15 Best Ready-to-Eat Gastric Bypass Snacks

If you’re anything like me, you need food to be on had all the time.  I stash food around like a squirrel storing up for winter.  This keeps my blood sugar even all day, and keeps me from making any kind of convince store stops, or running through the nearest drive through.  I’ve already posted about great snacks that you can make/keep at home (read it here) but they aren’t all very portable.  So I scoured around, and found 15 of the top rated snacks that meet our protein needs, are low in sugars, and are portable!

#1:  Kay’s Naturals Gluten Free Protein Pretzels in Jalapeño Honey Mustard

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#2:  Pure Protein Crunch Chocolate

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#3:  Ostrim Snack Stick, Teriyaki

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#4:  Lenny & Larry’s The Complete Cookie, Chocolate Chip

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#5:  New Whey Nutrition Protein Shots, Fruit Punch

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#6:  Caveman Chicken Bites, Applewood Smoked BBQ

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#7: Tanka Bar, Natural Buffalo Cranberry Bar

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#8: Crucha Ma-Me Edamame Veggie Snack, Lightly Seasoned 

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#9:  Power Crunch Bar

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#10:  Think Thin Protein Nut Bar, Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel 

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#11: Fit Joy, Frosted Cinnamon Roll

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#12: Quest Protein Chips, BBQ

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#13: Optimum Nutrition Protein Water, Icy Blue Raspberry

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#14: RAP Protein Gummies, Strawberry Flavor 

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#15:  Smash Pack, Fruit & Protein-Tropical Fruit

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So here’s my current fav 15…please comment below and let me know what you keep on hand for portable protein!

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Weight Loss Surgery: by Teresa Wainwright

I was recently sent a book by author Teresa Wainwright; Weight Loss Surgery: All the Essential Information Your Doctor Doesn’t Have Time to Tell You!    I wanted to write up a review about it because I found it so well written and such a fun read!

Ms. Wainwright starts out her book with many reasons we find ourself in need of WLS.  The next couple of chapters touch on what types of surgeries there are, what to expect from each one, as well as some considerations such as family planning, and smoking, etc.

Next, she talks about what to expect on the day of, as well as the first few weeks post-op.  “Okay, I’ve read all this before” you might be thinking.  But, one of the things that sucked me right in was the way her book read like I was chatting with a friend.  Not only that, the next chapters are hilarious and filled with stories from other patients.  I especially loved chapter 7 “The Gross Stuff” where I LOL’d plenty as people talked about loose skin, horrible dragon breath, gas woes, even some “oops” bathroom accidents.

If you’ve got a sense of humor, as well as want to learn a few things about weight loss surgery, and hear stories from many other patients, I can’t recommend this book enough!  It was so much fun to read, had me cracking up, and was full of great information!

You can pick up your copy on Amazon, available in paperback or on Kindle.

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15 Great Workout Accessories and Equipment

Working out is a chore to a lot of people (yes, I’m including myself in that statement), but some fun gadgets and cool equipment can make it much more enjoyable, or at least a bit more interesting.  Here are 15 top rated accessories and exercise equipment that I love.

#1:  A really fun shaker cup

Bring your protein drink, water, etc in a super fun super hero shaker cup.

