Throw Away The Soda – Bariatric Edition

One of the best tips you will ever receive as a bariatric client is to not consume your calories in the form of drinks.  Sugary sodas and sweetened beverages will sabotage your nutritional regimen and the weight will hang on.  Sodas are especially a terrible thing to put into your body on a regular basis.  It is a concentrated sugar or a chemical sweetener mixed with phosphoric acid and laced with stimulants – there is nothing healthy about sodas.  It can also be quite uncomfortable for a client who has undergone bariatric surgery as the acid and carbonation can irritate the smaller sized stomach and leaving them feeling gassy, bloated and sore.

We all know that we need to kick our soda and energy drink habit before bariatric surgery but how can it be done with minimal withdrawal ?  You see, soda contains caffeine and aspartame or high fructose corn syrup – both are addictive and that’s why sometimes it feels like there is nothing quite as satisfying as a cold can of coke.  Did you know that 75% of soda is consumed by 25% of the population ?  Sodas are filled with sugar and are extremely addictive and we should not touch the stuff.  Our bodies do not even know what to do with liquid sugars and these are what lead to weight gain in children and also in adults.  

Why are soft drinks so bad for us ?  there are conditions and specific situations which can be aggravated with the influx of soft drinks which include:  food addiction, obesity, depression, asthma, diabetes, tooth decay, gum disease, behavior problems and stress eating just to name a few. 

Bariatric clients have only so much space in their new stomach.  There is a pile of competition for good use of a smaller space.  When you drink soda, you may be using space that could be used for real, live, healthy, good quality foods.  Soda contains phosphoric acid which can cause decreased absorption of calcium.  This is already a concern as a bariatric patient post surgery so don’t allow soda to impact the situation and make it worse.

We have all read online somewhere that soda will stretch our new stomach pouch.  This is a perfect fear tactic but if you ask your surgeon directly, he or she will explain to you that your new stomach cannot allow a high enough gas pressure to build up within it to stretch it out.  An understanding of the pouch will show you that a basically a bag with a hole in it cannot have a high enough gas pressure to build up within it to stretch it out.  There are so many other reasons to stay away from soda, but it’s not because it will stretch the stomach.

So how can we give up this sweet addition ? Substitute the soda or energy drink with something healthier.  Instead of just quitting, substitute with sugar free beverages or add fresh fruit to your water or sparkling water.  You shouldn’t compare the new drink with your old one. Try to enjoy the new fresh flavors and appreciate that it is a better alternative.  If you have more alternatives you will form new habits and it will be encouraging to quit the soda for good.

Throw away all the soda.  Cleanse your home of unhealthy beverages so that it is not there to tempt you.  Stay focused on your goal and for about two weeks prior to your surgery, start reaching for your new favorite substitutes.  This is the perfect time to reconsider your health decisions so you are able to make healthier choices.  By dropping the bad habits such as drinking soda, you are doing yourself a big favor for the years to come.

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery patients for over a decade and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For high quality specialized plant protein for bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Protein Powders

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin ?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

Stay motivated with Bariatric Wristbands – post your results online !

Tips For Recovering From Gastric Bypass

Gastric Bypass

Gastric Bypass is a major surgery & requires a lot to recover completely.

The start towards the path of recovery would be tough to go through.

It will be super uncomfortable & you will be hungry for the most of the time.

Clear liquid diet won’t make you feel any better nor would it help with the hunger pangs. But that is all you can have in the start.

Start walking as much as you can after the surgery.

In the beginning take it slow but don’t sit idle & wait for the pain to ebb away.

Follow the post operation diet plan completely without a dark spot.

Join a support group to find a companion going through the same condition.

Stay Positive

Stay away from cheating methods.

Ask for help if need be to keep depression at bay.

Plan your meal time so that snacking could be avoided.

Planning To Go Through Gastric Bypass ?

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INTERNATIONAL PATIENT FACILITATORS

 

Post Bariatric Surgery Smoothies !

Post Bariatric Surgery Smoothies !

