The Joys of a Liquid Diet

As I mentioned in my last post, I had jaw surgery two and a half weeks ago. No, I don’t really want to talk about it, since thinking about what my surgeon was doing while I was out still makes me queasy (if you’re absolutely dying to know, you can look up orthognathic surgery on Wikipedia and learn all the gory details. There, I just taught you a new word). Nor did I take pictures of myself after the surgery, when I looked like a cross between a gigantic chipmunk and a basset hound. Because some things are just better left to the imagination.

The recovery period has been . . . as good as can be expected. Yes, I did end up almost fainting at my post-op check-up five days after the surgery. Turns out that staying properly hydrated when your mouth is banded shut, swallowing hurts your throat, and you’re vaguely nauseated and can barely wake up because of the narcotics is not as easy as it sounds. A couple of I.V. bags later (and an informal prescription for a milkshake on the way home), and I was feeling better.

Life has pretty much returned to normal by now. Except that I have a plastic bite plate wired into my mouth for the next month, which gives me a charming little temporary speech impediment. And I’m on a liquid diet. So in case you’re ever in a situation where you’re consigned to a six-week liquid diet, let me give you a few tips:

  1. Pretty much any food item can be blended up if you add enough liquid. This does not mean that every food item will remain palatable once it is sodden and diluted. For example, a hamburger and onion rings. Just don’t try it.
  2. Your food will taste better if you blend it up with an appropriate liquid. For example, ribs with braised carrots and cabbage blended up very nicely with beef broth. Similarly, I used chicken broth for chicken shish kebabs, and it was delicious. However, fruit is nice blended up with milk, and my normal smoothies with juice work nicely too. Some things, like melon or soups, don’t need any added liquid at all, so they are most likely to remain similar in taste to the original food.
  3. The magic bullet! (or cheap Walmart knock-off.) Trying to make single serving meals in a normal blender would be a pain. With a Magic Bullet-style blender, it all goes straight into the cup you’ll drink from, and you can easily blend up small amounts. And you don’t have to wash your big blender after every meal.
  4. A high-quality protein powder/meal substitute shake is a good idea. It’s hard to get enough calories in a day when you have to blend everything up, and you can’t just grab a normal snack out of the fridge. Several people recommended Ensure, but two of the main ingredients are sugar and soy oil, so I figured I could find something better. I settled on True Vitality Plant Protein Shake with DHA and 8 Billion Probiotic Cells, because I was happy with the ingredients and it wasn’t outrageously expensive (well, comparatively speaking, at least). I got the vanilla flavor, and it tastes . . . bearable, especially if I mix it with milk, banana and peach. I also put in my normal daily dose of pollen, but I skip the flax seeds because:
  5. Beware of seeds, at least if you’re dealing in fixed orthodontic appliances. I made the mistake of whipping myself up a blackberry milkshake during my first week home. Not only did the tiny seeds clog up my syringe-with-flexible-long-tip (sort of the adult version of a bottle), but they got stuck in my bite plate and braces. I’ve since graduated to drinking from a cup, thank goodness, but I still avoid berries for now.
  6. Your juicer is your friend, since raw vegetables don’t really turn out that satisfactorily in the blender. However, juicing all the ingredients on the back of the V8 bottle will not result in anything remotely resembling V8. Ask me how I know.
  7. If you have stitches somewhere in your mouth, do not add pepper to your food! Even if you normally like spicy food, now is not the time, since eating spicy stuff right now is basically like rubbing tabasco sauce in a wound. I also appear to have had a flare-up of my long dormant avocado allergy, due to eating avocado a few days after my surgery while everything was still a little raw in my mouth. Sad times.

Via the above, and some trial and error, I’ve managed to eat what I think is a fairly balanced diet in liquid form. Although sometimes I think I should just make it easy for myself and eat sugar glider food. I have lost a few pounds, I think, since my clothes are feeling mighty loose these days. I know some people consider that a great side effect of orthognathic surgery, but I’m with Frodo: “I hope the thinning process does not go on indefinitely, or I shall become a wraith.”

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8 thoughts on “The Joys of a Liquid Diet

  • June 5, 2013 at 1:28 am
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    In 8th grade, my orthodontist almost convinced me to have this surgery to pre-emptively cure TMJ. When we started to fill out the insurance paperwork, however, I noticed I didn’t have any of the symptoms the dr wanted me to say I had (so that the surgery would be fully covered) and I backed out. All this to say, I know exactly what ‘orthognathic surgery’ entails–I can still see the diagrams in the oral surgeon’s office. Oye! Feel better soon.

  • June 3, 2013 at 12:00 am
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    Sarah, I got the book Saturday, and I finished it today Sunday in the afternoon. It was all you say about it. Coming back from church in the evening, I even checked the movie, I just finished the movie, and I cried and cried with it. I don’t think the movie is any fulfilling if you have not read the book. Things are changed and shortened, obviously, but I enjoyed the esthetics, and filled it up with my knowledge from the book.

    I am ready for a book club. Many things I want to discuss with you and others who want to, let me know how or when… I also want to read other books by this author. I appreciate his writing style.

  • May 31, 2013 at 7:27 pm
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    Sorry to hear what you have gone through or should I say going through. You have put a whole new meaning to liquid diet. I was thinking: Ensure, melted ice cream, beer & wine, blended vegetables and fruit.

  • May 31, 2013 at 6:56 pm
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    Silvia, we are on for our own little book club. I am excited to read some of Kazuo Ishiguro’s other books too, since Never Let Me Go was my first of his.

  • May 31, 2013 at 6:27 pm
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    Sarah, you made your ordeal sound so funny! I hope you can eat like a human soon, (grin).

    I don’t know why, I did not subscribed to the comments on the other post about books, but today I read you answered back, so as soon as I get the book from the library (or I may end up buying it, since I requested it when you wrote about it, the Never Let Me Go, ?, is that right?), and I don’t have an email telling me it has arrived at the library yet. Today, with my friend Heather, talking about books and mentioning this, she told me he is the author of The Remains of the Day, which she read and loved. I just saw the movie. She wishes we could form a home made version of the Inklins, but since we seem to be the only book and literature crazy ladies in our otherwise sad suburban neighborhood, who shop in retail and thrifty stores for books of deceased grandparents and parents and keep many and sell some at Etsy, we do not have any hopes of finding anyone alike. She does not like the cyber book club, but I am ready for it, just a simple thing like you suggested, once I read the book, I will write a review and I will also talk about it with you via email or blog comments.

  • May 31, 2013 at 5:55 pm
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    I have a month left until regular food. I just crave all kinds of textures. A couple of days ago I made toast and then cut it in tiny pieces and soaked it in mint tea until it was completely soggy, and then just put it in my mouth and held it on my tongue till it dissolved. It felt amazing just to feel the texture of something other than a smoothie.

  • May 31, 2013 at 5:16 pm
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    You write such entertaining posts … even about liquid diets! How much longer until you can eat regular food? I’m curious what you are craving. :)

  • May 31, 2013 at 12:08 pm
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    Very interesting info but I hope I never need it. It sounds a little bit like what it was like after I had my tonsils out a few years ago but worse. I hope you continue to recover and graduate to solid food soon!

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