By, Lindsay Johnson, Founder of FitPros
When the Dentist said that two of my wisdom teeth recently grew in and needed to be extracted, I asked “are we suuurree they can’t just stay”. Nearing 40 years old the idea of ‘surgery’ still freaks me out. While they were in there we had the bright idea to replace a crown and fill two cavities. Yep, that was a mouth full of work, but since I’m hoping to be pregnant in the coming months delaying these oral procedures was not an option, so I pulled up my big girl yoga spandex and started researching how to prepare.
Some dentists believe it's better to remove wisdom teeth at a younger age - teenage to mid-twenties - before the roots and bone are fully formed, and when recovery is generally faster after surgery. I bounced around to a few dentists in my twenties so perhaps that’s a reason it was not suggested and/ or turns out my mouth is a late bloomer all around and I still have three baby teeth too. Either way, wisdom teeth extraction was going down.
After reading several boring medically written articles that encouraged sugar filled processed clear and soft foods I opted to write this blog based on what worked for me - a health conscious lover of eating and food. When I read that the first couple days after wisdom teeth surgery requires a clear liquid diet I immediately thought
"ugh, broth is full of sodium, applesauce is all sugar, and that childhood treat, store bought boxed jello and pudding is processed with dyes and preservatives - ick". So, what can I do to try to be as healthy as possible?
Instead of sodium filled stock broth, I chose unsalted bone broth which is rich in minerals that help build and strengthen your bones. Bone broth is basically stock with an added bonus! It’s simmered for a much longer period of time with the goal of releasing all the nutritious things like glucosamine, amino acids, electrolytes and essential fatty acids.
Although apples are a whole food they are still loaded with natural sugar and carbs. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), there are about 25 grams of carbs in total in a medium-sized apple, and around 19 grams of that is sugar. Most of the sugar in an apple is fructose, and has a different effect on the body than other sugars. Fructose sugar in an apple is not refined or processed like you’ll find in packaged foods. Positive attributes of apples include fiber that helps slow the absorption of sugars in the body, plus vitamins A and C which are antioxidants that reduce inflammation.
Buying packaged and processed jello was not in my cards, however, when I read “unflavored beef gelatin” in the ingredients I thought, "heck no! sweet jello and beef are a no bueno combo". Maybe I was behind on this one, but during my research I learned even packaged JELLO is made by boiling the bones and hides of animals. There was no way around it, if I must eat gelatin then at least if I make it myself I can choose the brand. So, I browsed the Whole Foods vitamin aisle to at least check out the Vital Proteins label. Not only is it unflavored and gluten free the Vital Protein brand has 20 grams of collagen, 17 grams of protein and no added sugar! For the juice I picked up a bottle of no sugar added apple juice and no sugar added orange juice to make one of each flavor. That sounds like a lot of jello, but when you’re eating only 3 things for two days it goes fast.
As your Dentist likely advised, absolutely do not eat seeds, granola or chunks of anything that could possibly get wedged into your stitches. Thankfully I read to avoid black pepper, because it’s often a nice to have in the potato recipes. Your food should be creamy and soft for at least one week or until you’ve seen the surgeon for a follow up. I have no affiliation with the Vitamix company, but I should - I highly endorse their food processor. I use it at least once a day for my smoothies, homemade hummus, ice cream and more. I’ve used other blender brands, but none smooth my food as good. The one downside is that it’s very loud. My neighbors must think I’m a smoothie addict (well, I might be) with how often I’m blending.
For me the most difficult part of this procedure was being limited to only eating clear foods the first 48 hours. If I’m being honest I didn’t make it two days on just clear liquids as the oral surgeon recommended. At the 30 hour mark I was hangry.
Hangry = a clever portmanteau of hungry and angry, and an adjective that describes being irritable due to hunger.
I gave in for cooked egg whites mixed with greek yogurt and cinnamon. At Least it’s white in color, that’s close enough to clear, right?! The combination may sound a little weird, but it’s packed protein and low calories. This has been a treat of mine since my days of fitness competition training.
As the hours went by and bedtime neared my tummy was growling. I convinced myself that potassium would be good for me and proceeded to make my favorite homemade ice cream treat - chocolate banana frozen yogurt. The Doctor said that I should avoid getting my heart rate and blood pressure high following surgery, and since potassium is good for that - why not indulge! Be sure to remove the peel and freeze the banana in advance. I always keep these in my freezer. For the milk in this recipe my favorite is to use chocolate almond or pea protein milk. If that’s not available or if you want a slightly healthier option, use no sugar added white milk (I use almond, pea or cashew milk) plus a tablespoon of cocoa powder.
The ambitious entrepreneur in me has the idea to one day create a line of this frozen yogurt delight and call it “FitPro YoGo”. We’ll see what the future holds for creating a product line, but for now I love this too much to keep the recipe to myself. Normally I like to add frozen fruit in the blender as well, but because of the risk of seeds I do not recommend the addition after wisdom teeth extraction. Make FitPro YoGo yourself and let me know what you think!
Day 3 couldn’t come soon enough! The last time I was this excited to eat food was after my fitness competition in 2015. During fitness training my diet consisted of chicken, green veggies and sweet potatoes for 16 weeks. The steak burrito and chocolate shake after the competition tasted like heaven.