Pre and Post bariatric surgery, you will be required to drink protein shakes and they will make up a big part of your nutritional regimen for the first few months.  Please take a moment to pack your shakes with ingredients that will give you the biggest nutritional bang for your buck.  There are so many opportunities to feed your body post surgery in a very nutritious way.  This also ensures quicker healing and excellent weight loss results.   Instead of buying those pre-made shakes, grab your blender and take it up a notch.  You can make some delicious, healthy, smoothies to guarantee you are giving your body what it requires.  As far as equipment goes, all you need is your magic bullet or blender.

Rules to Follow:  Add an ingredient from each of the categories below to invent your delicious and nutritious smoothies.  Blend until smooth.  Take your time and enjoy your smoothie one sip at a time.  If you cannot drink it in one sitting, then cover it and place it in the fridge to come back to in a few hours.  Consume within 24 hours please.  Get creative !

Main Ingredient :  Protein Powder !  Add one serving of high quality protein powder to the blender.  We recommend using plant proteins for better digestion post surgery.  Regular protein powders contain dairy (whey protein) and can cause gas and bloating.  Here is an excellent high quality powder for bariatric patients:  Plant Protein

Fruit !  Berries are my favorite as they are packed with nutrients, low sugar and high fiber.  Add a handful of fresh or frozen berries to your smoothie.  Stay away from canned fruits that have added sugars.

Milks:  Today we have so many options … I suggest mixing your smoothie with no sugar added almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk or any one of your favorites.  Don’t use “low fat” milk please because when the fat is removed, there are sugars and chemicals added to make it taste better. 

Spice it up:  Now is the time to get creative !  Spice is not only fun but it’s also adds nutritional benefits.  Play with different flavors such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla or allspice. 

Sweeten up:  use Stevia or monk fruit to add some additional sweetness to your smoothie.

Added Fiber !  post surgery some clients experience constipation.  To help keep things “moving along” – add a teaspoon of chia seed or ground flax seed to your smoothie. 

Here are some yummy smoothie recipes to try.  There are so many options to choose from.  Get creative and have fun with your blender !

Yummy Banana and Peanut Butter Smoothie
  • one scoop of protein powder
  • one cup of chocolate soy milk
  • 1/2 a banana
  • one tablespoon of natural peanut butter
  • ice cubes
Super Berry Smoothie
  • one scoop of protein powder
  • 1/2 a cup of frozen berries
  • 1/2 a cup of greek yogurt
  • one cup of almond milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • ice cubes
Super Peachy Smoothie
  • one scoop of protein powder
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peaches
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 cup cashew or coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery patients for 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For high quality specialized plant protein for bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Protein Powders

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin ?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

Stay motivated with Bariatric Wristbands – post your results online !

What Vegetables do I eat when I am watching my carbohydrate intake ?

It’s so confusing when we hear that we need to eat our veggies and then in the same sentence that we need to watch our carb intake – aren’t vegetables considered carbohydrates ?  So what do we do ?  eat them or not ?  I am going to break it down so that you can have your cake (veg) and eat it too !

Below is an easy to go to list which tells you which veggies are the best to eat when watching your carbohydrate intake.  Get ready for a few surprises though !  Did you know that your leeks are high in carbohydrates or that a great low carb option is to snack on radishes ?

So if it’s so confusing and some vegetables are high in carbs while others are not – why not just eliminate all vegetables from our diets ?  

Please don’t do this – those vegetables that you avoid give you tons of fiber and vitamins and minerals that keep our body happy and healthy.  Instead of just giving up veg, stick to the ones that are lower in carbohydrates while you are still in the active weight loss phase post bariatric surgery.  

What do I count ?  Net Carbs or Total Carbs ?

Try not to focus on total carbs and change your focus to the “net carbs” in your vegetables.  Fiber is so healthy and it keeps us “moving” and it also keeps our guts healthy so don’t exclude it in your diet.  Try to get more of it.  A lot of that fiber is not going to be digested and so it doesn’t turn into “glucose” or carbohydrates – it passes through your gut and feeds the micro-biome keeping your gut healthy.  Eat low carb veggies and keep your gut happy and healthy. 

