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Slider Foods Will Make Me Fat

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.

The Dash

There’s a poem that has circulated for a long time on the internet, and you’ve probably seen it in written form or in the form of a slide show with beautiful pictures from all aspects of nature.  The poem refers to the dash on a tombstone – the one that goes between the year you were born and the year you died.  It talks about how it doesn’t really matter about the dates themselves, but what really matters is what you’ve done with all the time in the middle of those years – or, the dash. 

In the past week, I’ve learned that a brand new baby died just days after her birth.  I’ve learned that a little boy who just underwent a last resort treatment for cancer found that the treatment has been unsuccessful.  And I’ve learned that the brother-in-law of a friend has been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor that will likely rob him of his life.  Every where I turned this week, the dash seemed more important. 

We don’t know how long we have when we arrive here on this earth.  We don’t know how much time our dash will be.  We certainly hope that when our time comes, someone is talking about how long, happy, and fulfilling our dash has been.  But that’s not the case for everyone. 

When I wrote the eulogy for my dad that appeared in the memorial booklet we printed for his funeral, I put the message in there that one thing I hoped to learn from him and the way he led his life was that you want to impact people here so that there is no one glad for your passing in the end.  You want people to cry, be mournful, and vow to miss you when you’re gone.  You want people to recall the great things you did, the kindness you showed, the generosity of your heart.  You want to make sure your dash, no matter how long or short, is the time when you loved and were loved.

As a child, I expected to grow up and be “something”.  I thought I might be a doctor, a nurse, a teacher.  I wanted to be “something”, and then be a mom.  It seemed at the time that being a mom was an accessory to adulthood.  You became “something”, then you had children that you could dress up, take out, and show off when you weren’t busy with what you became.  And while I will be the first person to admit that I do have times of regret that I didn’t end up as one of the “somethings” I dreamed about, what I did become is so much more important.  It’s the hardest thing I ever could have done in life.  I have three beautiful daughters, and it is my job to make sure they grow up knowing they are loved, that someone will always be available for them, and that they are not the accessories in my life, but they ARE my life.  It is my job to make the decisions that say Jim and I may be living frugally in our golden years, but we gave our kids every advantage, every benefit we could afford, every wonder life could offer to them.  It is my job to weigh the good and the bad of things, let them make mistakes where they will learn and help them avoid mistakes that will just be painful.  I won’t know for many years to come if I’ve done my job well.  There is no bonus pool each year, no evaluation every three months, no instant reward in the form of a paycheck each week.  Some days, the job seems impossible, and I think it would have been much easier to be a brain surgeon or nuclear physicist.  But I hope, at the end of my days, when someone is looking at my dash, they can turn towards my children and know that I did something with that space between the two dates.  I may not have my name in a by-line somewhere or in the medical journals or even noted as teacher of the year somewhere.  But I hope my children are great women.  That will be the achievement I most want to be remembered for.  These girls are my dash. 

The Proper Way to Hang Christmas Lights

So, growing up, it seemed to me the men-folk were the ones who did all the fancy ‘lectrical stuff around Christmas time.  It was the strong, handsome men hanging lights in the windows and stringing the Christmas tree.

Then I married Lazy *** Jim.  Our first year together, he helped out, not a lot, but enough that I thought he did a good job.  He did do all of the lights on the tree, but I did the lights in the windows and such around the house.  Gradually, over the years, it became my job to also string the lights on the tree.  Having never done it, and not sure how to do it, each year it seems that I do it a different way.  It never looks evenly lit all the way around, and I am always pissed off that I had to do it without Jim.  The women are supposed to hang the balls and string the garland.  Lights are not in my chromosomes. 

Last year, for the first time, I watched the White House Christmas.  Damn, those people sure know how to decorate!!   Not only does the whole joint look fabulous, they have truckloads of volunteers to do it all.  All Mrs. Bush has to do is wander in, hair perfectly coiffed, suit pressed and lovely, smiling a big ol’ Texas smile, and admire how great her house and her trees look.  Although lacking the hundreds of volunteers, I decided last year to light my tree the White House way.  They wrap each branch with the lights, each individual branch, each insignificant on it’s own little branch.  It always looks so bright, so beautiful, and so evenly lit.  Of course, wrapping each branch is not an easy task, and when you undertake it, you realize why they White House has hundreds of generous souls wrapping and wrapping and wrapping.  After three branches, my hands ache, my back hurts, I hate Christmas, and at the earliest possible convenience, I intend to stab my husband to death with one of these insignifcant little branches.

So, the problem with wrapping the lights around each branch is that you eventually have to UNWRAP each branch.  Yep, after the hours that went in to wrapping the branches, we try to figure out how to unstring the lights in less than 20 seconds.  And hours later, we are left with tangled bunches of lights, sap over everything, poked eyes, scratched cheeks, and cracked fingers.

Next year, Jim says, instead of wrapping the branches, just put the lights in patches.  I say get off your Lazy *** and do it yourself.

EPCOT Irish Dancers

Anna is an expert on what goes on at Disney – she is the Anna in DIsney Anna. And as a mom of a champion irish dancer, she was answering and participating in many discussions around DIsney and Irish Dancing

Yahoo! Groups : IrishDancing Messages :707-736 of 960723, Re: Digest Number 176, Anna Skamarakas, Wed 5/3/2000 … Anna Skamarakas,
Thu 5/4/2000. 732, Re: Epcot Dancers, Andrea Willoughby, Fri 5/5/2000 …
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IrishDancing/messages/707 – View old version on the Internet Archive