Since competition training I started eating a green smoothie once a day with two cups of frozen spinach or kale, and other ingredients you’ll see in the recipe. Two of the key items in my smoothie are psyllium husk and acai powder. Psyllium is a form of fiber made from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds, commonly known as a natural laxative. Psyllium is a prebiotic — a substance needed for healthy colonies of probiotics to grow in the gut. Research shows that psyllium can affect your heart by lowering blood pressure, improving lipid levels, and strengthening heart muscle. In addition to giving the smoothie a fruity undertone, acai powder is loaded with antioxidants, may improve cholesterol, and boost brain function. See why I enjoy this practically everyday?!
Before we hop into my wisdom teeth extraction meal plan read-on about how to care for the wounds and why it’s important to keep your mouth clean. If food gets lodged in the stitches you could end up with an infection or painful inflammation known as "dry socket" (alveolar osteitis). My mom said she got “dry socket” due to drinking from a straw after her wisdom tooth removal, and noted that it was very painful. Needless to say, I wanted to avoid any more pain even though rinsing with salt water after every meal didn’t sound like much fun. Turns out it was easy peasy, and someone suggested that I ask my Dentist for a plastic syringe to help squirt the water close to the stitches which was helpful.
The night of the surgery I avoided brushing my teeth. Thankfully the salt water rinses’ made it feel mostly clean, and since I only had eaten broth there wasn’t too much to clean. The next morning I used my electric toothbrush only on the front teeth and was super cautious near the back without the electric power on. I’ll repeat just for the sake of being thorough - rinse with salt water every time after you eat!
As for meds, they gave me Norco with acetaminophen and high-strength ibuprofen. I’m not so into taking prescription meds, and frankly it didn’t feel all that bad, so I only took Norco the first night (I slept like a log) and another the next morning. Feeling slightly sore the third day I took the ibuprofen and that was it. I’m seven years without alcohol, so avoiding it wasn’t a question for me, but if you enjoy libations, doctors say to refrain the week following surgery.
All said, wisdom teeth extraction at 38 years young wasn’t all that bad. I had an excuse to binge watch TV, not workout and write this blog - a win if I do say so myself. I hope that you enjoy these recipes and the recovery is quick for you. Leave a comment if you make any of these, and if you have any good healthy recipes to add!
DAY 1 & 2: Clear Liquids
4 cups of juice
2 Tbsp unflavored beef gelatin* (such as Vital Proteins or Great Lakes)
1 Tbsp honey or agave (optional)
Add 3/4 cup of your juice of choice to a bowl and sprinkle with gelatin powder. Whisk together to combine and allow to sit for 5 minutes to “bloom.” The granules will plump and the mixture will look like very thick applesauce or take on a lumpy appearance. Pour the remaining 3 ¼ cups of juice into a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until almost boiling. Remove from heat and stir in honey (if using) and the bloomed juice/gelatin mixture. Stir to dissolve. Lastly, pour into an 8×8 (2 quart) baking dish for thick Jello or a 9×13″ baking dish for thin Jello. Refrigerate about 4 hours, or until set. (If you’ve used a 9×13 pan, it may be set in as little as 2 hours).
No recipe here. I simply purchased packaged unsalted bone broth.
Again, no recipe. I purchased no sugar added applesauce. An important thing to check is that there are no chunks of apple in the sauce.
DAY 3 > 6: Soft Foods
Egg Whites & Greek Yogurt
¾ Cup Egg Whites
¼ Greek Yogurt
½ tsp Cinnamon, Cocoa Powder or Acai Powder
While cooking the egg whites on the stove stir with a spatula until the eggs are cooked and frothy. Mix your choice of powder then place in a bowl with the greek yogurt, stir and enjoy.
Chocolate Banana Frozen Yogurt
1 Cup Egg Whites
1 Ripe Frozen Banana
½ Cup Milk
½ Cup Greek Yogurt
1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder (omit if using chocolate milk)
Cook the egg whites and let them cool completely before making this treat. Once egg whites are cooled, place the egg whites, frozen banana, milk and cocoa powder (if you so choose) into the food processor, blend until it’s creamy and smooth.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
3 Sweet Potatoes
2 Tbsp Greek Yogurt
¾ Cup Almond Milk
Pinch of salt
Keep the skin on then clean and dice the sweet potatoes before steaming them for 15 minutes. Place the sweet potatoes, greek yogurt and milk in the food processor until well blended.
Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
1 Medium Head of Cauliflower
1/4 Cup Bone Broth
1 Tbsp Extra-virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp nonfat Greek Yogurt
1 Clove Garlic
Pinch of salt
Place cauliflower in the steamer after cleaning and removing it from the stem leaves, allow to steam for 12 minutes. Meanwhile, add all of the remaining ingredients in the food processor. Add the cauliflower to the food processor after it’s steamed and soft. Be sure to blend until it’s creamy.
2 Cups Milk of Choice
1/8 Tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/3 Cup Pure Maple Syrup, or Honey
1/2 Cup Milk of Choice + 3 tbsp Cornstarch
3/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
Heat the 2 cups milk of choice in a saucepan with the salt, cocoa powder, and sweetener. Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch and 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl until dissolved. When the 2 cups milk are warm, add the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir constantly for 2 minutes. Lower to a simmer for an additional minute, then turn off the heat. Once the heat is off, stir in the vanilla. Transfer the pudding to the refrigerator to thicken. It gets thicker the longer it sits and will be ready to consume after a few hours or overnight.
2 Cups Frozen Spinach or Kale
½ Bunch Mint (optional)
1 Tbsp Psyllium Husk
1 Tbsp Acai Powder
1 Cup Ice
After cleaning the mint and removing the stems (if you decide to add it) put all ingredients in a food processor. Be sure everything is blended until it’s nearly juice. With this combination this smoothie will be creamy, frothy instead of juice like.
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