please help me to not starve
August 31, 2009 7:54 AM   Subscribe

I'm having surgery in my pelvic/abdominal area on Friday, and since my doctor is expecting some bowel involvement, he is putting me on a clear fluid diet as of Thursday morning. I'm going to be STARVING by surgery time (noon Friday).

I feel weak and irritable if I miss one meal, let alone a whole day and a half. At the pre-admission clinic, they told me I can have black tea/coffee, clear soda, Jell-O, water (of course) and "consomme" (broth or bullion, I'm guessing).

Any ideas as to what I should / should not consume that would help to alleviate my hunger? I'm also taking several drugs for pain, which I prefer to take with food, as they tend to upset my stomach a bit.

Any ideas/advice would help. I realize I should have brought this up with the nurse, but it didn't occur to me until now, with this fasting day looming closer (I know it's only a day and a half and I'm being a big suck, but I'm really dreading it). I will be able to talk with my doctor tomorrow, so any advice you give can be run by him first (he may or may not have any helpful ideas, but he'll tell me what I can't have).

Thanks in advance!
posted by happy scrappy to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Ask if you can have popsicles. There are lots of flavors and while they won't fill you up, it'll be something to put in your mouth that tastes good. Maybe the coldness will help numb your appetite a little.

Good luck with the surgery and best wishes for a speedy recovery.
posted by Kangaroo at 7:59 AM on August 31, 2009

Best answer: Normally it's not a good idea digestion-wise to be doing other things while eating, but when I had to do a similar fast I found that reading and eating Jello very slowly helped distract me from the hunger pangs. And having a bunch of tasks right afterward kept the Jedi mind trick going. 'These aren't the morsels you're looking for.'
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:01 AM on August 31, 2009

Best answer: Fasting is really common for a lot of procedures so there are probably all kinds of hits on google about it in terms of what you can and cannot eat. Generally the rule is nothing solid, which includes milk products as well. They just want your bowel to be totally clear so basically you can only have things you will pee out for the most part.

FWIW I had to do it last year and yeah, it kind of sucks, but frankly not as bad as I thought it was. Yeah I was tired and weak but really not a big deal. I had a lot of broth and gatorade and just drank a loooooot because it helped me feel more full. The hunger really wasn't the problem, rather it was just the weakness and tiredness.
posted by gwenlister at 8:02 AM on August 31, 2009

Seconding the recommendation of popsicles. Alternatively, some people I know eat otter pops as low-calorie meal replacements. Some brands have real fruit juice in them and others just use flavoring and food coloring, so check the box and definitely consult your doctor.
posted by muddgirl at 8:06 AM on August 31, 2009

Best answer: Broth will fill you up the most, since it has some salt and fat. It's also the most flavorful. You might want to call and ask, but I'm sure something like miso soup (minus the tofu and scallions) would be fine, more or less filling, and tasty.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:38 AM on August 31, 2009

I've had these zero carb protein drinks from Isopure (GNC). They are "clear" however they do have 40g of protein each. I'm not sure these would be okay, but couldn't hurt to ask.
posted by SoulOnIce at 8:42 AM on August 31, 2009

Go with the clear soda -- sip it all day. 7-Up is very sugary, so it's quasi-food. It'll definitely have calories -- not good calories mind you, but definitely calories. I would sip it all day to avoid a sugar crash if you're not used to drinking soft drinks, however.
posted by cgg at 8:46 AM on August 31, 2009

My ex-bf gets slurpees and italian ices when he does the 2-day prep for his yearly colonoscopy. He said they were really helpful in alleviating hunger. He had to stay away from the red ones though, I don't know if this would be the same for you or not.
posted by Nolechick11 at 8:47 AM on August 31, 2009

Response by poster: I love miso soup, but I'm concerned about the sediment I always see at the bottom. That might not be ok. We do have lots of broth on hand though.

Popsicles are a great idea ... keep 'em coming!
posted by happy scrappy at 8:48 AM on August 31, 2009

Best answer: A larger amount of animal protein and animal fats will allow you to fast for quite a while without discomfort.
posted by zentrification at 8:53 AM on August 31, 2009

In the same vein as the soda idea, I usually drink Gatorade. I find the carbonation from soda on an emptyish stomach feels awful. You can also freeze whatever drink you were going to have and make your own slurpees. Having something solid (even if it is only deceptively so) really tricks you into thinking you've eaten.