Listen to music, use fitness apps, etc, with a cell armband holder.
#3:  Way 2 Cool Microfiber Cooling Towel
I love this towel because it helps keep overheating in check.  Just soak it and wring it out, and it stays cool while feeling dry to the touch!  Great for outside workouts.
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Okay, so this one might not be “fun” but chafing sure isn’t fun either!  Keep those thighs and other sensitive areas feeling comfy.
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 This is not your old school fanny pack from the 80’s!  Fantastic for runners, walkers, hikers…hold all your stuff while working out!
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After working out, treat your sore feet to this relaxing foot massage ball.
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This wobble board isn’t just for physical therapy…it’s great for working out the core muscles, improving balance and flexibility!  Use it while hanging out watching TV, talking on the phone, etc.
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If you’re like me and like doing fun activities for exercise, this might be your favorite new ride!
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Work on your core while watching TV or sitting at your desk.  This backless version also helps with posture, and spine strength.
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These leggins keep you warm in the winter, and cool in the summer, are made from moisture wicking material, and support hamstrings and quads.
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For all you swimmers out there, these cool gloves from Speedo help tone arm muscles by adding resistance in the water.
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Up your water workout with these foam dumbbells.
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My biggest complaint with using my exercise bike is that it leaves me with a sore rear.  This gel cushion adds extra padding for a much more comfortable ride.
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Trampolines that you wear on your feet!  Takes some getting used to, but a fun workout!
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Listen to music without worrying about tangled cords or wires!
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Product Review of Enlightened Ice Cream

I was lucky enough to get a few coupons from the Enlightened company to try out their ice cream bars.  From the company:

We offer a healthy, delicious product that will make you rethink was ice cream can be. Many “better-for-you” ice creams would you believe that less bad is good enough. We disagree. That’s why we’ve created an ice cream that is truly good for you. Packed with protein, fiber and flavors and light on calories, fat, and sugar, it tastes great, and it’s what your body needs.

Carried at my local NJ Shoprite store, I was curious if they tasted good or like the normal “healthy” stuff.  This was my chance to try it out.

The bars are so popular there were only a few boxes left in stock, but I was able to snag a box of Mint Fudge Swirl and a box of Frozen Hot Cocoa.  The first I tried was the cocoa, and OH MY GOSH I’m in love!  These tasted nothing like the normal “diet” fake ice creams I’ve had in the past…this was a smooth and creamy texture with a rich chocolate flavor.  In the center was swirls of gooey marshmallow.  It completely satisfied my sweet tooth, and for the first time every I didn’t dump from ice cream.  Score!

Next, I tried the mint…this one had a very good mint chocolate chip thing going on.  The texture was not quite as creamy as the cocoa one was, but it was still very good!  I’ve always loved mint chocolate chip ice-cream in the summer, and this hit the spot.  I loved that the fudge stayed thick with a hot fudge-type consistency  and didn’t freeze into the bar.

Frozen-Hot-CocoaOf course, my two kids wanted in on the action as well.  Since I try to have my whole family eat healthy, I was more than happy to get their opinion.  They both chose to try the mint, and both boys gobbled them down.  Neither had any idea it was good for them (Mom 1, kids 0). Oh, and my hubby who is a weightlifting-aholic enjoys the fact that each bar is high (7 grams) of quality protein. It’s hard finding treats that are bariatric friendly, let alone treats that are good tasting and healthy for the whole family, but Enlightened managed it!  I cannot wait till our store restocks and I can try out the rest of the flavors.

Check out their website at eatenlightened.com, or find them on instigram www.instagram.com/eatenlightened

7 Best Books for Bariatric Surgery

When I was getting ready for my gastric bypass surgery, I read whatever I could about it.  Back then, blogs and online support groups were pretty new, and few and far between, so I read a few books on the topic.  Now, there are tons of online resources, but I still really like a “all info in one place” book.  Here is a list of 7 of the most popular and helpful out there!

The Sleeved Life  by Pennie Nicola is about her journey getting the vertical sleeve gasterectomy.  The cool thing about this book is she combines her personal story with lots of the most recent research on this type of WLS.

The Big Book on the Gastric Bypass has everything about gastric bypass, from how to pick a surgeon, what to expect pre-op, how the surgery is performed, recovery, etc.  It has lots of info about afterwards as well, how much you can expect to lose, the diet, & exercising after.

Weight Loss Surgery:  The Real Skinny is a great one that talks about all the “bad” parts of WLS.  It goes over the mental aspects, how to change your relationship with food, and how to handle when you don’t get the results you were hoping for.

The Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients (3rd addition) has stories from patients that have had all different bariatric surgeries.  Patients interviewed are long term success stories, from 5, 10, 15 years ago, some from 30 years ago!

