ACV what’s all the buzz about? – Bariatric Edition

ACV = Apple Cider Vinegar…. I LOVE THIS STUFF. For those of you who cannot stomach the idea, there is a Bariatric Expert ACV Supplement for that!
 
 
I add it to my water in the morning. I use it as a salad dressing. I use it for cooking. I use it as a topical remedy for my eczema on my hands. I use it for scrapes. I use it to wipe down my windows. When my 10-year-old chihuahua gets a “hot or itchy spot”, she gets the ACV topically also. I’ve been using ACV for a long time now … way before it got mainstream “popular”. I guess you can call me a “vinegar pusher”. I want to share this with my family, friends, and clients because I love the stuff. Now, I don’t think it’s going to cure cancer or heart disease but it’s my healthy hack for a few issues instead of taking OTC medications. I’ve personally seen how it can help my clients with a few of their issues also. 
 
Here’s my disclaimer: Before you stop taking any of your medications, talk to your doctor. It is out of my scope of practice to tell you to start or stop any medications. Research, research, and then research some more, please. 
 
What’s all the buzz about anyway? Why are we hearing so much about this seemingly simple remedy?
 
First up, what exactly is Apple Cider Vinegar? Well, it’s made out of fermented apples and water. Just like “regular vinegar”, apple cider vinegar has 5% acidity. When shopping for kinds of vinegar, you will see that there are quite a few different ones in your local grocery store. There is the distilled kind that looks like a clear color in the bottle and then there is a raw or unfiltered kind that looks a bit cloudy. There may even be things floating around in it. It sounds gross, but it’s good. This is called “the mother”. It’s formed by natural enzymes while fermenting. Don’t be scared of it because it is safe to consume. We WANT to consume these funky looking white floating bits in our vinegar. The more the merrier!
 
Vinegar has a very long shelf life – it’s almost indefinite according to the “Vinegar Institute”. Your vinegar may look different with age but you can still feel free to consume it.
 
So what about nutritionally? What about calories? 
Don’t worry about gaining weight from vinegar because apple cider vinegar has no calories per tablespoon. ACV also has no carbs, fat, fiber, or protein. It’s considered a free food. You can add flavor to foods and at the same time not add any calories. Go ACV!
 
Why oh Why has ACV been converted into a superfood? Why is it in the news all the time and why should we be drinking it or adding it to our food? Let’s chat about what the health benefits are of apple cider vinegar. What’s all the hype about anyway? 
 
We hear that sipping on ACV and water can cure EVERYTHING … We see articles about how it can help with weight gain, skin issues, digestive issues, and a whole lot more. You won’t find a ton of studies that are going to support these claims. Let’s be super realistic about the ACV craze today. This also doesn’t mean that you should walk away from the ACV claims. Who stands to earn a pile of cash from pushing ACV? … besides the ACV company? Ya, and they don’t have deep pockets like the pharmaceutical companies so there are not going to be huge studies done around ACV. You will have to study it yourself. You will have to see if it helps you and then make an educated decision based on that. 
 
One thing is for sure, ACV is not going to make you gain any weight because as we discussed earlier, it has zero calories. But, is ACV going to burn the fat off your body? Taking a bit of ACV is not going to make any changes to your weight because to lose weight you need to have an overall good and healthy diet. But, that is boring old advice right? It’s more flashy to say – do a shot of ACV and see the pounds melt away. ACV together WITH a good solid, healthy diet can help you to get the scale to move in the right direction. It’s not the ACV alone that is going to lose the weight. 
 
Some good news is that some studies have been done with type 2 diabetics. They have shown that a bit of ACV taken together with a meal can reduce spikes in blood sugars and it can improve insulin response. 
 
There have also been studies that show a reduction in LDL (that’s the bad cholesterol), total cholesterol, AND triglyceride levels due to the antioxidant benefits of the apple cider vinegar.
 
What about acid reflux? Could apple cider vinegar help with this? Doesn’t it seem counterintuitive? How could something that has 5% acidity DECREASE acid production? This is one of the reasons why I use ACV. I use it to prevent heartbeat and to improve my digestion. If I add more acid to my HCI that is already present, I am better able to digest my foods and this causes LESS acid reflux. Most cases of acid reflux come from LOW HCI in the stomach and not from an overproduction of HCI. Research, Research, and then Research some more, please. 
 
So, if taking a bit of diluted ACV can help to improve digestion, wouldn’t that mean that it could help a whole lot of people with other digestive issues? There are so many people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and a whole slew of other issues. Since ACV is a probiotic food, it helps to raise the good bacteria in the gut. Higher levels of healthy bacteria mean better digestion, absorption, and assimilation of the foods that we eat. Hmmmmm …. There are not sufficient studies to prove any of this but there are small studies using mice in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. What’s stopping us from giving it a try? 
 
I have eczema on my hands which is directly related to my diet and stress levels. I don’t have it all the time but when I eat too much sugar (for example), my eczema gets a whole lot worse. When I am up to my eyeballs in stress (think global pandemics), my eczema appears seemingly out of nowhere. When that happens, I reach for the ACV. It helps my “scratch/itch” cycles. I have tried many creams and potions and none of them work any better than my cheap bottle of ACV. At one point I had drawers of OTC and prescription creams. They worked a bit and then my eczema would come back with a vengeance Once again, disclaimer here: talk to your doctor before throwing away your eczema cream and switching over to ACV. 
 
I think that there are natural remedies that can work better than the ones prescribed to us. Doesn’t chicken soup help a cold? I mean, it doesn’t cure a cold, only time can do that together with your immune system but isn’t there something in a hot bowl of homemade chicken soup that makes us feel better? 
 
Think about all the remedies that your Grandmother or Grandfather talked about. When I lived in Mexico, every Mexican Mother touted the benefits of chamomile tea. We used cool chamomile teabags for A LOT of symptoms. Chamomile tea was in every kitchen. Even my pediatrician sent me home with a prescription for chamomile tea on occasions. 
 
Come to think of it, I use apple cider vinegar, homemade chicken soup, and chamomile tea a lot. I am pretty sure that my kids are going to pass this down to their kids and the cycle of natural remedies continues. This makes me smile. In closing, I am going to get a shot of ACV and start my day.
 
Here’s to you and your health, 
Hugs,
Sheri 

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 clients for over 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 bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

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.

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Probiotics for Bariatric Patients – Bariatric Edition

 
Hands up if you take probiotics … Hands up if you know that you should be taking a probiotic but you don’t understand why they are so important … 
 
This is my chance to explain all about probiotics and the benefits of eating foods rich in probiotics as well as using a supplement to improve your gut bacteria. I think that after reading all the benefits, it will make total sense as to why probiotics are so popular today. 
 
Did you know that the bacteria in your body outnumber your body’s cells 10 to 1? Most of that bacteria … well, it lives in your GUT. “Bacteria” sounds scary but most of these bugs are actually harmless. They are “good bugs”. 
 
