Yesterday I had my required appointment with the Dietitian. Let me tell you, in the hospital when the doctor told me I needed to see a dietitian because eating at McDonald’s is not healthy and eating ham or bacon is not low-fat, my head nearly exploded. And when they called to schedule the appointment I made good and sure they had someone with some knowledge of a plant-based diet that could speak with me.
So yesterday morning bright and early I went to the hospital to meet with the dietitian. She has been in various stages of plant based eating for the past nine years from raw vegan to vegetarian and currently into the Pescetarian range, meaning she eats some fish. She has watched all the same documentary films as me, is good friends with another dietitian who has been raw food vegan for over a decade. It was a joy to have a conversation with someone who immediately knew who Dr. Campbell is and what The China Study was.
I was there for a whopping 90 minutes talking about what I was eating before and what I eat now and what I should eat after the surgery. She took my email address and even sent me some links to other videos I hadn’t seen yet. I might send her some recipes to try. After feeling so alone and misunderstood during my time at hospital, it was wonderful to realise that just a couple of floors above where I had struggled to sleep there was a woman who understood. She told me that if I am admitted again I have the right to request some sort of diet consultation that will straighten out the kitchen mess more quickly.
I have no intention of ever staying in hospital again. But still, it’s good to know.
She was surprised by my doctor’s request that I eat a zero fat diet until the surgery. As was I when he told me to do it. I confirmed it with him again and again to make sure that I understood what he was asking. She was initially horrified when I told her what I have been eating. It is like being a child again, back in elementary school, brown bagging jam sandwiches for lunch. I start the day with cream of wheat, canned fruit, frozen blueberries, and brown sugar or maple syrup. I eat the diet bread from Carroll’s Bakery that has no sugar, no fat, slathered with triple fruit jam and followed by an apple and some grapes in my bagged lunch for work. And I finish the day with some brown rice and vegetables or some potatoes and vegetables for dinner. Sometimes in the evening if I am hungry I will have some more cream of wheat with fruit or I will have some diet bread toasted with jam. There is also plenty of King Cole black tea on the go and one cup of coffee daily as well as some water. A few times a week I take some B12 and Vitamin D.
Boring, boring, boring!
She said I must still be losing weight quite rapidly, but I told her I am holding steady now. I think the addition of sugar has upped my calories, plus I am lethargic and not getting much exercise. She asked if I was working and said that must be hard. It is. Sometimes it is hard to think when I’m needed to be writing. They think I am a really fast writer at work, but really I think I am just banging things out with abandon in order to get them done in the small time frame where I can muster up some coherent thought. My brain is foggy. I am aware of that. Our brains need fat to help them function. So right now I am kind of starving my brain. She said she would be concerned about this way of eating if it was going to drag on but there are only a couple of weeks left before the operation so that should be fine.
We talked about how I was eating, before the hospital, before the cream of wheat zero fat diet. And she said it sounded like I had a really good handle on it and was doing everything right to eat a balanced healthy diet. Her only suggestion was that I might need to be taking a multi-vitamin just in case I am low in iron because my levels were low in my blood tests but she couldn’t tell if that was just because I was terribly sick or whether it was a problem that I had before I got sick. Either way, a good multi-vitamin won’t hurt. She said I should shop around and get a good one that isn’t full of fillers and told me about a brand that her raw food vegan friend really likes. She also said I might want to take the time to track a few weeks of my regular eating habits just to make sure that I am getting enough healthy fat daily. That was also part of my plan moving forward as well.
So it went really well. She didn’t lecture me about eating bacon or at McDonald’s. She agreed that every once in awhile it’s okay to go for Chinese food or grab a vegan burger from Harvey’s. And all that should be possible after I recover from surgery. I should be able to just live normally. And my body should continue to just naturally gravitate back to its optimal size, losing about a pound or so per week, without me giving it much thought really, just by continuing to live my whole food plant based vegan lifestyle.