Back On Track After Weight Loss Surgery is great for any of us struggling with weight regain, with slipping into bad eating habits, not making time to work out, etc.

Weight Loss Surgery for DummiesWeight Loss Surgery for Dummies I absolutely love the “Dummies” books so of course this one had to make the list!  As all the other “Dummies” books, this one is written in clear, easy to understand language, tons of tips and tricks, and fun to read.

Al Roker:  Never Goin’ Back I had to include Al Roker from NBC on this list.  He is such an inspiration, and this open and honest story of his life, his struggles as a child with his weight, and what finally led him to getting bariatric surgery, is a must read

Most of these are available hardcopy or on your kindle, which is personally my favorite way to read🙂
Please comment and let me know what your favorite WLS book, article, blog or website is!

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What Do I Need In the First Few Weeks?

One question that comes up over and over is what to stock up on.  There are a million help sites out there, blogs, etc, and you’ll find a ton of the same items appearing over and over. So to save you some surfing of site after site, I figured I’d compile a list of the most popular items people said they found useful after WLS.

  • A heating pad.  This comes up all the time from patients; it helps move painful gas out of your gut.
  • A huggable pillow to hold up to your abdomen when sitting up, or coughing.  I found this super adorable “I Heart Guts” pillow I’m totally in love with!

Get it here from Amazon

  • Sugar free items such as jello, popsicles, crystal light, fudge pops, etc.
  • Broth and thin broth-based soups
  • Gas-x, either strips or chewable
  • All the vitamins that your doctor wants you to take…please follow his/her advice on this!
  • A set of measuring cups…or two…you’ll be measuring EVERYTHING for a while!  Find something fun/funky that will make you smile every time you need to go measure your meal 81rKaWI9hwL._SL1500_(Find this set here)
  • unsweet protein supplements, such as Unjury soup flavor, or Proti Diet
  • A shaker bottle to make protein supplements, or use as a water bottle….this super hero one makes drinking a bit more fun :  the flash
  •  Low sugar yogurts, ricotta cheese, unsweetened applesauce, sugar free pudding
  • Extra pillows to sleep propped up.  Some people suggest sleeping in a recliner, which is what I did my first week home…laying flat was just too painful.
  • That favorite book on your reading list and the remote within easy reach with a full Netflix Que.
  • Last, but not least, protein powder.  Now, some will tell you to “stock up”.  However, I’ve talked to soooo many people with the same story…”I bought a big container at Sam’s and now can’t stand it…”.  Please, if you can, stock up on individual packets, different flavors and variety packets.  Your tastes WILL change and you WILL get sick of one flavor.  Here is a couple of sample packets available on Ebay.bariatric fusion variety packnectar 5 pack

Please comment and add your favorite or must-have after your surgery!

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Found Some Cool WLS Items

I came across a really great bariatric kit today, and wanted to share.  I wish they had stuff like this when I was a newbie!  It comes with a WLS guide book, a protein shaker, a bariatric portion plate, and two 2oz portion food/protein powder containers, all in a cute little lunch bag.  Surfing around on the website, they have other products that look really great also, like kid portion plates, bento boxes, recipe books, etc.

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Here’s a recipe book just for Bariatric patients…

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And these adorable “yum yum” bowls, which are remeasured 4oz…

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This site is well worth checking out to get cool gadgets for your new post-op lifestyle, for you and your family.

Reactive Hypoglycemia

What is reactive hypoglycemia?  It’s low blood sugar that happens after eating…normally 2 to 4 hours after eating.  This is a different condition than “normal” hypoglycemia.  With “normal” hypoglycemia, the patient has low blood sugar when fasting.  Reactive hypoglycemia can be caused by other conditions, but mainly is a side effect of gastric bypass.  A minority of gastric bypass patients will notice RH about three years after surgery.  After gastric bypass, the body can overreact to carbohydrates, dumping more insulin into the body than is needed.

