Sunday, July 7, 2013

VSG Experimental Eating and Eating While Abroad

Hello Everybody! :-)
I am writing from Innsbruck, Austria where I've just had a nice weekend after having finished teaching one week in the University of New Orleans Innsbruck program! I'll be here another five weeks!
I will write more about Innsbruck soon and add lots of pictures, but I wanted to give an update concerning my living with VSG while abroad! I must say here that I've been on solid foods now for a little over three weeks. I consider myself one of the VERY LUCKY VSGers because I really have not had any huge problems with any foods! I have also NOT thrown up anything!

The foods that have been the hardest include:
- Chicken (nuggets were fine...I assume because they're processed and softer?)
- Salad with sunflower seeds and chicken and broccoli. That's a lot of hard stuff to digest.

What?! Only two items?
Yep. That's about far!

I'm feeling pretty awesome about that because having read that some people could not ever have rice, pasta, or beef again or that it was a hard experience for them made me a little worried. I admit, I have been somewhat conservative about amounts that I am eating and also I chew it until I can chew no more. I'm sure that helps some.


Ok, I admit this too.....while driving 10 hours to Columbia, SC one week and while driving 12 to Charleston the next week, I decided that I wanted to experiment with some foods just to see what would happen and what they would taste like.......

So, my first week on solid foods, I tried the following:

- a BK burger with bacon, no bun
- a soft serve ice cream cone
- bread with butter
- orange juice
- spinach
- baked fish with rice and broccoli
- grilled chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A

Conclusions: The burger was AWFUL. I could only eat half of it anyway. I'd found the amounts of protein online. The initial taste of the bacony burger goodness was all but destroyed by my having to chew it so dang much. I had a wonderful realization that I DIDN'T WANT IT anymore, woohoo! That was accompanied by the "what the hell do we put in our mouths?!" gasp. I tried one spoon full of rice, no issues. Same for everything else. I THINK the ice cream might have given me an upset stomach and I couldn't finish the cone anyway.

The following week, I tried:

- pizza from Andonlini's (*hey, no's the BEST)
- grits
- yoghurt with actual fruit pieces in it
- whoppers
- iced tea
- a Taco Bell taco

Now, I can hear some of you saying "OH, I get it, THIS is how she got fat in the first eating crap like this" and you would be WRONG-O (that's more than just wrong).
Think what you I said, these were experiments. I was going through a phase that included the following feelings, however jumbled up:

- YAY!  I can eat again! (+ I want everything)
- Oh gosh, will I ever be able to eat __________ again?
- Can I still have some things that are "bad" for me in moderation?

So, the pizza was AWESOME and I ate exactly half a slice, mostly toppings, before I was stuffed. Grits were fine and I ate about four spoonfuls. The whoppers were cool and I had five of them. Iced tea - I'm from the south so OF COURSE THAT WAS GOOD.
The taco was THE most wonderful thing I had tried so far. Why? Well, I pulled off a tiny bit of the shell and pulled out a couple of lettuce pieces, but other than that - I ATE THE WHOLE THING and that alone made me feel awesome. The rest was that it was super terrific to CRUNCH and the shell was good for that :-)


Ok, here is where some of us differ - not only in opinion, but in attitude. These drinks listed here are not always on VSGers' lists after surgery and for good reason: calories! Part of me just wanted to test it out to see what would happen because you read and hear so much about what people go through.

I have tried the following drinks and had NO PROBLEMS

- orange juice......If I drink too much of this, I burp the juice and that's when I know to STOP
- iced tea.....with and without sugar. I definitely like sugarfree better, as usual
- Coke on the transatlantic flight with lots of ice.....was ok, but I only took a few sips the size of which was the equivalent of sticking my tongue in (I was fearful it would go badly)
- apple juice......fine
- Wine
-Coke here in Innsbruck, no ice, just chilled. Absolutely fine


This has been way more difficult that I previously thought so I am extra glad that I brought some items with me such as protein bars, Crystal Lite mixes, tea, Equal, granola bars, and some mini cans of soup. Yes, it made my suitcase heavy, but I am on a rather severe budget here at the moment and the food is rather expensive.
The Innsbruck program gives us a marvelous lunch every day and after the first faculty lunch together, I asked for a container to bring home leftovers and the restaurant was happy to oblige. I have since used that container several times! The first cafeteria lunch was Wiener schnitzel made of chicken (and breaded) plus French fries. So, I took a few chicken bites, tearing off the breading and then had two fries (that makes me laugh!) Since then, I've been getting goulash or spaghetti sauce over a minute amount of noodles and avoiding the other foods. They have fruits and I always get the watermelon! I also get a bottle of water with each meal.

What's the problem? Well, I know I'm not getting all my protein in and I've been too tired to think about it. I've also been too sleepy and almost running late every morning so I've been forgetting my vitamins. Ok, let me pause and actually take them NOW at 8:47 p.m. because I'm guilty again...

Ok. Whew!

So, I have only bought two meals out and I've been here nine days. That will change, but so far the food has either been free or I've been just finishing my leftovers :-)

That's about it! I will do some Innsbruck and travel posts pretty soon. Good luck to everyone out there and for those of you who have emailed, please continue to ask me questions! I'm here if you need me :-)

***** UPDATE***** I completely forgot to mention that I did not bring my scale to Austria and the Nurse's office for the Innsbruck Program does not have a scale. They recommended that I buy one, but I'm too cheap.......and so I have no idea whether or not I'm still losing, if I'm maintaining....or the unthinkable!


  1. Caroline, it sounds like you're doing great and I can't imagine that you're not still losing. How do your clothes feel? You will probably be in for a very pleasant surprise when you get home :-) Enjoy Innsbruck!

  2. Yay for Carrot-Top Caroline, the Contessa of Coolness, the Choralista Chickaboom

  3. Thanks y'all! I am in fact, still losing albeit slowly :-) I'm trying to go by my clothes and the only thing that I can really tell with is the new pair of shorts that I bought right before I left! The other clothes were loose and still are ;-)