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preparing for a real dietary challenge

This late winter or early spring I expect to have surgery on my jaw that will leave me wired shut and eating through a straw for 4-6 weeks. Great diet plan, huh? I'm starting to plan for this now, because I want to have on hand a good group of straw-able recipes that I know taste good! They also have to be dairy, tree nut and mushroom free. One of my big concerns is getting enough protein, since I can't do dairy in my protein shakes. I AM planning to meet with a nutritionist before the surgery to ensure I get enough nutrients each day.
I've made a ginger carrot soup (YUM) and a coconut curry butternut squash soup. I'm learning to make smoothies since my earlier post about diary free protein shakes revealed a definite lack in that area.
I figure black bean or split pea/ham soup can be thinned down with broth and blended, what else? any sites you can suggest? thanks! :)

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  1. Do you like the taste of mussels? They pack an incredible amount of protein and B12 per ounce. If you do a google search for "mussel soup recipe blender", you will come up with a lot of recipes for pureed mussel soups. Most of them will include a finish of cream, but you can eliminate that without sacrificing anything.

    Other seafoods are great sources of protein. I'm pretty sure any blended chowder will taste just as good as an unblended one. You can freeze what you don't immediately eat.

    Also, if you can eat eggs, that is a good way to get plenty of protein into a liquid meal. If you like the taste of garlic, a hearty garlic soup made with chicken broth with an egg blended into it is good and healthy. That is a very typical recipe in Spain. You can sneak a raw egg into a mango-banana-orange smoothie and not taste it.

    If you make soups with legumes, lentils have the most protein. You might want to look up some recipes for Indian dal, which is easily made thin and soupy.

    In springtime, you might want to treat yourself to a soup of fresh peas rather than dried ones. Add mint!

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    1. When my dad was sick and could only swallow liquids, I learnedi just how many great things can be blended to go through a straw <thoufh he used a spoon or cup>.

      Soups. You can blend any soup. Mybfpdad was fond of my vegetable soup so I made tons of it and blended it till creamy. He liked matza balls so I made them very soft by beatingnthe egg iwhites, butnwhen that became too hard for him to eat, I either tossed them in the blender with the soup, or blended them on their own. They still tastes good, just soupy.

      We did butternut squash soup, bean soup, broccoli soup. You ca do beet borschtntono, and fruit soupsnwith either raw or cooked fruit. The cooked fruit soups are my favorites. Cook fruits wit a it of sugar or favorite sweetnernand blend. We added yogurt but yiu can skip it or use a nin dairy version.

      Rice. Cook till softer than usual and blend it with Earth Balance and salt and pepper, or add veggies like spinach, broccoli etc. I liked it with cinnamon and sugar and almond milk. It was like porridge. Bu get creative and add fruit or other flavors thst you like. You can do pasta too.

      Make friends with silken tofu. Its wonderful stuff. Toss nto smoothies, soups, anything. Lots of protein and blends like a dream. I like it blended with canned pumpkin and sugar and spices for a mousse. Add a little almond milk to hin it to smoothie consistency.

      My dad loced his salads blended. Hello? Gazspacho! We used all sorts of various veggies in his salad soup. Use what you like. It was very refreshing.

      We also used a lot of sweet potatoes and winter squashes. Cooked, either baked, or boiled, sometims simmered in orange juice. They are yummy blended.

      Desserts are easy. But once again, use soft tofu and nkn dairy yogurt where you can. Also almond milk anx veggie broth and juices are good for thinning things. Don't be afraid to try andnblend things. You never know what will be good. I tried hot oatmeal with brown sugar and butter and a little almond milk. Loved it. So get creative. Time will pass quickly.and some of your favorite blended foods may turn out to be foods yo make again and again, even once you are back on solids because they are so good.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Miri1

        The OP did say no tree nuts, so I do not think almond milk is going to work. I would recommend thinning/blending with either chicken/beef broth (for savory items such as soup, it will also add a little bit of protein), or coconut milk (for sweeter or creamy items.) Coconut milk is also very calorie-dense so may help you get enough calories per day, which can be very difficult when on a liquid diet.

