I’ve been wanting to write about this, and I thought, what better way than to include it in a Friday Five? This week’s Friday Five is dedicated to…
Products I Can’t Live Without
In no particular order…
1. Tervis Tumblers
2. WeanGreen 6 oz. containers
3. Salter Aquatronic Food Scale
4. Celebrate Vitamins soft chewable multivitamins
5. Calcet Creamy Bites
Let me explain how I use these things on a daily basis, why I love them, and why they have been great resources in my weight loss journey so far.Tervis Tumblers: My husband refers to my tumblers as “adult sippy cups.” Here’s why:
The lid has a slight lip on it that gives the appearance of a kiddie sippy cup. The one in this photo holds 24 ounces, but the ones I have hold 16 ounces. Conveniently, that’s 2 cups. I drink out of these all day long, and it is a great way to help me get my fluids in because I estimate that each graduation on the inner cup (they are insulated; another plus) is about 2 ounces. I like the sippy feature because now that I cannot use straws, this helps me keep from spilling my beverage of choice on myself. The fact that these are insulated was the selling point for me because pre-op, my dietician told me, “It will take you 2 hours and 45 minutes to finish a protein drink.” My first thought was, holy shit…I better have a way to keep the damn thing cold or I will not drink the drinks. Enter these guys. I bought a few for me and for J, and they have been lifesavers. I highly recommend them if you, like me, don’t like warm protein drinks and like being able to measure your fluid consumption each day.
A while back, J and I decided we’d chuck all the Gladware and plastic food storage containers we had in the house in favor of glass. The reasons were pretty simple–glass doesn’t stain, it can be microwaved easily and can go into the freezer. Not only that, it’s a bit more environmentally friendly than plastic. We’d already converted our larger food storage to glass (Anchor Hocking makes a great line of glass food storage products which I also recommend) but I wanted something that would replace the tiny Gladware containers we’d been using to cart nuts and smaller snacks to school with.
I knew that post-op, neither of us would be able to eat much more than a quarter cup at a time. We needed to be able to store meals in small containers so that they could be heated up in the microwave if needed. Initially, I thought about using small Mason jars but quickly changed my mind when I realized the lids would rust.
Enter the WeanGreen containers.
After a Google search for “small glass jars” led me to Amazon and eventually to these guys, I decided to order a dozen. I had a gift card for Amazon given to me by an extremely thoughtful and kind student who knew I was having surgery, and used it to purchase the jars. I use them pretty much every day. When I cook something at the beginning of the week, I measure out portions into the jars and store them in the fridge, so that all I have to do is pull one out, heat whatever’s in it, and eat it. No guesswork, because each jar already has a pre-measured portion in it! I have ordered a slightly larger size of these containers (rectangle-shaped ones that hold a wee bit more) that will hold meat and veggies for when I have more room in my tummy for veggies. 🙂
Salter Aquatronic Food Scale
Portion control is key with any change in the way you eat, but it is critical for sleeve patients, especially when you make the transition from liquids to soft foods. Since your sleeve doesn’t really get full while you’re on liquids, eating foods is the first big test your sleeve has of its new capacity. Pre-measuring your food is super important because you don’t want to stuff yourself, EVER. It doesn’t feel good, and it’s not a good habit to get into. Pre-measuring your foods also helps you determine what your initial capacity is since your new tummy is still very swollen, and the nerve endings are blunted since many of them have been cut through. Did I emphasize how important it is to measure and weigh out portions?
I had this scale for a long while before it ever made it out of its box. I’d bought it during the last grand effort I made to lose weight but never used it. Thankfully, I remembered that I had it because I knew it would be crucial to my success with my sleeve. I use this scale Every. Single. Day. When I cook a large quantity of something, I use this to measure out 2 ounce portions into my WeanGreen bowls. I weigh out portions of meat or cheese with this bad boy, and it is fabulous. It measures to the eighth of an ounce, and can be converted to metric measures as well. It wipes clean with a wet cloth, but I always weigh stuff either in a bowl or on a piece of deli paper. It’s battery-operated which is also a plus because it doesn’t take up a plug in an outlet. In my kitchen, where socket real estate is precious, this was important. Best of all, it doesn’t take up much space at all.
Celebrate Soft Chewable Multivitamins
When I was told by my dietician that I would have to take chewable vitamins post-op, I thought, oh good, I can still take my gummies! Then I told her I took gummy vitamins and she nixed that immediately. The explanation I was given was that my new tummy would not produce enough acid to fully digest the gummies and that they could get hung up on the staple line. She also explained that the vitamins I was taking would not have enough of the right amounts of vitamins I’d need post surgery. She then proceeded to give me a ton of samples of chewable vitamins from Celebrate. I tried one of them, and it wasn’t awful, but it was super gritty, which I did not like. I began to fret, because I’d been really good about taking a multivitamin every day for the past 3 years and didn’t want to stop that behavior.
The month before my surgery, I’d been sampling various protein powders, and noticed that Celebrate had what they call an ENS (essential nutrient system), which is protein powder with the vitamins mixed into it. I decided I’d give it a try to see if I liked it, because if I did, then that meant I could still get my vitamins in immediately post-op.