What’s the “best of the best” when talking about low carbohydrate vegetables ?  Which ones can you turn to when looking for high micronutrients and low in carbs ?  I like to suggest that you turn to the following vegetables:

Broccoli – it’s a super versatile low carb veg which is packed with vitamins C and K and it only contains 4g net carbs per one full cup.

Asparagus – eat asparagus because it can be wrapped in bacon lol and it comes in at 4g of net carbs per cup – plus you will be getting plenty of Vitamin A, C and K.

Mushrooms – they are super low carb at 1g net carbs per cut of white mushrooms.  They have been found to contain amazing anti-inflammatory properties.  Add mushrooms to boring dishes to add texture and flavour.

Zucchini – there are different types of zucchini and some are higher in carb count than others but regular green zucchini has approximately 3 grams of net carbs per cup.  Zucchini will give you plenty of vitamin C.

Spinach – when watching carb count, spinach is a favourite for most people because it only has 3 grams of net carbs per each cooked cup.  Spinach can be used cooked or in salads or with eggs.  It’s extremely versatile and you can even add some healthy fats to make it creamy as a side dish.

Avocado – so avocados are actually considered a fruit but I am adding them here as they are eaten more like a veg.  Avocado is super high in healthy fats and they are also low in net carbs as they are very high in fiber.  They come in at 3g of net carbs.  They are also super high in vitamin C.  Add a bit of avocado to your meals to increase satiety and healthy fats.

Cauliflower – this is a super versatile vegetable which is low in carbs (2g net carbs per cup).  You can use this vegetable as a side dish or a main course.  You can switch regular potatoes for cauliflower mash and you can even make pizza crust out of this veg.  

Bell Peppers – the green bell pepper adds great flavour to cooked dishes.  The green ones are lower in carbs over the red/ yellow ones but even then the coloured peppers only contain 6g of net carbs per one cup chopped up.  Get your vitamin A and add tons of flavours to your salads and wraps.

Green Beans – green beans are a super addition as a side dish.  One cup of green beans has 6g of net carbs and they add plenty of texture to cooked and raw dishes.

 

Low Carbohydrate List of Vegetables / per 100 grams  / Net Carbs

  • Broccoli Raab 0.15g
  • Bok Choi 1.18g
  • Celery 1.37g
  • Spinach 1.43g
  • Asparagus 1.78g
  • Radish 1.80g
  • Avocado 1.84g
  • Arugula 2.05g
  • Zucchini 2.11g
  • Mushrooms 2.26g
  • Tomato 2.69g
  • Olives 2.80g
  • Eggplant 2.88g
  • Bell Pepper 2.90g
  • Cauliflower 2.97g
  • Cabbage 3.00g
  • Cucumber 3.13g
  • Jalapeno Pepper 3.70g
  • Broccoli 4.04g
  • Bean Sprouts 4.14g
  • Fennel 4.20g
  • Okra 4.25g
  • Green beans 4.27g
  • Turnips 4.63g
  • Snow Peas 4.95g
  • Brussels Sprouts 5.15g
  • Carrots 6.78g
  • Onion 7.64g
  • Leek 12.3g
  • Ginger 15.7g

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery patients for 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric patients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For high quality specialized plant protein for bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Protein Powders

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin ?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

Stay motivated with Bariatric Wristbands – post your results online !

Bridges, Crowns and Implants: What do they all mean?

Dentistry has come a long way since its humble and sometimes terrifying beginnings. Today, there’s a host of dental procedures which address various ailments and maladies of the gums, teeth and mouth. This is also a cause for confusion as many do not know how to differentiate between what is out there. Not knowing the difference means not being able to figure out what you need!

Making it Simple

We’re going to address this unfamiliarity and walk you through three very common and popular dental procedures. We’re going to get into what they mean as well as what they entail and when they might be a good idea to get.