We want these good bacteria in our guts because it is linked to so many health benefits. Some of these important benefits include improved digestion, weight loss, enhanced immune function, healthier skin, and a reduced risk of many diseases. 
 
For today’s article, let’s focus on the benefits listed above because the list goes on and on and on. 
 
These probiotics, I call them “happy bugs”, provide you with so many benefits when you eat them or take them in a supplement form. They get right to work and set up camp in your gut. You want that good bacteria in your gut. They help to devour the food that you eat and help your body digest, absorb, and assimilate your nutrients.
 
Probiotics are alive. They are living microorganisms. Most of the time they are a form of bacteria but they can also be specific kinds of yeasts. In your gut, lives a big community of very complex microorganisms. Another way to call it is your “microbiota” or your “gut flora”. In your gut lives up to as many as 1000 different microorganisms. That’s a pretty big community of helpers in your gut! This community does so many functions and they mostly live in your colon and large intestine. This is the very final part of your digestive system.
 
Your gut does more than just digest food. It also is a producer of many vitamins some of which include vitamin K and B vitamins. It also converts fiber into workable material like short-chain fats. These fats are important because they are going to also stimulate the immune system and make your gut wall stronger. If your gut wall is stronger, it is going to prevent unwanted things from getting into your body and initiating an immune response.
 
But – not everything in the gut is your friend. Your good gut bacteria is super sensitive to the diet that you are consuming. When this bacteria is not balanced, it is linked to many diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancers, Alzheimer’s, and depression (just to name a few of them). 
 
PROBIOTICS CAN HELP CORRECT THE DELICATE BALANCE IN YOUR GUT. IT CAN HELP ENSURE THAT IT IS FUNCTIONING IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE….. this, my friends, is why we need to take our probiotics very seriously. 
 
We are focusing today on probiotics and improved digestion, weight loss, enhanced immune function, healthier skin, and a reduced risk of many diseases BUT it is certainly worth mentioning that they can help to COMBAT irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. 
 
If you are struggling with certain digestive disorders that won’t get better, you may want to consider taking a probiotic supplement. They are considered safe and are a natural way to build up your healthy bacteria in your gut. Once starting your probiotics, your digestion should begin to improve. 
 
Improved digestion!! Why yes and you know what that means = less acid reflux. If we have better digestion, and less acid reflux, we will be better able to digest, absorb, and assimilate the foods that we eat post-bariatric surgery. In turn, this means fewer chances of experiencing nutrient deficiencies. 
 
Supplementation with probiotics is a great way to consume some “good for you” bacteria but another way is through the use of real, whole, live, natural, good quality FOOD. 
 
So what kinds of foods can we be eating to add to the good bacteria in our guts? Some of my favorite probiotic packed foods include high-quality yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso kombucha, and pickles. You can purchase these foods or make them in your kitchen. I make pickles, sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi at home and when I buy them, I make sure to read the labels to ensure that they are containing high-quality ingredients and not just vinegar. 
 
I think that the best route is to include some of the foods listed above in our daily diets but also to take a supplement to be sure we are getting everything we need.
 
Remember, we are what we eat. Going one step further, we are what we DIGEST. If we do not digest our foods well, we are missing out and so is our body. Eating a beautiful, nutrient-packed salad is great but what if you cannot digest that salad? We need to have our gut bacteria in balance to help do the job. 
 
Here is a link to purchase HIGH-QUALITY BARIATRIC EXPERT PROBIOTICS. They are great-tasting and well priced. Reach out if you want more information about probiotics and how to protect your gut bacteria.
 
Here’s to you and your healthy bugs!
 
Healthy Hugs xoxo
Sheri
 

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 clients for over 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 bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

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.

 

 

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FLATTENING YOUR CURVES – Bariatric Edition

MY COVID 6 POUNDS BE-GONE 5 DAY EATING PLAN!!
 
Here’s the deal, most of us have been eating TOO MUCH during this time of worry. If we would have known how long this was going to last for, we could have put some concrete plans in place and avoided eating poorly, sleeping poorly, and just generally treating our bodies badly.  Don’t even get me started with our alcohol consumption.
 
Most of us are still in a lockdown phase. Let’s get this eating thing right before we allow these 6 extra pounds to become a part of our bodies for good. 
 
Isolation and quarantine have become a new normal for a lot of us. The more time we spend indoors, the more time we spend at open doors (like the fridge). We snack more often when we work from home. That’s because we have easier access to the kitchen and the pantry.
 
As more homes double as offices, practicing social distancing from the fridge has become food for thought. Remembering your old routines can help put off the dreaded “quarantine 19 (pounds)”!
 
Following a schedule as if you are going to your “actual” office, can help to prevent weight gain.
 
Big changes in life can often “weigh” on us. The freshman 15 is a lesson college students learn when they are left to their own devices. And while adults may not be binging on Mac and Cheese and Ramen noodles, we ARE pushing it to the EXTREME.
 
But while it’s tempting to “dip into the treat cupboard”, or bake up a storm (I AM GUILTY OF THIS)… it could lead to some regret down the road. Emotions often run high in times of stress, and that can lead to unwanted binging. And with no certainty as to when this will end, there may not be a rush to get that summer body. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t practice “safe snacking”. 
 
We need to find that delicate balance of our “need to feel normal”, without overindulging. 
 
Let’s also start to “move our bodies” and create an exercise plan if we haven’t done that already. Please remember that we are moving our bodies not to lose weight but we are moving our bodies for good mental and physical health. My other favorite expression is: Exercise Consistency ALWAYS Trumps Intensity. I don’t want you beating yourself up for 3 hours. I want you CONSTANTLY doing 20 to 30 minutes of exercise. Your mind and body will thank you. Once you make this a habit, life gets good, really good.
What about the food part? What kind of menu will this consist of? Here goes … This is the plan …
We are going to follow a high fiber diet. This means loads of green stuff. We are going to eat lean protein. We are going to eat small amounts of healthy fat. We are going to repeat 3 days to not get bored with the food but also not to get too darn complicated. This also saves money and food waste.
 
If you don’t like something on the guidelines, switch it out for something that you do like.
We can drink water, coffee or tea.
We can use artificial sweeteners but just a bit – I prefer stevia or monk fruit.
We are going to exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes a day – preferably 30.
We need to work on our sleep habits and aim for 8 hours a night.
We are going to incorporate a bit of Intermittent Fasting into our daily routine.
Record your weight on day 1 and then again on day 6 in the morning.
Send me your results!!!
 
Note: Regarding Intermittent Fasting – if my “personal hours” do not work for you due to work etc, then switch them up to suit your lifestyle. I start eating at noon because it fits into my lifestyle. I get my coffee in the morning and then I work out BEFORE I eat. If you prefer to switch this up, perfect. You can always start to eat earlier and do your workout in the afternoon. Remember, there are no hard and fast rules for intermittent fasting. You need to incorporate it in a way that suits your lifestyle.
DAY 1
Coffee with Stevia (1 to 1.5 cups)
Water with a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar
More water….
 
