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Going Vegan... Is It Possible?



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I'd prefer answers from practicing post-op vegans or medical professionals and not conjecture and guesses, please.

I am 17 years Post-Op and my family and I have started exploring moving to plant-based eating for overall health benefits. The question is: Can a DS patient successfully transition to plant-based eating or am I setting myself up for a lifetime of diarrhea, stomach issues, etc.?

If I can go plant-based, what foods should I focus on/avoid?

Thanks in advance.

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I do, I just want answers from people with experience not opinions.

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Seriously? Are you going to buy your entire lifetime supply of vegetables in advance ?

Just try it for a while. Your body will tell you what it thinks.

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23 minutes ago, KennyM said:

I do, I just want answers from people with experience not opinions.

This. Is. All. We. Have 😅

I'm joking of course. I hope you find the answers you need.

I was vegetarian for 10yrs and vegan for 1 yr prior to WLS. I thought I would be able to easily slip back in but could not during the losing phase because it was time consuming to pair the Protein sources properly.

Years out it may be much easier however you may see some gains if you reintroduce higher carb items you gave up for a while. But the trade off is presumed optimized health (you'll have to test it out and see for yourself. Be flexible with your expectation as a DS person)

My tips:

+Pre packaged vegan cuisine is very expensive and essentially the junk food you want to rarely eat. Use as meal starters (like vegan sausage etc)

+Avoid as much soy as you can as a male so you don't introduce high levels of plant estrogen hormones. If you must eat verified organic

+Pair those Proteins properly - can not say that enough.

+Make as much as you can from scratch, meal prep especially stews and Soups

+Do not become a rastapastaterian 😅

+Learn to love lentils, legumes, chia, mushrooms and leafy greens

What works mostly for me now is flexitarian (occasional animal protein) or ovo lacto pescaterian (my favorite version very easy to sustain) lifestyle. In the end veganism was unsustainable for me especially the restrictions about honey (I used it in skincare & first aid 😔)

Edited by GreenTealael

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You see @Fatboyslim1 this response was exactly what I am trying to avoid. I am not buying a lifetime supply, I am asking a real question, one that I am hoping to get some solid guidance on. Of course I am going to try it, but I am seeking guidance and depth from people who have gone vegan or professionals in the bariatric space.

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Thanks @GreenTealael for that answer. I know that Beans KILL me, so I do avoid them. I have been playing with recipes and trying to figure it out. Transitioning from a meatetarian to a, herbivore after 52 years is a big shift.

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5 minutes ago, KennyM said:

Thanks @GreenTealael for that answer. I know that Beans KILL me, so I do avoid them. I have been playing with recipes and trying to figure it out. Transitioning from a meatetarian to a, herbivore after 52 years is a big shift.

Beans are a big part of a whole food styled vegan diet, you may also want to reach out to a bariatric nutritionist ito see what advice they can offer

Edited by GreenTealael

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I don't have a DS I have a bypass. I'm a vegetarian, NOT a vegan (I use dairy and eggs). So far nothing has bothered me. You probably are already taking B12 supplements, Multivitamins and Calcium? Getting enough Protein might be a challenge for you, especially if you won't use whey isolate. I eat tofu, Beans, lentils, eggs, cheese and Peanut Butter for my protein source.

My dietician knows about my food choices and says it can be easily done for a vegetarian. Hopes this helps some.

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@KennyM

17 years out. You have done fantastic.

Yes, vegan can be done. Link to the vegetarian/vegan bariatric thread on this site below. It may help to read the past posts. They can answer questions from experience.

Vegetarian/vegan 101:

https://www.bariatricpal.com/forum/1101-vegetarian-or-vegan-eating/

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44 minutes ago, Healthy_life2 said:

Thanks for this! I appreciate you.

@KennyM

17 years out. You have done fantastic.

Yes, vegan can be done. Link to the vegetarian/vegan bariatric thread on this site below. It may help to read the past posts. They can answer questions from experience.

Vegetarian/vegan 101:

https://www.bariatricpal.com/forum/1101-vegetarian-or-vegan-eating/

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Is there any reason behind the change of diet..

I feel it's like everyone these days thinks it's so trendy to be vegan but I know I could not live without meat.

Civilization was built on hunting and gathering from cavemen days...

But I say have a go try it out see how you feel on the new diet.

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I made the switch about 6 months ago and I feel great. My Protein, Calcium, and Iron levels are fine, as are all my Vitamins .... except that pesky Vitamin D. The best part is that my cholesterol dropped 70 points! I am now at 153 - the lowest ever for cholesterol for me. My HDL, LDL, and triglycerides are phenomenal. Even losing all my weight did not alter those numbers much, but giving up the animal based foods sure did.

I have lots of energy, recover quickly after workouts, and NEVER get sore anymore, even from very strenuous activities. Inflammatory markers are down, and I really do feel great. I can eat as much as I want and do not have any problem maintaining my weight.

