Monday, May 9, 2011

Weighing in

After IV fluids, jello looks pretty darn good!
Another Monday, and another Weight-Watchers weigh in. Of course, this Monday like last Monday is different - this is after my diagnosis with complicated diverticulitis, and I'm on a very different diet than Weight Watchers point system..

Still, it's good to keep a record of what I eat and how my body reacts, and the Weight Watchers online system is a great tool.  And wouldn't you know it - I've earned a star today. I've lost 5% of my starting weight!

What's my glamorous secret?

The diet I'm following is called a "low residue diet", and its purpose is to get enough nutrients through me to keep me alive without making my bowels work too hard. The emphasis is on low fat and low fiber.

That's right, LOW fiber. It's funny, because a diet too low in fiber, high in fat, and high in processed foods is probably what got me here in the first place. The long-term goal for a diverticulitis patient is to gradually adopt a high fiber diet once your gut is fully healed.

Hospital cafeteria powdered eggs. Yuk.
But for now, while my innards are still recovering, I'm eating the diet of an invalid. I have a table I follow with columns that show "foods to enjoy" and "foods to avoid."

On the "Enjoy" side - White bread. Cooked cereals, Rice Krispies, white noodles, mashed potatoes (no skins). Vegetables cooked to a mush. Tender meat and protein, blamelessly soft or ground, and without gristle, fat, or stringy bits. Cooked fruits or certain non-fibrous fruits like melon and banana. Applesauce, yogurt, jello.
Squash soup - OK
Pureed vegetable soups or chicken noodle soup. Tea and clear juices are okay.

I eat a lot of tuna sandwiches and cups of chicken noodle soup
On the "Avoid" side are  - Whole grain breads or rolls. Pumpernickel. Wild rice, kasha, bran cereals, coconut, dried fruit, berries, raisins. Raw or partially cooked vegetables. Fibrous meats with gristle.

Everything in the cabbage family is forbidden.

Beans and legumes. Onions.Peanuts, pickles, olives, relish and popcorn. All on the "Avoid" list.

Not allowed
No alcohol. This is listed in the diet, but it's also forbidden during my antibiotic regimen, because it reacts with one of my medications.

This isn't really hard, because my gut feels sensitive and I'm not craving what I can't have. I expect this might change as I get better.

Nuh - uh

No way

Don't even think about it.
There are other foods that aren't mentioned in either list, but I'm temporarily avoiding them to be safe. And some of these are things I simply adore.

Tacos Cochinita pibil
The coarse masa meal in tortillas might be trouble, also the fatty and fibrous roast pork and pickled vegetables. Sigh.

Barbecue from J & J

Barbecue ribs and baked beans are no-go. I can eat the soft white bread, though.

Oaxacan Horchata with chunks of fruit, cactus syrup and pecans
Raw fruit and nuts are forbbiden.

Sichuan hot sauce
Hot chiles, oil, and peanuts - a trifecta of things I must avoid now.
I'm trying to see if some of my favorite foods will fit my regimen. Sushi, for instance. White rice and tender protein - that would work, right? Or is there an issue with raw fish?

Are oysters on the half-shell allowed?

I experimented the other day with California rolls made with fake Krab, and it seemed fine.
Delicious Pho
How about Vietnamese pho? Clear beef consomme, rice noodles, tender beef? No Sriracha sauce, and no raw bean sprouts, but otherwise, it could be a soothing, delicious meal.

All in all, I feel like some toothless codger gumming soft white pap and inconveniencing my dinner companions. "Sorry," I found myself apologizing to a waitress for leaving half a tuna sandwich on my plate, "I'm on a limited diet."

I've always felt slightly superior to people with picky diets. Now I am one, at least temporarily, and I suppose my experience will make me more sympathetic.

What foods soothe you when you're sick?

What foods do you miss when you're under the weather?


Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Giving up your favorite foods is painful, esp. when we so often see food as comfort and happiness. My mother had a rough time with the giving up of whole grains and fresh fruits & vegetables and fish (based upon her particular dietary requirements); I felt like an evildoer when I was clearing out her pantry of her long-time favorites.

Soup will always be a comfort food for me, whether a simple broth when I am sick or a hearty bowl of stew in the winter.

smalltownme said...

I always have chicken soup when I'm sick.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Vegetables cooked to a mush.

Sigh. It just seems wrong. G.L., Aunt Snow.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

Oh no! I am hope you start feeling better real soon. In addition to being able to drink the harp...I just hope you feel better. I hear that's a doosie of a diagnosis. Thinking good thoughts for you!

Gilly said...

Oh no! That sounds a thoroughly dull diet! Though as a multi-ethnic place, you do have a lot of things that you CAN eat that I've never even heard of!

I do hope you soon get better - jelly (jello to you) can get monotonous!

Me, I've always found porridge very soothing!


This completely sucks.
Small concellation: your diagnosis reminds me of funny SNL skits.

Hope you're on the mend soon.