Fasting isn't that bad. It is hard to sleep if you're a bit hungry, but other than that, just try to keep busy, and you won't think about food so much. Ask friends to come over (after they've eaten) on Thursday night to keep you company or watch some TV show or long movie you find totally engrossing.
posted by bluefly at 8:55 AM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Is there a reason your doctor is not having you do a bowel prep, like magnesium citrate? You would do that Thursday night. It's unpleasant, but if it would let you eat semi-normally (soft foods, anyway) during the day on Thursday maybe the discomfort would be worth it to you.
posted by cabingirl at 9:22 AM on August 31, 2009

I've done The Master Cleanse fast for a few weeks at a time, several times, and never felt hungry - the drink is maple syrup and the juice of lemons mixed with water. Something about the sugar in the maple syrup kills your appetite or something; I don't know about the science behind it and I don't recall the theories as to why it works, but if you could drink that on Thursday, it might get you over the hump. It's actually really delicious, and I drink it now sometimes just because it's yummy.

Good luck with your surgery.
posted by iconomy at 9:41 AM on August 31, 2009

Been there, done that - I'm also surprised that you're not getting the magnesium citrate treatment (and boy, is it thorough!). All kinds of varied drinks will help, and hopefully any housemates will be kind enough not to eat in front of you. It's only one day; you'll survive and besides, you'll have your mind mostly on the next day's activities. Keep very busy!
posted by fish tick at 10:07 AM on August 31, 2009

I love miso soup, but I'm concerned about the sediment I always see at the bottom.

You could run it through a coffee filter, but to be honest there's sediment in home-made broth and consomme also. And if you can have Jell-O, the sediment in miso isn't a problem. So enjoy your miso.

Drinking lots of liquids can make your stomach feel full. Crunching ice chips might also help.

Best of luck with your surgery.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:31 AM on August 31, 2009

No miso soup for you, sorry. That is not consume. Soda with sugar actually works well to staunch your hunger. I think Kellog's protein water is also allowed on this type of diet, but you should check with your doctor.
posted by caddis at 10:55 AM on August 31, 2009

Response by poster: I'm also surprised that you're not getting the magnesium citrate treatment

I am doing a bowel prep as well (I normally take the liquid Fleet stuff, which I assume is magnesium citrate ... and why does it always have to be that disgusting ginger-lemon flavor?), but left out that detail because it's not terribly relevent to my question, plus it brings up images that we're all better off without. After midnight it's nil by mouth (except painkillers). My doc wants me completely cleaned out!

I'll definitely be asking him about popsicles/Italian ices. We've already got plenty of vegetable, chicken and beef broth, and I'll make some Jell-O.

Thanks so much for all of your suggestions and well-wishes!
posted by happy scrappy at 11:23 AM on August 31, 2009

Miso soup is the main thing hospitals give to vegetarians on "clear liquid diet." Obviously it doesn't have tofu or vegetables in it; again, if you want to be careful, you can strain it through a coffee filter to remove all miso sediment.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:51 AM on August 31, 2009

If gelatin is OK (cf: Jello) then maybe gummi bears would be OK too?
posted by contessa at 12:53 PM on August 31, 2009

I had abdominal surgery last year, with a bowel prep before. I was offered a couple of different flavors -- you might want to ask about this (the doc gave me a prescription for it that I picked up). I think I had raspberry.

My doc said miso soup was fine as long as I strained it, so I got by on that plus tea and water.

Another suggestion is to stay up a bit later than you normally would on Wednesday night. That way, you'll be more tired on Thursday and might end up going to bed a bit earlier -- which will lessen the time spent thinking "FoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodFOODGODDAMNIT" and staring balefully at yet another cup of water.

And good luck!
posted by vickyverky at 2:16 PM on August 31, 2009

Miso it is then. That stuff is great.

Do check on the protein water though as it is calorie rich.
posted by caddis at 4:12 PM on August 31, 2009

I spent a couple of years (yes, years!) on a clear fluid diet so that I could do triathlons and run long distances, including marathons.

Don't think about food.

Drink plenty of clear fluids.

Chew ice.

Some pharmacies may sell small tetra packs of juice flavoured medical nutrician (?FortiJuice - make sure that it is fat and fibre free) which are fabulous for clear fluid diets.

It's not so bad, think of it as a test of willpower and you'll be back to eating (but not feeling like food so much!) before you know it.

Have a speedy recovery.

posted by Flashduck at 2:35 AM on September 1, 2009

Response by poster: Well, my doc said I could actually start on the fluid-only diet at noon on Thursday, which is a bit more bearable. I forgot to ask about popsicles, but I think I'll be ok with Jell-O and maybe some ice to chew. I don't want to eat too much sugar (I've been trying to cut back).

Thanks again for your advice!
posted by happy scrappy at 10:21 AM on September 1, 2009

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