Just a spoonful of sugar

In hindsight, my last post addressed when and how I eat but not so much as specifically what. When I was starting out on this journey I asked every seahorse I met “what do you eat…exactly”.

My meal plan is ever changing. What I ate last month doesn’t always work this month and what someone else suggests might not work for me. But, here is a list of my current favorite items. I hope some of them work for you, whether you have a stomach or not.

Breakfast

Breakfast has always been my least favorite meal (except for Chick-Fil-A minis…) but, mornings are now especially tough for me in terms of getting solids down. I would much rather drink a smoothie or protein drink rather than try to chew and swallow first thing in the morning.

  • Kodiak Power Oatmeal (sorry guys, has to be the flavorless/plain kind) with half a banana, cinnamon, and chopped pecans.
  • Quakers Lower Sugar (my personal favorite is the Maple Brown Sugar) with half a banana and maybe some chopped pecans.
  • Chick-Fil-A Grilled Chicken English Muffin with hash browns. I can eat the chicken, a bite of the egg/ muffin and about 5 hash brown rounds.

That’s honestly it…I can’t do plain eggs (occasionally hard boiled egg whites) and I don’t eat bacon…so I keep it simple.

Lunch/ Dinner

I don’t like a lot of meat. Unfortunately for me, I have to concentrate on protein, so I eat a lot of fish. Think marinated salmon & almond crusted tilapia. I’ll pair them with a sweet potato or some rice. I have to be careful how much rice I eat per day so I have to switch off and have it for either lunch or dinner.

I was eating a black bean/kidney bean soup daily…but I ate so much of it for weeks that I grew tired of it. So, I’m sure I’ll pick it up again later but for now – I stick to fish.

I keep deli turkey in the fridge for “emergencies”. For instance, one day last week I didn’t pay attention to the fact that I hadn’t eaten in a couple hours. All of a sudden, my hands and legs were shaking and I knew I was in trouble because my body was hungry and I couldn’t get anything down fast enough. I grabbed a few slices of turkey, stood in the kitchen holding myself up by leaning on the counter, and chewed as fast as my body allowed. The shaking stopped within 20 minutes…but if you want a full visual of what a hunger “episode” looks like – there you go.

I’m also not above eating a turkey and cheese Lunchable. It’s fine.


Snacks

Here’s the good stuff. Even before surgery I was big on snacks; I could graze all day and skip major meals. I’m not an influencer so I won’t link anything here…but I’m always happy to chat about snacks.

  • Flex Power Chips. Personally, I like the BBQ flavor and they have 10 grams of protein per serving. Big win.
  • Any kind of raw nut. Peanuts, pistachios, and cashews are my go-to.
  • Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites. I mean, come on; no explanation needed!
  • Harvest Snaps “Green Pea Snap Crisps”. If you haven’t had them, they are delicious and since they have protein in them, I can sit down with a serving (read: bag) and eat to my heart’s (read: esophagus’) content and not have to pair it with a nut or other form of protein.
  • Chobani “lower sugar” yogurt. I add a little Kind granola on top and maybe half of a banana. I can only eat half the serving size. This is partly because I don’t have enough space for it to go down in one sitting… but mostly because when I did try to eat the whole thing (greedy me), I had a nice little sugar episode which included some sweating and cramping.
  • Peanut butter and fruit. Whether it’s an apple or banana, I’m just happy to have some raw fruit.
  • Roasted beets, goat cheese, and walnuts. This is a new favorite of mine. It’s a welcomed change to have a new veggie to the mix.


Dessert

Before surgery I would order whole key lime pies and eat it in a couple days (okay, maybe one sitting…no judging). I have a strong love for sugar and cravings are mental so I still want a piece of pie and the following list will just have to do until I can survive a bite of pie again…maybe with some ice cream.

