Saturday, February 11, 2006

Shrimp Salad Entrees: Test Kitchen Series

I was the type of kid who never wanted to achieve something until someone told me it was out of my reach. Fresh and raw vegetables can be a real challenge after weight loss surgery. The stomach capacity is smaller and food must be chewed well and slowly. Lots of people give up on fresh vegetables, but I know there's healing power in garden produce so I'm resolving to study, plan and eat more fresh, raw vegetables.

The following two salads are topped with jumbo shimp to marry the best of lean protein with the fiber and vitamin power of fresh vegetables. (Why the emphasis on fiber?)

Herb-Sauteed Shrimp Salad
1 Cup shrimp
Herbs and spices: Cilantro, Dill, parsley, pepper, salt
Olive oil
Romaine lettuce mix
1 tomato
1/4 cup of carrots
Apple cider vinegar
1 oz. fat-free American cheese

Heat a sauce pan with small amount of extra virgin olive oil. Place shrimp, spaced out, in hot oil. Add herbs and spices and cook until shrimp are pink, but still firm.

Arrange salad items already sprinkled with vinegar. Place shrimp on top of crisp salad and put cheese on top.

Lemon-Cilantro Shrimp Salad
2 cups of shrimp
Olive oil
1/3 cup of lemon juice
Romaine lettuce mix
1/2 cup of carrots (shredded)
1/2 avocado (diced)
Apple cider vinegar
Cheese was optional

Heat a sauce pan with small amount of extra virgin olive oil. Place shrimp, spaced out, in hot oil. Add lemon juice and cilantro and cook until shrimp are pink, but still firm.

Arrange salad items already sprinkled with vinegar. Place shrimp on top of crisp salad and put cheese on top. Makes two servings

I'll be the first to admit I'm exprimenting. The carrots are present in each recipe because I have a huge bag of baby carrots and everyone in the house has been munching on carrots except the cats. The carrots are all about texture, crunch and fiber. They contain a big percentage of natural sugars, but the calorie price is still low considering they pack lots of vitamins and healing.

Avocadoes are incredible fruits (or vegetables, you tell me). They contain a high amount of fat, but it's the type of fat associated with a healthy heart. They provide fiber and protein at the same time as well as having 60 percent more potassium than bananas. And you weight loss surgery, postops, it's also high in Vitamin E (Helps hair, nails, scarring, etc.)

Shrimp's a little pricey, but we have a good selection of it down here on the Gulf Coast. It's an awesome lean protein with about 60-80 calories a serving with very little fat and no carbohydrates. It's also got a decent amount of iron and other vitamins. The biggest minus would be for folks who have high cholesterol levels. This may come as a shock if you follow this blog, but high cholesterol is the one very common health problem I don't have. I will be doing the shrimp salad variations with crunchy vegetables more often.

Oatmeal-Yogurt Variations: Test Kitchen Series

I'm really starting to love this recipe because it lays a good foundation for protein and fiber and leaves lots of room for personal choices and customizing and altering it for one's particular needs.
(Why the emphasis on fiber?)

I've stepped out of the box to offer my first variation of my classic Oatmeal Yogurt Crunch. I've substituted the slivered almonds in the recipe for a 1/2 cup of Kashi Go-Lean on top of each serving.

Here's what you are left with:
  • About 33-40 grams of protein -- I used Juice Plus Complete powder for 13 grams, oatmeal(4), yogurt (11 grams) and 1/2 serving of Kasha (5) ... Your protein serving might have 20 grams or more of protein.
  • Up to 10 grams of fiber -- I used juice plus powder for 4 grams, oatmeal (2), Kashi (4) and a little from the fruit ... Your fresh fruit, raisins might have more fiber.
  • Vitamins from real food!
  • PAIN IN YOUR JAW -- OK, this is a lot of chewing and I can only chew on one side right now since my last surgery. I'm going back to almonds folks. This means only about 28-30 grams of protein, but I do get to eat lunch and dinner. I do plan to use Kasha Go-Lean as a hunger eliminator between meals (I don't get that much), or I guess I could try it with milk (a breakfast cereal, I'm a genius!). Here's a Kashi commerical and info site.

Can you please join me with your variations to Oatmeal-Yogurt Crunch? A good Web buddy Mary has already shared some great ideas involving raisins and dried fruit.

