The VLCD stage before surgery is very different for everyone. It all depends on your surgeon, your dietician and your BMI. Some people have to go on a strict, complete opti replacement diet for up to six weeks during which they may have to have 3 or 4 meal replacements a day. Others have to do this intensive phase for two weeks. Some get to do two replacements and one meal consisting of protein and veggies. Some lucky buggers don't have to do opti at all. People who start off with a higher BMI normally have to do the VLCD for longer periods but it's not set in stone. You won't know what you have to do until you see your surgeon.
For me, I had my appointment with the dietician exactly two weeks before my surgery date. I chose to start the diet early however and did the intensive phase for three days prior to seeing the dietician, for the sole purpose of being able to have a 'normal' meal the Friday before my op a(s plans had been made about six weeks prior for that night). I figure three extra days on the strict phase would more than make up for one regular meal out, especially if I don't over do it. Friday is tomorrow and man am I looking forward to that meal! Opti hasn't been as hard as I thought, mainly because I'm lucky enough to be able to have that one protein meal a day but still, I'll looking forward to the variety! As great as it has been to have the option of one meal of 'real' food a day, it has been a challenge to make those meals interesting. I can't tell you how quickly one tires of chicken salad!
And so here's a selection of some of the things I've been having for dinner, just to give you some ideas :)
Obviously this doesn't have the protein in it, but it's easy enough to add some chicken or beef. Some nights, usually when I'm hungrier than normal I find it more filling to have a meal of veggies followed by an opti 'dessert (eg. gloopy pudding).
For the stirfy I combined capsicum, onion, cabbage, broccoli, beans, bean sprouts, garlic and carrot and added two tablespoons of soy sauce mixed with a teaspoon of crushed garlic, a dash of lemon juice and a sprinkle of powdered chilli.
Very simple and easy and very yum.
Spaghetti Bog, Opti style!
I really miss my pasta dishes at the moment and if I had a first born child, I'd willingly trade it for a lasagna right now! But one must make do with what one is allowed and so I settled instead for spaghetti. The quantities for this can be increased or decreased depending on how many you're feeding, in this case it was enough for two large meals for my hubby and two meals for me. There was approximately 80gms of mince in each of my servings.
400gm lean beef mince
Large tin of diced tomatoes.
Six or seven cloves of garlic, crushed (yes, I like my garlic, you can put less in if you're a pussy)
Large dash of paprika
One large onion, chopped.
Cabbage, chopped into long strings.
In a saucepan, combine everything bar the mince and bring to boil, then allow to simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Brown mince in a fry pan and then add sauce.
In a separate pan heat a little garlic oil (or plain oil if you're a pussy) and then saute the cabbage. Use cabbage in place of pasta and enjoy!
Garlic salted chicken with seasoned veggies
So I like garlic, so what? Go judge someone else :P
This delicious dish is so simple to make and I must admit, I lived on it for the first five or so days of opti. I also find an extra piece of chicken is lovely cold, cut up on a salad for my real meal the following day.
'Palm sized' piece of chicken, schnitzel thickness (thinness?) is good
'Free' veggies - I used carrot, beans and broccoli
Garden Fresh Vege-Spice - a little hard to find, I think I finally found it in a Coles somewhere near the spices/stock cubes
Garlic Salt - also found in the herb and spice section
Rub garlic salt onto both sides of chicken. Heat a small amount of garlic oil (or normal oil if, you know the drill by now, you're a pussy) over low to medium heat and cook chicken. Cook chicken slowly or you'll just end up burning the garlic salt on the outside and have raw chicken on the inside and end up with some nasty tummy bug and an exploding arse.
Steam veggies and drain very well in colander. Once drained, sprinkle some Vege-Spice over veggies and shake thoroughly (a good idea to keep them in the colander whilst doing this or you'll end up with broccoli on top of your fridge and other inappropriate places).
Serve and enjoy. Nom nom nom
Another tip I've found useful to help break up the monotony of opti is to utilise flavoured essences. A couple of drops of peppermint essence added to an opti dessert makes it a choc mint delight as opposed to a gloopy chocolate pudding. Peppermint or orange essence also tarts up a choc shake and I've also used lime essence (with mixed results) with the vanilla shakes. Yet even the times it wasn't quite the right amounts, it was still something different to the everyday flavour of the shakes. If you can't get coffee shakes at your local chemist, dissolve some coffee powder in a little cold water and add it to the vanilla shake (but be sure to use decaf if that's what your dietician has ordered. If this is the case Caffeinated Anonymous meets on Tues nights, come join us as we weep into our fake coffees).
You really have to experiment a bit. Yes, sometimes it won't work and you might waste a shake but for the times it does turn out, your taste buds will thank you for their flavour orgasm.
On a final note, sugar free mints are a must, if you're not a pussy. You know, for that garlic breath...