Thursday, May 29, 2014

Skinny Recovery: How to Stay Skinny While on the Mend

Grilled Swordfish with Broccoli, Tomatoes and Garlic

I'm on Day 9 of recovery from back surgery.  As you've seen on my previous post, I had a micro-discectomy last week - on Tuesday May 20th.  The surgeon cut away the materials that were herniating the disc.  There was also bone matter and a cyst to clean up.  I misunderstood when my surgeon said the operation would be "minimally invasive."  I thought that meant arthroscopic surgery - as I had with my shoulder surgery.  The scars looked like tiny mosquito bites.  Minimally invasive is still invasive.  While other friends who have had the surgery have scars that are about an inch long - mine scar is a good 4 inches.

On the cosmetic front, I really don't care about a large scar on my back.  But as far as recovery goes, the larger the scar the longer the recovery.  At least in my experience.  I will say that the pain in my left leg and foot has diminished significantly  It hurt 24/7 prior to the surgery.  Now, the leg and foot pain comes and goes.  But my lower back region is really throbbing.  It's hard to find a comfortable position.  Walking is really difficult.  I can go about a block before having to rest and turn around and head back home.

The trick is to steam the broccoli 
before sauteing with tomatoes and garlic

But not being able to walk or exercise is a recipe for packing on the pounds while I recover.  For the first week after surgery, I lost my appetite for healthy food.  My usual favorite fish dishes held no appeal.  It might have had something to do with the after effects of the anesthesia.  But, today I'm feeling better and will have one of my favorites for dinner: Grilled Swordfish and Broccoli.  If I stick to the Skinny Gourmet Guy template, I can get through this and keep my weight consistently skinny.  I have to skip some of the guilty pleasures I allowed when I was taking 11 classes a week - things like potato chips, ice cream, cookies . . . and in future posts I'll tell you about the skinny substitutes I'm using.

Here's the skinny recipe:

For the Swordfish


1/2 lb swordfish per person
1 tbspn Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tspn Sea Salt
1/4 tspn ground pepper

Pre-heat table top grill (I use the Cuisinart Griddler) at top heat for five minutes
Marinate the swordfish in the oil, salt & pepper
Grill on one side for 3 minutes with the top open
Grill on the second side for 1 - 2 minutes with the grill shut
Let rest on covered plate for 5 minutes

for the Broccoli:

1 bunch broccoli
2 - 3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 tspn sea salt
1/4 tspn ground pepper

Cut broccoli into fleurettes
Steam for 3 - 5 minutes
Shock the fleurettes by fishing broccoli out with a spider and dropping in a bowl of iced water
Meanwhile, heat a non-stick skillet with olive oil
Pound garlic cloves and slice
Cut tomatoes in half
Saute the garlic for 30 seconds - remove from heat and keep on a plate
Add sliced tomatoes and cook until tender - about a minute stirring constantly
Add the broccoli fluerettes
Add back the garlic - stir with wooden spoon

Serve and enjoy!

Sauted Swordfish is also good with Grilled Eggplant!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Skinny Surgery: Oh My Aching Back!

As we approach the third anniversary of my Skinny Gourmet blog, I am preparing to have back surgery tomorrow.  I have a herniated disc on my L-5, S-1 Lumber Spine.  This is the very bottom vertebrae.  Besides the herniation, I also have a benign cyst and bone fragments.  All of this is pinching off my sciatic nerve.  The pain is unbearable. A colleague said it's only second to childbirth and I believe it!

This all started about a year ago.  I remember it was the weekend of the Tony Awards and while on the way home from the gym it hit me.  A blinding, stabbing pain in the back that radiates down through the leg.  First it was the right leg - with the right foot numb and tingling.  Over time it shifted to the left side.  I've tried everything to avoid surgery: acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic and just plain old waiting for it to heal itself.  Most everyone advised not to have surgery under any circumstances but I don't see any alternatives.

I'm having a microdiscectomy.  This is the surgical removal of herniated disc material that is impinging the sciatic nerve.  The procedure will take 45 minutes and I'll spend the night in the hospital (I'm having it done at the Hospital for Special Surgery).  The doctor said recover is about 2 - 3 weeks.  My surgeon is Dr. Federico Girardi.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Skinny Health - My Cholesterol Results

I came down with my annual cold last week.  Just to be sure it wasn't the flu I went to my GP - his name is Dr. Christopher Schultz of the Cornell Medical Group - here's a copy of his email

Hi Christopher,

Here are the results from your last set of labs.

Your blood count was normal, with no signs of anemia, infection or low platelets. Your blood chemistry and electrolytes were normal, and there were no signs of problems with kidney or liver function.

Your cholesterol numbers were good, specifically your LDL cholesterol was 89 and for your set of cardiac risk factors, your goal should be below 130. Your HDL was 85 and the goal is above 40, optimally above 60. LDL is the cholesterol that promotes heart disease and HDL is the cholesterol that helps protect from heart disease. Your HDL is amazing. And so is your LDL for that matter.

Your cholesterol numbers are already great, and you can maintain these numbers by continuing to get regular exercise and by eating a healthy diet. Try to minimize saturated fats and eat more lean protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Saturated fats are found in high-fat dairy products (butter, cheese, etc) and in red meat. Cardiovascular exercise most days of the week (4+ days per week) with a goal heart rate from 120-130 best promotes heart health.Typically this can be achieved by exercising to the point you are slightly short of breath but you could still maintain a conversation with someone next to you. If you want more information, click on Health Information and search for "cholesterol".

It's CW again - these great results prove that a Mediterranean diet is the way to go for a healthy lifestyle - of course regular exercise is important as well.