I Am Healed. Damn.

Well, there go the excuses. 

As you well know, I’ve seen some weight creep up over the past year during my health crises.  It’s been hard to find time or energy to exercise, especially with gaping wounds in various places.  Add to that a really full school schedule and a gernal unwillingness to get off my big old arse, and you’ll see that exercise has not been a priority.

Then there’s been the food.  I lost a bit of weight while I was in ICU in August, and then when I came home, things tasted funny.  And the things that tasted good, I shouldn’t have been eating.  So I gained back the weight I lost in the hospital, and developed a taste for the things I should not have.

And here I am – fat and unhappy.

 But once again, I am vowing to change.  During my break from school, I am going to walk.  Every day.  Rain or shine, snow or sleet, I’ll be like a real, old school postman – not one of those mamby pamby ones we’ve got here in Bellmawr, who seem to skip delivery if the sun shines too brightly or the wind blows over three miles an hour. 

I’m going to allow myself Christmas to enjoy the things I love, then vow to divorce them all – every sweetly decorated sugar cookie, every candied yam, every vegetable covered in a thick, delicious, fattening dip. 

I might even – Jeebus help me for saying this – do the 5K at Disney in May.

Maybe.

You’ve heard it before, but now that I’m well, I have no excuses. 

Hold me to it, gang.  Don’t let me let me down.

McRib Gastric Bypass Review

I know what you’re thinking.  Didn’t you NEED gastric bypass surgery compliments of a few too many McRib sandwiches?

This isn’t going to be a “Forget it!  It’s bad for you” review.  Actually, according to McDonald’s nutritional facts, the McRib has less calories than a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder with cheese.  It has nearly 300 less calories than the Angus Bacon cheeseburger.  It even has less calories than some of their breakfast sandwiches.

McRib is back and here is gastric bypass review
There are 22 grams of protein in the sandwich, and it is quite easy to eat off of the bun.

So when compared to say a McDonald’s Southwest Ranch chicken salad, the McRib has about the same number of calories, more protein, and is way easier to eat.

I’m not telling you to have one for every meal.  But if you’re out with your family and want to grab a quick dinner somewhere, this isn’t your worst choice.  Just skip the fries.  And the soda.  You shouldn’t be drinking it anyway.

Thanks, Jim, for spiffing up this underwear ad. I know it took a lot out of you.

Sakura celebration lunch – WLS review

Jim wanted to celebrate my A in College Algebra aka pre-calculus aka Why am I in this class again?, so instead of heading home to our usual lunch of whatever I can find that requires the least amount of my energy and time in preparation, he wanted to do something special!

We ended up grabbing a quick lunch from our local favorite Japanese restaurant. Okay, so we only HAVE 2 Japanese restaurants in our area.  One of them is Sagami at the Collingswood Circle, which we drove past all our lives and never knew it was a Japanese restaurant until we were in our late 30’s; and the other is Sakura, which has an awesome soup called Seafood Tofu Soup for Two.

The soup is a delicate broth filled with chunky pieces of vegetables (mostly carrots, celery, onions and whole mushrooms), and then given a generous helping of firm tofu along with shrimp, scallops, and crab leg cut into strips like noodles.  This was one of the first meals out that I ate following gastric bypass surgery, and it continues to be a favorite.  There are days when I have to skip the veggies, because after a soup filled with protein, the chunky vegetables can be a little too much to enjoy.

To go with the soup, Jim picked out two of the sushi specials.  They feature several different sushi rolls each month to encourage diners to try new things.  They discount them by 50%, and we’ve discovered some delicious sushi this way that we might have otherwise overlooked.  For lunch, we picked up a Paradise roll, which is shrimp tempura, wrapped with banana tempura, lobster salad, and topped with tofu and flavored mayonnaise.  Okay, I KNOW they don’t eat this way in Japan, but I am so glad they adapt these things for an American palate.  This was flavorful on many levels, with crunchy, sweet, savory, and a bit of spice in the mayo.  They are certainly flavors I would never think of putting together, but oh my gosh, they were delicious.

Sakura Japanese Restaurant October sushi specials

The other roll we decided to sample was the Pink Lady.  This was chicken tempura, boiled shrimp, and cream cheese, topped with a spicy mayonnaise.  This was a much smaller bite, and while it should have been easier to eat as a result, I have such a hard time with chicken.  The flavors, again, were amazing and multi-layered, but between the two of them, even though the other roll had more rice (which is a no-no for me), the chicken in this one did me in.

Sushi is a hit or miss thing for gastric bypass patients, and while I find I am able to enjoy a few more bites than I once did, I still have to limit myself.  The rice kills me after about three bites, and I’m left with the lovely taste in my mouth and a horrible pain in my stomach.