Intermittent Fasting until Noon 
 
Noon to 5 pm  Homemade Vegetable Soup. 
My soup includes 8 cups of veggie stock, cabbage, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts.
I always add hot sauce and a dollop of greek yogurt when I serve it. You can make your veggie soup with whatever vegetables you like. I eat a few bowls of this soup between noon and 5 pm. If I am hungry, I eat more. If I am not hungry, I eat less. 
 
5 to 6 pm – Chicken Salad
My chicken salads include grilled chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, arugula, and I add a yogurt dressing. You can purchase it or you can make it. If I make it I use greek yogurt and a package (Ranch) that I add for flavoring. Another one of my favorite salad dressings is avocado oil with apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper.
 
8 pm to 9 pm – optional “Sheri’s Shake”
If I am “snacky” I am going to make a shake. My shake consists of greek yogurt, a handful of frozen or fresh berries, stevia for sweetness, and 1/2 a cup of whole milk or almond milk. I make it nice and thick. It is super satisfying. 
Day 2
Repeat Day 1 – make extra soup and extra grilled chicken to be able to just repeat day one. I hate food waste and I hate complicated menus so let’s keep this simple. 
Day 3
Intermittent Fasting until Noon 
 
Noon to 5 pm – Veggie omelet.
Saute your favorite veggies. I use mushrooms, tomatoes, jalapeños. Beat two eggs and add to the veggies. If you don’t like my veggies, add the ones you like the most. You can make a larger omelet and eat on two separate occasions.
 
5 to 6 pm – Small steak with green beans.
I will use a small filet mignon and cut it in half – the size of your steak will depend on how far post-op you are. The rest of the plate I will fill with green beans and on top of the beans, I add a pat of butter and salt/ pepper. 
 
8 pm to 9 pm – optional “Cottage Berry Whip”.
The recipe I will use is: 1/2 cup of cottage cheese with 1/2 a cup of frozen berries and a touch of stevia and vanilla .. in the food processor and blend well. If you hate cottage cheese, then switch to greek yogurt instead.
Day 4
Repeat Day 3 – make the omelet again, eat it in one or two parts during the day. Take the leftover steak and cook it with your favorite veggie.
Day 5
Intermittent Fasting until Noon 
 
Noon to 5 pm – 5 ounces of salmon with a side of cauliflower rice.
You can bake or grill your salmon. I top mine with salt and pepper and capers before baking or grilling it. The cauliflower rice I prepare in the food processor and then into the pan with a touch of butter, salt, and pepper. It is done in about 5 minutes.
 
5 to 6 pm – Cauliflower fried rice.
I make extra cauliflower rice at noon and then to it I add peas, carrots, and scrambled eggs. I add a dash of soya sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for a very pretty dish.
 
8 pm to 9 pm – optional “Pumpkin Cheesecake Cottage Whip”
Mix 1/2 a cup of cottage cheese with 1/2 a cup of canned pure pumpkin and stevia for more sweetness. Blend all ingredients until they are smooth and chill. You can add a sprinkle of walnuts for a little crunch. If you don’t like cottage cheese, you can switch it for greek yogurt.
 
5 DAYS AND DONE!! NOW SEND ME YOUR NEW WEIGHT!
 
Healthy Hugs xoxo
Sheri
 

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 clients for over 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 bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

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.

 

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

Stretching Meals On A Budget – Bariatric Edition

What a suitable topic for the times we are living. With what’s going on today, we all need to be concerned about the high cost of food and the best ways to stay healthy. Food becomes a very important topic when wanting to protect our health. 
 
When I was in school studying nutrition, it amazed me at how much money a lot of the other students in my class were paying for their food. They were buying “all organic” and only the best “farm fresh eggs. When it came to meat, they were buying local (which I love but cannot always afford). 
 
Not too many other students were taking care of a family of four people. This is where the disconnect was for me. They were A LOT younger than I was and most of them didn’t have kids. They didn’t think anything of visiting a farmers market and dropping 100 bucks on lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, a few liters of bone broth and some fancy kombucha. 
 
My fellow students thought nothing of dropping hundreds of dollars on vitamins and supplements. 
 
I, on the other hand, was always finding ways to scrimp and save. I don’t know how much you spent on groceries last week but my bill was pretty “up there”. Believe me, we are not eating filet mignon and lobster tails. This is just the regular grocery bill with some beer, wine, and cleaning products thrown in.
 
I put myself to the challenge each week when I visit the grocery store. I wonder if this pandemic will change the way we grocery shop? I used to do groceries about twice a week. Will I go back to my routine or will I stick with once a week for my groceries moving forward? I guess time will tell.
 
I do find myself taking a bit more time at the grocery store to be sure that I don’t miss anything. I don’t enjoy lining up outside waiting to get into the grocery store and the entire atmosphere inside has changed dramatically. Nobody looks at each other. Masks are being worn and people are irritated and afraid. Last week I had to wait for an hour in line to get to the cash register to pay.
 
I shop the sales. I glance at the weekly coupons that are sent to my email box and figure out which cuts of meat, chicken, and fish are on sale that week. Once I know that I plan my week of meals “loosely” on what I am going to buy that is on sale.
 
Last Saturday (that’s my current grocery day), I bought two big packages of chicken legs and thighs, a large package of ground beef, some chicken breasts, and two pork shoulders. On top of the meat, I loaded up on veggies (cherry tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, green beans, jalapeños, mushrooms, carrots, onions and a big bunch of broccoli).
 
When I got home on Saturday, my food prep started. I prepped burgers for the grill and at the same time, I made a big spaghetti sauce. The spaghetti sauce will be used for a lasagna and a small lasagna without noodles for me. I took advantage of my kitchen time and I put together a big low carb chicken/broccoli casserole that was topped with cheese and baked in the oven. 
 
Right there, I had meals for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. We are going to grill the chicken thighs and legs on Tuesday and I will serve them with coleslaw and green beans. The leftover chicken will be used to make a chicken vegetable soup and I may even have enough chicken to turn into burritos for my kids and husband. This rolls us into Thursday and I have two pork shoulders which will hit the slow cooker for 10 hours. There will be enough food to last us well into Saturday and the next food haul. 
 
I cook large portions of food because we don’t have any problem eating leftovers for breakfast and most of the time I don’t eat breakfast as I am intermittent fasting until at least noon. My kids take their lunches to work. They are part of the “essential workers”. Their lunches consist of leftovers or sandwiches and salads.
 
Now, I always cook meals that include all of us and I rarely make meals “just for me”. If I cook chicken, rice, beans, and salad…. I eat chicken and salad and I choose to stay away from the higher carb foods. That is my personal preference as I try to keep my blood sugars and insulin levels low.
 
