Weight Loss Surgery Wisdom from a Friend

I believe people come into your life for a reason. Years ago when I was researching bariatric surgery I became active on the Obesityhelp website and made several friends, many of whom I still chat with after all these years. One of those early friends was Ruth Lamb (aka Dame Tooter) her early words of wisdom and guidance helped me and seeing her paying it forward was definitely a guide for me as I became a post-op to continue to share my experience, story, tips, recipes, etc. for others so their journey might be made a little easier. I lost my friend and early weight loss surgery mentor to cancer this weekend. I will miss her and always be grateful that we crossed paths in this life.  

Quote friendship

I want to share something she wrote years ago that helped me, I hope it helps the newer post-ops reading...
WLS TIMELINE – Or Am I Normal? by Ruth Lamb 
As you can guess not everything will apply to everyone, however, the following are my observations for the last few years.

By 1 week preop:
Panic sets in – much like the panic before having a baby. What to take to the hospital… pack and repack. Arrange everything you can before going into surgery (cook meals, write letters, read the memorial pages (an old OH feature) and then go to the message boards to get reassurance, confirm babysitting, postop help, time off work, travel arrangements, etc.). Dive into whatever final foods you’re just SURE you’ll never eat again. Ask the MB (Message Board) what foods you’ll never eat again. Insomnia! Mood swings. Preop testing, nasty bowel preps (btw, there are NO easy ways to get this stuff down. Just do it!). Wonder if you’re weird because you ARE NOT scared. Wonder if you are making a mistake because you ARE scared. 
Postop Day 1 through Week 2:
“What the hell did I just DO to myself???”
“Why am I/am I not hungry?”
“I’ll NEVER be able to get in all the fluid/protein/food they want me to.”
“I can eat TOO much – did I break something?”
“I can’t eat enough… will I die of starvation?”
“I can’t believe how badly this hurt! ~OR~ I can’t believe I even had surgery, because there’s so little pain!”
“Why do I have no energy?”
“When can I eat…fill in the blank?”
“Will I ever be able to gulp water again?”
“Why did I GAIN 10 pounds???”
“Wow, I’ve lost 10 pounds!”
You think you've hit your first plateau. Nope. Odds are VERY good you haven't :-) 
Postop weeks 2 through 12:
Post op remorse usually fades during this time period. What a relief that is!
You TRY hard to stick to your doctor's diet regimen/protocol and wonder if you’re evil when you slip off the wagon by eating… fill in the blank.
You think you've hit your first, 2nd or 3rd plateau. Nope. Odds are VERY good you haven't :-)
Nearly everyone experiences a stall during the first 3 months.
You accidentally gulp water and freak that you’ve broken your pouch.
You accidentally forget to chew something to death and fear you’ve plugged your stoma.
You FEAR strictures, fistulas, and leaks every time you burp, get nauseated, have diarrhea, feel a muscle cramp, etc. This fear is not abnormal and you ‘could’ have one of these since this is the prime time for it – however, fear is no way to live. There are common symptoms attributed to these. Hopefully, you’ve researched them postop and can shelve the fear and keep a reasonable eye out for them.
You discover that you vomit or burp mucus, foam or fluid occasionally. This is called frothing, the foamies, or just mucus. It typically IS just mucus, caused by your healing pouch.
You discover your body has weird ways of telling you that you’ve eaten enough/too much (i.e., sneezing, sniffles, runny nose, hiccuping, etc)
You wonder if it’s normal to poop once, twice, three times a week.
You discover one day the scale is evil (you’re losing too slow) and the next day it's your friend when it rewards you with 1, 2, 5 pounds gone.
You wonder if you’re losing too fast and how will you stop it when you get to ‘goal’.
You wonder if you’ll EVER get to ‘goal’.
You try numerous types of protein drinks/bars, etc and wonder if protein is ‘for life’.
You swear you will never eat or drink… fill in the blank…as it is evil or forbidden (pop, cookies, popcorn, gum, etc.)
You discover that many (not ALL) long-term postops have discovered that very little is forbidden or evil to them in moderation and with care. 
Months 3 through 18:
You worry you are a slow loser and have days you doubt the tool will work, or wonder if it’s broke. I am NOT mocking. Some people’s tools DO break during this period of time, but it is in the minority, not the majority.
You wonder if you’ll ever get to goal.
You made goal and worry you’ll not stop losing.
You worry because you can eat TOO much.
You worry because you still eat too little.
You worry about getting in enough protein.
You worry you’re getting in too much protein.
You ponder whether carbs are evil or not.
You question again whether diet pills are evil.
You compare your losses against everyone else’s.
You discover that you had an exercise guru hidden within you and are now an exercise maniac.
You discover that you HATE exercise and try and force yourself to get moving.
You may have hit your first plateau. Don't panic! - Have you noticed a reoccurring theme? :-)

Months 19 and beyond:
You may hit a plateau. Don't panic!
You reach goal and worry you'll regain.
You wonder if you'll stop losing!
You wonder if you'll EVER make goal (you've likely heard about the dreaded window and fear it closed at 18 months - be aware, I continued to lose to goal for 20 to 22 months).
You may find yourself sliding; eating the wrong foods; slacking on exercise; and freak when you regain 10 pounds. Time to get back on track. 
This is NOT to discourage you from asking questions. If anything this is to encourage you to. This is to show you that all your fears, doubts, worries and hopes are VERY normal – and to not be afraid to ask that question that is eating at you. I have purposely not provided ‘answers’ to most of the above questions, because we all need to discover our own path on this long loooong journey and everyone’s answer will be slightly different, as will their journey. So if you’re worried, curious, knowledgeable or just flummoxed… ASK, TELL, RESEARCH!  
Good luck to all – preops and postops and just the curious.
Bariatric Surgery Advice Tips Answers Questions
Ruth, Me and Amy (circa 2006)
In Ruth's memory, I will continue to share my story and answer questions whenever I am able. RIP my friend.

