To be healthy you must learn how to drink 48 to 64 ounces of fluids a day. Remember, only drink the exact amount the doctor tells you your stomach can hold in one sitting (should be around 4 ounces). Then wait over 20 minutes to drink again. This process of drinking will become second nature to you. Mastering it is especially important for patients living in hot arid places like Arizona. Right now directly after your Gastric Sleeve surgery it’s really important you don’t pop open the sutures in your stomach. So don’t be foolish, think about your drinking.
Don’t drink 30 minutes before and after meals. It’s very important that you realize the size and time limits of your new stomach. Sometimes it’s hard to realize that you can’t drink until your stomach has emptied itself of fluids or solid food. When your stomach is healed and you overfill it, you will be so uncomfortable that you won’t forget it. Right now immediately after your Gastric Sleeve surgery if you overfill it, your sutures will pop open and fluids and/or food will pour into your abdominal cavity requiring emergency open surgery.
Full Liquid diet for one week – 3 days after your Gastric Sleeve surgery
Now after your clear liquid diet, you can drink liquids that you can’t see through. Not chunky foods just yet. But creamy ones. The idea is to start thin and gradually thicken it up. We want you to use the taste and wait method. That is – take a small sip and then wait a couple of minutes to see how it sets. Eat the entire portion that way the first time (don’t forget the size of your new stomach). If all goes well the next time eat 2 small sips and then wait – then the next time do 3 and so on. Always eat your food slowly and deliberately. This rule, rules whether you have Gastric Sleeve surgery or not. Think about it – it’s mindless eating that makes you fat and gets Gastric Sleeve surgery patients in trouble. Take your time and think about eating…be careful.
- Liquid nutritional supplements – These are formulated to provide calories, protein and essential vitamins and minerals. They are sold as diet aids (Carnation Instant Breakfast), geriatric food replacements (Ensure) and pediatric supplements (PediaSure). Please check sugar counts of many of these. As you might imagine products made for older people and children are designed for easy digestion. So liquid nutritional supplements might be the best starting point before transitioning to shake mixes. Every grocery and pharmacy has several different brands of liquid nutritional supplements and some have their own house brand which will be fine to use and less expensive.
- Protein Powder (shakes) – We like low carbohydrate shakes. There are a number available, including Unjury. Many like to use Unjury unflavored because it has a neutral flavor that we make gourmet diet desert out of. You can use any diet or shake you want. We have found that the higher quality shake mixes are easier to digest and they taste better. Always remember that your body can only absorb 15 grams of protein at a time. So buy for flavor and digestibility, not a large protein content. At the outset mix it thin, maybe using half the recommended powder. Then turn it up gradually making your shakes thicker by adding just a little more each time. We recommend almond milk as a mixer. High quality protein powder shakes deliver more and better nutrition than liquid nutritional supplements (above).
- Soup made creamy – Don’t blend a really chunky soup at the beginning – it may be too thick. To start we want a thin cream consistency, slightly thicker than whole milk. If necessary use a blender and blend it until it is smooth without chunks. You know what the consistency of the “cream of” soups are (broccoli, asparagus, mushroom, celery, cauliflower, chicken). If you do chicken, again make sure it’s not “Chunky Chicken.” You can make thick soups thinner by adding broth or water with bullion. Use a blender capable of completely liquefying thick or chunky soup like chicken – no solids. If you don’t have a good blender – get one. It’s a dieter’s best friend and we will teach you how to use it well. Like with the protein powder, we want you to start thin and slowly thicken only after you know you can take it.
Here is a list of other foods you can eat. Remember, water it down at first and use the taste and wait method.
- Smoothies – I have a number of recipes for these on http://terrysimpson.com
- Applesauce – try and get organic with no sugar added.
- Yogurt – Try mixing your own fruit into plain yogurt – much healthier than premixed. Remember no chunks yet. So blend it completely smooth. That goes for premixed or yogurt and fruit you mix yourself. Most yogurt has more sugar than ice cream – even Greek yogurt. So check the label.
- Pudding – we are talking desert here. If pudding really agrees with you right now after your Gastric Sleeve surgery – eat it. But we would prefer a protein shake or yogurt as prepared above. High quality modern protein drinks taste as good or better than pudding.
- Creamy frozen desserts (like Fudgesicles) – again desert (but a tasty one). Just do this as a treat – not every day. Hey doesn’t frozen yogurt sound good? Make certain it has no chunks.
Use the above foods as a consistency guide. There are a multitude of similar foods you can eat. Just make certain you completely blend out any chunks. It’s got to be relatively bland, completely smooth, and again at the beginning of this week make it very thin (add water, broth or almond milk). Remember to test using the taste and wait method described above.