Plant-based after weight loss surgery

Having had the gastric sleeve surgery in July I discovered a rather hugely important issue after surgery.  You see I have always needed a high fibre diet for comfort reasons.  After surgery they put you on a virtually no fibre liquid diet followed onward by a pathetically low fibre diet.  You see you can’t eat enough fruit and veg after eating meat in order to get your fibre and nutrients.  Enter a switch in diet as fruit, veg and fibre are non-negotiable.

Protein is tough to fulfill on a sleeve stomach following a plant-based diet…not impossible but it takes work and comes with more calories in the long run.  On top of the typical challenge I also get to battle the natural inclination to not eat in the morning as I am not hungry.  Why is that a problem?  There are not enough hours in the day to eat enough volume without eating breakfast.  I do believe my solution will have to be smoothies as it is the easiest to eat and packs the most nutritional punch however oatmeal with flax, hemp seeds, peanut butter and raisins works pretty well if I feel able to eat it all.

I have noticed another challenge for me though.  With each meal I feel able to eat a bit less each time.  Lunch I often seem to only pull off eating about 15g of protein most days.  I have tried to eat left overs from dinner but there isn’t always food leftover.  So today I worked on a new plan….perhaps not my best plan.  I cooked up a pot of beans (adzuki as I hadn’t had them before) and another pot of grains (kamut) with the intention of having a serving of each with veggies.  Kamut is lovely enough but adzuki bean are a vile attack of Satan.  The underlying theory of the plan was valid but the start being adzuki was a massive mistake.  I am wondering if my best plan might be also making a veggie soup to put my beans and grain in at lunch.  No matter, I just have to keep exploring my plan to get it right including a tiny volume high protein ingredient that can boost up the protein so I don’t need a 4th or even 5th meal.  I really don’t want to eat all the time.

Dinner is pretty straightforward however I still get stuck on high enough protein.  Pizza for instance….high protein topping?  I don’t fancy beans or lentils on my pizza personally.  The crust has a good bit of protein and the nutritional yeast provides a bit and of course there must be a bit in the roast veggies but still not hitting that 20g per meal target.  Bean burgers come pretty close to hitting that target but also falls just short.  I have a few other meals that fall just short and since lunch is also falling short  my 60g a day minimum isn’t going to plan.

So what did I do to deal with this frustration?  Stopped tracking my food and pretended it didn’t matter!  Consequences of burying my head?  My hair is thinning out and I am regularly covered in loose hair.  Ugh.  Anything else?  Well according to the bodytrax machine at the gym the only weight I have lost for several weeks has been muscle! Maybe the hair and muscle thing would have happened anyway I don’t know. So what to do?  Trying to up the protein but my best plan so far is a piece of peanut butter toast before bed but that is an extra 250calories a day.  Worth the calories or not?  Frustrated.

Today when caught out for breakfast (in the car heading out) I decided I would have meat and berries to see how my stomach felt.  Stomach did not cope with the harder to digest meat and I had to wait 20minutes before I could manage my berries.  It didn’t cause any reflux problems though so that was a good sign but still come back to not being able to eat enough produce to keep my fibre level up.  Just seem to be screwed if I do and screwed if I don’t.  

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11 Responses to Plant-based after weight loss surgery

  1. How about protein powders? I am waiting for my sleeve date and I’ve been researching like crazy because I’m a vegetarian, too. I hear that Genepro is a wonderful tasteless powder that you can add to just about anything. It contains whey, though. There are lots of vegan protein powders out there, too. Maybe you can get your protein anyhow. Also, I hear losing hair is a common thing after weight loss surgery but it will come back. Have you thought about joining any of the gastric sleeve groups on Facebook? I’ve learned a lot there.

    • fivebeansoup says:

      I am in the UK so brands are different and vegan protein powders (especially avoiding soy) is challenging. I have some hemp protein powder and Vega has just entered the UK market and I find it ok but way expensive. During my liquid diet whey was pushed as the only option so I relented but I was digestive miserable. I am dairy intolerant though not sure if it is just lactose or perhaps the protein itself doesn’t sit well. Just another way I should have stood up to the bariatric department more strongly about.

      • I wonder if pea protein would work for you. It has to be maddening! Did you lose weight at the beginning or have you struggled all along?

      • fivebeansoup says:

        I lost 15 lbs in the first two weeks, then 5lbs in the next 2 weeks and 20 lbs over the last 10 weeks. Most weeks it is only a pound or less now. At this point I have just deleted all my weight loss related apps and trying to move on with my life. Clearly wasn’t meant to be a healthy weigh and active I think is gone forever now. Just not worth it to have surgery.

      • I’ve seen on the online forums where some people do what they call a pouch reset. They go back to their liquid diet for a week. They say it puts them back in weight loss mode. I don’t blame you for not wanting to do all of the counting. I did read something that intrigued me. Someone posted that their nurtrionist told them that they didn’t have to count as long as they got their protein in that they wouldn’t have to worry about the rest as long as they ate foods that were 5% or less of fat and 5% or less of carbs. That seemed to be simpler to track, but I’m not sure how it would work as a vegan.

      • fivebeansoup says:

        With some experimenting it does seem like my problem food is dairy more than anything else. I am playing with the idea of being more a flexitarian. I am not eating a vegan diet out of anything but keeping the reflux at bay and avoiding constipation. I could eat 10 eggs a day and meet the protein but yuck! Not a fan of eggs unless in cake and even then I have found vegan cake nicer! Right now I need to just cut my stress and find a new way of being.

      • eggs…ick! i wonder what would happen if you put protein powder in something other than shakes. I don’t do well with dairy either and shakes are just too milk like for me. I’m trying to figure this stuff out before i actually have to do it.

      • fivebeansoup says:

        Try getting some unflavoured protein powder to add to a soup that you puree. I did higher protein (with meat and beans at the time)soup so I could have something not sweet. They usually had only about 10g protein but with practice you might find something that works. Perhaps using tofu or a bean grain combo.

      • fivebeansoup says:

        I just thought you might like to know there are two Facebook groups that you might find helpful. Vegan after wls is one and the other is Vegetarian and Vegan gastric sleeve and bypass. They aren’t the most talkative groups but you might get some decent advice and since most are in the US brand and protein powder options would relate better for you than me.

      • You’re a peach! Thanks so much for recommending them. I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve had such a hard time. What does your wls doc have for advice? I’m sure it’s hard for them to understand the needs of a vegetarian.

      • fivebeansoup says:

        I have no doctor anymore. The one that did the surgery bullied me and yelled at me until I signed paperwork allowing him to do a hernia surgery that I did not need nor want. I have been left in chronic pain with no doctor willing to fix me nor respect my wishes to have the stitches causing the pain removed. Complaints to the hospital administration have cleared the doctor on his word and blamed me for his abusive behaviour. I have no support.

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