Join me in taking #OACAction

If you follow me on any of my social media accounts you probably have seen me using the hashtag #OACAction. Basically, the concept is really simple... the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) is calling on its Community, as well as all of its supporters and followers, to simply take action and do something positive that moves our work as a non-profit organization forward in our mission. Your #OACAction can be any gesture that helps us spread awareness about obesity, educate and support people who are affected by it and improve their lives in some way, shape or form. All actions matter and all actions make a difference!

OAC's Mission
OAC Beliefs and Demands 

You can read more about #OACAction on the Obesity Action Coalition OAC Community Page and while you are there sign up to be a part of the OAC Community, there is a no-cost entry level now.

Today I want to share one of my favorite ways to take #OACAction: Sharing OAC materials in my neighborhood. Quick story... a few years ago a person who the attended OAC's Your Weight Matters (YWM) National Convention for the first time shared they had learned about it from reading a magazine I had left in a local coffee shop in my neighborhood. I was so jazzed for her for getting to attend what she called a life-changing experience for her health journey, I was jazzed for the OAC as we gained a new community member and I was jazzed for me too. It truly is an amazing feeling to know a small action you take can make a big difference.

Educational Resources

This week I created an #OACAction Take Action Kit to keep in my car. I used an old Your Weight Matters event bag and filled it with some of the free educational resources available by request from the OAC (most are also downloadable if you need something fast), a few issues of YWM magazines, and I filled a bag with some supplies tape, magnets, push pins, etc. I often need when posting items on community billboards or in coffee shops.

I also printed a list of places to remember to leave items:

Health Fairs
Support groups/talks
Gyms/fitness centers
Child care centers/preschools
Coffee shops
Grocery stores
Nail salon/hair salon
Craft clubs/book club
Library community info areas
Community centers/bulletin boards
Church fellowship/meetings
Doctor/dentist/lab/other medical waiting rooms

I think you will find there are so many opportunities for sharing materials in your own neighborhoods when you begin to make your list. I even come up with a few odd places from time to time like the other day I left an old YWM magazine in my car dealership waiting room as I was waiting for an oil change. I have to remember to do it every time because I know people will be grateful for the fun and interesting reading option... they literally only have Golf Digest, Sports Illustrated, and an occasional Money magazine. So leaving a YWM magazine each time will be my public service to save people from boredom LOL. Seriously though, it's an easy way for me to spread the word about the OAC, its awesome community and the work the organization does for those affected by obesity.

Taking #OACAction OAC Action

I hope you will join me in #OACAction taking... maybe by dropping something off at your next Dr. appointment, or by following the OAC on social media and retweeting, liking or sharing their posts so more eyes see them, or telling people about next year's YWM event, or maybe you'll take #OACAction in a different way, you can find tons of ideas in the OAC Action Center and keep checking back because we'll add more ideas from time to time.

When I take #OACAction I tweet about it (it's also happening on Facebook & Instagram so if you prefer those you can post with the hashtag there) and add the hashtag. If you search #OACAction on those social media platforms and scroll through you'll see others in our community taking #OACAction reading them inspires me, I hope it will inspire you too!

Your Weight Matters YWM2018

It was a crazy busy month! The highlight by far was the Obesity Action Coalition's (OAC) 7th Annual Your Weight Matters (YWM) National Convention in Denver, Colorado. As most of you know I have the great honor of serving as an OAC National Board Member and currently as Chairperson. This meeting is our BIG annual, awesome, gathering of individuals from across the country (34 states) and the globe (we had 6 countries represented this year!) who have personally struggled with their weight or have an interest in the education offered on health, weight, weight loss, nutrition, fitness, emotional health and wellness, and so much more.

Attending YWM each year is one of the ways I personally keep my health journey energized. Attending feeds my brain with knowledge (real deal, science supported, evidence-based, No BS, knowledge) and more importantly, it feeds my soul. There is something magical, inspiring and motivating when you find yourself surrounded by people who "get it," when you find your tribe, your community. It's powerful and it carries me like a wave from each year to the next. I am healthier for attending in both body and mind.

It's also POWERFUL in a larger community sense...

When you get that many amazing people together you feel empowered knowing there are others who care about the same issues you do and want to take ACTION to make the world a better place for those affected by obesity.

This year the OAC is focused on taking ACTION...

#OACAction is basically anything big or small (some with just a click of the mouse) that moves our organization forward and ALL ACTIONS MAKE A DIFFERENCE. There will be those that feel compelled to visit DC and share their stories in a public way to increase access to obesity care and treatment (awesome!) but for those that aren't ready or wanting to take action in that way, know that your efforts are still soooo needed... from dropping off OAC materials in your local community to sharing OAC social media posts which increases their reach to attending YWM each year and bringing friends and family to calling out weight bias and stigma and responding to our calls to act on issues. There are so many ways to take #OACAction!

Visit the OAC Action Center frequently to learn more ways to take #OACAction (we add new ones often.) Search on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook #OACAction to see what actions your fellow OAC Community members are taking and tag your #OACAction taking on social media so we can all be inspired and motivated by each other's actions...