I do not walk into a grocery store and shop just for me. I don’t have the option of buying expensive bone broth and specialty foods. I like to keep it simple and buy whole foods but foods that we ALL can eat. If I want bone broth, I take the bones from the chickens I just cooked and use those to make bone broth.
 
Occasionally I pick up something that is “just for me”, like carb-free tortillas or dark chocolate.
 
This doesn’t mean that if you have the money to spend extra on yourself that you shouldn’t do that. This is just the way that I feed my family during these times. This is also the title of my blog today, S T R E T C H I N G your meals. I am a PRO at doing this so I wanted to take you into my kitchen and show you how I do it.
 
I have fun getting creative and saving money. It’s kind of like my hidden talent. It makes me proud to be able to feed my family on a budget. I think we all should be proud of how hard we work to make sure that our families are well fed. 
 
I hope that you also enjoy food prep and trying new recipes. If there is a good tip that you can share that makes your life easier and less expensive, shoot me an email. I will share it with our closed bariatric group. I think that we need to stick together right now and share any good, healthy ideas that we have. 
 
I send you all optimistic, healthy hugs xo
 

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 clients for over 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 bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

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.

 

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

Bariatric Re-Gain Basic Plan 101

 
Let’s talk about a viable solution for regain. 
 
At the bottom of this article, you will find a low-carb menu to download. Read the article first. Understand the rules. It’s easier to follow along when you get the gist 100%.
 
Regain. It is a very popular topic among my crowd. It’s popular because post-op bariatric clients can relate. Either they fear the regain or they have experienced a regain. When I write about this topic, it gets more clicks than most of my topics. 
 
Another super popular topic is low-carb/ ketogenic plans but I believe that they are extremely popular due to bariatric folks, searching for ways to maintain their weight loss or for those of us who have experienced a regain.
 
I work very closely with my bariatric clients who have had surgery with our group and there are some common threads that hold this community together. We are all seeking improved health. We all have that goal to get to our ideal weight and then maintain it. There are a few things that work every time. I see it time and time again. What’s the secret?
 
I call it “going back to the basics”. You know … that place you were BEFORE you started adding back your Starbucks coffee and just a bite of a bagel. That place where you wouldn’t dream of eating candy. The place where you didn’t crave a warm bowl of pasta or a fresh piece of white bread smothered in butter. Remember that place? The examples that I gave above, those are MY flaws. You can replace them with whatever it is that floats YOUR boat. 
 
We are all guilty of getting off track sometimes. It is a part of the journey and the last time I checked, nobody was perfect. It’s not realistic. What is realistic is to have a plan. That plan is to help you get out of the bowl of pasta and into a plate of salad. It needs to be something “doable” because motivation can only take us so far. After that, lifestyle takes over.
 
If I look around right now, I see a lot of us have lost our way. The anxiety of this pandemic is taking its toll. We are not exercising or eating right. We are not sleeping and our stress levels are THROUGH THE ROOF. May I offer a few suggestions? 
 
  • TURN OFF THE NEWS AND MAKE SOME RULES AROUND WATCHING IT ON TV (one hour max)
  • TURN OFF THE SOCIAL MEDIA – don’t allow yourself to slip into the world of FB or IG 
  • STOP WITH THE PANIC – it is out of our control 
  • MAKE SURE TO GET A BIT OF EXERCISE – it works wonders for your mindset
  • GET BACK ON TRACK WITH YOUR EATING – we ate all the donuts, enough is enough
  • GET SOME GOOD QUALITY SLEEP – the steps above will help with this.
  • CHANGE YOUR MINDSET – we are going to be here for a while so let’s settle in and count some blessings.
 
I have to do the above steps every day. I need to remind myself every single day. I need to NOT allow myself to slip into fear, panic, and anxiety every single day.  I need to take each day at a time and to not allow my brain to creep into the future. I am here now. I am healthy. I am blessed. I have my home, my family, my pets, my spirituality. I am going to be okay. We are ALL going to be okay.
 
Can we talk about food now? 
 
Ahhhh FOOD. Hands up if you are a foodie like me?!!
 
I think about food and recipes and cooking styles and how fun it is to feed my family and how creative I can be in the kitchen. I cannot draw to save my life but I can cook. That’s my “thing” and I think that a lot of you also love to get your hands dirty in the kitchen. I call it my “happy place” because it allows me to leave the world behind and dive into new recipes and ways to reinvent old dishes. 
 
When I talk to clients about re-gain, I ask them to provide me with a food log. A food log shows us when we mess up. Sure, you can tell me that you are eating a perfect diet but when you start to jot things down and take a hard look at what’s happening, 9 out of 10 times you will tell me exactly what is going wrong.  It will be obvious if you make a food log.
 
….It may be a quick stop on your way to work at the Dunkin Donuts window.
….It may be the fact you haven’t made time to prep your lunch and are suddenly at the mercy of the local restaurant.
….It may be that you are too tired to make dinner when you get home so the drive-thru is a simple option
….It may be all that take-out on the weekends to simplify your life
….It may the snack-attacks you get when watching the newest Netflix series.
 
I am guilty of everything above. I have to “reel it in” a lot of the time. When I find myself “spiraling”, I take charge and pull it back in. 
 
Enter “my clean eating plan”. What’s that? It is what it sounds like. I get rid of the junk. “Clean” for me means NO JUNK FOOD. It means no processed foods. It means that I am going to go super low on my refined carbs and eat a diet of moderate protein and fat – my carbs come from my veggies and berries. Easy stuff. 
 
I will shop around the exterior of the supermarket and if it comes in a package with a long ingredient list, it’s not getting into my shopping cart. 
 
My shopping list goes something like this: 
 
  • Lots and Lots of Vegetables
  • Berries (fresh or frozen)
  • Meat, Fish, Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt and Milk or a Milk substitute like almond or coconut milk (no sugar added)
  • Coffee Cream
  • Grass-fed Butter
  • Excellent Coffee Beans
  • Olive oil or Avocado oil
  • A Mixture of Nuts and Seeds (raw and unsalted)
 
That’s it, folks. That is what is getting into my shopping cart.
 
Here are some of the emails I am going to get … 
 
Can I have low-carb tortillas? 
You can but when I go back to basics, I don’t eat them. I use giant lettuce leaves.
 
Can I have diet soda?
No, you shouldn’t be drinking soda anyway – it’s one of the bariatric rules.
 
Can I have cereal? 
Most certainly not … boxed cereals are FULL of carbs and sugars.
 
Can I have peanut butter and cheese?
You can, but only a very small amount.
 
Can I have keto desserts or low carb desserts?
You can, but I eliminate these when I am getting back on track. They make me crave sweets.
 
What happens if I don’t like BLANK ___ (insert food here)?
Don’t eat it. I don’t eat things that I don’t like. Now if you don’t like fish and eggs and seafood and chicken, good luck to you. I cannot invent new foods for you. 
 