I was diagnosed with RH several years ago.  The first time my sugar dropped it was quite scary.  Suddenly I felt nervous, sweaty, shaking, and kind of “out of it”.  Thankfully I also felt an intense desire to eat, and after eating a granola bar I found shoved at the bottom of my purse, I felt better a few minutes later.  When mentioning this to my family doctor, he said it sounded like RH, to keep food with me at all times, and to eat as soon as I felt symptoms coming on.

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the symptoms coming on a few weeks ago; I suddenly felt extremely dizzy, as though very drunk.  I tried eating, but within two minutes I had to lay down, and ended up passing out.  I saw an endocrinologist after that, who now has me checking my blood sugars regularly.  I also had a boat load of blood work run, and will find out treatment options at my follow-up.

Of course, there are some things you can do to manage it better.  The day of the “pass out” episode, we had been to the movies, and I had eaten popcorn, without any protein before hand.  That was a total fail on my part and my own fault.

Now, being more careful, I’m back to no carbs without a protein and eating 5 small meals a day.  I’ve always kept food with me, but I now make sure to have a snack in my car too.  If you think you may have RH, see an endocrinologist to figure out how to best manage it.

Medical Bracelets

One question I get all the time is about medical ID bracelets.  “Do I get one, do I need one, what do I put on it?”  The answer I always give is:  Save your money.

Medical ID bracelets are for people with life threatening medical conditions, such as diabetes or epilepsy, where they could very easily become unconsious and need the bracelet to alert EMT’s to their condition and how best to treat them.  They also are for people who have certain mental conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, where they may not know who they are or where they live.  Bariatric surgery is not a life threatening medical condition.

I’ve seen so many postings on different support sites where post-op’s advises bariatric patients to quickly get a medical ID bracelet and put on “No NSAID’s”, and “No NG tube”.  Please keep in mind that the only time someone would be reading your medical ID bracelet would be in a life or death situation where you cannot talk and have no one to speak for you.

Why would you need NSAID’s in an emergency situation?  If you were having a heart attack, you would be advised to chew an aspirin.  Honestly, I don’t know about you, but if I’m having a heart attack, I’m chewing that bad boy up ASAP, not worrying “hmmm, will my pouch get an ulcer”.

Why might you need an NG tube?  Some reasons are to aspirate ingested poisons, feed someone who cannot eat, administering medications, or removing excess stomach acids if the patient has a block.  Again, I will take my chances and have the NG tube placed.  It has actually been studied that while there is a small risk of pouch damage with an NG tube in the first 6 weeks after surgery, it is safe to place the tube after those six weeks.  (Read more about that here)

So while it’s a matter of opinion, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to wear a bracelet if that makes you feel more comfortable, that’s up to you.  In my opinion, someone got it in their heads they could sell us ID bracelets and make a pretty penny by convincing us we needed one.

Guest Post from Took Me Long Enough

Today, I want to share a post from a great blog “Took Me Long Enough”.  The author, Heather, is a recent bypass patient and is journaling her experiences.  Here is one of my fav’s from her blog!  Check out the rest of her posts here.

 

One Week Ago…

A week ago tonight I was heading to bed, about to have my life changed forever. Tomorrow will be a week since I’ve had my gastric bypass surgery. I can’t begin to describe how different I feel after one week. Christ, I felt different by the evening of my surgery!! The next day I felt reborn, thrust back into this world with a second chance. I survived the surgery. That was my first fear. That was the main fear that has kept me from getting this sooner. I’ve was thinking about getting the surgery for just about 10 years. Better late than never, right?