...until we meet again at YWM2019. SAVE THE DATE and make plans to attend next year’s Convention in Tampa, Florida. August 1-4, 2019! Sign up for e-alerts to keep up with all the Convention 411 at YWMConvention.com

P.S. I have so many photos to go through from Convention I'll make another post with some fun pictures soon.

Cool Product Alert: RealGood Foods Cauliflower Pizza

Nothing beats a pizza and movie night! It was a favorite when I was a kid and it's still a favorite. If you think choosing to get healthier or having bariatric surgery will put an end to that fun tradition, you are mistaken. There are so many better for you pizza options and RealGood Foods (makers of those yummy enchiladas and pizzas with crusts made from chicken and Parmesan cheese, also a great option for Pizza & Movie Night) asked me to share that they are now making another great option: Cauliflower Crust Pizza... and they are delicious!

I know you are seeing a lot of Cauliflower Crust pizzas in the stores lately but be warned not all are created equal! Read those labels because many on the market are made with lots of starchy binders like rice flour, cornstarch, and tapioca flour so they are gluten free but basically as carby as eating a regular pizza. The stats on RealGood Foods Cauliflower Crust Pizzas are a good as I've seen. Made from cauliflower, egg, and cheese they come in at about 9g carbs, 16g. protein per serving, depending on the flavor. For more info on specific nutritional stats of each flavor.

They come in 4 flavors: Cheese, Margherita, Pepperoni, and Vegetable. They are Large, 10” pizzas, and each pie is easily 8 slices. They are available online. They will be headed to stores eventually, I am seeing their enchiladas and chicken crust pizzas in more and more stores but until then you are welcome to use my affiliate code: eggface to score 10% off your online order.

It's been so hot in my neighborhood. It's been hard for me to turn the oven on but these pizzas only bake at 400 for 20-26 minutes (I like crunchy crusts so I went for the full time.) We found a couple of movies that had plenty of snow scenes in them, turned up the portable AC and ate our gooey, cheesy pizza as we watched a double feature of "While You Were Sleeping" and "The Holiday." Pizza and Movie Night needs to happen more often!

Want a chance to win a mixed pack of RealGood Foods Cauliflower Crust Pizzas. Head over to my Instagram and follow the instructions on the Pizza and Movie Night post to enter.

This post is sponsored by RealGood Foods. For the purposes of this post, RealGood Foods provided me with products reviewed. Thanks for the opportunity to share the new product and the yummy pizza. All shared opinions are mine. If I don't love it, it doesn't get shared.

Welcome Summer Healthy Tips & Recipes

Summer is here! Wow, the year is flying by. I thought I'd share a few tips, reminders and recipes to help you have the best and healthiest summer ever. Click thru all the links and pics for recipes and more. While these are especially written for the bariatric surgery reader I think those that are eating low carb, keto, protein forward meals will find some favorites too.

Go Outside - Move your workout into nature, it's way more fun than a smelly gym and there is more to look at. Ride bikes, play tag with your kids, set up badminton or smaller spaces are great for corn hole games or go on a scavenger hunt in the neighborhood, make some protein granola and take a hike or a long romantic (or for the single gals like me, it's me-time) walk, do you have a pool or a neighbor with one... MARCO POLO anyone?!

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Recipes Low Carb Keto Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve RNY VSG WLS

Exercise early in the day, not only is it safer to exercise in the cooler hours of the AM, it will give you a good start for the day. Always wear sunscreen and bring your water with you.

Cool Eats - Visit your local farmers market, try a fruit or veggie you've never tried, ask the seller what he or she likes to do with it, get creative in the kitchen make some fun salads or create your own salad bar or have a tidbit party.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Recipes Low Carb Keto Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve RNY VSG WLS

More Eggface Cool Eats

Summer is also prime bento box picnic weather. Pack lunch or dinner and take it out into nature... watch the sunset, make wishes on stars, find a beach, a lake, a park, your own backyard or balcony. My town has a bunch of free movies and concerts and of course 4th of July fireworks.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Recipes Low Carb Keto Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve RNY VSG WLS

More Eggface Bento Box Lunches

Quick Eats - In the summer I am always looking for ways to cut down the cooking (heating the kitchen up) time or clean-up. These are a few of my favorites that do just that...

Foil Packets Meals
Sheet Pan Dinners
BBQ Dinners

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Recipes Low Carb Keto Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve RNY VSG WLS

If you are eating out (and heading home right away) ask for a box as you order and box up what you aren't eating before you start to use for creating meals the next day. I call this repurposing and it's definitely a time saver the next day.

Or cook big one day and turn the leftovers into easy meals for the rest of the week.

Sweet Treats - Fruit with protein-packed Greek yogurt or ricotta based dips are a favorite. Make Strawberry Cannoli, or my Fluff Stuff or churn a batch of Protein Ice Cream, make Protein Pudding Jars or Frozen "Cheesecake."

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Recipes Sugar Free Low Carb Keto Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve RNY VSG WLS

In the triple-digit heat we often get in my neck of the woods I am especially thankful for an afternoon protein shake made frappe-style in the blender. It's a quick way to cool me down and bonus I get some protein in too. I am careful about adding too many higher calorie items and I account for it in my eating plan for the day. You can save time by making protein shake baggies too.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Recipes Sugar Free Low Carb Keto Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve RNY VSG WLS

Drink Plenty of Water - I have always struggled with this one but I know it's not an option so I keep trying my best each day. Drinking more water would help so many of us (helps umm constipation, clear skin, healthy hair, it's a natural appetite suppressant, etc.) but staying hydrated is especially essential for bariatric surgery post-ops (caution: one of the major reasons for readmittance to the hospital in the first 30 days post-op is dehydration, so in those post-operative release instructions when they say carry your water bottle with you at all times and "sip sip sip" they mean it!)

