My Bariatric Vlog is UP!

I got my Canon camera rigged up and I’m now officially a vlogger! I put up two intro videos with my stats before surgery.

My YouTube Channel is

Aside from a little weirdness with the sound, the camera takes great video. The next few will be iPhone ones while I’m in Mexico and San Diego – assuming I’ll feel like doing anything.

I’ll be doing weekly updates with weight and inches lost as well as what I’m eating and how I feel.

Follow my channel if you’re so inclined. :)

Bariatric Vitamin Regimen

Along with protein, the next most important thing for a gastric sleeve patient is vitamins. This also applies to RNY patients – even more than sleeve because bypass pretty much eliminates absorption of all nutrients for the rest of the patient’s life. My posts are guides for sleeve in particular, but I’m sure RNY patients will find them helpful as well.

Bariatric Vitamins
Bariatric Vitamins

The only vitamin that requires lifetime supplementation for a gastric sleeve patient is vitamin B12. Why? Because this vitamin requires a protein made in the stomach called Intrinsic Factor. The vitamin binds to this protein in order to be absorbed in the small intestine. Less stomach = less intrinsic factor to bind with B12.

I take a handful of supplements every day – as listed in this post. I’m a firm believer in taking vitamins and herbal supplements because I can tell a difference when I don’t. I’ve found suitable replacements for all the capsules except turmeric and selenium. I take turmeric for inflammation and selenium for hot flashes. I don’t expect to take any of these for the first couple of weeks, but I’m going to try to take one as soon as I feel that I can. There is much discussion about when you can take pills or capsules after surgery, so I’m going to play it by ear. You have to take omeprazole immediately, so that would indicate that you can take pills/caps. I’ll just have to see.

But for ease, I have gotten everything else in a chewable form. Here is the list:

Multivitamin Gummy Kirkland (Costco had a better price than vitacost) 2 gummies has 833% of daily B12
Vitacost Quickdots B12 sublingual melts 1000mcg per one tab (Vit B12 is water soluble, you cannot OD, so take a LOT)
Kirkland Signature Calcium Chews, SF Chocolate; 500mg Calcium/200IU Vit D, I take TWO to give me 100% calcium and 400IU of Vit D. I was taking Nature’s Plus Chewable Cal/Mag/D3 (600/300/500iu per 2 tabs; about 85% of daily) but I like the chews better.
VegLife Vegan chewable Iron 18gm iron per tab. This is a child’s supplement and is extra gentle. I do not take iron because I’m never anemic and it hurts my stomach, however, I thought it would be prudent to add this to my regimen while I can’t eat much meat. I’ve tried it out and it seems to be OK on my whole stomach. We’ll see how it is in a partial stomach.

As for my insomnia supplements, I think I’ll get some Deep Sleep tincture and valerian tincture. Since I’ve no idea when I’ll be able to take multiple pills or caps, I want to have *something* available if I need it.

Bariatric High Protein Smoothies

Since so much of the bariatric diet depends on blended things for the first couple of months, I’m exploring various kinds of smoothies. I’m in my last two weeks pre surgery, so I’m trying to do a smoothie for breakfast every day. Not a fan of smoothies, but it’s doable. Here’s what I’ve discovered.

I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again: GET A NUTRIBULLET. Unless you have a Vitamix or Ninja already, which I did not. These things make the best purees you’ll ever see and they are MUCH more affordable than a Vitamix.

Protein powder is your best friend. I got vanilla and unflavoured. I buy from and I recommend them for good prices and good quality products. They also have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, which I used with the first thing I ever bought from them, an old lady supplement that had bad side effects for me. They gave me credit and I didn’t even have to return the unused product.

Anyway, protein powder is a necessity when you only eat 1/4 cup at a time. The vanilla powder has 11gm protein per scoop and the plain has 18gm. I’ve found that the plain is fine in anything: soup, smoothies, purees, whatever. It has no effect on the end product other than just a little thickening, which is why I recommend not adding it until you are serving. I’ve been using the vanilla in breakfast smoothies and 2 scoops work fine when making about 3/4 to 1 cup. I’m trying to get the recipes down to about 1/2 cup – it’s harder than you think!