Now, one of the things that Celebrate does that I think is fantastic is that they send a sampler pack with your order. You are charged for it, but you get a coupon for $3.00 off your order so it’s basically free. The sampler pack comes with a bunch of samples of their products, which is great because then you can try lots of different things–chewable vitamins, calcium chews, iron supplements, ENS packets and the like. When I ordered a box of the ENS, a sampler pack came and in it was a sample of the soft chewable multivitamin. I decided to give it a try because I didn’t really care for the solid chewables that my dietician had given me. I bit into it, and it tasted like a vitamin-y Starburst to me. It had the texture and chew of a Starburst and a nice orange flavor. Best of all, it wasn’t chalky or gritty, had no aftertaste, and was enjoyable to take. It was really good, and I liked the nutritional information on it–2 chews are 25 calories and zero carbs, as they are sugar free (another plus). They also come in a mixed berry flavor.
I went ahead and ordered a package of the orange flavored ones and have been taking them since I was cleared to start vitamin supplements 2 weeks ago. They’re really good, and I take mine about an hour after I have breakfast in the mornings, and then again about an hour after dinner. I would highly recommend these to anyone looking for a chewable vitamin that is geared toward bariatric patients.
Calcet Creamy Bites
I ordered these at the same time I ordered the chewable multivitamins from Celebrate. I decided to give these a try because they were not chocolate flavored, and after 3 weeks of chocolate protein drinks, the last thing I wanted to choke down supplement-wise was something chocolate flavored.
Holy monkeys…these are amazing. They are individually packed in blister packs, which makes them great for traveling or just throwing in your lunch bag or purse. When you bite into them, they have a slightly tart lemon taste that’s tempered with a tiny bit of vanilla from the middle. Seriously, they taste like little lemon petits-fours. They really don’t taste like a vitamin supplement at all but more like a candy.
I take two of these each day along with my multivitamin, and it is like starting the day with dessert. Yes, these have a bit higher calorie count–70 calories for 2, and 10 carbs, but they are so worth it! You can order these from Celebrate, but you can also order them directly from the manufacturer and get a discount on shipping if you order $35 or more worth of product. Right now, they are also running a coupon special for 25% off. I was able to buy 3 boxes for $29 with the coupon plus free shipping and no sales tax (here in Texas, we are not charged sales tax on vitamin supplements). I would also recommend these as a calcium supplement if you are looking for something that tastes good and isn’t chocolate flavored, although Calcet does come in chocolate fudge flavor as well.
So those are the 5 things I absolutely love and use daily that have helped me succeed so far. As I find more tools that help me along, I’ll review them here. Now for the rest of the post…
Today’s food choices:
This morning I had my annual eye exam, which is a long, drawn-out affair since I am diabetic and have to have a full-blown medical eye exam. This is both good and bad in that my medical insurance covers it, but that it takes a little over an hour since I have to go through a ton of vision and eye health tests while my eyes are dilated.
One of the things my eye doctor’s office does is take my blood pressure since I am also hypertensive. Today, the assistant took my blood pressure using a wrist monitor, and when she showed it to me I said, that can’t be right, it’s crazy low! It was 96/54. She took it on my other arm, and the reading was similar–95/53. My blood pressure has never been that low. I told her I’d taken my medication that day too, as I always do. I decided I’d give my PCP a call to ask her about the odd readings, so after I finished my eye appointment I called her office and asked about it, and the receptionist asked me if I had time to come in this afternoon since there was an opening.
After I came home and had lunch, I trekked back out, this time to my PCP’s office. I hadn’t seen her since she did all my pre-op clearance testing back in June so it was a nice surprise to tell her that I’d lost 61 pounds since I last saw her. She was very excited about that, and took me into an exam room where she proceeded to check my BP. It was only 10 points higher for both systolic and diastolic readings–not surprising since it was taken on my brachial artery as opposed to my radial artery. But it was still lower then it had ever been in the past. At that moment, my doctor said, “Well, we can cut your current pills in half, or I can lower your lisinopril dose, which doesn’t come with a diuretic.” I nodded and she explained why it would be better to simply cut the lisinopril and ditch the diuretic altogether–the lisinopril is the ACE inhibitor component of my BP medicine that is renal protective and longer lasting than the diuretic component and would actually help my BP more than the diuretic did. We agreed this was the right path to take, but that I would keep an eye on my BP while on the lowered lisinopril dose (from 10 mg to 5 mg daily) to see if a diuretic had to be reintroduced.
I then told her that I’d stopped taking my metformin because my blood sugars were running anywhere from 80-125. She said, “Well I can’t fuss at you for that now, can I?” I laughed and said no. She advised me to do one of two things–either continue to take the lower dose and see how my labs turned out, or stop taking it and see how my labs turned out. You know which option I chose, right? RIGHT.
The long and short of it is:
My blood pressure medication was stepped down. A LOT.
I was basically told to stop taking my diabetes medicine. We’ll re-evaluate at my labs in October, she said.
These are major, major non-scale victories. These are some of the things I have long hoped for!
Also? I could step on her exam room scale and weigh for the first time in EVER.
TODAY WINS. That is all.