Weight Loss Without a Gallbladder?

Dum Aloo or Dum Paul!?!

Despite being fat, unfit, a smoker, & generally an excellent candidate for all the diseases of western civilization, I’ve done pretty well. Short of an unusual incident, or an occasional accident, I have managed to avoid hospitals for most of my life. It was a little cruel that I found myself curled up, on the ground, in the parking lot in one of Canada’s favourite coffee shops, during the first day of me enjoying a couple of vacation days with the family. Fortunately, these coffee shops are well located in the heart of things, so there was a walk-in medical clinic on one side. And an EMS station on the other.

With some assistance, I made it to the walk-in clinic & immediately assumed the fetal position again. On the floor again. That disrupted things a little but one look & the doctor put out the call for the ambulance. The EMS team arrived in minutes & I was on my way to hospital shortly after. Under less painful circumstances, I might have enjoyed the Code 1 ride, lights flashing & sirens a wailing. Not so much this time. Thanks & kudos to those folk who do the ambulance thing for us, by the way. They were great.

Despite how much I know about what my pancreas does for me, from a dietary perspective, I don’t always treat it well. And while I’d certainly heard of this condition: pancreatitis, along the way, I never paused to learn much about it. After all, it didn’t apply to me, did it? It did now. And it hurt. A lot!

Long story short, after 8 days in hospital, I went home, leaving my gallbladder behind in some garbage can. I’m not sure I made the right call in going ahead with the surgery. And though there were people there with far more serious conditions than mine, I still felt sorry for myself. I’m sad that I lost my gallbladder. I miss it!

But how is the lack of a gallbladder going to impact my way of eating? My diet? My weight loss efforts?

There are varying reports on the impact that this very common (too common?) procedure can have on our lives. Most reports seem pretty benign. From a cursory look, it seems like the recommendations for what to eat after the surgery are as confused as the “best diet” recommendations for our general health & well-being. My biggest fears were that I would no longer be able to tolerate hot & spicy foods. And worse, I might not be able to tolerate fatty meals.

Never one to shirk a challenge, I begged for my first home-cooked meal to be hot & spicy … a seasoned-to-kill Dum Aloo! It crossed my mind that it was a little unusual for me to avoid meat, but that’s what I wanted.

And the result?

I survived! Since then, I’ve tried a few high fat meals. Including bacon & eggs, with cheesy home fries … mmmmm! I’m very conscious of not having that big shot of bile available to attack the fat but otherwise, I seemed to tolerate it reasonably well. There are some weird little aches & pains hanging around my midriff but I’m not sure if that’s just the physical healing after surgery. Or if I’m inducing them with my crazy food choices. I also decided to do a big bread day. There was no logical reason why, but I was hoping that I was miraculously cured of my typically poor reaction to eating bread. I wasn’t. And that was a really bad idea!

So now, I’d like things to carry on healing. I hope they didn’t leave a tea spoon inside me. And, maybe in a couple or so days, I’ll get back to the grind of weight loss … without a gallbladder! Fingers crossed, all will be well.

If you are living life without a gallbladder, let me know how it’s going for you.

5 Ways to Prevent Weight Rebound

5 Ways to Prevent Weight Rebound

Vanilla Cinnamon Pancake made with eggs & cream cheese!

If you just can’t take another day of dieting, try these 5 things see if they help avoid a rebound. And that horrible feeling that comes when we step on that lying, cheating scale the morning after falling off the wagon!

I’ve been struggling the past couple of months & these little tricks have helped keep me treading water. I hope they continue to work ’til spring finally decides to arrive.