How much is a serving of vegetables?
If you eat one or two cups of broccoli … this is not important. Eat veg until you are satisfied.
 
The next step is to take two veggies and combine it with a protein (4 ounces) and create a dish.
Here are some sample dishes.
 
  • Chicken vegetable soup
  • Chicken salad
  • Baked chicken with broccoli and a side salad
  • Grilled salmon with cauliflower and a side salad
  • Steak with green beans and a side salad
  • Sauteed shrimp with veggies
  • Omelet with spinach and mushrooms
  • Hamburger patty with a salad
  • Greek Yogurt with Berries and almonds
There are so many dishes that you can create with two vegetables and a serving of protein.

 

If we stick to these very basic rules, the results are tremendous. The weight comes off if we are not at our ideal weight and if we are at our ideal weight, we will maintain that weight. 
 
Eating this way makes so much sense. Plus, if you have blood sugar issues or metabolic issues, you will stabilize your insulin levels. Your energy levels will soar. You will sleep better. You will not be constantly hungry. This is the way we should be eating all of the time. This is the type of “eating lifestyle” that we should aim for.
 
Sure, cake happens – but when it happens too often, we need to go back to the basics and take control over it.
 
Here is a menu that I put together a few months ago which is just a simple low-carb eating plan. 
Download it and use it and watch the scale and SMILE. It works every single time.
 
 
DOWNLOAD THE SAMPLE MENU HERE.
 
 
 
 
Don’t get fancy – get back to the basics.
 

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 clients for over 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 bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

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.

 

 

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Immune System Boosting Foods – Bariatric Edition

Immune System Boosting Foods – Bariatric Edition
 
We are going through a rough time right now. So many things are out of our control. I want to focus on something we can control. I am experiencing increased anxiety, restless nights, poor food choices. The blog I write today, I write for myself and also for all of you reading it. We are all in this together. We need to take care of ourselves as we don’t know how long we will be in this situation.
 
Enter …. The Immune System …
 
Our immune system is a complicated system of cells and organs. It’s not a major muscle group that we can feed food and nutrients to and then watch it grow strong. To improve our immune system, we need to be eating a healthy, balanced diet and consuming all the nutrients we require to stay healthy.
 
We can seriously reduce our risk of getting sick if we stick to eating a diet that nourishes our immune system. There are no “magic foods” but there ARE foods that are high in nutrients that we require to stay healthy. Search for foods that are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. We want to eat foods that contain vitamin C, vitamin D, selenium, zinc, and probiotics. These nutrients behave differently and they help increase the activity of white blood cells, decreasing inflammation.
 
The foods which I include in my “immune system boosting” plan:
 
  • Homemade Bone Broth
  • Kefir
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Green Tea
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Chickpeas
  • Ground Flaxseed
  • Avocado
  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Red/ Orange Peppers
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach

 

Here is a sample week (Monday to Friday) of immune-boosting foods and menus.
 
Monday
 
Breakfast
2 scrambled eggs with sautéed mushrooms and spinach
 
Lunch
Cauliflower rice with salmon and a slice of avocado
 
Dinner
Grilled chicken with broccoli and a side salad
 
 
Tuesday 
 
Breakfast
Greek Yogurt topped with nuts, seeds, and blueberries
 
Lunch
Cauliflower rice topped with chickpeas, kale and cherry tomatoes, topped with olive oil/ lemon juice
 
Dinner
Pan-fried salmon with Asian Veggies, ginger, garlic, and chili peppers. Top with Kimchi
 
 
Wednesday
 
Breakfast
Low Carb toast with a boiled egg and a teaspoon of peanut butter
 
Lunch
Chunky mixed veggie soup made with bone broth. Top with shredded chicken.
 
Dinner
Left-over soup and a 1/4 sweet potato
 
 
Thursday
 
Breakfast
Chia overnight pudding topped with unsweetened coconut
 
Lunch
Lentil and veggie soup, top with seeds, and lemon juice
 
Dinner
Omelet with sautéed veggies
 
 
Friday
 
Breakfast
Greek Yogurt with crushed nuts and seeds, top with papaya
 
Lunch
Small steak and green beans
 
Dinner
Leftover Steak salad topped with olive oil and squeeze of lemon
 
 
I want you to think of “food as medicine”. You need to feed your body the right foods to stay healthy and strong. Keep your immune system on track. Stay away from processed and refined foods and sugars. Eat your way around the “outside of the supermarket”. Don’t be tempted to buy the pre-made stuff.
 
We are in this together and we will come out of this together – healthy. We need a healthy body to support a healthy mind.
Hugs xo
 
 
 

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 clients for over 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 bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

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.

 

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

Don’t Restrict, Replace – Bariatric Edition

I think that restriction sucks. It’s so hard to spend our lives restricting everything. 
Don’t eat unhealthy fat. Don’t eat unhealthy carbs. Don’t eat too much sugar. Don’t drink alcohol. 
 
Don’t Don’t Don’t. I am tired of all the things we are not supposed to do. I am tired of constantly restricting everything. There has to be some sort of “happy medium”. I don’t think that severely restricting even works. Sure, it works in the beginning because we are motivated and eager to make the right changes but as time goes on, our motivation starts to leave the building and we start to allow those foods back into our lives. 
 
What happens then? Well, we are eating the restricted foods and feeling guilty about it because they are on the “no go” list.
 
Instead of restricting food, let’s talk about healthy replacement food ideas!
 
I know it’s not easy to diet and I know that diets don’t work but what we should be striving for is a sustainable way of eating that gives us the nutrients we require while maintaining our weight or losing a few lbs. Most of the people who read my blogs are not trying to gain weight. So for today’s purpose, I am talking about weight loss and improved health.
 
Post-op clients always text or call me with the following question. 
“Sheri, can I have ____ food”? If “said food” is not the best option (potatoes, pasta, rice, bread, corn, etc.), I will tell them the following: “look, you CAN have _____ but SHOULD you have it”? I feel terrible restricting them from having their favorite potatoes and gravy!  
 
My new plan moving forward is going to be to offer suggestions to “replace” their favorite foods with better options. Do you know what I do when I want to eat potatoes and gravy? I mash up cauliflower or carrots and top those with gravy. Sometimes I will put gravy on my Brussel sprouts. I know that the potatoes will make me crave more potatoes. I know that for me carbs lead me to more carbs. It is a slippery slope for me.
 
If it’s Christmas or Thanksgiving or some special event – EAT THAT FOOD THAT YOU LOVE. But if it’s just a regular Tuesday, then step away from the mashed potatoes or cookies or cakes. This is the time to replace your beloved foods with something that is in line with your goals.
 
Some of my favorite replacements …..
 