Here they are!

Bridges

The prime purpose of a dental bridge is to take the place of a missing tooth or teeth. The name bridge comes from the fact that the false teeth or ‘bridge’, is supported by real teeth on either side of it. In other words, it literally bridges the gap between them!

How Do They Work?

Firstly, dental bridges are synthetically made and require one solid tooth on either side in order to hold them in place. They serve to allow the wearer more flexibility when it comes to eating and improve one’s look aesthetically (fixes your smile). They also prevent the shifting and displacement of the remaining teeth that often happens when teeth are missing. Last but not least, it protects the teeth that remain from strain and decay!

When Do I Get One?

If all your teeth are perfect but one or two, dental bridges would be the ideal solution.

Crowns 

Crowns only fit over a single tooth. Like bridges, crowns are also made of a variety of materials including ceramic, stainless steel and gold to name a few. A crown helps to cover and protect a tooth that has suffered erosion or damage. It also returns tooth functionality.

How do they work?

Crowns work by protecting the damaged part of the tooth and preventing further damage. They help with mastication (chewing) as damaged teeth tend to sting when pressure is applied to them. Dental cement is used to hold crowns in place for extended periods of time.

When do I get one?

Crowns are ideal if you have a mildly damaged tooth that you need to have fixed.

Implants

This probably the most reliable (yet also painful) tooth replacement option. Implants are synthetically modeled teeth that are fit right into the jawbone in replacement of those that are missing.

How do they work?

Implants do just that. They are implanted to replace your teeth. The bottom part of the implant is often metal and fused with the jaw bone below. The upper part or tooth is what people see. These are made as the same synthetic materials as bridges and crowns. Unlike dentures however, implants do not slip out, nor do they need to be removed while eating.

When do I get them?

Implants are a great idea if you’re missing all or most of your teeth. These are also often a good way to go if your teeth are too damaged to support a crown or bridge.

Coverage and Cost

Though personally we all treasure our smiles and ability to eat, many insurance companies and employer-provided medical covers do not consider dental care as essential. Further, dental care in the US can be painfully expensive!

Alternatives? 

There is always the option of seeking quality dental care abroad. Dental care in Mexico is affordable and as reliable as anywhere in the U.S. A number other treatments such as cosmetics, fertility and bariatric surgery in Mexico are also quite popular among those visiting for health care purposes.

If you’re interesting in seeking dental or any other medical care in Mexico, give us a shout and let us help you put it together!

5 Types of Weight Loss Procedures, Surgery and how they Work

What is bariatric surgery or gastric bypass? To some, these terms might be completely alien; to others, not so much. A report from 2013 claims that bariatric surgery is one of the most effective forms of weight loss treatment used  to counter morbid obesity. That being said, there are a number of different surgical procedures which are aimed at weight loss.

Over the course of this blog we’re going to get into the details of some of these procedures. This includes their effectiveness as well as a little on how they are performed.

5 Different Types of Procedures

There are a number of different procedures used to address weight loss. Some of these as you will soon find are more popular than others. Without further delay, here they are!

Gastric Sleeve

Also known as sleeve gastrectomy, this procedure involves the reduction of stomach size. This is done by removing a part of the stomach. The name sleeve is given as that is the structure the stomach takes post surgery.

This surgery is meant to reduce hunger by making the patient feel full quicker. It is extremely popular due to its effectiveness as well as due to the fact that it is one of the quicker procedures available.

LAP-BAND

This involves wrapping and compartmentalizing the stomach with the help of a band. The bands in question come from various companies. This procedure reduces the size of the stomach (through band compartmentalization) hence makes patients feel fuller quicker.

Though this surgery too is effective, there are certain problems with it such as band erosion.

Gastric Bypass

This form of surgery works both by reducing stomach size as well as by rearranging the intestines in a way that allows for quicker excretion of unabsorbed food. In most cases, this food would be converted to fat cells hence the surgery is also quite effective in the area of weight loss.

