Many people worry about this, and I’ll admit that I did, too. I mean, who doesn’t like good food, right? We can all breath a sigh of relief, it’s not quite as drastic as our fears led us to believe. A couple friends of mine told me that, for the first month or so after surgery, food tastes terrible. Not different or unrecognizable, per se, just bad. Lucky for me, my experience wasn’t like that. Food still tasted like it was supposed to, though maybe a little ‘dull’ for a short time. In my case, food tasted fine and I was able to eat almost immediately.
The first day in ICU I was restricted to a solely liquid diet, but that soon after surgery I really didn’t want to eat anyway, so that was fine with me. The first day and a half in the regular hospital room they fed me normal meals, but I wasn’t all that hungry so I ate only bits and portions. One meal I didn’t eat at all because I simply wasn’t hungry. After that I ate fine, and my appetite has been normal since.
And for what it’s worth the hospital food was actually pretty decent, even good at times… though the “pot roast” had the texture of something out of old Army C-rations. There’s a not too fond memory I’d rather push back into the deep dark recesses of my brain.
The big change in my diet kind of surprised me. Being diabetic and having everybody continually harp on me about blood sugar and carbs I was expecting a huge restriction there. Not so. Now don’t get me wrong, carb watching is still as important as ever. I still have to keep them in check and do the right thing. No, the big thing for me, at least for the foreseeable future, is sodium. I need to keep my salt intake down and well-managed. My hospital meals were specially designated as low-sodium, or possibly even no-sodium, I forget. They also made it a point to provide packets of Mrs Dash for seasoning to replace the salt. So the #1 dietary goal for me right now is reduce my sodium intake. I can do that.
About 15-ish years ago I eliminated added table salt on all foods, except french fries, corn on the cob, and popcorn. I did that for several years, but slowly backed away and started adding table salt to everything again. Well, now I’m determined to go back to that goal… and add french fries to the no salt rule. I even used Mrs Dash on some corn on the cob tonight and it was very good. I still can’t envision unsalted popcorn, though.
I’m also making an effort to make more foods either from scratch, or at least simpler. Packaged foods and mixes usually contain a bunch of sodium, for both taste and preservative purposes. And here’s a fun fact: Low-calorie, reduced-calorie, non-fat, and low-fat foods… basically anything packaged and marketed as an allegedly ‘healthier’ alternative… almost always have something increased to make up for what they took out, and very often that addition is a boatload of sodium. For a few years now my position has been to eat the real thing, just watch portion control.
So, here’s my ‘new’ dietary regimen…
- Reduce sodium greatly.
- Keep watching my carbs.
- Watch my portions… not easy for me, but I’ve been good so far.
- Eat real food, not bastardized concoctions, just watch portions (there’s that theme again).
See, it’s really not all that bad. Instead of ordering a meal and an appetizer, I pick one or the other, but not both. If I go to fast food, instead of a value meal and another burger as a side… yes, I do that… just the value meal. No more side burgers. And guess what… it’s really not that bad. I’m still satisfied when done.
Eat well, and bon appétit. 🙂