Sakura is a great place to stop for lunch (they have fabulous Bento boxes), sushi, or a date night dinner.  They have hibachi grills in addition to the sushi bar and the regular tables, so there is something for everyone at this great little spot.

Take out items are available.

Sakura Japanese Restaurant
910 South Black Horse Pike
Blackwood, New Jersey 08012
(856) 374-3088

Mom’s guide to the truth behind fashion models

As a mom to three daughters, I work really hard at teaching them that you need to be healthy without worrying about looking like the unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves.  I try to teach them what I believe – that while you do have some control over your size and weight, they are genetically born into a family of obese people.  I could blame fast food and processed food or an excessive amount of junk food, but truth be told, growing up, we didn’t go to fast food restaurants.  My mom always had snack foods in the house, but they weren’t liberally dispensed throughout the day – you had them as a bedtime or after school snack.  We didn’t eat a lot of fattening foods, and there were always vegetables and fruit in the house.  My grandmother, who produced five children who all ended up obese and diabetic, cooked every meal from scratch, and rarely had anything other than fruit salad or a homemade cake or fruit pie that she portioned out to last at least a few days so she didn’t have to bake again.  Again, I’m not saying we couldn’t have exercised and eaten smaller portions to affect our weight, but there is some genetics in whether or not you are going to be fat.

We know Barbie is an unrealistic skinny bitch, but we’re grown ups.  Our little girls do not see the irony in the fact that you can buy Barbie kitchens, Barbie food, Barbie couches and TVs so you could have a Barbie couch potato, but you can’t buy a Barbie with a mouth that will open up to enjoy one morsel of the fabulous wedding cake you can purchase for her.  Barbie is like the original anorexic.  But we don’t tell our little girls that as we buy Barbie pants that you have to lay her on the bed to button.  And we should.

Here is an example of a bad photoshop job. The model has thighs. Huge, fat, chunky, my size? Probably not, or she wouldn’t be a model in the first place. But to make the picture look better, they trim down her already super thin thighs.  So why do we have to take a photo of what was probably already a far cry from what many of us will ever be able to attain in terms of a thin body and make it appear even thinner and less attainable?  What message are we sending our girls?  Or even our boys?  Do they grow up wanting real women, or do they grow up seeing flaws in every woman who doesn’t need a size 0 taken in at the waist?

Model thighs trimmed down but Photoshop artist forgets to trim the shadows

Rest assured that all of my pictures are not altered in Photoshop Version 7.0.1.1.1.0.0.1.j to make my butt smaller.  My arse is what it is.  And my girls have all seen it wandering the house naked.  They know that I am not now nor will I ever be a Barbie doll.  Or a Heidi Klum.  We just haven’t been blessed with the genetics or the modeling plastic that allows us to be that thin.  And it’s okay to be what we are and be proud of ourselves.

Show your daughters pictures like the one above.  And videos like this one –

We’re not all going to be a super model, and we can’t all have their bodies.  But we can be proud of the bodies we have.

Make sure your daughter knows that.

Reebok EasyTone – the beautygirlsmom sneaker

beautygirlsmom is standing in panties and sneakers just like the supermodels – you have been warned

This is NOT beautygirlsmom – I know, you’re shocked

OK, you saw all the supermodel sneaker pictures, now its time for the beautygirlsmom sneaker pictures.

DANGER: Take small children by the hands, and remove all men with unrealistic expectations of woman, well I guess would be all straight men, but anyway, ladies, this is for us.

Seriously, did you think I’d show my butt here?  At least not unless I got the Photo Shop expert that makes the super models look as good as they do.

But anyway – we bought these fabulous sneakers that are not only going to improve my calves, thighs, and butt; but they are going to make my life fabulous.  I will be able to wear super short skirts and short shorts and never once worry that I have camel toe, shop only in stores that place my items in brightly colored shopping bags, and not have to worry about going to the tanning salon for my Snooki special spray tan – I will be naturally a beautiful shade of Not Ghostly White (the above photos have been retouched so you do not have to wear your sunglasses from my blinding white skin while you read my blog).

I’ve not had a lot of opportunity to wear the shoes yet, but so far, they don’t seem to be doing a whole lot.  The shoe sales woman claimed I’d have aches and pains in places I didn’t know existed on my body after my first wear.  My first wear was in Disney World – the Magic Kingdom – and the most I got was a small blister on my baby toe.

Maybe I’m wearing them wrong?  Maybe you have to already be walking to the stores with the fabulously colored shopping bags in order for these sneakers to work?

I’ll keep you posted.

