Hello, chickabo. Please know that I come from a place of wanting to help provide you some information and share my experience. I'm not saying I'm right or wrong, this is just my experience over the past 8 weeks. And I know when I was pre surgery I wanted as much information as I could get to help me.
Before I go into my story below, I found a doctor online, Dr. Garth Davis, (http://www.thedavisclinic.com), who is a Bariatric surgeon in Texas -he is a 'plant based' doctor. I found this guy after I had my surgery, but he seems to be a good resource and one that I wish I would have found pre-surgery. You may find his information helpful or at least contact his office to get information sent to you so that you have some to help you with your doctor.
Here is my story, if you want to read further:
I was a vegan for several years pre-surgery. So was my family (husband and two sons). We did it for the animal issue, not the health issue. Trust me when I say I have seen more than most people on animal cruelty and food and I battle mentally with it everyday.
When I first started looking into the Lap-band, I didn't find anything on vegan and Lap-band. All I kept seeing was 'Protein, protein, protein' and more 'protein.' But I knew, as a vegan, that I could get enough protein to hit 60 grams or more a day per what my doctor was telling me I had to have. I had done it for years and didn't see the issue.
(When I say protein here is what I mean: There are only a few "complete proteins" (a protein that contains all the 8 essential amino acids that your body is unable to make on its own) for vegans and they are soy milk, tofu, and tempeh (these are the only true "complete proteins" for vegans). All other Proteins that you get from plants are called "incomplete proteins" like grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts. Now as vegan, you can take two "incomplete proteins" and combine them to can get a "complete protein." Example: grains + legumes or legumes + seeds/nuts.)
So the issue wasn't getting "protein" per say. The issue that I saw right away was getting the enough of the right "protein" (complete proteins) which lead me to where I would have the biggest issue being vegan-- the volume of food that I would need to eat to get a minimum of 60 grams of protein a day.
You see, when I was vegan (pre band), I could eat a large tofu "egg" wrap with a cup of broccoli and vegan cheese inside for Breakfast. This would give me ~14 grams of protein for ~350 calories or so (including a low carb wrap). However, when I look at the numbers in more detail with my post-band rules, this just doesn't give me the right amount of protein for the calories (10/1 - for every 10 calories in the food it should have at least 1 gram of protein). So, even thought it would give me "complete protein" for the meal, it wasn't the 10/1 rule. But more importantly, that is a HUGE amount of food to be eating after Lap-Band surgery. There is no way I could eat that much in one sitting. I might be able to make two meals of it now. That means for two meals I would only be getting ~14 grams of protein.
So, having said that, I could (and do on occasion) supplement with Protein drinks (Sun Warrior Original Flavor chocolate or vanilla is the absolute best tasting and it has a 80 calories / 4 carbs / 15 grams of protein - which is great), but I quickly learned after I moved to soft solid foods (after the liquid diet pre and post surgery) that I wanted to eat food - I was SICK of drinking my calories. So protein drinks can fill in the gaps for getting more protein, but I found that I wanted to eat my calories instead of drinking them. So this wouldn't be an option for me longterm.
So, what's an animal loving vegan who really wants / needs a Lap-band to do? As I was doing research, I ran across an article that talked about a devout vegan (animal lover) who was vegan for years and all of a sudden started craving animal protein. Long article short, she took a bite of something that had animal protein in it and as she said, "guess what, the world didn't end!" That was my moment. I thought, I have spent years battling my weight and part of that was doing everything that was 'best' for everyone else and it was time that I took care of me. So that is when I made the switch to vegetarian. I had huge amount of guilt (that I still carry around) but I knew I needed to at least try it versus continue down my road of being obese and miserable.
You see, WLS patients aren't choosing the easy way out, contrary to what you might think, read, see, or hear. We chose surgery where we are cut open and surgically altered - that is not easy. We chose to eat very minimal amounts of food when others around us are eating pounds of it - that is not easy. We chose to exercise at least 210 minutes a week - that is not easy. We chose to have to chew every little bite we take 20-30 times - that is not easy. We have to take Vitamins that are horrible every single day - that is not easy. So to me, making a few food changes to my diet didn't seem that hard compared to all the other "not easy" stuff I was agreeing to do.
So, after my pre-op and post-op diet of all liquids (which I had for 3 weeks), when I made the move to soft proteins I incorporated some yogurt (which I still can't stand) and then I incorporated some string cheese and some egg whites (not eggs). I did this very slowly. I then progressed to eating salmon, tuna, and shrimp. I still use all my vegan condiments (vegan mayo, cream cheese, sour cream, etc.) but I chose to add in easier proteins to my day. I'm not going to tell you how great I feel or how I'm losing weight by the lbs daily, but I'm just going to tell you that it is working for me right now, today and that's all I have. Opening my mind and putting more focus on me is working for me, today. And everyday is another day to do it better. I have tried to get away from "I did bad today," to "I will try to do better tomorrow" and that has helped to.
I hope some of this has helped you a little bit. It's okay if it didn't. I just want you to know that whatever you choose to do, do it for you. This is YOUR time and no one or no thing can take it away from you.
Sending you all the best and well wishes. Keep us posted on here!