This surgery is also known to allow for a weight loss of up to 60% within the span of twelve months.

Duodenal Switch

This technique involves a number of steps. These include downsizing ones stomach surgically, intestinal redirecting and gall bladder removal.

The results are notable health improvements by way of reduced hunger, non-absorbtion of excess minerals and immense weight loss.

Gastric Balloon

Believe it or not, this procedure involves placing between one and three balloons in the stomach in order to reduce space and make it feel full sooner. These are not your average balloons but special medical tools made of silicone.

This procedure is hugely beneficial for weight loss and other ailments but the balloons require removal on a six month basis.

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What’s the Best?

We can’t really say what the best of these is. What we can say is MINI BYPASS, gastric bypass and sleeve surgery is definitely among the most sought out!

Conclusion

Though effective, if done in the U.S., some of these procedures can be quite a burden on ones finances. A number of people have proceeded to seek bariatric surgery in Mexico and other places due to the availability of affordable high quality healthcare. If you’re someone who is currently looking for bariatric treatment options abroad, pick your desired treatment and give us a shout!

3 Types of Fertility Treatments and how they Work

Infertility plagues a large number of people across the world. Furthermore, with our lifestyles being stressful, people tend to hold up on having children until they feel set and stable. That being said, the desire to have children is a real one and an inability to achieve the same truly devastating.

Many people think twice before seeking fertility treatment. The reason for this could be a combination of not really knowing what is out there as well as not being able to afford it!

Costs and Coverage

Unfortunately, fertility is not seen as something important enough for most insurance plans to take up under their umbrella of covered procedures. Furthermore, fertility treatment, especially in the U.S. is extremely expensive to say the least.

Variety of Treatments

There are a large number of fertility treatments available today. These include; fertility drugs, donor eggs, reproductive surgery, gamete transfer and zygote transfer to name a few.

We however, will focus on three well established forms of treatment and go over what they are about.

Fertility Drugs

Fertility drugs act by facilitating the production and release of certain hormones crucial to fertility. The three ways these hormones help is by enhancing the formation of eggs, triggering ovulation and making the uterus better prepared for implantation.

These are ideal for women with irregular ovulation or those whose partners might have weak sperms. On a flip side this treatment is ineffective in case of blockages in the fallopian tubes.

These drug based fertility treatment have a success rate of about 50%. That being said, fertility drugs can cause numerous unpleasant side effects which are both physical and emotional.

Reproductive Surgery

This is an approach taken when there are physical anomalies that hamper or prevent fertilization. One example is fallopian tube blockages. Reproductive surgery performed relies greatly on the type of problem present. This is because surgical procedures need to be altered accordingly.

There is no stable measure of the success rates of reproductive surgery. This is because success varies depending on the intensity of the condition suffered by the patient.

Another factor to bear in mind here is that this procedure is all out surgical. It could require extended in patient stays and recovery periods. In extreme cases, it can also be quite risky.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

IVF is a procedure that involves a number of steps. These include extraction of the patient’s eggs. This is followed by Fertilization of said eggs with partner or donor sperm (depending on what you are going for). Finally, one of the numerous successfully fertilized eggs is implanted directly into the uterus.

This treatment addresses both those with damaged internal organs that make fertilization difficult and problems associated with weak sperms. It is also highly useful in older women looking to bear children.

This form of fertility treatment has higher success rates. The only con, at least in the U.S. is that it is extremely expensive.

Conclusion

Out of all the fertility treatments out there, IVF is considered to be the best, most effective and least problematic or risky. Unfortunately, the fact that it is costly forces many hopeful or aspiring parents to look into other less expensive forms of treatment.

That being said, medical tourism is a real thing and Mexico is very much a hub for medical tourism! There are a number of fertility cosmetic and bariatric treatment options in Mexico for those seeking inexpensive yet reliable and quality health care. If you feel you want to look into fertility treatment options in Mexico, we’ve got all the detailed information you require and a service that guarantees to get you the treatment you desire. Just look into your options and get to it!

