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Big fan of korean food, but it's full of spices. Good to go or no no?



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Hello! This may be a dumb question but my nutritionist is not too familiar with the korean cuisine so she straight up said it all depends on the ingredients and left me with the doubt. So I am a very big fan of korean food, in fact, pre-op all my diet was korean based and I lost a whooping 22 pounds. However, it is a little spicy (depending on how it's made) and I have heard mixed conversations about spicy food post op.

I am nearing a month after my surgery, currently entering puree stage, next week will be salads and fish along with purees, and then after that it's the complete solids stage.

There are three foods that I mainly love from korean cuisine: Tteokbokki (Korean Rice Cakes/not the sugar ones), Jjajangmyun (Korean Black Bean noodles) and Home-made ramen with gouda cheese.

Only the rice cakes and ramen can be spicy if done with chili powder as well as red bean paste so I was wondering if these are some things I could be eating after surgery considering if done vegan-style they can be very low on calories and fat (w.o the cheese portion) but to what degree of spiciness will my stomach be able to handle or would be recommended?

Also, if someone is familiar with the ingredients of these recipes which are good and which ones should I stay away.

Thanks in advance.

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noodles and rice cakes may not be the best options early post-op (some people have a hard time tolerating them, and even if you can, you don't get a lot of nutritional bang for the buck with those. You'll have a pretty tiny stomach, so you want to stick with nutritionally dense food the first few weeks and months - like Proteins and vegetables).

spices are OK as long as you can tolerate them. I mean, they won't hurt your stomach or anything - but some people (including me) have an increased sense of taste after surgery, so anything spicy is going to taste WAY spicier after surgery. And you won't be able to gulp down half a glass of milk if it's too much spice for you, given the eating/drinking separation rule. I guess one option is too cook the food with less-than-the-usual amount of spices, and then add more at the table if your stomach seems to be tolerating it well.

P.S. when I ate any kind of Asian food the first year or two after surgery, I'd just eat the meat and vegetable part and skip the noodles and rice (I do eat those occasionally NOW, but I limit them - even at 5+ years out. They make me feel weird if I eat more than a little, and I'm still cognizant of focusing on nutritionally dense food even though my stomach is bigger now)

so the answer to your question is a qualified yes.

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Thank you for this clarification. And you're most definitely right on the Proteins over low nutritional foods. It is nice to know, however, that it's not completely ruled out of the book. I am not focusing on this becoming my main diet given there are many other options that would work best but one thing I was scared for is the potential harm [by the spice]. So definitely a relief to know I could at least eat the veggie portion of this and/or lean meat (fish) with the mild sauce. I do make the noodles from scratch because the regular ones sold in store have starch and I am allergic to it, but I'll definitely double check if it's worth eating during the first stages. I am so glad to be able to eat, I am not a big eater of fried and/or unhealthy foods but I miss food. My doctor recommended a full four week liquid diet and has made it harder. Either way my main issue was my eating disorder + sedentary combination got me to beginning this journey. Thank you so much for your advice! I didn't even know spicy food would taste spicier so that's a huge thing I need to be mindful of.

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4 minutes ago, GBori said:

I didn't even know spicy food would taste spicier so that's a huge thing I need to be mindful of.

I don't know if it does for EVERYONE, but it did for me (and I love spicy food!), and others have reported it, too. It doesn't seem to bother me anymore, though - but it definitely did the first few months post-op. I'm not sure if it went away, or if I just got used to it.

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1 hour ago, GBori said:

Hello! This may be a dumb question but my nutritionist is not too familiar with the korean cuisine so she straight up said it all depends on the ingredients and left me with the doubt. So I am a very big fan of korean food, in fact, pre-op all my diet was korean based and I lost a whooping 22 pounds. However, it is a little spicy (depending on how it's made) and I have heard mixed conversations about spicy food post op.

I am nearing a month after my surgery, currently entering puree stage, next week will be salads and fish along with purees, and then after that it's the complete solids stage.

There are three foods that I mainly love from korean cuisine: Tteokbokki (Korean Rice Cakes/not the sugar ones), Jjajangmyun (Korean Black Bean noodles) and Home-made ramen with gouda cheese.

Only the rice cakes and ramen can be spicy if done with chili powder as well as red bean paste so I was wondering if these are some things I could be eating after surgery considering if done vegan-style they can be very low on calories and fat (w.o the cheese portion) but to what degree of spiciness will my stomach be able to handle or would be recommended?

Also, if someone is familiar with the ingredients of these recipes which are good and which ones should I stay away.

Thanks in advance.

After my surgery, because the portions are so tiny, I craved flavor. I love Thai, Indian, Korean, Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese, and any other cuisine that makes me know I'm not eating something bland. In contrast to catwoman, spices did not get more intense for me. I use chili garlic paste in lots of dishes, or gochujang paste (a chicken thigh with gochujang is delicious.) I eat curries and hot and spicy Soups like Tom Yum. Give it a try. You can always put your spice on cottage cheese to start!

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I loved spicy food and still do, and had no real issues other than my tolerance in terms of heat level decreased dramatically. I was easily able to eat suicide-level or thai pepper heat before, but now i’m a bit of a lightweight and my mouth goes on fire at much lower levels (but still no stomach issues with it, so it’s all good).

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I was eating raw jalapeños at five weeks without issue. No spices or flavors have really changed for me. when I first started eating solids everything did seem more pronounced but I’m guessing it was like opening your eyes after being blindfolded for a month... seems brighter and more colorful due to the lack of stimulation.

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I never had a problem with spices and them upsetting my sleeve. I love spicy shrimp and once I got to my solids faze I ate spicy shrimp and tolerated it just fine. But like someone else said noodles and rice might not tolerate well in your new stomach just yet. I am a year out and I can barely handle 3 scoops of rice. I'll eat rice or noodles every once and a great while, but they do fill you up fast.

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I had no problem handling spice at any point post op.

I would say though that Tteokbakki, Jjangmyun & ramen probably aren’t practical choices early in post op. You’ll most likely have a lot of restriction and won’t have much room left for theses items once you fit in your Protein. Good news is Korean food has lots of tasty protein options, so as long as you can tolerate it you should be able to enjoy familiar flavors

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I love spicy food and my palate is a little more sensitive after surgery. I cook a lot of different Asian foods for myself but try to tweak them to cut out sugar/carbs. It helps to satisfy the craving without caving.
I made curried meatballs the other night and for the sauce I substituted the usual cream with greek yogurt and could honestly not tell the difference. The only thing I missed was the Naan bread lol

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