I used to think that weight loss surgery was the easy way out. I often talk about Cape May 2005. It was me, Rachel, and Suzanne at the shopping center, standing outside of a store waiting for Rachel’s sister to come out. We were suddenly approached by a woman with a big, friendly smile. “Oh just look at you girls, how pretty you all are,” she said as she came up to us. In my head I thought she was just being nice. But when she asked us if any of us had considered weightloss surgery, she hit a nerve with me. I don’t remember what I said to her but basically I told her to fuck off and that it’s none of her business. At the time I worked at a dental office and I equated her comment with me, going up to someone with bad teeth and handing them my office’s business card. See, the three of us, along with Rachel’s sister, were like the fat version of Sex & The City but mainly it was 3 Charlotte’s and me (a mix of Carrie & Samantha). We’ll get into the dynamics of having fat friends later on. Now, with that lady coming up to us like that, I could never see myself doing that EVER, but looking back now, I know why she did. I can relate now. I’m sorry I gave her attitude. I’m sorry I was in denial. Denial, thinking that I can lose weight on my own without the need of medical intervention. I was so sure of myself back then. Boy did THAT change.

So in this last week, I have noticed changes in me. Changes that I never thought I’d see and feel.

Here’s to another week of changes.

Tomorrow I see my surgeon for my one week post op check. I’m only on week one, but I know I have a lifetime to go on this journey and I thank you for accompanying me!

Goodnight.

Free Resources To Help You Keep The Weight Off After Weight Loss Surgery-Guest post

I’m excited to have Meghan Jensen guest post.  She is a 5 year post op, and has recently started her own blog…go check her out!  All About the Weight Loss

 

On average, weight loss surgery patients see 8% of their old weight come back within 5 years. 8% may not sound like a lot, but when you have worked hard to lose those pounds any amount you gain back can be discouraging.

Luckily, we live in a world with exciting new technologies and if you choose to embrace them, you don’t have to go on your weight loss journey alone. Here are 5 free resources you can use to help keep the weight off after your surgery.

 

  1. Baritastic

Baritastic is the number one app for weight loss surgery, and it’s no wonder why! Here are just some of the features you get with Baritastic:

-Nutrition Tracker

-Vitamin and Supplement Reminders

-Forums

-Recipes

-Weekly Motivation

If you need help keeping yourself accountable and on track, this app has everything, and all for free!

 

  1. Model My Diet

It can be incredibly hard to visualize what your body is going to look like after surgery, especially if you’re like me and were overweight your whole life. Model My Diet allows you to enter in your starting and goal weights and see how your body might change. Here is an example of a 5’6” person losing 100 pounds:

 

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Pretty inspiring! I recommend printing yours out and putting it somewhere you will see everyday, like your mirror or on the fridge.

 

  1. Eat Slower

I am pretty sure whoever came up with the idea for this app is a genius. Eat Slower allows you to set a timer that will go off every time you are supposed to take a bite, forcing you to slow down between each one. 30 seconds can feel like forever when you’re staring at a plate of food at first, but overtime you can retrain your eating habits and start enjoying your meals rather than inhaling them.

 

  1. Waterlogged

If you ever have trouble getting your water in, this app is perfect for you. You can set goals for your daily water consumption and see at a glance how you’re doing with handy graphs. My favorite feature is “custom glasses”, which lets you take a picture of your own water glass to make tracking even faster. Currently Waterlogged is only available for iPhone.

 

  1. SleepBot

Yes, a good night’s sleep is an important part of weight loss. Being tired is a little like being drunk. It affects your ability to make decisions and control impulses. Those late night Netflix marathons could be the reason you’re craving comfort food the next day! SleepBot helps not only by automatically turning your phone on airplane mode and silencing music, it also tracks all of your nighttime activity and gives you tips to sleep better.

 

What resources have you had success with? Is there anything missing from this list? Let me know in the comments!

 

About the Author:

 

Meghan Jensen is a stay at home mom of 3 who just moved from sunny San Diego to the rainy streets of Portland. Her own weight loss journey lead her to getting bariatric surgery in 2010. Today she writes about her experiences on her blog, All About That Weight Loss.

Another great product…fiber in a bottle!

Again, I don’t normally do product reviews, but when I find something I really like (or really hate lol), I do like to do a review for it.