What I’ve been using in various combinations are these ingredients:
Silk Vanilla (it is fortified with more protein and calcium than dairy milk; 6gm protein/cup)
Greek yogurt (LOTS of protein: 23gm per cup! I like Fage.)
Natural peanut butter, smooth (8gm protein per 2 Tbl)
Vanilla protein powder (Vitacost brand, 11gm per scoop)
Unflavoured protein powder (Vitacost brand, 18gm per scoop)
frozen fruit; strawberry, blueberry and mango blend
Agave syrup if I want something sweet (rarely)

Fruit Smoothie (About a cup)
1/3 cup Silk Vanilla
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1/3 cup frozen fruit
2 scoops vanilla protein powder

This will blend up and gain volume to about a cup. About 35gm of protein. I’m working on smaller portions.

Peanut butter banana smoothie (about a cup)
1/3 cup Silk
1 med banana
2 Tbl smooth natural peanut butter (or ANY nut butter)
1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
2 cubes of ice if you want this cold

About 37gm protein.

Peanut butter smoothie
Same as above but no banana. Add ice if you want this cold.

I’ve seen various recommendations for protein intake, from 50gm to 100gm per day. Judging by these smoothie recipes, I’d say that getting in 70gm is totally doable even if you just drink these two smoothies all day. I’m going to try to see if I can make one that’s half a cup finished AND has 2 scoops of protein powder. I’ll update this post when I do that.

The reason people lose hair is the decreased protein intake and not taking enough B12. You MUST load up on gummy vitamins! I’ll make a separate post about that. Protein and supplements are not negotiable. Same for omeprazole (Prilosec), which is necessary in the first few months while the stomach adjusts to its new size.

I also have lots of veg purees that I intend to use for high protein soups. I’ve tried this with the unflavoured protein and it is EASY to put in 2 scoops (36gm) per 1/2 cup serving. So one smoothie and one serving of soup will give you plenty of protein if you keep the flavour profile up. I don’t like fruit much, so I’ll probably eat a lot of soups. I need flavour, which is why all my purees have onions, garlic and S/P in them. I refuse to give up FLAVOUR just because I have to eat purees! Neither should YOU.

Gastric Sleeve Diet Discussion

I just read Ultimate Gastric Sleeve Success: A Practical Patient Guide to Help Maximize Your Weight Loss Results by Dr Duc Vuong. I’d recommend this book for all bariatric patients, because he embraces a whole foods approach to recovery and establishing new eating habits. It is totally worth the $8 Kindle version.

While I love his EAT REAL FOOD mantra, the book is biased towards an Asian diet. He never addresses anything dairy other than to say “only baby cows should drink milk”, which is in line with his Asian background. He also does not address taking medications – as in, when can you take pills again, etc.

The first chapters of the book are very informative about how the surgery is done, with diagrams, which I love. I think for any bariatric patient, this book is A MUST READ. It definitely goes against the crappy diets handed out by the “nutritionists” who work with bariatric surgeons. Every diet I’ve seen has been absolute CRAP. Geeze, no wonder everyone loses their hair if they only eat fruit smoothies and yogurt for eight weeks! The diet given to me was boring, fruit based and asked for WAY too much protein: 80 grams a day!! WHAT?! I don’t eat that now! That is a LOT of protein, and unless you can eat whey powder straight, it’s doubtful you’ll get that much down. I’m aiming for 40-50gm.

Another very important point that Dr Vuong addresses is “mushy food syndrome”. This is when a bariatric patient continues to eat mushy foods long past the time needed for the stomach to heal. By continuing to eat mushy foods, you not only are not helping your new stomach to work properly, but you are not getting satiety because these foods slide right through your pouch. You eat more and this can undo your weight loss. It’s important to start eating real protein as soon as possible after your sleeve surgery. Dr Vuong goes into rating foods on texture, which I think is an INVALUABLE thing for bariatric patients to learn.

I disagree with his hatred of chicken, however. He also hates on pork and beef and recommends never ever eating anything but fish. Again, his Asian bias is displayed. I think chicken is a staple for most Americans and there is nothing wrong with chicken as your protein. Pork and beef should not be eaten more than 1-2 times a week anyway, so restricting those makes sense.

