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Expensive Healthy Eating – Bariatric Edition

I think that weight loss surgery is not the final solution. 
I think that weight loss surgery is the starting point.
Why do I say that?  Why do I always write about and create FB live videos about “what comes after” the actual bariatric surgery?  
It could be the gastric sleeve or the mini gastric bypass or the full gastric bypass.  I know that the surgery is step-one in a ten-step process of reaching your short and long term goals and then maintaining them for the long term.
With this blog, I intend to talk about truly healthy eating and what the real cost of it is.  
I often hear that “healthy eating costs so much”.  I understand this.  Food costs are astronomical.  In winter I find myself angry about the cost of lettuce or cucumber.  I live in Canada and mid-winter I switch to buying spinach and zucchini because paying 3 dollars for a cucumber irritates me and 6 dollars for a head of lettuce is ridiculous!
I may be a nutritionist but I am certainly not oblivious to the cost of low-quality food-items vs the cost of real healthy food.
In the beginning, it is hard to bite the bullet and buy avocado oil over regular vegetable oil.  I mean, the regular vegetable oil has a price tag of 3 dollars.  Avocado oil can cost me 15 dollars at Costco.  This is easier to do over some food items because I know that the oil is going to last me a few months.  I don’t fry with it and I only use it to put a bit in the bottom of my pan or to dress my salads with.  There are other foods which are much harder to spend the extra money on.
Organic Veg vs Regular Veg … this is a place that I have a hard time with spending the extra money on.  If I was only buying food for myself, I would mosey on over to the “organic section” of the supermarket BUT I am buying for a family of four.  Our kids are 17 and 18 so they are adults and they eat like adults.  I am shopping for four adults.  How can I justify paying 10 dollars for organic arugula in winter?  I don’t.  I buy the regular stuff and wash it A LOT before serving it.  (don’t tell my fellow nutritionists,,,, they would GASP).  
How, as a nutritionist, am I helping my bariatric clients by recommending that they spend their weekly paycheck on organic vegetables?  Not only am I trying to change their way of eating, but I am also trying to increase their grocery bill by 50%.  Ummmm, that’s just not going to work for most people.
The best way I can help my clients is by determining the bad habits that they have and then making the switch over to real food, in the kitchen.  
What do I mean by “bad habits”?  For example, this means the drive-thru windows.  Fast food happens. I get that! It happens to me also.  There are some easy switches we can make at the drive-thru window that will save us hundreds of calories.  It may not save us hundreds of dollars but at least we are making healthier decisions.  
For example, instead of ordering the latte at Starbucks, go for the cold-brewed coffee with a squirt of sugar-free vanilla in it.  You can also pick up some egg white bites instead of the usual muffin.  You will get a bigger bang for your buck nutritionally even if your bill at the cash will be pretty much the same.
We can find a healthier way to order at any drive-thru window.  We just need to have our minds made up BEFORE we pull up at the window and order.
I know that many of us mid-week are tired and strained and just want to get home and put up our feet to get ready for the next day.  We have husbands and wives and kids waiting for us to get home and eat.  Holy pressure.  So we take a right off the highway and pull into the drive-thru so that nobody has to wait on food when we walk through the door.  
How much does that drive-thru stop cost us?  For me, unless I order off the dollar menu which contains the most unhealthy items, it averages 8us dollars per person at most drive-thru windows.  8×4 is 32 dollars.  What can I get for 32 dollars or less that will feed my family and not cost me a pile of work when I walk through the door?
Here’s an idea – I can grab 2 rotisserie chickens (12 dollars), a bag of pre-cut salad (3 dollars), a bag of frozen green beans (3 dollars), some instant brown rice or quinoa (3 dollars) and some whole wheat rolls on sale (3 dollars).  My total will be 24 dollars.  I will have dinner for the four of us plus lunch for the next day.  I can serve the chicken with green beans, rice and a salad for dinner.  Lunch for the teens will be chicken, lettuce, and mayo on rolls and I will prepare a chicken salad for lunch for my husband and me.  
This is what I am talking about when I talk about “healthy eating”.  I am not asking you to eat strange or weird things that you cannot pronounce.  I am just asking you to eat real food. 
Does this resonate with you?  Does this help you some way this week in your rush to work and to get healthy food on the table? If it does, I can put together a list of 5 different meals that you can do in your kitchen next week to save on food prep, time and money at the same time.
Email me back if healthy eating on a budget is on your to-do list.  It would be a pleasure for me to share what I have learned over the years. 
Healthy Hugs to You!



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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