  1. Eat more fat. I tend to choose fattier cuts of meat & add more pan-fried foods to my diet. Topping my greens with butter helps too. Keto & low-carb adherents will know the value of a fat bomb. Little treats that we can stuff into our faces without fear of disrupting that venerable state of ketosis. Who cares if fat has the most calories. If it stops us going through another self-destruct phase, it’s worth it. And we just might be lucky enough to carry on losing a little while we seek comfort in eating more fat. If that doesn’t work, and …
  2. When I feel like I just can’t carry on … then I don’t! Whatever diet I’m on, I try doing the opposite. On a low-carb diet? Go all carbs for a day. Or three. Sounds like heresy but it can work. If I feel guilty about it, I can make healthy choices, like broccoli, sprouts, or cabbage. Flavorful additions like garlic & onion don’t even count, right! I stir-fry these in my favorite fat. And eat ’til I’m ready to burst. This is my “Vaguely Vegetarian” routine. I try not to eat a slab of meat on such days. Maybe a tiny few bacon bits. Just for the flavor! Sometimes, I go all starch with my choices, like home-fried potatoes. A day or two eating nothing but fried potatoes or fried rice (but, sadly, not bread for me) can soothe the soul. Yes, I may see a blip on the scale next morning but likely not on subsequent mornings. Once the liver & muscle tissue is loaded with the stored form of glucose, & the necessary water that accompanies that, it’s difficult to add much more. And it usually flies off again, once I go back to low-carb. If the first two suggestions are scary, why not …
  3. Go with the creep. But cautiously. Dessert can often be a lure for those of us on a low-carb or keto regimen. And those fat bombs don’t always work for us. In fact, they’re sickening sometimes. But adding some berries doesn’t add a huge amount to the glycemic load. So I make my own ice cream! I add heavy whipping cream to a cup of frozen berries & blend. I mostly add some dark chocolate (70% is about as dark as I can tolerate & still enjoy) for chocolate chip ice cream. Very delicious & quite addictive but it can keep me going during difficult times.
  4. Pattern disruption can help too. My problem time is in the evening. On the couch. Can you relate? Skinny people tell me to just get off the couch but this is not always easy to do. Sometimes, I need help from the nuttier parts of my mind. Early in the day, when I’m most motivated & strong, I’ll place something on the couch. Maybe a suitcase, to remind me of an upcoming trip that I want to look good for. Or simply to take up all the room on the seat so I can’t sit! When it gets near my crash & relax time, that suitcase reminds me of how enthusiastic I felt that morning. And it helps me focus on finding something else to do. Somewhere else to be. Leaving a suitcase on my couch isn’t a long-term solution, but it can help me do some different things. And pattern disruption, even when not directly related to food, can often help develop some new, sometimes more positive, patterns. A new pattern might include …
  5. Going for therapy! While it may well help, I’m not suggesting that we all go book an appointment with our favorite therapist. Instead, I try shinrin-yoku! This is “forest bathing”, Japanese style. It sounds like a mystical thing but it was only studied & given this name in the 80s. It is a practice of communing with nature, gently ambling through the forest. Regardless of diet & weight loss challenges, it proved to be of great benefit for our general health & well-being. I like water therapy too. I like to spend a little time by the ocean, a lake, or a stream. Though at this time of year, in my neck of the woods, the blackflies & noseeums do their best to suggest I go elsewhere! And that’s okay too. Because I might visit my favorite coffee shop (for coffee only!), the local library, or take a walk in the mall. I may even just sit on the porch & say hello to the neighbors. And their dogs. I just added riding a loop of the local transit system to my list. It doesn’t matter what we do, just getting up & going out is the thing. Interacting with nature & humanity, even just a little, can do wonders for the soul. And we can but hope that the body comes along for the ride!

If you have any suggestions on strategies that have worked for you, & that might help keep me on the straight & narrow … please pass them along in the comments section. The comments link is just under the post title.

Top 10 Things to Irritate the Irish with on St. Patrick’s Day!

Top 10 Things to Irritate the Irish with on St. Patrick’s Day!
Irish Habanero

Some Irish facts for the day that’s in it …

  1. If you want to use the diminutive of the name of our patron saint, the correct version is St. Paddy’s Day, NOT NOT NOT St. Patty’s Day. I’m sure St. Patricia was a lovely woman but we don’t celebrate her on March 17th. Remember that we have Liam Neeson, with that special set of skills, for folk who get this wrong!
  2. I’d have to be under severe duress before I’d even look at green beer, never mind drink it! And no, you do not contaminate a good pint by putting green sprinkles on the top of a Guinness!
  3. Irish nachos are not corn chips with some green crap thrown all over them. Irish nachos are made from spuds! Preferable thinly sliced (to maximise grease absorption!) & fried, of course. Then you throw the bacon, sour cream & green crap all over them!
  4. While I love corned beef & cabbage too, the traditional Irish dish is bacon & cabbage. There’s no point in looking for it outside of Ireland, it doesn’t taste the same. That’s why the Irish adopted the corned beef thing when they came to America. If you’re outside Ireland, you might be forgiven for going with the corned beef & cabbage.
  5. Don’t assume we all know Bono! Though I did work with the Edge’s brother for a while! And now that I think about it, I think a lad I worked for at one time, actually worked with Bono’s brother!
  6. I don’t think I have ever said “Top o’ the mornin'” to anyone in my entire life. Nor has any Irish person ever said it to me!
  7. No, I have no idea how to spell leipreachán. Feck off & look it up yourself!
  8. A four leaf clover does not represent the Irish shamrock. If you smuggle the real thing out of Ireland to plant in your foreign garden. It will die within 24 hours. But remain green after it’s death. (You know I make some of this crap up, right!?!)
  9. We tend to overlook the fact that the lad was English. And we’d be grateful if you didn’t ask us to explain all that to you!
  10. And last, but not least, it’s just pointless me trying to adhere to a diet on St. Paddy’s weekend. So I’m off to have an Irish coffee to start off the day. And I’ll probably have a pint for my morning coffee break. NOT!

