees, flavored syrups, fresh or frozen fruit – haven’t you always wanted to be a bartender? Now’s the time to try your hand at mixed drinks!
Oh – and all protein is NOT created equal! Sugar is not your friend, so you want to avoid shakes that contain lots of sugar. The type of protein is pretty crucial too. I’ve found through research and personal experience that the best one for us gastrically twisted sisters (and brothers) is Whey Protein Isolate.
So, bottom line – play with your food (or at least with your drinks), drink everything that’s put in your cup, and take your vitamins, so you’ll shrink to be littler and strong!