Thursday, April 19, 2012

Making It Manageable: Eating Out

Three weeks after my Dec. 27 gastric sleeve surgery, my mother had her 87th birthday and we usually take her to dinner at someplace nice like Legend's Restaurant in Norman, Okla.

But I was just off my two-week liquid diet and on to the next stage, affectionately called "mushies."Those are things like scrambled eggs, cottage cheese and tuna fish salad without veggies.

I never told my mother I was having surgery, just that I had been dieting. I made sure I didn't sit next to her and played with my grilled salmon throughout the meal. It worked.

It took me awhile to get the hang of eating out in restaurants, but it was something I really wanted to get to, partly because I like the social, communal aspect of eating out in good restaurants with people I love. I also have done a bit of food writing, which I really enjoy. Dietician Steph Moore at WeightWise told me eventually I'd be able to take bites of everything and anything, although at three and a half months out, I'm not there yet.

Seared Tuna Salad from Full Moon Sushi, Norman, Okla.
The phase of eating I'm on now is mostly protein and veggies, with occasional fruit. I avoid bread, rice, pasta, etc., although occasionally I've had a bite. And I make sure I always get my oil in, because I know it's so important for my skin, cell walls, hair, regularity, etc.

One of the first times I ate out, I didn't order anything to drink and everybody at the table and the wait staff were puzzled by that. And the more I refused anything to drink, the more my well-meaning family pressed, which I found odd. I learned to order water or whatever and drink it up until the meal comes. I haven't had that problem since.

My favorite thing to order is probably main-dish salads. Today at lunch, I met my daughter Kat and her boyfriend at Full Moon Sushi in Norman, Okla., one of my favorite restaurants -- not just because the food is darn good, but the wait staff and ownership is so warm and welcoming. Trouble is, that I'm not eating my beloved sushi because I'm not eating rice and I'm not up to eating sashimi yet. Sashimi is the raw fish served by itself without rice. I turned to their bistro items they offer usually for people who don't like sushi. Turns out their bistro lunch and dinner menu was a quietly tasty secret hiding on the front of their menu.

I ordered Full Moon's Seared Tuna Salad -- sushi-grade tuna crusted with white-and-black sesame seeds, about a tablespoon of lime créme fraîche which is sort of similar to sour cream, asparagus and the cutest little crunchy wonton nest in the middle. All for $8.99.

My other favorite off the bistro menu is their seared scallops, served with creme fraiche and balsalmic drizzles, veggies and risotto, (which I didn't get), for $12.99. I've also had their beef tenderloin ($12.99,) the best buy on a tender beef dish in town. 

I think if you order carefully, you can eat almost anywhere. Restaurants are generally happy to accommodate your request to not have potatoes or risotto on your plate, and put salad dressing or sauces on the side so you can control how much you get. 

One safe thing to order has been grilled or baked salmon. I've tolerated shrimp including ceviché well, except for a too-buttery scampi that kind of made me gag one time.

I always was a fast eater that I attribute to growing up with two hungry younger brothers. Eat it or you might not get to. My dad used to say, "Eat, eat, eat," loudly at the table urging us not to piddle with our food. He was a dentist who came home for my then-stay-at-home mother's wonderful, hearty lunches and we'd walk home and back from grade school to have lunch together as a family. People don't do that anymore.

But echoes of those great lunches and dinners and my family's cooking (we all turned into pretty decent cooks) can get me in trouble now. I carry nausea medicine, Promethazine, in my purse just in case of emergencies.

Yesterday, I was having lunch on an outdoor patio restaurant in lovely weather with my little mom and think I ate my grilled salmon wedge salad too fast because I was stressing. And the nausea came rushing over me. I stifled it, but was concerned I might get sick in front of my mother and she'd be upset. I went digging through my purse and put the nausea medicine on my wrist under the table and started rubbing my wrists together quickly. My mother just looked at me like I was nuts. But it passed and she let it go. I have to remember -- I had major surgery. I'm still healing.

Go-to items as far as fast food are KFC's grilled chicken and taco salads without sour cream at most restaurants. Main-dish salads are available at most fast-food and sit-down restaurants and they're lifesavers. Like I mentioned before, order the dressing on the side. I should probably note I really try hard not to eat fast food, but sometimes it's tough to avoid it when you're on the road, which I am a lot.

It's all doable if we make good choices.

Hooray, 60 pounds total gone, from my formerly 273-pound frame. Forty-four pounds since Dec. 27 surgery. 


1 comment:

  1. It's a pleasure to follow your are an inspiration! Keep up the good work!