There are lots of ways to jazz it up and even a few products that will do double duty and give you some added vitamins too.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Recipes Sugar Free Low Carb Keto Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve RNY VSG WLS

I always have plenty of cold water in the fridge and things like berries, cucumbers or citrus fruits on hand to add some pizazz. My latest favorite is unsweetened iced tea with a pump of Sugar-Free Torani in fruity flavors.

More tips for jazzing your H20 up

Make Memories - After cancer and the car theft, my budget won't allow for any great adventures this summer (thankful for the few trips I'm getting to go on via my work or volunteer positions) but I do live in a pretty awesome area of the country and so I've got a few local places to explore and hang out on my list.

Money Saving Tips

Southern California Carlsbad

Do you have a summer bucket list? What’s on it? I’d love to hear about it.
Happy Summer!

Healthy Dinner Idea: Sheet Pan Shrimp and Peppers

This colorful, nutritious, and delicious meal has been a hit at my house. We've had it a couple of times this month. I hope you enjoy it too. And bonus... everything is cooked on the same sheet pan so clean-up is a breeze.

Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Weight Loss Low Carb Bariatric Surgery Recipes

Shelly's Sheet Pan Shrimp and Peppers

2 Bell Peppers, sliced into strips
1/2 Red Onion, sliced into strips
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
a sprinkle of Kosher Salt

1/2 pound (16/20 ct.) Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
1/4 teaspoon Oregano
dash of Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper to taste
1/2 Lemon, sliced
a few sprigs of Dill

Place shrimp in a gallon zipper plastic bag, add olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper and zip shut. Toss to coat and set aside in the fridge while peppers begin cooking. Set oven to 425. On a baking sheet toss sliced peppers (any color is great, I used 1/2 of 4 different colored bell peppers you want 2 peppers total) and onion in olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and cook till golden about 35 minutes, stirring twice during cooking.

Hamilton Beach Countertop Oven Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Weight Loss Low Carb Bariatric Surgery Recipes

Push veggies to one side of the sheet pan. Place 3-4 lemon slices on the tray, add the shrimp that have been marinating in the fridge (discard marinade) and a sprinkle of fresh dill. Place back in the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes more till shrimp are opaque and pink. Remove from the oven, toss veggies and shrimp together and squeeze the juice of the lemon slices over everything. I served over riced cauliflower (frozen steamer bag.)

Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Weight Loss Low Carb Bariatric Surgery Recipes

Time-saving Tip: As this shrimp dinner is cooking put another tray in the oven with the same veggies when dinner is done your extra tray of roasted veggies are done too. To roast veggies: chop into 1-2" pieces, place in an even layer on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little Kosher salt. You can use any combo of veggies (eggplant is another I do often) but try and keep the pieces close in size so they cook evenly.

Meal Prep Gastric Bypass Weight Loss Low Carb Bariatric Surgery Recipes

Roast at 425 (I did it in a countertop oven but a traditional oven is great too) for about 45 minutes, turn veggies with a spatula 2-3 times during cooking.

Meal Prep Gastric Bypass Weight Loss Low Carb Bariatric Surgery Recipes

I love roasted veggies. I make a couple of trays most weekends and then turn them into meals throughout the week, just store them in a glass container in the fridge and then use them during the week to make your breakfast (egg bites aka mini crustless quiche or scrambled egg bowl), lunch (bean salad or tortilla pizza or with cold cut rollups) or dinner (shrimp tacos or casseroles or meatloaf) more exciting. You can even freeze them to add to soups or whiz some in plain Greek yogurt to make an amazing dip for veggies.

More Eggface Dinner Recipes & Ideas

Post Weight Loss Surgery Menus: A day in my pouch

My yesterday in post weight loss surgery eating was a quite the international tour... there was some Chinese, a little Mexican food on the menu. If anyone says eating after bariatric surgery is boring, send 'em over ;)

Breakfast: I made a "beefed up" Cherry Cheesecake Protein Shake and sat outside reading the new issue of Your Weight Matters Magazine. If you haven't received yours yet it should be on its way. It's got a sneak peek at the awesome OAC Community Website that's coming soon, more about how you can take #OACAction and info about this year's Your Weight Matters National Convention in Denver. Hope to see you there! Registration Info P.S. There are a few more days to apply for the limited scholarships the OAC offers and if any of my readers are able to give to the scholarship fund to help bring more people, any dollar amount is awesome.

Obesity Action Coalition Breakfast Smoothies

Shelly's Cherry Cottage Cheesecake Protein Shake

1 cup Vanilla Almond Milk (you can use any milk)
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1/4 cup Cottage Cheese
1 Tablespoon Sugar-Free Black Cherry Torani Syrup
5 or 6 Frozen Pitted Cherries

Whiz in blender till smooth.

This is a great "beefed up" breakfast shake for mornings you just don't feel like cooking/eating because it's packed with protein with the added cottage cheese dollop. Try this, even if you are not a cottage cheese fan. I promise you, it's delicious! You could also do plain Greek yogurt.

More Eggface Favorite Protein Shakes

Lunch: I roasted some of the veggies I picked up at the Farmer's Market this weekend (peppers, zucchini, red onions chopped, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt, 425 for 45 minutes or so, stirring every 15) which I used in these Shrimp and Roasted Veggie Baked Tacos.

Taco Tuesday Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Friendly Recipes

I just sauteed some shrimp in a tiny bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of chili powder. I topped each taco with a plop (very technical cooking term) of guacamole.

