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Low-Carb Minus the “Crazy” – Bariatric Edition

I like the title of this blog.  When I first got the idea to write this blog (back over 6 months ago), I originally titled it (in my head), “Keto without the Crazy”.  I have changed the name to “low carb” because for me, Keto really has gone CRAZY?  What originally was a fantastic way to eat an unprocessed diet has turned into a commercially lucrative event for marketers and manufacturers.  I am jumping off that platform in “name” only.  I just don’t want to use the word “Keto” even though I personally am still promoting this style of eating.  

So what style of eating do I promote for my bariatric clients? Allow me to expand.  

I promote a diet of whole, live, fresh, natural, good quality FOOD.  I don’t send my clients in search of bizarre foods, or food that costs a fortune. No pills, powders or special teas.  I send my clients in search of food that is NOT manufactured in a lab. 

I promote a diet that is high in protein, moderate in healthy fats and low in processed and refined carbohydrates.  See how I didn’t say “no” carbs?  I said “low in processed and refined carbohydrates”.  This means that my clients get their carbohydrates from lots of vegetables and some fruit.  

I personally follow this style of eating because I believe that good health is directly related to our blood sugars and insulin levels.  

When I was eating a diet of brown rice, lentils, beans, and quinoa, my blood sugars were creeping up.  I was hungry ALL OF THE TIME.  I got my first labs back where my triglycerides were a bit high. OUCH!!  How did that happen if I was eating such a “healthy” diet?  Well, I feel that these “healthy” carbs were just not so healthy for me anymore.  Sure, they may have served me when I was younger but my age has changed, as well as my nutritional requirements.

Biochemical individuality…. We are all unique.  What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the next person.  What worked in our past, doesn’t necessarily work in our present or future.  Our bodies are changing, they are getting older.  Our hormones are changing also.  We need to be aware as to how our diet may need to change as we age.

Now, getting back to my clients and low-carb or keto or any eating plan post surgery.  My clients cannot eat a lot of food post surgery at one sitting.  We all know this.  This is the reason anybody has surgery in the first place.  My clients eat less food, and feel satisfied more quickly post surgery.

For my clients, the popular OMAD (one meal a day) or even two meals a day, is not going to work for them in the beginning of their bariatric journey.  They cannot get sufficient protein into that OMAD or two meals a day.  Smaller meals throughout the day is a better way for my clients to eat when recently post-op.  

Intermittent fasting (IF) 16:8 (16 hours fasting and 8 hours feeding) can work wonderfully when they are further out of surgery but as long as they have a lot of restriction, I am gong to recommend that they eat more frequently. This does not mean 3 meals and 3 snacks.  I don’t want them grazing their way through the day.  This does mean a more structured meal plan though.

Priorize Protein – Control Carbs – Fill with Fat

I want to see my clients prioritizing protein.  I want to see them keeping their carb count low and I want them to fill with fat at the end to keep them feeling satiated.

This is the way I encourage my low-carb clients.  I encourage whole, live, fresh and natural foods.  I don’t suggest adding gobs of fat to “meet macros”.  Sure, eat “healthy” fat.  Don’t be fat-phobic BUT, don’t over-eat extra fat.  This is what I like to call “the bariatric friendly low-carb lifestyle”.  

We need to understand that by taking the first step and getting sugar and starch out of the diet, we are already half-way there.  The benefits start as soon as you omit the unhealthy processed carbs and you get your carbs through vegetables and low sugar berries.

So much information out there.  So much mis-information out there.  My clients are special and they need to work with somebody who understands their specific needs and requirements.  

I salute you.  You made the important decision of wanting to lose weight and be healthy.  You took those important steps to have bariatric surgery and you took control.  Continue taking that control when it comes to your diet. Don’t allow carb-creep to derail your efforts.  Continue with your desire to learn more about nutritional science and remember that beautiful you is a biochemical individual.  

Low-Carb on … my friends.
With Healthy Hugs and Enthusiasm
Sheri Burke

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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