I DO agree that fish is softer than chicken, so eating fish to start out with solid protein is a great idea.

Dr Vuong completely ignores dairy products in his recommendations. Again, Asian bias. I think that yogurt absolutely has a place in recovery to replenish gut flora. I don’t drink milk, so I probably won’t be using it myself, but I don’t think that using milk in smoothies is a bad thing at all. Milk has protein, which is a prime ingredient for recovering bariatric patients. I plan to use Silk, a soy milk that is fortified with calcium and protein. I also have soft cheese (SOFT cheese, not hard cheese in slices or blocks.) in my soft foods list, because I love cheese and I can make a soup, or eat some goat cheese or pimento cheese if I want it. I also love cottage cheese, so that is also on my soft foods list. Let’s not forget that cheese is also high in protein.

What I’ve found, overall, when reading about bariatric diets, is that there is about a million different ideas on what you should do. The typical diet handed out by so called dieticians is a generic, fruit based diet that really doesn’t address anyone’s dietary needs. I’ve seen the exact same diet given to diabetics (high carb for DIABETICS!!). I think that this generic diet is given with the assumption that you’ve been sitting around eating junk food and drinking sodas all your life and that is why you’re fat. I see lots of assumptions from Drs and dieticians, who tend to think that you must eat really shitty foods to be fat. Which is absolutely NOT true. I eat a great diet and I exercise regularly thankyouverymuch. I do get a little bent out of shape when I consistently see these biases towards bariatric patients.

Furthermore, I think it is a damn shame that fat shaming extends to the very industry that is supposed to be helping people lose the weight in the first place.

I think that bariatric patients need to eat nutrient dense vegetables and protein powder until they can manage solid proteins. Fruits contain lots of sugars and have little nutritional value, IMO. I am not a person who eats much fruit to begin with nor do I eat lots of sweet stuff in general. I simply cannot tolerate a diet that is sweet and fruity. Ick. It makes more sense to me to eat as low carb as possible from the get-go, since that is how you should eat to maintain your weight loss. It’s too bad that 90% of what I’ve seen on forums, sites and books is conflicting and biased towards bland, uninspired, high carb foods and omg no fats. Low fat is good, yes, but not at the expense of eating high carb fruit all day long. I actually feel that bariatric recovery patients should not worry about fats since they are calorie dense. When you can only eat a cup of food a day (in recovery), you need every calorie you can get. And NO, I do not subscribe to the idea that if you let one gram of fat pass your lips you’ll go back to eating like before. Why? Because your stomach is now about 1/6 of it’s original size, that’s why. It’s damned hard to overeat when you are recovering from sleeve surgery!

Again, I feel that pretty much every bit of “official” advice (Dr, Nurse, nutritionist) is based on the assumption that if you’re fat, you got that way because you have no idea how to eat. Perhaps that is so for some patients, but I doubt it’s true for the majority. If you learn one thing while you’re fat, it’s how to count calories and what foods are “bad”. Honey, I can tell you the calorie and fat counts of pretty much any food you name. WE GET IT. I resent being given these diet rules that have no basis in reality. They are given to “wean” you off of eating real food with the notion that if you have anything other than crappy smoothies you’ll immediately order Papa Johns and eat the whole thing. This bias that if you eat anything other than nonfat yogurt and berries you’ll “relapse” into being fat is really annoying.

I think anyone going on this journey should prep lots of different kinds of foods that YOU LIKE before you go under the knife. I am prepping about a dozen different veggie purees that can be made into soup or used as is. I’m freezing them in 1 cup portions for easy thawing. I’m assuming that I’ll only eat about 1/4 cup of anything at a time, hence the small portions. I am using lots of flavours in my purees, from Asian to Indian to Korean and beyond. Onions and garlic are in EVERYTHING. I see no reason to compromise on flavour just because I have to eat pureed foods. Hummus is also a smooth and tasty thing that’s on my list.

The base recipe for these purees and a Carrot Ginger soup recipe are here.

I hope this info helps someone else getting gastric sleeve or any bariatric surgery.