How I make the baked taco/tostada shells 

Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery Friendly Gluten Free Taco Tuesday Dinner Recipes

We ate outside. It was a gorgeous day and I spent most of it outside... weeding and trimming stuff so my neighbors don't call one of those "Fix That Yard" type ambush shows on me. Why is it that tomatoes and veggies I have trouble keeping alive but weeds grow like Jack & the Beanstalk tall despite all my efforts to kill them?!

More Eggface Mexican-Inspired Recipes

Dinner: This is one of my favorite dinners: Egg Foo Bites. It's my Mum's too, so it happens at least once a month in some form. I took a quicker way out and used a storebought, frozen cauliflower "rice" mix versus the more lengthy side (my Cauliflower Fried "Rice") I usually make.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Low Carb Meals Cooking

I served them with Trader Joe's Frozen Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry Mix. If you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby Green Giant makes a great bunch of Riced Cauliflower Mixes too (my Target, Walmart carries them) and you could just add ginger, some veggies and a splash of soy sauce to give it the Asian vibe or if you have more time you could make my Cauliflower "Fried Rice." All are delicious lower carb options and I never miss the rice (which has way fewer nutrients and lays heavy for most weight loss surgery post-ops.)

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Low Carb Meals Cooking

Shelly's Egg Foo Young Bites

2 cups Bean Sprouts
6 Mushrooms, chopped
4 Green Onions, diced
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
5 Eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
Olive oil for sauteing

Preheat oven to 350. Saute mushrooms till golden. Add bean sprouts. Cover and cook till bean sprouts go limp about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. When cool, I snip the bean sprouts up a bit with kitchen shears. Helps them fit in the mini muffin tin better. Mix all ingredients together. Spoon into lightly greased (Pam non-stick spray works great for this) mini muffin tins. Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Let them cool a few moments they pull away and pop right out. Makes 24. Optional: Serve with Foo Young Gravy

Shelly's Foo Young Gravy

1 Green Onion, diced
1 cup Chicken Broth
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Corn Starch

Mix cornstarch into 1/4 cup of the broth (can do vegetable broth for a vegetarian version) in a small pitcher and stir till dissolved. Add to remaining ingredients in a saucepan and cook on low, stirring
constantly, till bubbling and thickened. Spoon over Egg Foo Young Bites.

These reheat great the next day too! Yay for leftovers.

More Eggface Bites (aka Mini Crustless Quiches)
More Eggface Asian-Inspired Recipes

Snacks: Coffee, a Cheesestick, and I wanted a little something sweet last night so I made Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Cookie Sandwiches out of the protein bar cookies I make. I put a smear of peanut butter between 2 double chocolate protein bar "cookies." Messy but yum! Each protein bar makes 8 cookies, so 4 sandwich cookies. 1 "cookie sandwich" was the perfect portion and hit the spot. 

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Fitness Workout Low Carb Protein Bar Recipes

Hope you have a great week! 

Cool Product Alert: Real Good Foods Enchiladas Update

I know it's supposed to be Taco Tuesday but this good news I'm sharing is somewhat appropriate since it's about another type of Mexican food: Enchiladas, specifically the Real Good Frozen Enchiladas I love. You know... the protein-packed, low carb ones where the "tortilla" is actually made of chicken and cheese and filled with all sorts of yummy enchilada fillings like shredded chicken, beef, pork or cheese. Check out my review of them back in December.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Low Carb Protein Packed Keto Diet Products

You can still buy the enchiladas online (feel free to use my affiliate coupon code: eggface to score 10% off your Real Good Foods online orders) but the good news I was asked by the company to share is that the enchiladas are now available in more local supermarkets including: Ralph's, Kroger, Fred Meyer, Fry's, Smith's, Harris Teeter, and several others around the country. Look for them in the freezer case near you!

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Low Carb Protein Packed Keto Diet Products

Also, FYI if you are an Ibotta user (Ibotta is a free app that pays you cash back for your purchases) right now you can score $2 cash back on your purchase of Real Good Enchiladas in participating supermarkets (offer ends July 1.)

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Low Carb Protein Packed Keto Diet Products

They are great to take to work and nuke for lunch. They come in a microwavable tray of 2 of the same flavor. For dinner, I love to make 2 different flavors and give each person one of each. I served them that way tonight with another great frozen product Green Giant Riced Veggies (cauliflower, peas, carrots.) I added some sauteed onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, chopped and a 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin to give the riced veggies a little Mexican vibe. The whole dinner was done in less than 15 minutes. Delicious, or should I say delicioso!

This post is sponsored by Real Good Foods. For the purposes of this post Real Good Foods provided me with products reviewed. Thanks for the opportunity to share the good news about the enchiladas. All shared opinions are mine. These are soooo good.

Tips for Reducing Stress

All the chaos and stress in the world can really take a toll. I won't get political (I'll save that for my Twitter account, you've been warned) but my emotional health would be a lot better if I didn't wake up each morning wondering if we've been tweeted into World War III. It's well documented what stress can do to our body and weight loss efforts. So when the world outside is cray-cray these are a few things that help me reduce my stress level. I hope you give a few a try.

1. Meal Plan. John F. Kennedy said, "The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining." When life is calm I take some time (my Sunday afternoon usually) to make a meal plan, I basically just figure out three days in a row or so of balanced, protein forward meals and what I can do with any leftovers. I get out any pans or seasonings I need. I prep anything I can (roast veggies or throw an extra piece of chicken on the grill) basically I try and make it easier for the plan to become reality. So if/when life throws me a curve-ball or if an appointment takes way longer than I thought it would and I get home and I'm stressed and hungry. I don't have the added pressure of trying to figure out what to make and there is no eating based on emotion or "crap grabbing" anything out of desperation. I've got my plan.

