Can you be vegetarian after weight loss surgery?
If you are considering bariatric surgery, you probably have a lot of questions. A common question that gets asked by potential patients is whether or not it is safe to be vegetarian after surgery. We all know how different our lives are after weight loss surgery. There are so many things you have to be aware of and one of the most important things to remember is how important protein is after surgery. So, if protein is the number one food you need to make sure you are consuming, can you still get enough if you are vegetarian after bariatric surgery?
There are a lot of misconceptions out there that the only way to get protein is through meat. That is just not the truth. There are so many creative ways to get protein, especially these days with all of the bariatric products that are available. As a bariatric patient, your goal should be to consume 80-100 grams of protein a day. I remember when I first heard that amount, I thought it would be impossible. However, with the right education and products, you should be just fine. Some ways to hit your goal would be by incorporating milk, eggs, cheese, peanut butter, nuts, beans, chia seeds, and Greek yogurt into your diet. These foods are all rich in protein so you do not have to worry about eating meat to achieve your goal for the day.
If you had a vegetarian lifestyle before surgery and would like to continue it afterwards, I think it is completely acceptable as long as your surgeon gives you the clear. It might add another complexity to your situation, but it is not impossible. There will need to be some careful planning to ensure you are eating enough protein, but if you are determined to be successful on this journey, you will make it work. Since we can only eat a small amount at a time, I have found that some of the best ways to get protein are through liquid drinks. Bariatric Food Source has an amazing Fruit Drink that reminds me a lot of Crystal Light. It is so refreshing and it does not make you feel super full after drinking it. I highly recommend that you check it out because it is low in sugar and loaded with protein! There are also some yummy foods with protein on their website that have really helped me hit my goals for the day. I try my best to drink a protein shake every day and keep protein bars on me at all times. In addition to that, you can find pretzels and other snacks that are bariatric friendly and great options for people who are looking to add more protein into their diet.
Being vegetarian after weight loss surgery is something that works for many people. If you are vegetarian and considering surgery, talk to your doctor to see how they feel about it. It will be critical that you stay on top of your vitamins, just like any other patient. This is a huge lifestyle change so make sure you have the support you need for this journey. Vegetarians can definitely be successful on this journey as long as you focus on the right foods and try to avoid carbohydrates as much as possible. Stay focused and you will be on the right path towards a healthier you.
- Kimberly H.