        1. re: Maggiethecat

          maggiethecat: chicken/beef broth contain practically no protein.
          soy milk would be the most protein-rich substitute for almond milk.
          i once ran a blind taste test for soy milks.
          this is what we found:
          1) the winner was the 365 brand of soy milk sold at Whole Foods. get the stuff sold in the REFRIGERATED section.
          get the stuff that they call their ORIGINAL flavor (NOT the lite original which comes in practically identical packaging)
          2) skip the TJ's brands, they were all judged to be too watery
          3) skip the shelf-stable brands. as a general rule only the refrigerated brands tasted good.

          1. re: westsidegal

            The unsweetened so delicious almond milk plus has 5g of vegan protein, not as thick and viscous as soy milk but a good alternative for those who can't have dairy and need to minimize soy intake.
            http://www.sodeliciousdairyfree.com/p...

            1. re: Ttrockwood

              Ttrockwood: the OP specified no tree nuts. almonds are tree nuts.

      2. Years ago I had a type of dental surgery that made me unable to eat solid foods for several weeks. Among the many things my Mother prepared for me was a simple roast chicken and broccoli dinner. She cooked that as if she were feeding anyone only she processed the cooked chopped well seasoned chicken and chopped cooked broccoli in a blender with warmed chicken stock til very liquid. I can't tell you how wonderful that was to sip. It was an instant energizer.

        I wish you all the best with your surgery and a speedy recovery.

        1. great suggestions everyone thanks! You've given me some real *ahem* food for thought! :-D

          26 Replies
          1. re: jujuthomas

            I would "stock" up on homemade bone broth. Having a freezer full, will make soup preparation easy. Avocado soup is a favorite of mine.

            In addition to the change in diet, I assume your surgery will come with a course of antibiotics. Both of these factors will disrupt your gut. I would figure out a strategy for getting a steady dose of probiotics.

            1. re: johnseberg

              A very good point. Yogurt comes in yogurt drinks and will replace the antibiotic-killed intestinal bacteria---most useful advice I ever had from a doctor.

              1. re: Querencia

                Since I posted that, my Dr. put me on a probiotic powder from Klaire that is taken dispersed in a few ounces of water. She thinks the powder is more effective than the capsules.

            2. re: jujuthomas

              Wanted to add that if your recuperation period also means spending more time indoors, make sure to take enough time each day to sit at a sunny window to get vitamin D, especially since you aren't taking in any dairy or mushrooms. Should help with the bone healing.

              1. re: barberinibee

                you're not getting much vitamin d through a window, unless we are talking about equatorial july. :)

                op may want to get d levels checked now and start supplementing accordingly. (there are liquid d3 supplements to be had so you can continue taking it post-surgery.) ditto magnesium and k2. start taking probiotics now too.

                have you looked at lactose-free protein powders? mixed with coconut milk or coconut cream this would be a great nutritional boost.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  Good point! You need to open the window! Considering starting the liquid supplement in advance is a good idea, under the advice of a nutritionist or knowledgeable physician because there is such a thing as vitamin D overdosing, with serious health consequences.

                  1. re: barberinibee

                    you don't need a doctor or nutritionist to be taking any of the supps i mentioned. in fact, i've never had a doctor recommend any of them. when i asked my doctor to check my d levels he looked at me like i had 3 heads. in fact, i was dangerously low.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      My own view is that it is not a good idea not introduce new supplements, foods etc into your diet on a daily basis and all at once, based on what you read on the internet, especially on your way to surgery, without consulting a knowledgeable (emphasis on knowledgeable) health care provider, in a position to pay attention to your individuality, your regular diet and lifestyle, and what medical issues you are dealing with.

                      1. re: barberinibee

                        i plan to discuss this all in detail with my GP at my physical in a couple months. :)

                        1. re: jujuthomas

                          please don't wait until right before your surgery. get your d tested NOW. it's a simple blood draw. you want to be in the best possible health pre-op.

                          magnesium:

                          http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter...

                          http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/...

                          vitamin k2:

                          http://chriskresser.com/vitamin-k2-th...

                          http://www.marksdailyapple.com/vitami...

