Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tips from the Road: Traveling When You've Had Gastric Sleeve Surgery

The Indian Taco at Tocabe American Indian Eatery in Denver.
In the past few weeks, I've been going, going, going, and haven't been doing a lot of posting, posting, posting.

All that traveling has meant a whole lotta eating out and challenges to stay on track with my six-month-old gastric sleeve surgery. But I did pretty well and managed to get a few more pounds off.

I was in Houston and Galveston Island, Texas in late May, visiting friends and family with hubby; Keystone, Colo., at TBEX12, a travel blogger conference in mid-June; Kerrville in the Texas Hill Country at a family memorial service a couple of weeks ago; and am writing this from Lagos, Nigeria, where I'm helping hubby move back to the States (He worked there the past four years.)

And I confess that while I tried a few things that weren't strictly on the program, I found I could find something workable on just about any restaurant menu even Italian restaurants. Several of the hotels where I/we stayed, particularly Keystone Lodge, had nice kitchens with refrigerators great for stashing the leftovers.

Hubby's Texas waffle. Yikes, I didn't eat this.
Here's a few tips from the road:

Make good choices: Driving to Keystone, I stopped in Denver at Tocabe American Indian Eatery, an Osage Indian-themed restaurant I'd heard about on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on Food Network. The pic above was actually my neighbor's Indian Taco she kindly allowed me to photograph.

I ordered the equivalent only without the fry bread, a Melting Pot Salad with pulled bison brisket flavored with pungent herbs and spices, black beans, salad, cheese and roasted house-made salsa, romaine lettuce with a squirt of sour cream and chipotle sauce. I should probably mention that I'm not a big believer in fry bread as a Native American food because it came about from the rations of flour and lard Native American tribes received from the U.S. Government on their forced relocations from the East Coast in the 1800s.

I'm a big fan of main-dish salads, grilled proteins and veggies when eating out. I've mentioned before that the grilled chicken at KFC is one of the few fast foods I'll eat.

Assorted Sashimi Plate at Full Moon Café in Norman, Okla.
Stay away from the white food: Eat around the rice, potatoes, grits, pasta — or better yet, tell the wait staff you'd rather have more veggies or fruit instead. As much as I love sushi, I stuck with the beautifully presented Assorted Sashimi Plate (sushi seafood without the rice) recently at the Full Moon Café in Norman, Okla. High quality protein, no fat, no carbs.

Start with the protein: Because I fill up so quickly, I eat my protein first, veggies second and fruit third if I have room.

Hubby and I ate at the wonderful Pearl Garden restaurant on Victoria Island on my birthday a few days ago and I ordered Prawns and Cashews in a Crispy Basket. The prawns didn't have any sauce on them, but were perfectly cooked, tender and succulent. I loved the presentation in the crispy potato basket, but didn't eat that. I snapped a pic, just because the dish was so beautiful. I did have some wine, which brings me to my next point. 

Prawns and Cashews in a Crispy Basket at Pearl Garden

Watch out for the alcohol: I've found if I have wine, I don't lose. And hard liquor knocks me on my butt promptly; I just can't metabolize it very well. More on that in a soon-to-come post. It also breaks the rule about not having liquids with more that 15 calories per 8 ounce serving. Hmmmmm — makes me thirsty just thinking about it.

Stay hydrated: Bring your low-cal sports drinks in a cooler. I like the Fuze Slenderize, PowerAde Zero, Sobe Lifewater. Unfortunately, PowerAde doesn't fit in my drink holder in the car though, which is inconvenient.

On a related note, drink lots of water while waiting for your entreé: Because I can't drink liquids while I'm eating, I drink my water first. Steph, my fantastic WeightWise nutritionist/dietician, says we're supposed to wait an hour before drinking anything after eating — so get your water while you can.

This morning, dry and unpainted, I was down to 204 pounds, which is 69 pounds lost from my all-time high of 273. Weight loss has been slow and I'm still losing hair, so I know my body is still adjusting to changes.



Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Not So Ugly

I've been having some issues with my sleeve playing bad head games on me. The psychologist at my surgeon's office suggested that I don't go off my daily 30 mg dose of Cymbalta and I'm glad I didn't. I've been stalled for about six weeks now, going back and forth from 207 to 210. The stall is getting SO DISCOURAGING. My highest weight was 273 and I'm feeling a lot better, but I'm still so far away from my goal of 135-140 pounds. I'm about five-and-a-half months out.

The NSVs are definitely a tradeoff with the negatives.

NSVs (Non-Sleeve Victories) include going off one of two blood pressure meds, going off an anti-inflammatory med, knees and feet feel a lot better. I'm about out of another pair of too-big jeans. My stress incontinence is about over, and my cheekbones are starting to emerge. My husband says my sleep apnea is waning and I'm not snoring nearly so much if I nap or fall asleep without my CPAP.

On the negative side, I am definitely grieving food, although I believe you can still eat beautiful, fabulous food prepared well -- just not as much of it and definitely not some things. My face looks like a red-dotted road map with zits and I've been having hair loss, although I think I may be turning the corner on that. The nausea that hits if I eat too quickly is a little disconcerting, but I'm dealing with it.

But all in all, I'm glad I did it. I feel much better and have lots more energy.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Garden Goodness

Basil, lemon and regular thyme, curly and flat parsley, yellow cherry tomatoes. Yum!

Want to take your culinary offerings up a whole bunch? Amp them up with herbs, Herb.

My two square-foot gardens debuted this year with herbs and veggies. They're about two-feet high, three- wide-by-eight feet long and built with cedar posts and chicken wire on the bottom that I'm hoping to keep the moles from coming up and dining on the roots.

I used discarded mini-blinds to make my squares and just cut them to length and hammered them into the cedar posts with nails.

I used about a bag of compost added to the top soil in each garden, but that's all the soil amendments I did for this year.

And now I have several kinds of garlic I'm about to harvest, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes and Beefeater tomatoes. Plus there's lemon basil, radishes (although they're almost gone,) chives, marigolds, several kinds of lettuce still, arugula, rainbow Swiss chard, quinoa, red okra, celosia and marigolds for color, and other stuff I've forgotten.

Radishes -- adds punch to salads or a fun side dish sauteéd.
You can add fresh herbs to just about anything and it helps the flavor. I added fresh thyme and oregano to my Lemon Baked Chicken last night and freshly picked parsley, arugula, lettuce and radishes to my tossed salad. Fresh herbs went into my vinaigrette too.

As far as my weight loss goes, I'm just stuck, stuck, stuck between 207 and 210 -- 66 pounds off. When hubby goes back out-of-country for work tomorrow, I'm going to clamp down and see if I can't get to Onederland in the next couple of weeks (getting below 200.) No glasses of vino. No giving into a cracker craving occasionally. I've gone to too much trouble not to continue to get and keep the weight off.

I'm still losing hair, but that's slowing down thankfully. I've always had quite a thick mane so it hasn't been noticeable. From everything I've read, it's just the body adjusting to lower calorie intake -- not a big deal and it stops and grows back after awhile.