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!