3 Types of Stem Cells and their Uses in Treatment

Stem cells, could in a sense, be called the building blocks of the human machine. Varying stem cells serve varying functions. Stem cells produced alter over the course of one’s life. Last but not least, where these stem cells are found also differs depending on their function.

Why is This Relevant?

For those seeking any form of stem cell treatment abroad, it makes sense to have a basic understanding of some of the types of stem cells out there as well as their relevance in treatment!

3 Types of Stem Cells

We’re going to delve into 3 types of stem cells as well as how they are used in treatments today.

Embryonic

These stem cells, known as embryonic stem cells are derived from the inside of a group of cells called a blastocyst. This is what eventually advances to the cells that make our tissues and further, our organs.

Extracted cells are nurtured under laboratory conditions. These grown cells possess the versatile abilities of the original embryonic stem cells that they are harvested from.

These cells can be used to grow pretty much any part of the human body sans the umbilical cord as well as the placenta.

Tissue Specific

These stem cells also go by the name somatic stem cells as well as adult stem cells on occasion. These stem cells are localized and are generally able to grow and form the tissue type of the area they are found in.

One example is bone marrow cells. These can be used to grow all types of blood components but not organs such as the intestines, heart or lungs.

In a functioning human body, such tissue specific and localized stem cells give aid in growth as well as repair of the organ and other tissue in the place where they are found.

That being said, these are hard to locate and not as conducive to growth in a lab controlled culture setting as their embryonic counterparts.

IPS Cells

IPS stands for Induced pluripotent stem cells. These are engineered under laboratory conditions by inducing various tissue specific cells to behave as embryonic stem cells do.

Though IPS cells are currently used extensively for research, their application for treatment due to engineering techniques is still being debated.

What Good Are All These?

The question remains, how are all these stem cells used for treatment? There are a number of ways that these cells contribute to treatment both directly and indirectly.

Research and Development

Stem cells are used extensively for research. Research areas include human growth and development, genetic diseases (both degenerative and otherwise) and the study of various non-genetic yet deadly illnesses.

They are also used to help try out novel methods of treatment before opening to human testing.

Treatment 

The unique ability of stem cells to evolve into tissues specific to locality makes them the perfect option to treat a number of illnesses and ailments.

Some examples of treatments that employ the use of stem cells include extensive burn treatment, disorders and maladies associated with blood as well as certain forms of organ malfunction or failure or orthopedic conditions.

Winding Down

With more and more research being done in the area of stem cell therapy, it will not be long before these treatments will be available the world over and provided by highly reliable and qualified medical practitioners.

For the moment, practitioners in some parts of the world have had more experience with stem cell therapy than others.

Traveling for Treatment

Besides it being hard to find a reliable practitioner for stem cell therapy in the U.S., it is also extremely costly. Places like Mexico offer affordable stem cell treatments and therapies to patients visiting from other countries. They also boast other medical services such as bariatric surgery, dental care and cosmetics at a far less cost than back home!

Don’t Panic

Don’t panic. Receiving treatment abroad is easier and cheaper that at home! If you’re worried about all the planning and organizing, we’ve got that bit covered. All you need to do is decide on what treatment you’re looking for, scout your options and get in touch!

Post Op Grocery Shop with Nutritionist Sheri

Here’s your chance to go post op bariatric grocery shopping with your RHN – Registered Holistic Nutritionist Sheri.

Let’s go grocery shopping together !  We will first shop like we are “one year post op bariatric surgery” and then we will do a 2nd spin around the supermarket pretending that we are getting ready for our pre.op/ post op guidelines.  I am going to keep it simple and if you have questions, please reach out to me by responding to this email or commenting below.  Sure, we could get super complicated and really dive deep into nutrition but this isn’t about going to nutritionist college – this is about giving simple guidelines to people who are just starting to read labels and make sense of all this nutrition jargon…. let’s do it !

