It stands to reason that any weight-loss surgery will come with its own strict dietary plan. The vertical sleeve is certainly no different. While each bariatric program varies, this is a pretty reasonable approximation of what I'm looking at.
Immediately after surgery, I had no damn interest in eating anything, so it's good that I had IV fluids. During the first full day, they brought me a clear-liquid meal: chicken broth, a Jell-O approximation, hot tea. I barely wanted any of it. I picked at the Jell-O, sipped at the broth and pretty much ignored the tea. Then they graduated me to full liquids. The subsequent meal consisted of a protein shake (caramel, something I've found to be an unusual flavor in such fare) and something called Kozy Shack pudding, in addition to tea. I dug into that, which means I maybe ate three or four bites.
Then I went home. For two weeks I was on the full liquids diet, which basically consists of Jell-O, sugar-free popsicles, yogurt, protein shakes, milk and broth. It was about as exciting as it sounds. By the time it was done, I would've eaten my own fucking arm off for a bite of cottage cheese. No, I'm not kidding. I wish I were.
Starting last Wednesday, I went on purees. This is like heaven. I can have refried beans, tuna salad, lentil soup and so much more, including the aforementioned cottage cheese, so long as I put them in the Nutribullet beforehand. My energy is twelve times better and I feel so much more solid than when I was sipping at chicken broth with protein powder. I think I can handle this for another week and a half, and then I go to soft foods. This will be the first time I've eaten anything remotely normal. Fish. I'll be able to eat fish! I wonder if that includes sashimi. Probably not. I'll ask my surgeon, though.
As of today I'm down nearly 22 pounds. I'm not going to say this is the easy way because trust me, it's not. When I was throwing up blood in the hospital the night after the surgery, I knew it wouldn't be easy. It hasn't been. But is it worth it? So far: yes.