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Monday, January 20, 2014

Q&A: 5 Day Pouch Test for Vegetarians

Individual Meal Plans:
Picky eaters, Vegetarians, Vegans

I don't eat many of the foods on the 5DPT plan, can you customize a 5DPT for my requirements?   

I truly appreciate that people have unique dietary needs based on personal likes and dislikes, health requirements, religious reasons, and ethical reasons. In my work with WLS over the last several years my eyes have been opened to all manner of dietary peculiarities which is both fascinating and frustrating. I receive numerous requests from people asking me to custom-tailor a 5 Day Pouch Test plan to satisfy their specific dietary needs. Here are a few examples I've received:

"For ethical reasons, I could never eat chicken or meat. And I never eat anything with fur or eyelashes. Tofu and beans are out to so can you give me a high protein diet plan for 5DPT?"

"I am vegetarian. I will eat dairy and eggs but no meat of any kind (including fish, chicken or any other dead animal people think they can eat and still be a vegetarian)."
"I only like dark meat chicken."
"I detest canned tuna and salmon. Real salmon is fair and I've never tried tuna steaks."
"I have never been a lover of soups. Can you write me a different plan for the 5DPT?"
"After the liquid days 1 and 2 I'd like to follow a Vegan 5 Day Pouch Test, can you give me the meal plan?"
"I don't eat meat based jello or bouillon and eggs very rarely. Milk, cottage cheese and fish are Okay for me. What would my menu plan be for the 5 Day Pouch Test?"
"Brown food grosses me out. Do you have a plan without brown food?" (yeah, I don't get this one either!)

In the early days of the 5 Day Pouch Test I did try to create meal plans for different dietary requests. However, this involved me making a plan, testing it for the 5 Days with all of the recipes, making changes to improve results and testing it again before sending it  to the person requesting it. Because I will not provide a 5DPT plan that I have not personally tested this became an unmanageable challenge for me. Not only was creating individual plans time consuming and costly, invariably I would never hear back from the person or when I did there would be more dietary dislikes they forgot to mention and more times than I care to count I received the reply, "so these recipes will not work for me." With a one sentence email response they tossed in the trash an effort that was hugely inconvenient for me to accomplish and a total waste of my time. Can you imagine how disheartening this felt?

Over time I've accepted that people with self-defined dietary needs must take responsibility for making their own meal plan. This may include the help of a nutritionist and research via the Internet, cookbooks, nutritional references and even our LivingAfterWLS Publications. Once a person self-defines dietary peculiarities they must accept that general dietary plans are inadequate. It is up to them to deliberately develop a menu plan that  works to meet and sustain their health, weight, and nutritional goals.

What the 5 Day Pouch Test can do for picky eaters, vegetarians, vegans, and all other self-defined categories, is refresh them on the basic behaviors that make WLS work. That means following the Four Rules, observing the liquid restrictions, avoiding slider foods, and respecting the gastric pouch. Just like any person who undergoes WLS it all comes back to personal responsibility. That means vegetarians need to study vegetarian publications to learn the best source for non-animal protein. 

My advice to all:
Take the basic tenets of weight loss surgery, curate knowledge that supports your chosen dietary path, collaborate with others sharing your dietary circumstances, apply personal experience, and build a dietary health-management way-of-life that enables you to thrive. This is the responsibility of every person who desires to live a healthy balanced well-managed life with WLS.

With that said, the 5 Day Pouch Test does offer a few tried-and-tested vegetarian recipes and those are indicated on both the website and in the 5 Day Pouch Test Owner's Manual. These recipes follow the traditional definition of vegetarian and recipes are free of  flesh foods but may contain dairy products and eggs.

For more details on 5DPT and Vegetarian living see pages 76-78 of your 5 Day Pouch Test Owner's Manual, 2nd Edition.

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