                        2. re: barberinibee

                          as i mentioned, i was seriously depleted on vitamin d stores, and although suffering from all sorts of health issues (hence the reason i was at a doctor at all), it was not anything anybody EVER suggested checking.

                          if you live in the northern hemisphere and spend most of the week indoors, chances are you are low in vitamin d. it's a vital precursor hormone that many traditional health care providers overlook.

                          if you eat western food, you are low on magnesium stores and supplementing with it can do no harm -- only help. this is a vital mineral to help so many bodily functions work at peak capacity.

                          k2 helps calcium navigate to its proper destination within the body. critical for somebody having bone surgery. again, not something that will harm.

                          has a doctor ever prescribed a course of probiotics to you when giving you antibiotics? in europe this is standard, but not in the states and it is vital to better healing and good health down the road. antibiotics work under a scorched earth policy, destroying ALL bacteria in the gut, not just the bad guys.

                          my doctors made me worse, not better. all they do is treat symptoms by writing scripts. few seek to cure or prevent.

                          the op is free to do research on rec's received from anybody.

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            Everybody I know who lives in the Northeast, and has had their Vitamin D level checked, is deficient in Vitamin D. I wonder why your doctor wasn't the one to suggest to you, that it should be checked? I would bet that the original poster is deficient, too-while I don't actually suggest that OP start the supplements without a blood test first, it wouldn't likely hurt!

                            1. re: juliemoose

                              he looked at me like i was a crazy person when i asked for the test too.

                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                I'm pretty sure my D level has never been checked. I just ran out of my supplement, and I'm thinking I should get it checked, rather than continue blindly. Looks like it's going to be about $70 at my local grocery store.

                                1. re: johnseberg

                                  That's crazy! The best form of vit D for deficiency is D3 gel caps, super cheap! Get my MILs from Costco. My endocrinologist (full time researcher) recommends 50,000 IU of it once weekly for folks who test deficient. MIL ws deficient and 80 y.o. and 1000 IU per day from Costco has her levels normal. The rx stuff is less effective.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    yeah, i thought i was misreading that and he meant $70 for the test?

                                    i buy olive-oil-based caplets for pretty cheap money and getting my d within "normal" levels has improved my health dramatically.

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      Sorry, the $70 is for a test of my levels. I'm assuming it's a 25(OH)D blood test.

                                2. re: juliemoose

                                  A large group practice I know of in RI tested their entire practice for D deficiency and 68% were deficient, with pretty much all of the older patients in that group.

                            2. re: hotoynoodle

                              Really? I guess I am lucky mine are checked semi annually.
                              And it is standard practice with every doc I know to prescribe probiotics with antibiotics.
                              Not all doctors are ignorant of such things, luckily.

                        3. re: barberinibee

                          On vitamin D supplements, I'm confused by all the *other* ingredients (oils etc.) in OTC vitamin D supplements.

                          Sure, vitamin D needs some kind of oil (to be soluable) but there is large variety/quality among products.

                          Can someone suggest good, affordable vitamin D supplement brand with minimal other stuff (and with UPS logo)?

                          thx

                          1. re: jimrothstein

                            http://www.swansonvitamins.com/now-fo...

                            i use these. they are in olive oil, not junk seed oil.

                            not sure what you mean about ups logo?

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              The Now Foods brand seems like they keep the ingredients simple and avoid junk and allergens. I have seen where they use Rice Bran Oil instead of EVOO in the D3 softgel. I'm not sure what that variation is about, maybe they're transitioning from one formula to another.

                              http://www.nowfoods.com/Vitamin-D-3-2...

                              1. re: johnseberg

                                i usually buy them through swanson or amazon websites, so dunno.

                                1. re: sr44

                                  From http://www.usp.org/about-usp:

                                  The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is a scientific nonprofit organization that sets standards for the identity, strength, quality, and purity of medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements manufactured, distributed and consumed worldwide.

                              2. re: jimrothstein

                                Thanks for tips.

                                Here's a bit a background on UPS standards and actual Vitamin D in the pills - not all labels are true!

                                http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/art...

                                Thanks.

                          2. inspired by another post: adding tofu in a smoothie would definitely up the protein factor, although i don't know about texture!