I know I don’t put dates on my posts so I will say that as I write, it is December 4, 2015. Also known as “the 14th anniversary of my 25th birthday.”
What’s the first thing (food-wise) that comes to mind when you think of your birthday? Yep…cake.
Birthday cake is more than just a food. It’s a cultural institution. I bet if we all closed our eyes and pictured a birthday cake we’d all conjure up a similar image: Smooth frosting, maybe some special piping around the edges, colorful sprinkles or other decorations, and a big old candle on top.
When we have surgery, we have so many things to think about that we rarely think about how we’ll deal with situations where a particular day is so closely tied to a particular food, the way birthdays are tied to cake. But eventually each of us has a birthday and when that day comes, we must contend with cake. I’ll tell you my progression on this in my 8 years since surgery.
I remember my very first birthday post-op. That night I went to my mid-week church service, where we also have supper. When there is a birthday my pastor (now former pastor) would get that person a birthday cake. Now my pastor knew I had surgery but he didn’t know the nuances, like the fact that sugar is a BIG no-no (not only for my weight loss, but I’m also a sugar-dumper!). So of course he bought me a cake.
Now that particular year I was about 11 months post-op and had already had a few accidental dumping experiences, so I already knew sugar made me violently ill and as a result I’d developed a wicked phobia. So it wasn’t hard to trun down that cake. An interesting thing happens when it’s your birthday and you don’t want to eat the cake. Nobody else wants to eat it either! I mean, think about it. It’s your cake. Folks don’t feel right eating your cake if you’re not. But that day I assured everyone it was fine to go on without me, so they happily enjoyed it. I wasn’t sad, but I admit I did feel a little out of place.
My second year after surgery, I was a little bit braver with food, but still very strict about my eating. So that year my pastor asked if I wanted a cake and I said, “Sure…I want you guys to enjoy a cake for my birthday.” And again I abstained. By my third year post-op I had all but divorced the notion of cake and birthdays in my mind. Eventually my pastor retired, someone new took over the supper and that person didn’t bother with the cakes.
So just to recap, although I’ve eaten bits of cake here and there throughout my journey, I’ve yet to have actual cake on my birthday. (I don’t know whether to say that with pride, disbelief or what).
Anyhoo…the point of my story is not to discourage you from eating cake, but to do what is best for you in the situation. You know what that is.
But you also know around these parts we like to play with our food! So in the spirit of that, here are a few ways we post-ops can have cake whenever we want it, but especially on our birthdays!
Protein Banana Rum Cake (with Peanut Butter Frosting)
This was the very first protein cake I ever made (as evidenced by the notably crappy picture). You can play around with the recipe if you don’t like Bananas or Rum flavoring, but the gist of this cake is that it actually looks like cake and feels like cake in your mouth! Granted, it’s got a lot of protein so it’s sort of a meal for us, but still…it’s cake!
Chocolate Protein Cupcake
This recipe is also an oldie-but-goodie. If you’re a chocoholic, this is the cake for you! It uses low-carb baking mix along with protein powder and it is moist, chocolatey goodness! If you’re a cupcake fanatic, this is definitely one to try.
Protein Carrot Cupcake
Now I did this cupcake for Easter, but really it’s good anytime you get a craving for carrot cake. Sugar-free jelly beans are optional, but they are darn cute, don’t you think?
Not everyone is a traditional cake person. Maybe you are a cheesecake person. I certainly am! In fact, when you look at types of food, there are more cheesecake recipes on this site than any other kind (try searching it, you’ll see!). Cheesecake is easy to amp up the protein in. Try using whipped Greek cream cheese to add an extra bump of protein into this delicious little mini!
So I hope I’ve at least shown you that your birthday doesn’t have to be absent of cake (unless you want it to be). Especially if you know how to play with your food!