Base Recipe for Pureed Veg & Soups

I refuse to believe that you have to eat nothing but protein shakes and fruit smoothies for 2 months – as the diet plan from the nutritionist indicated. Just because you can’t eat much, does not mean that you have to eat flavourless goo. I don’t eat a lot of fruit in the first place, so I can’t see me being into it after surgery. I will be using Silk fortified soy milk since it has protein and calcium added. I have no idea what I’ll be able to eat after the gastric sleeve, but by the gods, I want to have delicious savoury options at the ready. I’m sure I’ll tire of sweet things since I don’t eat sweets much now.

These are recipes for bariatric diet weeks 3-4, which is pureed soups. You can use any root vegetable you like: carrot, potato, parsnip, celeriac. It will also work with tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, butternut squash, mushrooms and roasted red pepper. Actually, this same recipe will work for soft foods weeks 4-8, just reduce the liquid and you’ll have pureed veg. Weeks 1-2 are clear liquids, so I think anyone can figure out BROTH. I will suggest getting some beef bone broth from a Korean grocery if you have one. And miso soup would be good, too.

You’ll need flavourless whey protein to add to everything you eat. I’d make the puree/soup, then add the protein only to your serving to keep it from affecting the overall texture of the puree/soup. I am making purees and freezing them for quick and easy prep when I get back home. I’m also making lots and lots of homemade chicken stock to try to boost the protein content as much as possible.

The key to making any of these purees is the NutriBullet. GET ONE. If you are getting any sort of bariatric surgery and must follow a pureed diet, the NutriBullet will do everything you need. You can do smoothies, sure, but this thing makes veg into a beautiful smooth puree, which is perfect for soups or soft foods. Today I made Carrot & Ginger puree with coconut milk:


Carrot & Ginger Puree/Soup with Coconut Milk

1# carrots, scrubbed (no need to peel), sliced
1 medium white onion, med dice
1 Tbl garlic paste
2 Tbl ginger paste (These pastes are Indian items. I highly recommend them for these purees.)
2 cups +/- chicken stock
1/4 cup coconut milk (Sometimes called cream. NOT coconut water!)

In a 2 qt saucepan, add a bit of EVOO to the bottom and put over med hi heat. Toss in carrots and onions and cook for about 5 minutes – do not brown. Add in garlic and ginger, and enough stock to just cover the veg and cook at a fast simmer for about 15 minutes, until carrots and onions are soft. Take off the heat and check S/P. Puree the veg in the NutriBullet. Add coconut milk to the puree and stir in. Leave as is for puree or add more chicken stock to thin down to a soup.

The base for about 1 quart of puree is just this:
1# Veg, sliced or diced
1 Onion, diced
1 Tbl Garlic, minced or use paste
2 cups +/- chicken or beef stock

Cook until soft, check seasoning, puree. That’s it. If you’re freezing, do NOT add any dairy. You can add that when you make the soup. All these can be made with soy milk and veg stock or water if you’re vegan.

And don’t forget to add your plain whey protein when you eat. Assuming a 1/4 cup serving, one recipe should give you about 16 servings! The protein doesn’t add any significant flavour. I am using Vitacost whey protein which is really good: 18gm protein per scoop for plain; 22gm protein per scoop for flavoured. They have all the chewable vitamins you need, too.

NOTE! DO NOT MICROWAVE protein powder! It’s fine spun into smoothies, but other than that, protein powder can be tricky. The key is to make the soup, get your hot portion, then stir in the powder. It dissolves best in hot liquid. If you microwave the powder, it poofs up and coagulates. NOT appealing.

Ideas (going from the base puree and adding flavours):
Potatoes with Mexican crema
Parsnips with pepper and cream
Celeriac with shallots
Tomatoes (use Italian crushed) add basil and cream if desired (could need some sugar if toms are acidic)
Spinach (use frozen chopped) add nutmeg and cream
Broccoli with balsamic vinegar OR Mexican crema
Butternut squash with coconut milk
Mushrooms with sherry, nutmeg and cream
Roasted red pepper with basil and cream

I hope these recipes will help others who have gotten bariatric surgery! Flavour forever! XO