I swap regular pasta for low carb options such as “miracle noodles” – you can find them on Amazon. There are many different types of low carb and no carb kinds of pasta on the market today. Try one of them and see for yourself. I top them with the spaghetti sauce that I make at home or I serve them in homemade Pho or soup.
 
I do love mashed potatoes …. Instead of feeling sad for myself, I make myself a little bowl of mashed cauliflower and top it with butter, salt, and pepper. This is a perfect replacement for my potatoes and it takes about 5 minutes to prepare them beside whatever dish I am preparing for dinner in my household.
 
Cookies – who doesn’t love cookies? When I am feeling deprived of the yumminess of cookies, I will prepare some homemade peanut butter cookies. It takes me less than 10 minutes to prepare them and 10 minutes to bake them. I use peanut butter with no sugar added (one cup), sugar substitute (one cup) and one egg. Mix the ingredients and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Let them cool and enjoy!
 
Ice-Cream. Who doesn’t love ice-cream? Ice-cream hates me. It makes me FAT. If I look at ice-cream, I gain 10 pounds. I also have tummy troubles when I eat ice-cream. Instead of never eating ice-cream again, I make sorbet in my food processor. Frozen fruit to the RESCUE!! Get your favorite fruit, freeze and blend until in a food processor or a heavy-duty blender.
 
Tortillas! There are tons of low carb options for tortillas today. I don’t even miss tortillas anymore because when I first stopped eating them a few years ago, I replaced them with big lettuce leaves. Now when I do occasionally eat a tortilla, I miss the crunch of the lettuce leaves. Having said that, there are TONS of low carb tortilla options on the market today. There weren’t any good options a few years ago. 
 
Lettuce leaves again are my replacement for hamburger buns. I am now so used to the crunchy lettuce bun that I don’t even miss the regular ones any longer.
 
Pho! Do you know what Pho is? It’s a delicious Vietnamese soup. The base is a gorgeous beef or chicken broth and it is filled with rice noodles, beef or chicken, and sprouts. When I go out for Pho, I order it with meat or chicken and sprouts. I ask my server to “skip the noodles and put mushrooms in mine”. If I make it at home, I use “miracle noodles” or “low carb noodle options”. 
 
Who misses bread? I stopped eating it back a few years ago but sometimes I truly miss a good slice or two of bread. I have some low carb bread in my freezer. It’s expensive and the taste is “so so” but it is still a replacement. I also replace my regular bread with “chaffles”. If you don’t know what a chaffle is, it’s a small waffle made out of 1/2 a cup of mozzarella cheese and one egg. You take a baby waffle iron and split your egg/ cheese mixture into two and make yourself two chaffles. You can use those instead of using regular bread for a sandwich.
 
Coke, who misses coke? Or any soft drink for that matter. If I get a real hankering for sodas, I drink water. It works. Next time you are craving your favorite soda, drink a glass of water and watch the craving disappear. If I give in to the craving and drink the soda, it wakes up my “soda beast”. All I can think about is getting MORE soda, plus it makes me even thirstier. If the water doesn’t hit the spot (and it does 99% of the time), I will break out my soda stream and make some soda water and add a touch of sugar-free crystal light flavoring to my soda water. This replacement works every time. 
 
Chocolate – who loves chocolate? I see a lot of hands up lol. When I see chocolate, my heart skips a beat but I KNOW that it raises my blood sugars and puts me into a tailspin! If I eat chocolate, I want more chocolate and it starts me on a sugar binge. Dark Chocolate to the rescue! An excellent quality dark chocolate fills that gap. I eat just a few squares and it allows me to get my chocolate fix without eating too much sugar.
 
The examples above are just a few of the changes I have made over the years. Instead of cutting your favorite foods out of your life and restricting yourself, try to find a suitable replacement. With time, you may even find that you prefer your replacement over the food you once missed so much. 
 
If you have some food replacements that you use that helps you along your healthy eating journey, share them with us. 
 
Together we are stronger! 
 
 
 
 

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 clients for over 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 bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

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!

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Gastric Sleeve Throw Blanket $19.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

Super Easy Sugar Free Snacking – Bariatric Edition

Who needs a snack right now? Man o Man, I need a snack – like a few times a day right now. 
 
What’s a girl to do? I tell you what, I have caught my hand reaching for the Frito Lays a few times a day. ENOUGH is ENOUGH.
 
I have everything in my house right now to prepare for my snack-attacks and today I am going to get prepared. What happens when I am not prepared and I feel like snacking? Popcorn happens, chips happen, cookies happen. When eating those processed snack foods, I feel MORE hungry and it sets off a chain of events. I call it the “Screw-Its”. I start to “not care” about my diet as much. The carbs creep in, my blood sugar creeps up, my insulin levels creep up, cortisol levels creep up. I don’t feel like exercising and my sleep patterns are a mess. 
 
What a disaster. 
 
Here’s what I am going to do and I want to share this with you because you may just be in the same situation right now as I am. Heck, we are all pretty much feeling the same way. I am not special or different. There are a few of us who eat less when faced with a stressful situation. Most of us eat more (stress eaters) and the choices we make are not the right ones.
 
Enter my snack plan! Here is what is on my homemade sugar-free snack menu today. 
 
  • Sugar-free gummy bears
  • Sugar-free popsicles
  • Peanut butter cookies
  • Frozen protein balls
  • Chick-Pea snackers
  • Sheri’s sugar-free smoothie
Ya, I know. There are a gazillion other snacks that we can make but for today – and just for today – I am going to make these in my kitchen and I am going to share the recipes with you. These are not fancy or complicated recipes. They are just super simple ideas that will not send you all over town looking for weird or difficult to find ingredients. 
 
Let’s get started!
 
SUGAR-FREE GUMMY BEARS
 
Ingredients:
 
  • 1 package Sugar-free jello
  • 2 packages Gelatin
  • 1 cup Hot water
  • Stevia for extra sweetness
I take the sugar-free jello and two packets of gelatin and place them in the blender. 
 
  • Add 1 cup of hot water and blend.
  • Pour into gummy bear molds
  • Set in the fridge for two hours
Enjoy!
 
+now, if you don’t have gummy bear molds or you don’t want to order them on amazon, just take a deep dish (like a pie plate) and pour the mixture into the plate to set – cut the finished product into tiny squares. They don’t have to be in “bear shapes”.
 
 
SUGAR-FREE POPSICLES
 
Ingredients:
 
  • 1 package sugar-free jello
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup milk or almond milk
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • Frozen or fresh fruit of your choice
I mix everything together in the blender and then pour into popsicle molds. Let sit and set for a few hours and enjoy! 
 
 
SUGAR-FREE PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
 
Ingredients:
 
  • 1 cup sugar-free peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar alternative 
  • 1 egg
 
I mix all ingredients and space out on a cookie sheet, flatten with a fork.
Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes.
Allow sufficient time to cool
 
 
NO COOK PROTEIN BALLS
 
Ingredients:
 
  • 1.5 cups of your favorite nuts/ seeds
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries or cherries
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar substitute
  • Optional 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • Optional 2 tbsp protein powder
  • Optional grated coconut to top with
 
Mix everything in a food processor. Roll into balls. Roll in grated coconut. Store in the fridge.
 