More About Meal Planning

2. Take a walk outside. I try to take a walk every day. Study after study shows benefits in walking for mood and creativity. The fresh air and sunshine are natural tonics for me... if I am stressed I put on my sneakers and take off and when I get back the situation or stressor may not have changed but I have a better way of dealing with it.

3. Meditate. I have the most unquiet mind so if I can do it, believe me, anyone can. I set my alarm for 15 minutes early in the morning several times a week specifically to meditate. Sometimes I'll do a guided meditation (they vary from 10-15 minutes), sometimes I just listen to the ocean or rain on leaves (we don't get the real deal much around here) or sometimes I use Mala beads (which sort of reminds me of my Catholic upbringing and my Rosary.) It's not about religion for me... it's just about starting the day peaceful and centered. It's been a great help to me and I truly feel the difference on the days it doesn't happen. Some of my favorite FREE (you can upgrade to add the bells & whistles) Meditation Apps: Calm, Insight Timer.

Stress Relief Relievers

More Apps I love

4. To do lists. This one is a bit of a double-edged sword because it can overwhelm me at times to see a long daunting list but I get a thrill when I make that big line through a task and it helps me focus on what really needs to happen. Technically, I have 2 to-do lists. One list I make each night has my 2-3 priorities for the following day and then I have a master to-do list of stuff that needs to happen at some point, I try and group them into big stuff and little stuff, so if I find a few extra minutes in the day I look at my little stuff and knock one off... and if something doesn't happen well... that's life, tomorrow is another day, no guilt or shame about it, that only saps energy from the new day.

5. Music. Turning on the tunes is the easiest way to change my mood. I have a Spotify account and I make fun lists, songs to chill out to, motivation songs, dance songs (3-4 songs = 10 min workout), 80's, songs when it rains... you name it, I've made a song list for it.

6. Clear out the clutter. I have a cardboard box in the corner of my garage and when I find something that I don't want or need any longer, doesn't feel right, looked better on the mannequin... I put it in the box, when the box is full it gets put in the trunk and dropped off at the thrift (or donation box) and a new box is put in the corner. Letting go of things frees up space (literally and in your mind) to focus on what brings you joy.

7. Do something for someone else. The quickest way for me to reduce my stress level is to help someone else. Volunteering is great but you don't even have to leave home to do it. I hit a message board and answer a new weight loss surgery post-ops question or someone thinking about bariatric surgery but unsure about what life is like after. It helps me get out of my own world for a few minutes.

Other Favorites Acts of Kindness

and finally back to food...

8. Eat outside. I love to bring lunch (bento boxes are great) or take dinner outside. We call them "Tidbit Parties" or "Patio Picnics," yummy protein-packed tidbits brought outside on the patio and lots of laughter is a great way to soothe the soul.

I love the messages on my spreaders... wishing everyone around the world plenty of both!

Oodles of Bento Box Lunch Ideas
Money Saving Tips

I'd love to hear ways you've found to reduce stress.

Baked Cauli-Tots (aka Cauliflower Croquette) Recipe

I've seen cauliflower tots in the supermarket and some recipes online and most of them have been a little carbier than I liked and didn't offer much in the way of protein. I was in the mood to experiment the other day and we really enjoyed what I came up with. It was definitely blog-worthy and will be added to my menu in the future. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Bariatric Surgery Low Carb Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Cooking Recipes Menus Blog

Shelly's Baked Cauli-Tots (aka Cauliflower Croquettes) 

2 cups of Fresh Cauliflower, crumbled/riced
2 Tablespoons Garlic and Herb Cream Cheese (like Boursin)
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese, drained
1/4 cup Spelt or Chickpea Flour
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
a few twists of Black Pepper
Bagel Spice/Everything Bagel Seasoning for sprinkling

A few hours before you want to make the tots (or better yet the night before) place the ricotta cheese in a mesh sieve over a bowl (make sure it doesn't touch the bottom) and place back in the fridge. Discard the liquid that drains. Saute cauliflower in a non-stick pan about 8-10 minutes till golden, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 425, line a baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray and set aside. Add the remaining ingredients including the drained ricotta cheese to the cooled cauliflower (except the Bagel Seasoning.) Stir everything together until well combined and you have a thick dough. Form the dough into about 16, 3" cylindrical tots, I like double tot length, for more traditional tot size you'll get 32. Sprinkle with Bagel Seasoning.

Bariatric Surgery Low Carb Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Cooking Recipes Menus Blog

Place on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip, spray the tops of the Cauli-Tots lightly with non-stick spray and bake 15 more minutes or until golden brown.

Bariatric Surgery Low Carb Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Cooking Recipes Menus Blog

Bariatric Surgery Low Carb Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Cooking Recipes Menus Blog

Cook's Note: I used fresh, bagged, pre-riced cauliflower. You could always pulse fresh florets in a food processor till rice consistency too. I wouldn't suggest frozen for this recipe it's a little too soft a consistency.

I served the Cauli-Tots with a duo of dips: warmed Tomato Sauce (jarred Rao's Tomato Basil) and cool Homemade Greek Yogurt "Ranch" Dip.