Wine and Dine Weekend – Breakfast at Wolfgang Puck Express

I have to thank my dear friend and Disney Mom Joanne for turning me on to Wolfgang Puck Express.  I have to admit that for all the years we’ve been visiting Walt Disney World, we overlooked this restaurant every time.  We had eaten once at the regular Wolfgang Puck restaurant in Downtown Disney West Side, and it wasn’t so fabulous that we wanted to go back.  So we haven’t.  Which is probably why we never discovered this hidden gem at Downtown Disney.

OMG – two words.  Breakfast pizza.  Yes, pizza for breakfast – and not the way you ate it when you were in college – cold, right out of the box your roommate bought at lunch time the day before, praying e-coli couldn’t have set in over the course of the 16 hours it had been sitting on your dorm room floor.  This is fresh, piping hot, and delicious.

Wolfgang Pucks Downtown Disney breakfast

The thin, crispy crust is topped with scrambled eggs, apple wood smoked bacon, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, plum tomatoes, and then drizzled with ranch dressing.  Oh come on – you haven’t tried it yet!  It makes perfect sense once you’ve had it in your mouth.  This is so delicious, I’d eat it for any of the three (or four, or five) meals a day that I eat.  And as far as gastric bypass patients?  I have no trouble with this at all – and I often do have trouble with scrambled eggs.  I’ve had this pizza in two visits, and both times, the eggs were cooked perfectly, not dried out and prone to sticking in my pouch.

Next on our table was the crispy cornflake French Toast.  They give you a knife and fork to eat this with, but we ended up just picking it up with our hands and dipping it into the syrup.  This is not your Grandmom’s French toast.  This is a sliced bagel, dipped in egg, then liberally treated to a dusting of cinnamon sugar and rolled in cornflakes.  The meal is dense and delicious, but for us gastrically altered folks – not friendly.  If you can handle the sugars and the carbs in this meal without dumping, that bagel will sit like a ton of bricks in your stomach.  Have your husband order it and take a bite – that’s what I did!

Wolfgang Pucks Downtown Disney breakfast

Rounding out our breakfast selections was the breakfast pocket.  First of all, we had way too much food for our family of five, and we ended up leaving that piece of french toast you see above you and half of the breakfast pizza.  But, I thought it was better to get one more thing, and the pocket appealed to Eilis, so we ordered it.  This is essentially the breakfast pizza, except with different toppings and folded over, like a panzarotti.  In addition to the eggs, bacon, and cheese, the pocket also includes ham, mushrooms, peppers and onions.  It’s huge.  Be prepared to share!

It cost right around $40 for the five of us for breakfast, and that included two bottled orange juices and a bottle of water.  This is probably about $25 more than we would have spent if we had run out to McDonald’s to grab breakfast from their dollar menu, but we could have easily eliminated the $9 for the pocket and everyone would have been satisfied with the amount of food they had eaten.  So for just over $30, this would have been a fabulous breakfast.  For $40, it was still pretty darn good.

Twitter Updates for 2010-09-24

Victory cookies – a treat for the tastebuds

If there was ever a way to make Monday a happy day, finding a delectable treat from Victory Cookies in the mailbox definitely makes it happen.

I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to taste these amazing little bites of old fashioned, homemade goodness, and I’m so glad that I did! The sample box they sent featured four different flavors of cookie, each more wonderful than the one before.

The first cookie we sampled was the Original Victory Cookie, the company’s chocolate chip cookie. The cookie was the right combination of crunch and chewy, with crisp cookie edges and melt in your mouth chocolately goodness. This was a great version of everyone’s cookie BFF.

The second cookie we tried was my personal favorite cookie, the oatmeal raisin. The Victory variety is called Mr. Wonderful, and it certainly lived up to it’s name. And can I say, I’ve never seen so many sweet, plump raisins in any store bought oatmeal raisin cookie, adding to the homemade quality of this delight!

Our third bite was of the Victory cookie they call Shugah Browns – a brown sugar sugar cookie. This was a big hit with the girls, who thought this was the best cookie ever, as they munched through every bit of sweet Southern goodness.

By far, though, the most popular of the batch was the Beach Bum cookie. Pardon me while I wipe the drool from my keyboard so I can continue typing. This cookie is a trip to the tropics in every fabulous morsel, as it is loaded with pineapple and macadamia nuts, with a hint of coconut. Forget the pina colada, just pass the cookies!

You can find Victory Cookies online at www.victorycookies.com. Or you can place your oder by calling them at 877-995-0008.

You thought the best cookies ever came out of your Grandmom’s kitchen. Turns out, they come from Atlanta. Mother’s Day is coming – and these phenomenal cookies make the perfect gift for the women in your life who have shared their homemade goodies with you all these years.

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.

