Please Eat Some Vegetables!

Just going to put it out there that we are horrified by the amount of fat and lack of vegetables on the plates of a large percentage of our 300,000 Bariatric Support Group Members on Facebook.

It is safe to say that right after surgery, none of us would ever be in the running for a position as Head Nutritionist, anywhere... other than Chuck E. Cheese or Pizza Hut. That just means we have lots of room for improvement - IF we choose to learn.

Perfect yet SIMPLE bariatric friendly meal of Burger and Tomato Salad
Choose ONE Fat

As I edited this rant at 8 am today, a member of our support group proudly posted a photo of her *favorite breakfast* of an avocado encased fried egg, with cheese and bacon, cooked in a non stick pan pooled with a little too much oil. We were discussing it in our Admin chat for about 30 minutes. How to break it to her gently that her *favorite breakfast* is a fat bomb containing a full day of calories. Here is someone who is really trying yet completely missed the mark. We want to encourage her and nudge her back to a better path. It underscores our need to repeat ad nauseam, 'Please Choose ONE Fat' and 'Please Add Some Vegetables to that Plate.' Okay so I don't usually say Please.

French Fries are Vegetables too!

I completely understand that we all made terrible choices and that Baked Potatoes covered in Sour Cream and Butter, Fried Tater Tots with Nacho Cheese Dip and Super Sized McDonalds Fries (with copious amounts of ketchup) were representative of our vegetable selections. Now that we have managed to stop that landslide, we've got to put some nutrients on our plate or we will without a doubt face awful consequences.

What you eat REALLY matters

Nutrients - Protein, Carbs, Fats, Vitamins and Minerals - run the amazing Vehicle - our body. I know that sounded corny but its a fact. Foods containing the macro nutrients are the Chevron Gas and your Grocery Store is the Gas Station. However, too many of you are still Meal Shopping in the Mini Mart. No bueno!

The increased availability of low cost, high calorie, nutrient poor foods over the past thirty years is a key component of the rise in obesity worldwide. The Malnutrition of Obesity is well documented - we start off with deficiencies before we even have surgery. Then after weight loss surgery has removed most of the stomach, things get worse. Hair falls out, under eyes darken, skin loosens and dries, energy wanes, teeth break off, and people voice in our Support Groups that they dont feel well. Sure we are lighter, but we don't know how to fuel the good life we want to live.

Do you really just not know what to eat?

I am going to assume that many of you really just don't know what to buy or cook. How can we be expected to go from plates of food that Dr. Now would smack from our hands, to gurus of 'slim and healthy', in a year. We can't and that's what this is really about. Expectations and Reality. We will accept that real change takes place slowly but there needs to be an awakening. There is plenty of nutrition information on our website, to the extent that it is willful ignorance to remain in the dark. Please take the steps to save yourself! No one is going to save you. Surely you know what foods are FATTENING???

Protein and Vegetables

That's why we say the words 'Protein and Vegetables' so often. Every meal is NOT Thanksgiving Dinner. Meals showing up in our groups with three and four side dishes are commonplace. Who can keep that up? I don't even cook like that. Don't make Orange Chicken AND Cauliflower Fried Rice... its TOO MUCH TO HANDLE unless you are Emeril. Your kitchen is not a restaurant. One protein, One vegetable. Boom. Now that is sustainable!

Protein and Vegetables means a pan seared burger and a pile of tomato salad, like the photo at the top of this page. It's a pork chop and sliced zucchini cooked with a pour of pasta sauce from a jar. It's a few shrimp with a handful of baby spinach cooked in garlic and olive oil. It's a piece of salmon on the grill with sliced cucumbers.

Try this just for fun. Make yourself a Burger with Tomato Salad on the side. It's lean and has great balance. Follow this list and instructions and I promise that you will feel GOOD about feeding yourself a really nice meal. Repeat this once a week - as in Burger Plate Thursday. You now only have to come up with 6 meals a week.

Burger with Tomato Salad Challenge

This Bariatric Friendly Meal 101 is easy to assemble, inexpensive, ingredients are plentiful and if you follow along exactly and don't fat brain it, is really delicious. Make it look just like the one in the photo. Its DELICIOUS. Trust us.

Ingredients - 6 items on your shopping list that are available in any grocery store
  • 1 pound Lean Ground Beef, buy Ground Round or Sirloin. DO NOT buy already made burger patties or you do not get a passing grade
  • 1 jar of Seasoned Salt - there are lots of brands, look for Lawry's or Cavender's and keep it simple
  • 1 nice red ripe tomato - one Roma oval tomato for each two people
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 bottle Newman's Own Family Recipe Italian - you do not need nasty fat free dressing. (terrible plastic flavored fat free bottled dressing is perhaps WHY you don't like salad!)
  • Divide your ground beef in half, then divide each half again, so you have four parts. I use a butter knife to do this.
  • Carefully pick up each square of meat, place it on a square of foil or wrap and press it into a round patty, pushing in the corners and flattening with your fingers so its nice and smooth. Sprinkle the burgers you are cooking now on both sides with the seasoned salt. Wrap the extra burgers in plastic wrap and put them in fridge for tomorrow or freezer for another day.
  • Make your salad. Cut the tomato in half, then cut each half again and then again, so you have 8 pieces, transfer to a medium bowl, add a handful of baby spinach leaves, thinly slice the red onion and add two slices separated into rings to the bowl. Measure out 2 tablespoons of dressing over the salad and toss it with a spoon and fork to coat everything lightly. Set it aside to get all deliciously marinated.
  • Heat a non stick skillet or grill pan. Place a burger patty for each person and cook undisturbed on the first side until you see the red juices coming to the top of the uncooked section and pooling a bit, then flip and cook on other side an equal amount of time. This makes an always perfect burger no matter how thick or the weight. IMPORTANT: Do not press the burger unless you want it to be dry.
  • Move burgers to the dish and spoon a pile of salad to the side. Serve now.. yum.
Give it a try. We all know that in order to get healthy and stay healthy, CHANGE must take place. As a group, we cannot continue down the same path that took us to the Operating Room. A critical part of change is to understand nutrition and to be able to feed ourselves.
June 28, 2023
Bariatric Recipes Advice, Rants & Support Podcast: Real Talk