Homemade Greek Yogurt "Ranch" Dip

1/2 cup Greek Yogurt, plain
1 teaspoon Dry Buttermilk Powder
1/2 teaspoon Dried Parsley
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Dried Chives
a few twists of Black Pepper
Salt to taste

Mix till well combined. You can find Dry Buttermilk Powder near regular powdered milk (though it's not the same) or online. This is basically that supermarket ranch packet mix without all the names you can't pronounce. If you want to turn it into dressing for salad just thin it with milk, water, or a light vinegar.

These Baked Cauli-Tots (aka Cauliflower Croquettes) would be perfect served with a salad. Great for Meatless Monday or if you have vegetarian pals coming over for lunch or dinner. They reheat in the microwave (losing some crispness but still yummy.)

Other Eggface Favorite Cauliflower Recipes


Protein Packed Snack: Deviled Eggs

Here's what you can do with all those extra hardboiled eggs you will have next week. Make Deviled Eggs! 12 eggs ($1.50 or so, even cheaper around Easter) so it's a fairly inexpensive protein source. A single large egg packs 6 grams of protein and only 78 calories.

Here are a few of my favorite deviled egg recipes from the blog...

Low Carb Protein Bariatric Surgery Fitness Weight Loss Cooking Menus

Shelly's Hummus Za'atar Deviled Eggs, Shelly's Wasabi Deviled Eggs, Shelly's Football Eggs, Shelly's Sausage & Peppers Deviled Eggs, Shelly's Pizza Deviled Eggs, Shelly's Smoked Almond, Bacon & Cheddar Deviled EggsShelly's Deviled Chickpea Eggs, Shelly's Smoked Salmon Everything Bagel Deviled EggsShelly's Bacon Cheeseburger Deviled Eggs.

More Eggciting Recipes

Add a few nuts, some veggies with Greek yogurt dip, a cold cut roll up, some shrimp, a sweet treat and you have the perfect post weight loss surgery lunch. There are so many variations, lunch will never be boring...

Low Carb Protein Bariatric Surgery Fitness Weight Loss Cooking Menus

For more of my bento box creations check out these posts...

Take It Outside Beto Box Lunches
Bento Box Lunches
Oodles of Bento Box Lunches
My Pinterest Bento Box Page

Friday Five

A round-up of tidbits, tips, products, ideas, news articles, random cool things from the weight, health, nutrition, food, fitness, weight loss surgery world...

1. I am loving the new Sugar Free Pineapple Torani Syrup flavor. This flavor will be in my pantry on a permanent basis. It is soooo good. It may have been cloudy today in Southern California but my Protein Shake had me feeling like I was on a tropical island... just missing the cabana boy ;)

Shelly's Tropical Sunrise Protein Shake

8 oz. Milk (any)
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (I used Celebrate Vitamins Vanilla Cake Batter ENS)
1 Tablespoon Sugar-Free Torani Pineapple Syrup
1 teaspoon Sugar-Free Torani Coconut Syrup
a hunk of frozen Banana
a few ice cubes

Blend on high.

More Eggface Protein Shake Recipes

I'll be doing some more experimenting with this flavor this weekend. I'll keep you posted on what I come up with.

2. Speaking of Celebrate Vitamins (a blog sponsor) If you are looking for a new Calcium be sure to check out the yummy flavors of soft chews (think Starburst) Celebrate makes now: Watermelon, Cherry, Strawberry-Banana, Café Mocha, Chocolate, Caramel, Orange, and Blackberry.

I've tried them all now (except Blackberry so someone let me know how that one is.) They have all been delicious so far and have 500 mg calcium citrate and 500 IU of vitamin D3 in each chew. FYI They offer a sample pack which includes a bunch of their products including their calcium soft chews so you can find your favorites because not taking vitamins post-Bariatric Surgery is not an option.

You can also try products from great companies like Celebrate Vitamins by attending events like the Your Weight Matters National Convention. Be sure to leave room in your luggage for all the freebies from the exhibit hall you'll bring home.

3. The Registration and Discounted room block for #YWM2018 The Your Weight Matters National Convention is NOW OPEN. This year it's being held in Denver, Colorado July 19th-22nd. I got a chance to tour the hotel and the city in January and it's awesome, we are going to have a great time.

The educational agenda is always top-notch and you will meet a ton of supportive pals, including me! Oh, and a bonus everyone who registers through midnight EST this Monday, March 12, will automatically be entered to win a FREE, 3-night stay at the Convention’s host hotel. Be sure to follow the Convention Facebook Page during the week of March 12 to see if you are the lucky winner! I hope to see you all there in July!

4. Ever wanted to pay it forward and do something to help others affected by obesity? I've got an easy suggestion for you. Take #OACAction

Head over to Twitter or Instagram or Facebook and type: #OACAction in the search box the Obesity Action Coalition will be adding easy ways you can help in your own communities, some even without leaving your house. Here are a few examples...

Spreading the Word
Sharing Your Story
Fighting Bias
Advocating for Access to Care

Keep checking the hashtag #OACAction and please jump in and take an #OACAction whenever you can. Remember when you share it, tag it #OACAction and we'll all be able to be inspired by each other! Got a suggestion for an #OACAction feel free to email me and I'll pass it along.

5. Are you following my Instagram Page? Be sure to follow it because you never know when a giveaway will pop-up. I'm excited about some coming up soon!

Post Weight Loss Surgery Menus: A day in my pouch and Cancer Update

A day in my pouch is a series of blog posts to show what a typical daily menu looks like in my post weight loss surgery world. Today's protein packed delicious menu...