Super Bowl party tips for Bariatric surgery patients

Super Bowl XLII Party tips for Bariatric Surgery PatientsSuper Bowl XLII is upon us, and I know what you’re thinking.  What the hell did I do to my intestines, and how is it going to prevent me from having fun at my Super Bowl party?  Well, get over it.  The fun is in the company you invite, and I’m here to save you from crying in the beer you shouldn’t be drinking with some tips on enjoying some gastric bypass friendly party foods.

When planning your Super Bowl party, there are some foods that just naturally make their way to the top of the list.  If you are inviting intestinally intact guests, you don’t want them to feel deprived of any of their football food favorites, but you can make foods that they will recognize as tail gating must haves, only slightly altered for those of us who are gastrically altered.

One thing your Super Bowl party can’t be without is chili, and that’s a GREAT food for bypass patients.  Loaded with protein packed beans, choose a lean meat in making your chili, like a lean ground beef, ground ostrich, or a ground WHITE MEAT turkey (you may have to ask for this specifically at your grocery store – don’t assume ground turkey is all white meat, and if it isn’t, you are getting a lot of fat from the dark meat).  Use toppers to your favorite chili recipe that include fat free shredded cheese and fat free sour cream.  Your guests won’t know that you’ve chosen this because it’s gastric bypass friendly, they’ll just know it’s a Super Bowl party must have.

I have a terrific recipe for chicken that your guests will think came straight from Buffalo.  The difference is, in regular Buffalo Chicken wings, you are consuming close to 70% fat.  Check my recipe blog to get a recipe that cuts the amount of fat by more than half.  You can enjoy a small portion of the wings, and your guests can go hog wild (or is it chicken wild??) and not know the difference.

Some snack foods easily lend  themselves to gastric bypass patients, but having them at your party won’t make your guests feel like they are eating diet foods.  A nice tray of cheese (stick to low fat varieties), veggeroni (tofu based pepperoni) or turkey pepperoni, and most dips made with fat free sour cream are excellent snack options for a weight loss surgery patient, but they will all be welcome additions to your selection of party food.  You can even do something that looks really fattening and decadent, like a baked mozzarella cheese (purchase the fat free cheese sticks, dip in egg, roll lightly in Panko bread crumbs, bake in the oven until cheese is warm), with a sugar free tomato sauce.

Do a web search for fat free dips, and add things you know you can eat around them.  Most gastric bypass patients can eat pretzels and crackers, although you want to watch how much you eat of these types of foods.  The key to enjoying the dips with the pretzels or crackers is to take a spoonful of the dip on your plate, a few of the pretzels or crackers, and then move yourself away from the dip bowls. 

Pizza is not as bad as you have been led to believe, and if you make it yourself, you can do a lot to make it more gastric bypass friendly.  Use a very thin pizza crust – one you make yourself, buy already made, or roll out from the Pillsbury tubes.  Top it with a brush of olive oil, crushed garlic, and fat free mozzarella.  Or you can top the pizza with crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, and the cheese.  You can even find sugar free pizza sauce – or make your own – and use that with fat free mozzarella.  You can add more protein to the top of your pizza by topping a white pizza with lump crab meat or shrimp (if you can eat shrimp – it’s still too hard for me), or top a tomato pizza with chopped clams or chicken.  This is something your guests will love and you can enjoy.  Cut the pizzas into smaller slices or even into strips, that way you can feel like you can indulge in two pieces!

And don’t dismiss a salad option.  Of course, if your guests are used to hoagies and creamy salads like potato and macaroni, you may not win them over with a green salad.  But offer a salad fixings bar, including gastric bypass friendly options like shredded cheese, chopped egg, crumbled turkey bacon, diced turkey, etc.  Offer a selection of salad dressings ranging from simple vinegar and oil to the thicker, richer thousand island or ranch.  You can opt for fat free versions of the dressings, or offer the standard dressings for your guests and choose your favorite fat free variety. 

For desserts, include a fruit salad that you can have with a chocolate sauce or a light cheesecake dip.  It sounds a little frou-frou, but your guests will enjoy it.  A sheet cake with your team colors on it is an option for your guests, and many bakeries now carry low carb options made with Splenda that you can usually have a taste of (Cheesecake Factory restaurant makes a low carb cheesecake that is terrific, just eat a SMALL portion). 

When picking up paper goods, make sure to pick up smaller sized plates so that you can have a full sized plate of food using the smaller sized plate, and feel like you are not denying yourself anything.  And invest in the Super Bowl themed cups so no one will know if you’re drinking water or unsweetened iced tea while they are guzzling down the Bud Lights. 

Most of all, enjoy your company.  Enjoy showing off the new you, and showing people that celebrating – even your team’s win in the Super Bowl – doesn’t have to be all about fattening food.