This review is for Fiberex, made by LLorens Pharmaceutical.  I have had problems for years getting enough fiber in since my bypass.  I’ve done the fiber gummies, which taste good, but don’t provide a whole lot of fiber.  Same with Benefiber, and others.

Fiberex is a liquid.  2 tablespoons a day is 15g of fiber.  The bottle says it can be mixed with any liquid but I prefer just to take it straight.

It has an almost syrupy consistency, and a light fruity flavor.  I’ve been using it for three weeks now, every day, and it’s helped with digestive issues more than anything else I’ve tried!

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From the manufacturer:

  • Two tablespoons (30mL) provides 15g of dietary fiber with FOS and Natural Prune Concentrate
  • 60% of daily fiber needs
  • 20 calories per serving
  • 3.5 g sugars
  • 15 g fiber

Product review

Here is another product review.  I don’t do these too often, only if I really love a “new” product I’ve tried out.

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These are portion control rings.  They are a set of 6 plastic rings that nest together and range from 1oz to 8oz.  It comes with a nutrition book that has the calorie content of tons of foods.  The rings make it so easy to place on your plate and measure out the proper portions for proteins, carbs, veggies, etc.

I’m 8 years out, and I know for me, after the first 18 months or so, portion control became a bit of a struggle again.  I thought I was good at eyeballing portions, but honestly, after trying these out, I was way off sometimes.  They are worth a shot if you’re like me and need a little “portion help”🙂

Beer, wine and mixed drinks, oh my!

One question that comes up all the time is “when can I drink again…wait, can I drink again?”  The answer is yes…and no.  You can’t drink the way you could maybe have in the past.  Just like you can’t eat the way you could have in the past.  Everyone of course is different, but there are some pieces of advice that are normally the same from all medical professionals.  I’ll share those here with you.

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  • Wait a minimum of 6 months after surgery
  • Do not drink alcohol on a regular basis after surgery; it increases the risk of ulcers
  • Don’t overdue it…with many patients, you can become intoxicated after just one drink
  • Take care, as some patients have “transfer addictions” and drinking can become a problem as food may have been in the past

Personally, I have noticed that just one drink goes straight to my head.  I drink very, very rarely (think weddings and holidays).  So, if I do decide to have a drink I make sure to have two glasses of water afterwards.  I’ve noticed for me, personally, I feel dehydrated way faster than I did pre-op.  I also make sure I never drive after even one drink.  If you decide to indulge this holiday season, just make sure to keep safe…cheers!

Nutritional Deficiencies

Hair loss seems to be one of the biggest topics asked about after gastric bypass.  Right on the heels of this seems to be lots of comments about how “I get enough protein in with food alone” from people who had their surgeries like two minutes ago.  

Let’s get real here.  You CANNOT get enough protein from food alone right after your gastric bypass surgery.  It is PHYSICALLY impossible!  Even if by some miracle you are able to eat enough food, your bypassed small intestine are not absorbing all the protein out of the foods you eat.  Same goes for vitamins, and why we need vitamin supplements also.  

Hair loss is only one complication of lack of protein and vitamin deficiencies.  Anemia, bone disease, eye problems, and skin rashes are just some of the other problems that can occur.  A dietician I worked with at one of my local hospitals said they have seen numerous patients coming into the ER with medical problems due to being non-compliant.  

Please, follow your doctors advice, and supplement with protein and vitamins after your surgery.  It’s not just a scheme you’re being told to do this; it’s for your own health and your own good.  Supplementing doesn’t just have to be vanilla protein powder in a blender either!  There are soooo many tasty supplements out there.  Proti Diet is one of my favorites, and comes in everything from soups to pancakes to chocolate cake!  If you like fruity flavors that will mix right into your Crystal Light, Nectar is a good choice.  

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For further reading:

http://www.obesityaction.org/educational-resources/resource-articles-2/weight-loss-surgery/protein-supplements-weight-loss-surgery

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/809195_8

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