Monday, January 10, 2011

The Art of Compromise #lowcarb

There are a couple of schools of thought among low carbers...well, more than a couple, but for the purpose of this post, I will mention 2: one says that if you find low carb substitutes for the carby foods you are used to, you will have greater success; the other says if you learn to do without the carby foods you are used to, you will have greater success. Obviously neither is absolutely true 100% of the time, but each is mostly true to whoever lives by it.

I started out, nearly 7 years ago, believing the latter. And did very well with it for the first year or so. Of course there were some things I felt I could not forgo completely - such as Chinese buffet restaurants - so I compromised, with a trip to one per month. Gradually I evolved to the first school of thought, and learned or created ways to have what I wanted but in a safe, non-carby way. And this is pretty much how I have lived ever since. I do still choose a carby food or meal - or even a day! - once in a while but overall, 90% of the time at least, I eat low carb equivalents to the carby foods I enjoyed before.

After my nissen fundoplication last month I knew I would have to undergo diet changes, and one of them is giving up the so-called "gassy vegetables". This includes cauliflower, which meant no more mashed "potatoes"! Cauliflower is a substitute for quite a few low carb foods, but mostly, for me, it was my mashed "potatoes".

For the first few weeks of my recovery, when I was eating very soft foods to allow my stomach to heal, I didn't think or worry about carbs. It was hard enough just getting nutrition into my 3- or 4-bite minimeals. And I wasn't eating enough food to gain weight certainly. A side effect of this surgery is weight loss, even though it isn't a WLS, so I had no worries - I just had to eat what didn't hurt me. And one of those things was mashed potatoes. I kept a box of instant because they are easy to make up just a tiny amount, and they worked so well for me that I still have some on hand. And, since I can't make the standard fauxtatoes, I have found a way to compromise on mashed potatoes.

(Let me note here that regular potatoes, mashed, are way carbier than instant.)

I haven't done the carb count - haven't actually counted my carbs in years - but here is how I am able to enjoy mashed potatoes with my meal, once or twice a week:

- 1/4c heavy cream
- 1/4c (1/2 stick) real butter
- 1/2c full-fat sour cream
- 1/2c water
Combine the above in a small casserole dish and microwave on high for 4 minutes; remove and stir until smooth.
- 2/3c instant potatoes (mine have 14gN per 1/3c) which is less than the directions on the box, don't let that throw you if you try these
- 1/2c finely shredded cheese (I've been using colby-jack)
- S&P to taste
Stir in cheese until melted; add instant potato flakes and stir until smooth; S&P to taste; return to microwave for 1 minute on high; stir one last time.

This makes 4 nice-sized servings. For the potato flake portion, that's 7gN carbs. Everything else that's in there is very low carb. I'm guessing maybe 10gN per portion. Which isn't a bad compromise at all!

Here is the disclaimer: If you believe you shouldn't consume any starches at all, then don't make this for yourself. If you are morally opposed to potato flakes, then please don't purchase them as your hard-earned cash will be supporting their continued use.

As time goes on and I am seeing that I need to alter my low carb lifestyle to fit within the limitations of my "wrap" (the affectionate pet name that most of us call our fundoplications) I am hopeful that I will be able to continue to eat as low carb as I have for so long. But if I need to get creative, I will not be afraid - I will venture forth and find new ways of doing old things. Because that's MY school of thought :).

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