 
SHERI’S SUGAR-FREE SMOOTHIE
 
Ingredients:
 
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1 teaspoon natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1.5 cups almond or coconut milk (can also use regular milk)
 
Mix everything. You can add sugar substitute to make it sweeter. It makes 2 huge cups.
 
 
CHICKPEA SNACKERS 
 
Ingredients:
 
  • 1 large can of drained chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
 
Season with salt/ pepper/ and all your faves!
Bake at 375 for 45 minutes shaking halfway through. Make sure they are crispy before taking out of the oven.
You need to eat these the same day as day two they are no longer crisp.
 
Snack smart my friends – take some time and some healthy ingredients and make yourself some snacks to feel great about.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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 clients for over 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 bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

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!

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Gastric Sleeve Throw Blanket $19.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

Pre Op Plan Post Op Bariatric Edition

Should I follow my Pre-Op Bariatric Plan to get the scale moving again?
 
I hope your days are getting a bit longer with a bit more sunny bits and that your temperatures are getting warmer. It is almost mid-March. I woke up last Sunday feeling fantabulous! I could not understand for the life of me HOW the HECK did I manage to sleep in until 10.30 am?? I stretched out, got myself a coffee and started to make “Sunday plans” in my head. 
 
It took me over an hour to figure out that the time had changed and that I missed it. I hate it when that happens. I truly thought that I was channeling my inner teenager and that I managed to sleep in super late HA. Not so. The clocks jumped forward an hour at midnight. 
 
I remember back a few years ago when the bariatric pre-op diet was a diet of liquids. How horrible! All of my clients buckled up and did their liquid diet like champions but, I think that underneath they were suffering. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been or how motivated they were to do a 2 week liquid fast. 
 
I doled out pre-op diets of 7 to 21 days. It was my job and I was doing my best to help my clients shrink their livers and get mentally and physically prepped for what was to come post-surgery. This was the famous pre-op diet from years ago: 
 
  • 3 protein shakes
  • V8 juice (one serving)
  • Broth (unlimited)
  • Sugar free popsicles (1)
  • Sugar free pudding (1)
  • Sugar free jello (1)
  • Low fat yogurt (1 serving)
  • Low fat cottage cheese (1 serving)
  • Tons of sugar-free beverages
 
Of course, my clients lost weight. Of course, they were miserable. Of course, this diet was unhealthy and hard to follow. Their motivation was their upcoming surgery and the fear that their livers would not be cleansed enough to have surgery performed.
 
I am writing this today because I still get a lot of past clients that ask me for a copy of their pre-op diet. They intend to follow it again to kick-start weight loss in their bariatric journey. They have had a regain or a stall and they feel stuck and they remember how the pre-op diet that they followed worked the first time, so it has to work a 2nd time.
 
Today I explain to them that this is NOT the best way to kick-start weight loss. Sure, weight loss will happen but it is so difficult to stay on this liquid plan that they are sure to fall off after only a day or two. The reason it worked the first time was due to their deep-fear of their upcoming surgery and the thought that it was a dangerous surgery if the liver was not cleansed before surgery. 
 
FEAR is a huge motivating factor.  
 
Nutritional science has made many advancements today. It has come leaps and bounds.  We now know that the best way to shrink the liver is not through a liquid diet. We now know that the best way to get the liver prepped for surgery is through a diet of real food. The pre-op diet is now designed to remove all the sugar, refined/ processed carbohydrates, and alcohol out of the diet. This is how the liver gets to take a break and shrink.
 
The latest liver-shrinking bariatric diet that I give to my clients is a plan that is low in dietary carbohydrate and fat that will encourage the body to use up glycogen (a sugar that is stored in the liver and muscles for energy) and fat stores to help minimize the size of the liver.
 
The latest, updated pre-op diet looks like this:
 
  • 3 shakes a day / high in protein
  • 3 servings of cottage cheese or yogurt
  • One meal a day which consists of one serving of protein and two low carb veggies
  • Unlimited broth
  • Unlimited sugar-free beverages
 
These are the basic guidelines and when I discuss one-on-one with each client during their pre-op nutrition call, I tailor the pre-op diet to suit them. 
 
For example, if they are vegan, I make their diet vegan-friendly. If they are vegetarian, we find a way to complete the pre-op diet which is in line with their nutritional beliefs. If they have food sensitivities or intolerances, I work out a plan where they are shrinking their livers without the offending foods included. If they hate specific options, I switch them out.
 
ALL of my clients lose weight on their pre-op diet. ALL of my clients have their surgery performed because their livers are small and pink and pliable. I have never had a client refused surgery due to their engorged liver. It’s my job to prep-livers and I do a darn good job of it. My clients will tell you how much weight they have lost during their pre-op stage. 
 
Now, this weight loss during the pre-op stage also has a lot to do with the fact that they are coming from a very poor diet that is based around refined and processed foods, fast foods and convenience foods or junk food and they are committing to a diet of real food. Of course, the scale is going to move very quickly and they will have a quick weight loss.
 
Today when my clients reach out and want me to share a diet plan that works to get them past a stall or to get back on track after a regain, you know what I do? I put them on a “real food” diet for a few days. I just pull out refined and processed foods (carbohydrates like bread, pasta, rice, tortillas, crackers, chips, juice, fruit, candy, chocolate bars, bakery goods, etc.) ….
 
And I give them a plan that consists of protein and vegetables. I skip the protein shake and give them two boiled eggs. I skip the protein shake and give them a chicken salad. I skip the protein shake and give them a small steak with green beans. 
 
A protein shake goes straight through the bariatric pouch. It doesn’t fill the pouch as the pouch is supposed to be used. A protein shake makes me feel ravenous only an hour after I drink it. How is that going to help me to lose weight? Why not snack on a chicken breast? Now that would fill the pouch, put it on “lock-down” and prevent grazing all day long.
 
I have never had a client gain weight or have a weight-loss stall while eating chicken breast and broccoli. The stalls or regains always happen to my clients who are guzzling down protein shakes and eating up those protein bars and snacks. As soon as we get those out of the diet and switch over to “real food/ chicken breasts for example”, weight loss starts up again.
 
Could it be that the shakes are making my clients hungrier than ever? I think so. They end up over-consuming calories because they are drinking a large part of their calories each day. Now, these shakes are only a tool. They are a tool that I use to get ready for surgery and a tool that I use immediately post-op and up to 6 weeks after surgery. The sooner we can switch to real food, the better the results will be. 
 
Yes, it will always be “real food for the win”.
 
If you feel stuck in your weight loss journey, reach out to me. Together we can make the changes that will get you past your stall and back on the Losers-Bench once again.
 