Spread the green love … Happy St. Paddy’s Day to all! 🙂

How to Make Skinny People Fat

How to Make Skinny People Fat

Haggis & Chips

Comfort Food! Aaahhh!!!

You have no idea how difficult my life can be sometimes. I have a lot of expertise in how to get fat. I’m lucky enough to share my life with someone who doesn’t get fat. Wait a minute, let me rephrase that: I am lucky enough to share my life with someone who is even luckier, not because she’s get to share her life with me, but simply because she doesn’t get fat! Indeed, every now & again, she’ll come to me & say something totally & utterly excruciating, like …

“I’m down a few pounds & I don’t think it suits me, what should I eat?”, with that look of total innocence on her face.

Is she just trying to torment me or what!?!

But of course, ever dutiful when called upon, I will immediately try to help her out. Yesterday, & I’m still in my flu-season-comfort-food mindset, I thought I’d marry my own desire for comfort food with her desire to add a few pounds. I’d just have to eat a bit less of whatever pound-padding creation I concocted.

It’s no surprise that our favourite comfort foods come from our younger years, but choices were limited. We were busy yesterday & didn’t have time to hit the grocery store, so the cupboards were pretty bare. There was a decent selection of healthy choices but that wasn’t what either of us was looking for. I unearthed a can of haggis and, wonder of wonders, a can of baked beans! There are always frozen fries in the freezer so that was it: the complete fattening meal. A can of fatty meaty bits, loaded with oats to soak up & disguise the sheer volume of fat. A can of potentially healthy beans that are swimming in a sugary tomato sauce. And spuds so finely slivered so as to maximise the grease-attracting surface area of a veggie that might otherwise be healthy.

Now I must admit to enjoying my combo platter of sugar, fat & starch. Unfortunately, the Skinny One wasn’t enjoying hers. She’s not a big fan of haggis. The beans weren’t like the ones she had as a child. And there were too many fries on the plate. OMG!!!

While she went off to boil an egg, to accompany the single slice of Jarlsberg cheese she placed on a small plate, I finished off her leftovers. Only about 90% of the original meal! I know, I’m weak. What can I say. Other than I enjoyed her’s too.

After that amazing little keto-friendly “dinner” she had prepared for herself, she then went to prepare dessert. It was some kind of upside-down pineapple cake. With ice cream.

“Would you like one too?”, she inquired. More of that innocence in play!!!

I should have pulled the battery out of the scale last night, but I didn’t. So this morning: I’m up, she’s not. And we might have to go through this exercise all over again today. Aaarrrrghhhh!

Good thing we’re all out of haggis & baked beans! 🙂

Comfort Food

Comfort Food

Snow Window Open

Note to self … Close car window during winter!

Who doesn’t love comfort food?

We need it even more when winter drags on & on. I was looking at green grass for most of winter but now, suddenly, I’ve got snow mountains on the sidewalk. And we have a polar vortex that’s chillin’ things down for a day or two. What on earth is a polar vortex!?! Never mind, I don’t really want to know. Just bring on spring. Please!

I’ve segued from one cold or flu to another for the past month or six weeks. Now I have a sore throat that just won’t go away. Combine all that with some winter blues & I’m pretty close to forgetting all about diets & weight loss. Almost!

I don’t think I’ve ever been sick enough to not want to eat. I’m not sure if there’s any truth to the old saw about feeding a cold & starving a fever, but I was never motivated to starve myself in either circumstance. Quite the opposite.

Feeling as I do, it would have been easy to give up on the diet. I didn’t (well, not completely anyway), but I still needed comfort. Lots of comfort. Instead, I made a huge pot of silly-hot beef curry, adding all those ingredients that I thought might carry some natural curative properties. Chilli powder, turmeric-laden curry powder, tons of hot peppers, garlic, onion, cilantro. And, towards the end of cooking, three big thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger. Adding a topping of melting Jarlsberg cheese to my big bowl of “medicine” gave great texture, along with a Vitamin K2 boost.

Cure a fever!?! This stuff is hot enough to give you a fever! Wonder if my strep throat bugs are the curry-resistant variety!!!

I also went into free-fall on fresh & frozen fruit, bananas, raspberries & blueberries. All accompanied by chocolate & cream. Sadly, it wasn’t always the dark chocolate.

Has it cured me? … Not at all.

Do I feel better? … You bet! Especially while I’m stuffing my face!

I’ll worry about what the scale feels next week! 🙂