Breakfast: Chilly AM but I felt up to a walk and I took my breakfast with me. I love these Cottage Cheese Doubles (Knudsen/Breakstone) they have a little section of fruit goo, the goo has some sugars, so if you are super sensitive add in moderation. I get the Pineapple ones, lowest sugars of all their flavors and I have no issues with it. I took a little baggie of Protein Granola that I sprinkled in. I like the crunch.

Healthy Breakfasts Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Menus

I make a lot of different flavors of Protein Granola (Spiced Chai, Chocolate, Espresso) but this time I made it with Double Stuffed Cookie (aka Oreo) Protein and tossed a few pieces of freeze dried Banana into it after it cooled. Yum!

Shelly's Protein Granola

1/4 cup Oatmeal, dry
1/4 cup Double Stuffed Cookie Protein Powder (any whey or whey isolate protein powder works great)
1/4 cup chopped Nuts (any, I used Pecans & Almonds)
1 Tablespoon Almond Butter
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Sugar-Free Vanilla Torani Syrup

Squeeze together with your hands till clumps form. You need to use your hands for this one. Place on a Pam sprayed, foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Healthy Breakfasts Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Menus

Let it cool. It crisps as it cools. Crumble into smaller bite-sized pieces. When completely cool, store in an airtight container. This a great snack on a hike or topping for protein ice cream, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, protein pudding or yogurt.

Healthy Breakfasts Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Menus

More Eggface High Protein Breakfast Recipes and Ideas

For those following along... I had my Post Thyroid Cancer Surgery Check-up and the Pathology Report was great. Looks like my surgeon got it all. It was a single tumor (stage 1) encased in the center of my right thyroid and no other area was affected. Obviously I have to keep checking the area with periodic ultrasounds but for now, I am all clear. Feeling blessed. Next step is an appointment with an Endocrinologist who will be looking at blood tests (TSH, T3, T4, Calcitonin) to determine if my left thyroid is kicking in and picking up the slack. Fingers crossed, it'll mean little to no medication. I'm still a little more tired than I should be and I have had a few too many headaches lately though that could be from the stress of all the "patient responsibility" portion of the medical bills that are rolling in... oh and suddenly having a car payment again thanks to the Christmas Eve car scrooges. If any of my blog pals win the Powerball this weekend and have an extra $5000 they can spare you'll have a pal for life... I should probably play... I mean there's a 5% chance of a thyroid nodule turning out to be thyroid cancer and mine was. I figure I will either win the lottery next or umm get hit by lightning. LOL, maybe you shouldn't stand too close to me in a rainstorm that's all I'm saying ;)

Catch-up on my Thyroid Cancer journey: Part 1: Diagnosis, Part 2: Treatment Plan, Part 3: Surgery/Recovery

OK Back to the food...

Lunch: If you are jonesing for a Grilled Cheese Sandwich you should try this. I make a batch of Savory Ricotta Pancakes and use them like the "bread" by sprinkling a little cheese in the middle and warming them in a nonstick pan till the cheese is melted and gooey. Soooo good.

Healthy Recipes Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Menus

Shelly's Savory Ricotta Pancakes

1 Egg, beaten
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
3 Tablespoons Multigrain Pancake Mix
1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Chives
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1 Green Onion, diced fine
dash of Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper

Mix pancake ingredients together. Spray non-stick pan with Pam. Cook on low till bubbles appear, flip. Cook till done. Makes 8 pancakes (about the size of the container those BreathSavers 3 Hour Mints that I love, about 3"-ish across.) These pancakes can be made ahead and reheated.

Healthy Lunches Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Menus

For the Grilled Cheese "Sandwiches" Pancakes: You'll need a little sprinkle or 1/4 of a slice of some good melting cheese... I use Colby, Jack, or Muenster cheese mostly.

Cook's Note: I used whole milk ricotta if you use part skim. Drain through a mesh sieve lined with a coffee filter for several hours or overnight in the fridge. Avoid ricotta that says "creamier formula" you want regular ricotta.

More Eggface Pancakes Savory and Sweet

Dinner: I made Mini Meatloaves for dinner the other night so dinner was already done basically. I have found the trick to eating leftovers as a post-op is to keep things from drying out. I love this gadget for that. You put a couple of tablespoons of water in the base and it steam heats the food. One of the best post-op gadgets in my kitchen.

Healthy Dinners Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Menus

Shelly's Greek Mini Meatloaf

1 1/4 pounds Ground Beef (or Turkey)
1/4 cup Oatmeal, dry
1/4 cup Milk
1 Egg, beaten
1 Yellow Onion, diced
1/4 cup Sliced Black Olives
1/3 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon Oregano
a few twists of Black Pepper

Soak oatmeal in milk for 1 minute (you can use almond meal or bread crumbs if you do bread) Beat egg. Add egg and soaked oats to ground meat. Saute onions until slightly golden. Set aside to cool. Combine cooled onions and all remaining ingredients together. Divide into 8 equal mounds. Form into mini meatloaves or if you have this super groovy pan like me use it. Bake for 45 minutes in a 350-degree oven. These freeze well either cooked or uncooked.

Healthy Dinners Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Menus

I served them originally with a salad and the leftovers I served with cooked chickpea sprinkled with a little Zaatar seasoning.

More Eggface Bariatric Friendly Dinner Recipes

Snacks: Coffee, Tea (so sad Trader Joe's discontinued my favorite Rooibos & Honeybush so I'm savoring the last few bags) and I made a protein shake when I got back from my walk: Celebrate Vitamins Wildberry Protein 20 single serve packet, Almond Milk, Ice.

Healthy Recipes Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Menus

More Eggface Favorite Protein Shake Recipes
More Eggface Post Weight Loss Surgery Menus

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Check your thyroid.