  • Outshine popsicles. I consider these a liquid…mostly as an excuse to eat two per day.
  • Good Pop Freezies. These don’t have added sugar (the Outshine have some); therefore, they are best on days that I’m having trouble with tolerating foods.
  • Dark chocolate covered almonds. I have never appreciated high school math more than standing in the grocery aisle looking at a nutrition label trying to figure out how many chocolate almonds I could potentially have based on the number of added sugars per serving. Talk about a practical word problem. Also, the answer is 4. I can have four. Five is too many.
  • Applesauce. It’s a classic! The unsweetened cinnamon has a special place in my heart.
  • Frozen mango. This was my first “dessert” and still a fan favorite. Mango is easy to digest and it is just so satisfying to eat raw fruit without having to add cheese or peanut butter to it. Also, it’s a pretty amazing fruit. Totally doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

That doesn’t seem like a lot of variety but soon I’ll get cleared to start adding in more. The times I have decided to go rogue and try things not on my list of approved foods have left me writhing in pain. I call it “the wiggles” because despite knowing that laying still will help the most, I will squirm for twenty minutes while I wait for the pain and sweating to pass. So, while it is a really boring menu day after day…I’d rather wait for my body to heal and be ready for the next step versus pushing it and getting caught with the wiggles.

There’s a lot of waiting involved. Waiting until the next meal. Waiting until the next beverage. Waiting to get cleared for exercise. Waiting to advance to new foods. Waiting for the wiggles to subside.

Waiting is not something I’m new to. I’ve heard pastors say one of the most challenging things a Christian is asked to do is to wait for God (can I get an amen?). There are passages upon passages encouraging us how to wait. We are implored to dig deep and hold on for the majesty of the sunrise that is coming if only we have the diligence to make it through the night.

Recently, I was listening to a sermon on Mary and Martha and how Jesus tended to their humanity after Lazarus died. Which is great and noteworthy and such a cause for celebration. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about Lazarus.

Lazarus is described as the one Jesus loved. He was a friend of the Son of God. If anyone should be rescued from sickness and pain, it would be Lazarus. Don’t you think? And yet, Jesus didn’t show up. He didn’t come to the aide of his beloved friend.

I know there was a good reason. Spoiler alert: John tells us exactly why in Jesus’ own words:

“…it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it”

John 11:4

But, Lazarus didn’t know that. He didn’t know he was going to be resurrected. He was just dying and his friend was not only not saving him…he wasn’t even showing up to say good-bye. I have to wonder, did Lazarus feel deeply betrayed in his last moments? Did he cry out? Did Jesus – our omniscient, omnipresent Savior – hear his cries from afar? Did that break the King’s heart?

And my most important question: what did it feel like…what was the relief like when Lazarus heard Jesus call his name from outside the tomb?

I mean he was…dead…all the way dead…four days dead. Then all of a sudden, he hears his name. I’m guessing despite the burial bandages it was a hop up. Maybe even with a fist pump and a “yes!”. In my ever beating Southern Baptist heart, I think Lazarus was the first one to give us a chorus of

Yes, Lord…Yes, Lord…Yes, yes Lord…Amen


Sing it if you know it…I’ll wait. Takes you back to church camp, eh?


Got carried away there. Sorry.

If you’re in God’s waiting room, that’s all we are hoping for, isn’t it? We’re just counting ceiling tiles waiting on that door to open and our name to be called out. Waiting for the Savior to say your name. To command you to come forth.

I’ve heard Dr. Evans joke that Jesus had to specifically call out to Lazarus because if he had commanded a general “come forth”, there would have been resurrections all over the graveyard.  

Lazarus ministered to so many people through his testimony. Personally, I’d believe the guy who was raised from the dead. But, before he could do any of that he had to wait. He had to be called. And with his name, came instruction.

God is personal. He sees us right where we are. He knows our names. He knows how long we each have to wait. He knows what instructions to give us when it’s our turn.   

And I don’t have to ask Lazarus to know: the waiting will be worth it.

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