Grocery shopping while following a pre op diet, or post op guidelines can be super difficult but let’s make it fun.  In your local grocery store is a whole new world of flavours that adhere to your new way of life.  It is not something that comes naturally and it’s something you need to work a bit for.  You can’t believe that you are going to get out of the operating room just instinctively knowing how you are supposed to eat.  You need to read and research and learn and try to make sense of all the nutritional information that’s out there.  Keep an open mind when learning the bariatric ropes.  Reach out to me when you have questions.  That’s why I am here – to support you while you are on this journey and this journey is a lifelong one.  Let’s become “foodie friends for life”. 

Whether shopping for your pre.op nutritional plan or post op guidelines, print and bring the list along with you to the grocery store.  Please make sure that you eat something and drink something prior to entering the grocery store.  It will make shopping a whole lot easier and more comfortable for you.  Armed with a full tummy and your pre.op or post op list, let’s start at the produce department.  That’s the best place to begin.  You aren’t feeling rushed or tired yet and this is where all the vitamins and nutrients live in green and red and orange colours.  Because I am shopping for pre.op and post op foods, I am going to get some carrots and broccoli, onions, garlic, cauliflower and kale which I am going to use in a big pot of vegetable soup which I will eat during my pre.op diet.  If I am recently post op, I can also use this same recipe for a big pot of vegetable soup and depending on the stage I am at, I can blend it or puree it to the correct consistency.  You can add all kinds of low starch vegetables to your soup depending on what your likes are. 

Next we are moving to the deli counter which has some good options and a lot of really bad options.  Please do say “yes” to minimally processed meats and cheeses and please say “no” to the pre-made macaroni salads and coleslaw filled with mayonnaise and sugar.  Here there are a lot of sugars and refined carbohydrates and very empty calories. 

Let’s take our shopping cart to the meat department now.  Purchase your lean meats, fish and seafood and you can even request that your butcher cut your purchases into five ounce portions so it’s even easier to prep when you get home.  It’s a super idea to have lots of protein options available at home.  You pick a protein/ defrost it and then prepare it with a nice fresh or frozen green vegetable.  Your lunch or dinner is ready to serve !

Let’s try to stay on the outside of the supermarket as best we can because we all know that the sugars and carbs and refined “carbage” is awaiting all of us in the supermarket aisles.  As tempting as it may be – almost nothing that you need will be on the inside of the supermarket aisles.  Go down them only if there is something that you need on your grocery list such as coffee or peanut butter or coconut oil or stevia.  If you don’t need something that is down the aisles, then skip them. 

So now that we have skipped the inner aisles of the grocery store, we can now proceed to the dairy section where we can get ourselves some eggs, whole milk (no skimmed milk please) or almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk or any one of the many milk or milk substitutes available to us today (with zero sugars added).  We are also going to choose some high quality greek yogurt with zero sugar added and some high quality cottage cheese (not the low fat kind).  If we want a sweeter yogurt, we can add some frozen berries and stevia to it. 

In my supermarket, the last wall is the freezer department and stocking up with low carb frozen vegetables and low sugar berries are always an excellent idea.  They are versatile and easy to use when fresh is not available. 

So to recap –  looking down into my shopping cart, on this trip I have purchased low carb fresh veggies and low sugar berries, some minimally processed deli meat, cheese, chicken, fish, shrimp, almond milk, greek yogurt, cottage cheese and some frozen blueberries.  Now it’s time to go home and food prep for the week to come.  I have my bariatric protein powders at home so I can add that to the blender with some berries, almond milk and greek yogurt and mix myself up a shake each morning.  If I want another option, I can have a scrambled egg with some spinach.  For lunch I will prepare a big vegetable soup and bring that along with me to work and for dinners I will have a portion of protein with some baked vegetables.  For snacks I can have yogurt with blueberries or cottage cheese with raspberries. 

What an empowering feeling to be able to check out at the grocery store and know that the foods in my shopping cart will promote excellent health and are in line with my weight loss goals !

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Nutritionist and Bariatric Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery patients for 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric patients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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