 
 
 
 

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 clients for over 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 bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

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!

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Gastric Sleeve Throw Blanket $19.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd

 

Be a Big, Bad, Bariatric Boss – Bariatric Edition

 
What’s a “Bariatric Boss”? 
 
In my definition, it is a client of mine who decides to take over their health and learn about good nutrition, good sleep patterns, staying active, being positive AND sharing these things with our entire bariatric community.
 
I see every day as an opportunity to improve my nutrition or to improve my workouts. Not only is today about food and exercise, but it is also about sleep and my thought patterns.
 
What about that saying “we are what we eat”? I do believe this. We are what we eat. If I eat Doritos and Pizza all weekend long, I am going to feel pretty yucky by Monday morning right? But isn’t there more to it? 
 
It’s a big cascade, right? Let’s say that my diet is perfect today and I manage to get in a work-out, but tonight I only get 3 hours of sleep. How will I be feeling tomorrow? 
 
Let’s take it a step further. My diet is perfect, I manage to work-out, I get 8 hours of sleep but I fight with my husband as I am leaving for work. I allow my stress levels go through the roof. 
 
There is so much more involved as we seek improved health. There isn’t some magic finish-line to cross. It is the every-day decisions we make and the thoughts that we think and the activity that we add to our lives. It is the food that we feed ourselves with. 
 
I know people who lose a lot of weight and then find out that they are still not happy. Sure, they are certainly healthier in their bodies but it doesn’t just magically end there. We need to continue to strive and learn more and more each day. Happiness is living in a healthy body with a healthy head. How can we get there? 
 
The protein shake that I choose to drink it not going to all of a sudden make me healthy. The walk I went on yesterday is not going to change my health dramatically. The fight that I choose to NOT have with my kids is not going to change my life…… 
 
It is the build-up of all the decisions and all the learning and all the implementation that makes dramatic changes in my health.
 
It is the decision to not drink sodas and to drink plain water. It is knowledge about how to get the best night’s sleep. It is the education about the medications I am supposed to take for high triglycerides and the lifestyle changes that I could make to avoid having to take them.
 
Calories in vs Calories out. I am so tired of this saying. I used to believe that I could eat a package of 250 calorie gummy bears or a 250 calorie chicken breast and it was the same thing? How could I possibly have believed such garbage? Ya sure, today I have a thorough understanding of the “calorie myth” but my clients still struggle. They say “Sheri, this yogurt you want me to buy has 50 more calories than the low-fat one”. Yes Susie, but my yogurt is also a real food that will provide your body with real nutrition. That yogurt in your other hand, that one is not yogurt. It is a “food-like substance” or a “frankenfood” if you prefer. It is packed with artificial this and artificial that. It’s had the fat removed and replaced with sugar and chemicals. 
 
Learning to cook …. I believe this to be KEY. I know, I know, I know .. a lot of us are too busy to make food in our kitchens. To you, I say “food prep on the weekend”. I know, I know, I know… There is no time for food prep on the weekends. To you, I say “figure out how you are going to do it then”. 
 
Sorry to sound so blunt but if you give this important task to somebody who doesn’t know or care about you, they will not get it right. Restaurants prepare food to taste good. They don’t cook to keep you healthy. The pre-packaged stuff – steer clear of it. It is filled with stabilizers and emulsifiers. It’s not real food. The shakes you grab as you rush out the door? Read the labels and see what’s in them. Google those ingredients. You will get a real shock.
 
How long does it take to boil some eggs, or cut up a pre-cooked chicken? How long does it take to sauté, bake or boil some pre-cut veggies? It takes about 15 minutes. Please take a bit of time to take care of YOU. I don’t care how busy you are. You need to figure this part out. I am not yelling at you. I care about you and I want you to figure out when and how you are going to feed yourself correctly. This is so important and I want you to be a bad-ass bariatric boss. You’ve got to get this part figured out for YOU.
 
When we figure out the food part, let’s start with activity. I want you to move your gorgeous body. We don’t exercise to lose weight. Sure, we can burn 200 or 300 calories by spending an hour at the gym (those calorie counters on those machines we use are highly inaccurate)!! How quickly can we eat or drink 200 calories? QUICK, REALLY QUICK!!
 
We get active to feel better in our bodies and to feel happier in our heads. Those “feel-good endorphins” get released and we feel stronger and less depressed in our skin. Getting active doesn’t have to mean going to the gym. Go for a walk. Get outside. Ride a bike to work or dance naked in your living room. Find a yoga class or a Zumba class. Find something that makes YOU happy. Build this activity in your life. Keep those joints juiced and those muscles active. Love the skin you are in and don’t “punish it” by doing activities that you despise. Move in ways that make you feel happy.
 
Sleep – ya sleep. I know today that my sleeping patterns are so important to how I am going to feel the entire day. I no longer take sleep for granted. I give it importance today. I fight for a good night’s sleep. I go to bed an hour earlier. I set myself up with good sleep hygiene to promote a good night. For me, it is clean sheets, a cool room, complete darkness. I wear ear-plugs and a sleep mask. I make it a priority because I know that sleep is the BEST FREE MEDICINE. I see it as medicine that my body needs every night to help me live my best life. Lack of sleep is stressful and my body’s stress response is “higher levels of cortisol”. High levels of cortisol make it harder to lose weight. There are direct links between weight loss and sleep patterns. Be a bariatric bad-ass and take your sleep seriously. 
 
Thought patterns. If I run around stressed out all the time, my body produces higher levels of cortisol. Just like with “lack of sleep”, high-stress levels equal higher cortisol levels and a harder time with weight loss. Yes, it is all connected!
 
Today I understand and practice different techniques to help me stay as cool as a cucumber. I am not perfect at it yet but I do understand that getting angry at my co-workers or feeling frustrated with my husband is not going to help me achieve anything. I allow thoughts to enter my head and I decide how I am going to process those thoughts and how I am going to allow them to make me feel. Stress is not real. Stress is my response to the situation. So how can I convince myself to respond differently? This is an entire blog and if I go down this road today, my 1500 word blog will turn into 6000 words. 
 
My goal today is getting my clients to understand that weight loss is super important and it’s the ultimate goal but there is more to it than calories or macros. We need to see ourselves as a WHOLE PERSON. How are we eating, sleeping, exercising and thinking? 
 
I also know that when we start taking better care of one aspect, the other ones do fall into place with time and dedication. When we go to the gym, we tend to eat better. When we eat better, we tend to sleep better. When we sleep better, we feel better and we have more positive thoughts.
 
It all falls into place when we are open to it.
 
Be the big, bad, bariatric BOSS that I know you can be.
 
Healthy Hugs and Warm Wishes.
 
See you on my FB live this Friday, March 6th at 2 pm EST. Let’s discuss and have a conversation.
 
 
 
 
 

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 clients for over 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.

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