to the March and April 2021 issue … with an edition that is very dear to my heart since it’s ethos and theme is one of ‘looking after yourself (and others)’. Something so important pre- and post-op.
We know that plants need only four things to flourish – light, soil, nutrients and water. Our own list of needs seems more complex but it is actually much the same. We seemingly thrive better in the light-filled days of spring and summer (they certainly help to lift our mood); we’re grounded better if our home ‘soil’ or environment is comfortable and anxiety-free; and while we have special needs for nourishing food and drink (all do-able) – there’s much joy in sharing it.
So, I’m sharing with you in this magazine some advice and a couple of recipes that I have developed over the years since surgery. They use home-grown or seasonally-selected food and along with some golden tips on getting things right, I hope will help you to ‘NOURISH AND FLOURISH’ no matter where you find yourself on this WLS journey.
The recipes have good nutrition at their core – putting protein first; providing good fats; using complex carbs; but ensuring deliciousness as their goal. For, as we know, eating after WLS isn’t just about eating less.
At this time of year when you’re under pressure from what seems like that endless pandemic; frantically planning or re-booking a holiday before it’s too late or having to settle for a ‘staycation’ again; helping children with end of year exams or home schooling; or just simply balancing work, home life and maybe your new bariatric regime, then you may well be lacking a bit of ‘me’ time. It’s at times like these that we often put ourselves at the bottom of the pile or ‘to do list’ when really we need to nurture ourselves so that we are strong enough and able to help others. There’s a good reason why flight attendants insist you put your own lifebelt on before helping others with theirs!
So, I would urge you to power down the laptop, phone or other device and find some silent sanctuary time. A recent study conducted by the University of Rochester highlighted that people who sat alone in peace with no devices and no distractions had a reduction in intense emotions of all kinds, from anger to anxiety.
Why not go for a wonderful walk and experience the best of nature – without your headphones on or in. Not only will you get some great peace and quiet but some exercise and maybe sunshine too.
Find a quiet corner in your home away from others where you can cozy up with a cushion, or if bath time is one of the few times this can happen then make it special with candles and a blissful soak in a scented tub. If there are few times this is possible, then consider having this time early in the morning before the rest of the house wakes or late at night when the hustle and bustle of the household settles down.
Research shows that focusing on one thing without distraction makes us more content so why not wear earplugs when appropriate especially on public transport; get off the bus a little earlier and walk the rest of the way; keep the radio off in the car; and walk down quiet rather than busy roads to your destination as much as possible?
Check how many times you reach for your mobile, turn on the TV or radio or surf the internet. Too many times? Then ask yourself why you are reaching for this distraction, then try and recognize what is triggering this. By being aware you can attempt to cut down and remove a few distractions.
Weight-loss after bariatric surgery is a given for the first 12-18 months, but what happens after that is not guaranteed. To make sure that your healthy weight-loss journey continues beyond 18 months means following some advice. Here are my top 10 dietician-approved tips to nourish yourself well.
Planning your meals for the week ahead is essential if you lead a busy life and want to keep to a healthy eating regimen. It helps you to write your shopping list and could even save you money. Make sure to write down where you’re going to be throughout the week and remember that you don’t need seven new or different breakfasts, lunches, and evening meals; you could alternate between a couple or add in just one new recipe that you want to try along with classic recipes that you know and love.
Protein is an essential part of weight-loss as it helps to preserve lean muscle tissue and promote fat loss. You should aim for a minimum of 70-80g of protein each day which equates to 300 ml/1/2 pint/11/4 cups milk (10g), a pot of Greek yogurt (15g), a tin of tuna (25g) and a chicken breast (25g). Always try to eat the protein part of your meal first and if you struggle with tough meats then choose wafer thin, minced/ground or a meat alternative such as Quorn.
Your journey after bariatric surgery isn’t just about weight-loss, it’s about staying healthy or becoming healthier, and taking your vitamins is a crucial element. Guidelines recommend that after a gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy patients should take a daily multi- vitamin, a calcium and vitamin D supplement and an iron supplement, and check their vitamin B12 levels amongst other things. Speak to your dietitian or team for more information and specifics for you.
A simple way to tell if you’re hydrated is to look at the colour of your urine; if it’s dark then it’s probably a sign that you need to drink more. All drinks count towards our fluid intake, but water is one of the best as it’s both calorie and sugar free, meaning that it won’t rot your teeth or contribute to weight gain. Drinking water helps us to regulate our true hunger signals, prevent headaches and keep our body regular.
Your stomach needs a helping hand after WLS meaning it is essential to chew your food well. Ideally every mouthful should be chewed at least 20 times before swallowing to prevent sickness and to maximize nutrient absorption.
Weight has a habit of creeping on which means that it’s a good idea to schedule regular weight checks. Most practices have calibrated scales and pharmacies often offer this service for free or a small cost.
Green vegetables are loaded with fibre and are relatively low in calories; meaning they help you feel full whilst losing weight. Smoothies aren’t just for fruit, they’re for vegetables too, and I promise you that adding leaves such as spinach, Iceberg lettuce, and kale doesn’t alter their taste; it simply turns them green! Another way of getting creative with greens is to turn them into noodles; you can spiralise vegetables such as courgette/zucchini, or you can even use a julienne peeler! I have even taken to growing my own.
If you’re making a dish such as chilli or curry make sure to cook more than what you need. Leftovers are great for packing up and taking to work the next day for lunch, as well as being an ideal back-up for when you don’t have time to cook on an evening; you could keep leftovers in a container either in the refrigerator for a couple of days or in the freezer for a couple of weeks.
As well as having a much longer shelf life, frozen vegetables often have more nutrients than their fresh equivalent; this is because they are frozen soon after the point of picking; retaining almost all of their nutrients. Frozen vegetables are low in calories, packed with fibre, require no chopping and cook quickly. I use them frequently.
It’s easy to forget what we eat and interestingly, research shows that the larger someone is, the more they tend to under estimate how much they eat. Writing down what you eat during the day can be a powerful tool to helping you become more mindful about what you’re eating. You don’t have to do it forever but doing it every so often for a week can be really powerful.
Copy and Recipes © copyright of Bariatric Cookery (UK) Ltd and Carol Bowen Ball