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Recreating Recipes – Bariatric Edition 

I love food. I love to eat it, I love to buy it, I love to cook it.
When I first understood the science behind what specific macronutrients do to blood sugars and insulin levels, I wanted to sit down and CRY.  
“Are you telling me that when I eat pasta, my blood sugars will skyrocket”? That’s exactly what my professors were telling me.  To make matters even worse, I got to wear a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) so I could see what reactions my body had when eating a bagel.  You cannot fight with the data.  When I ate bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and oatmeal, my body reacted and not in a great way.  If you are ever doubting the science, get yourself a CGM.  It will put things into perspective for you.
How does that saying go?  “Bariatric surgery is a lifestyle, not a diet”?  Yes, that’s the one!  So, since this is going to be a lifestyle choice then we cannot expect ourselves to “go without” forever and ever?  I mean, if we are depriving ourselves then how long will it be until we fall off the low-carb wagon and fall face-first into a bowl of ice-cream? 
I have a better idea!  Let’s recreate the ice-cream so that it is JUST AS GOOD as the real stuff.  I am not talking about “buying that keto ice-cream container”. I am talking about using top ingredients so that our new ice cream is tastier than that stuff you get in the supermarket.  
Let’s put in the work and find amazing recipes that don’t raise our blood sugars and insulin levels.  These types of recipes are going to be much more satisfying.  You eat them and you feel good afterward.  You are not starving hungry after 20 minutes.  
We need to LEVEL UP and find what works for us.  Here are some samples of what I am talking about when it comes to “finding your groove” in your low-carb kitchen…. 
I love oatmeal in the fall and winter.  I also love it as a snack in the evenings.  It’s that gooey warmness that fills my kitchen with a cinnamon smell. When I eat oatmeal, I am left with a starving feeling very shortly afterward.  I remember reading articles about how a big bowl of oatmeal in the morning was supposed to fill me up and keep me satisfied until noon.  Didn’t do this for me, unfortunately.  I stopped eating it a few years ago and just this year I found out how to recreate it so that it had the same texture and taste as my old oatmeal.  
I spent the time researching it and I bought the ingredients and I experimented in my kitchen.  If you don’t experiment, you will never figure out what works for you.  Today I am still tweaking my recipe.  Right now my favorite No-Oatmeal recipe contains almond flour, coconut flour, flax meal, and hemp hearts with a touch of cinnamon and stevia.  I cook it on the stove for a minute with a bit of almond milk.  A few months ago I was also adding chia seeds but I stopped adding them as I found them to be too strong in taste for my no-oatmeal.  You need to figure out what works for you.  Bop and Weave.  Experiment. 
Bread – I have a few go-to recipes for bread replacements.  Sometimes I like my 90-second microwave bread and sometimes I like my chaffle bread.  It all depends on my mood and the season.  Sometimes I like to use big lettuce leaves as the bun on my hamburger but right now I have a super good recipe with my chaffle maker that recreates the hamburger bun.  When I make hamburgers for my family, my brain is also making a mental note of whether or not I have the ingredients to make my “chaffle buns”.  This is my lifestyle.  It is not a “one-off” for me.  I want you to get here also.
Pizza.  Look, pizza is probably one of my very favorite foods in the whole wide world.  I cannot go without it. I used to build pizza into my weekly “cheat” and then I got to thinking … why don’t I recreate those flavors in my kitchen and not send my blood sugar on the weekly rollercoaster.   I started with an almond flour dough that I made in my kitchen.  It was “so so”.  I tried with coconut flour.  I then started experimenting with using zucchini as a pizza base and I also used fresh cauliflower.  Today I make the BEST pizza stuffed mushrooms!  All the awesome flavor of pizza with NONE of the GUILT.  Now I get to eat pizza a few times a week. I just do it differently. I no longer miss and crave pizza since I found my Pizza-Groove in my kitchen.
I believe that you can recreate almost all of your favorite things.  When you first buy the ingredients, it seems expensive but believe me, it is a lot less expensive in the long run.  Sure, a bag of almond flour can run up to 17 dollars but that bag of almond flour will be used for many recipes in your kitchen.  A single pizza is going to cost me upwards of 20 dollars and that is only one meal and all that is left is the empty box afterward.  
I am now on the hunt for the perfect replacement for CHIPS.  Oh ya, I am a total chip-freak also.  Gimme all the chips.  I am going to figure this one out and when I do I will share it with you.  This is my lifestyle.  I don’t feel deprived.  I upgrade the dishes when I miss them.  
I want the same for you.  Get curious in the kitchen.  Figure out what you miss and then make your new version.  If it’s not perfect the first time you make it, research some more and try again.  You’ve got this!
Healthy Hugs, 
Sheri Burke RHN, your bariatric nutritionist and surgery coordinator.

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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