I share my recipes, creations because I get a lot of good ideas in return. And hopefully, we can spare each other experiences that might not be "ideal" like avoid the Kasha Go-Lean if you have dental issues.

Please leave comments below with your variations. Your turn ...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I Resolve: Three Week Postop (X6)

I'm on the other side of three weeks postop from my multiple hernia repair. It's unrelated to the lap band, but all related to my life and journey. Through the pain of recovery, it's hard to tell what got better and what got worse. It's been a busy few weeks of happenings.

I Don't Care Update: I probably had many folks thinking I left my mind in Plaquemine, La. I will never forget Reality Doc and his part in the last 17 months. Everyone needs a dose of reality paired with support to keep focused on the big picture. My internist was that support and direction and I'll always appreciate that. My last message to him was directed to his staff: "Please tell the staff that I'm not the one that dropped that trailer on their sister. I was on the other side of Oz at the time. You've been great. I wish you well."

Hernia pain update: I hurt, therefore, I am. The pain got better and then it got worse. No matter what direction it goes, I'm reassured that hernia repairs are just extremely painful -- It's gonna hurt. I chased my little dynamo at a museum opening yesterday and actually rode a few miles on my bicycle this week (OUCH!). I guess I'm going to live.

Swallowing pain, eating update: I was blessed to spend time with a new doctor. My beloved SupaDoc is in Europe saving the slopes from obesity (I know he's working hard.) A doctor doing a fellowship with his group made me feel both old and extremely special. Doctors are getting younger, but he's too cool to be given the original title of "BabyDoc." He took a serious interest in my discomfort and made an effort to bring some relief. I've tried a medicine that would have eased the pain after swallowing if I had esophagus ulcers. I also had a test to monitor my swallowing mechanisms. Jury's still out, but we have ruled some things out. DocDetermined, MissionDoc or just SweetheartDoc -- I just can't decide ...

Weight-loss update: I think I said I didn't care. Ok, I lied. I still "WANT" to lose weight. I just don't want to lose perspective on the big picture and a balanced way of looking at life and food. After surgery, I gained about 10 pounds. As of last week, I had lost those fluid pounds and about 10 more. I am 80 pounds down from my highest weight of 350. Getting to 250 would be sweet. A hundred pounds rings well in anyone's ear no matter how they got there.

I Resolve: I want it all. I want to lose weight at a healthy rate. I want to eat from every food group without dependence on chemicals and synthetic "Soylent Green." I want many more days running behind pink power girl in the park. I want to ride my bicycle and build muscle as I lose fat. I don't want to be truly "thin," but I think I can be buff. It may not be easy, that's why I resolve.

Tuna-N-Friends Wrap: Test Kitchen Series

I've listed a similar recipe using grilled chicken. I was about to go that route, but I needed something a little softer. Here's the compromise. I had to say "Tuna-N-Friends" cause this sandwich-like thing has everything but the kitchen sink in it. There's so much protein and some good veggie content that I thought this was worth mentioning again.

This traditional sandwich contents are put in a wrap because it's easier to chew and swallow for a lot of weight-loss surgery postops. I used to have a lot of problems with sliced bread and sandwiches. It's about 50-50 for me now and I've recently started buying Nature's Own Light (honey wheat) for me and my family. It has 40 calories per slice and is full of protein and fiber.

Anyhoo, for this meal, we used a Herb-garlic wrap made by Mission. Other Mission wraps I've used include Spinach-Herb and Sun-dried Tomato. They have about 200 calories a wrap, but they are big enough to make two servings if you can't that much on bread.

Tuna-N-Friends Wrap

1 flavored wrap
Canned tuna (in water)
Tomato slices
Chopped onions
Cheese slice
Avocado slices
2 slices of bacon (hubby smiles, but I guess optional)

Place wrap on flat surface and load it up in the middle. Wrap it up like one would a burrito with the ends not spilling out. Press the wrap in heated, pan-sprayed pan.

Those people who have problems with "doughy" bread will benefit from a toasted, crispy wrap.

This wrap is a big, filling meal. I've shared it and left half for another meal. Even if you leave the bacon out, you get protein from the wrap, the tuna, cheese and avocado slice. Many people shy away from avocadoes because of the fat content, but they contain healthy fats which are heart-friendly. A serving should not exceed half an avocado, however.

Hot, crispy and full of vitamins and protein. Enjoy.