I have now decided that I will have a very limited amount of animal products once a week - some egg or chicken from my own homegrown flock. I know where the food came from, what it was fed, and how it was treated. This gives me a little more flexibility with the family Sunday meal or going out.

I love the whole food plant based way of eating. I focus on incorporating as many superfoods into my daily meal plan as possible. There is no junk. I know it is healthy and right for me, and it has been a great adventure exploring new foods and recipes.

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Posted (edited)

I was WFPB for years before being sleeved, am still WFPB, and will remain WFPB for the rest of my life. For me, a WFPB diet has been as instrumental in improving my health and well-being as having WLS: before going plant-based, I had extremely high CRP, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, was pre-diabetic, had severe IBS and allergies, was exhausted all the time and had zero energy, and was depressed. Within a few months of going plant-based every single one of these health issues reversed, I got off statins, I lost weight, my sleep improved, and I felt fantastic and had more energy than I had in years. Since being sleeved, my labs are perfect, I have enjoyed an astonishing rate of weight loss, have even *more* energy than before, and continue to enjoy even lower CRP, cholesterol, triglyceride, and glucose levels.

It's highly unusual for WFPB eaters to experience GI issues after transitioning. Fibre is present in all unprocessed plant foods in high amounts. Fibre what makes up the structure of the plant, and the more of it you eat, the more you access all of its benefits. While you may have more gas than usual during the first few weeks if you don’t prepare your Beans properly (by pre-soaking, rinsing well before cooking, and either pressure-cooking or boiling with added kombu until fully cooked to break down the sugars that cause flatulence), eating a plant-based diet improves the health of your gut so you are better able to absorb the nutrients from food that support your immune system and reduce inflammation. The increased fibre lowers cholesterol and stabilizes blood sugar, and it’s the best medicine for optimal bowel management. In fact, many people who had IBS prior to going plant-based find that they no longer have IBS, myself included.

You could go cold turkey, or start out by eliminating meats while cutting back on dairy. There are no specific foods to either focus on or avoid, other than incorporating more of the flavours and textures you like most into your diet each day. In addition to plenty of fresh fruits and veggies each day, incorporate a wide variety of beans, lentils, legumes, pulses, seeds, and nuts, as well as seitan, tofu, tempeh, nutritional yeast, whole grains and sprouted whole grains (buckwheat, teff, amaranth, quinoa, farro, spelt, etc.), wild rice, hemp hearts, chia seeds, spirulina, nut butters and nut milks (homemade when possible), spices, herbs and other natural flavourings, minimal added oils, green smoothies, etc. Supplement with faux meats once in awhile for variety and pleasure, always checking the ingredient list and trying to consume the least highly processed varieties (i.e. soy curls). You do NOT have to worry that you won't get enough Protein or enough of the "right" kinds of it: protein "combining" was never medically or scientifically legitimate and was discredited almost as soon as it first appeared over 50 years ago (for a very brief overview see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein_combining).

In my opinion, WFPB eating really is the anti-diet: you can eat a lot of delicious food, never feel hungry, never gain weight, and enjoy remarkable physical and mental health benefits. More important than opinion and personal experience, however, is evidence-based nutrition. A few good places to start learning include:

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: https://www.pcrm.org/news/exam-room-podcast/vegan-after-weight-loss-surgery and 21 Day Vegan Kickstart https://kickstart.pcrm.org/en

Dr. Garth Davis (bariatric surgeon): http://proteinaholic.com/lifestyle-first-and-always/ and http://proteinaholic.com/

Dr. Matthew Weiner(bariatric surgeon): https://www.youtube.com/user/DrMatthewWeiner and https://www.poundofcureweightloss.com/

Plant Trainers: https://www.planttrainers.com/eating-plant-based-after-weight-loss-surgery-ptp082/

And:

If you’re neither a reader nor inclined toward research, it would definitely be worthwhile to invest in an online visit or three with a WFPB bariatric nutritionist to fine-tune your new diet to meet your individual health needs and taste preferences. Another option, though not inexpensive, is the online plant-based nutrition course from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies at Cornell. It's a superb resource for anyone, especially those new to a WFPB lifestyle.

Edited by PollyEster

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I agree, PollyEster, that the two most life changing decisions I have made are 1) bariatric surgery and 2) going WFPB. My life is 180 degrees from where it was before. I am so much healthier. Going WFPB changed all my labs, even more dramatically that the weight loss surgery. Even after reaching goal weight with a loss of over a hundred pounds, my total cholesterol was still 235. A few months with WFPB, it dropped to 152! I feel so much better and have so much more energy and mental clarity, that I do not miss animal based foods at all. My family is also starting to eat more plant based meals - simply because they feel good after ward and can eat a lot of volume without a lot of calories. An added bonus is that when I think of meal shortages in the stores now, it doesn't phase us one bit. We know we can eat good, nutritionally sound meals indefinitely with no distress or worry about where our next meal will come from. :)

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