LAWLS Bookstore

Monday, December 04, 2006

Webisodes: Knowledge for Success

Note from Kaye

One of our goals at LivingAfterWLS is to provide
current, on-going useful information that enables
our subscribers and community members to embrace
their weight loss surgery and succeed beyond the
statistics. We want you to go further and achieve
more than you have ever imagined.
As part of
this effort I am pleased to introduce you to four
new webisodes from our sponsor, Healthology. These
are brief informational videos narrated by Faith
Daniels. They all address life after obesity
surgery. I learned from watching them, and I know
you will too. Take a moment to watch: knowledge is

Plateaus After WLS and How to Get Beyond Them

Over The Counter Medications - What You Need to Know

Relationship Rescue After Weight Loss

Making Exercise a Part of Your Life

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

LAWLS Neighborhood Cookbook

Order today and save $2 off the Cover Price!

At long last the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood Cookbook is here! It is beautiful. This is the first ever weight loss surgery cookbook written by the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood. 300+ recipes created by real life home cooks who are living well with their weight loss surgery. Focus is on the high-protein, low-fat, low-carb diet while paying attention to flavor and fresh, nutritious ingredients. Recipes are uncomplicated and accessible while respecting the needs and lives of busy weight loss surgery patients.

300+ recipes, tips, hints and ideas for feeding your body well after weight loss surgery. The first ever cookbook written for weight loss surgery patients by weight loss surgery patients. This beautifully bound hard-back book includes recipes for:

  • On The Go Protein

  • Protein Breakfasts

  • Healthy Snacks

  • Condiments & Sauces

  • Family Friendly Main Dishes

  • Sensible Desserts

    Many of your favorites from the LivingAfterWLS Recipe of the Week are included. Recipes are indexed and contain important nutritional information. Guarantee your success today! Put this valuable resource in you WLS toolbox.

    SAME DAY SHIPPING! Order Today - Cook with it Next Week!

    Prefer to Mail Order? Download PDF Order Form
  • New Blog: Flights of a Fitness Angel

    I am very excited to introduce you to a new blog: Flights of a Fitness Angel written by Judy. Over at the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood we call Judy the "Fitness Diva" for her commitment and enthusiasm for exercise. What makes Judy even more remarkable? She a 20+ year post WLS success story (note her entry for 11/26: "Weight this morning was 113).

    Read her. Know her. Love her.

    Welcome to the blogging world, Judy! You Have Arrived!!!

    Chili Roasted Pecans with Dried Cherries

    Hi Sandra - here is the nut recipe as pictured below. It's delicious, I hope you enjoy (in moderation, of course!)

    Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens "Appetizers"

    This is a sweet-savory nut recipe sure to satisfy any hunger craving. It can be made in advance and kept in an airtight container at room temperature until time to serve.

    Makes about 2 1/2 cups nuts.

    1 tablespoon cooking oil
    1/4 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce
    2 cups pecan halves
    1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
    3/4 cup dried cherries

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine cooking oil and hot pepper sauce. Add pecans; toss to coat evenly. Set aside.

    In a small bowl, combine chili powder, black pepper, salt, cumin and oregano. Add to pecans; toss well to coat.

    Arrange pecans in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until toasted, stirring every 5 minutes. Keep a watchful eye as they can burn quickly. Remove from oven and stir in dried cherries. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    One ounce of dry roasted pecans contains 187 calories, 2 grams of protein, 18 grams fat (1 saturated), 6 grams carbohydrate and 2 grams of dietary fiber. Nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats, the healthy fats.

    Friday, November 24, 2006

    Nutty Perspective

    This is a picture from our Thanksgiving appetizer table - it clearly demonstrates the smallness of an "appropriate" 1-ounce serving of Chili-Toasted Pecans with Dried Cranberries from a recent Recipe of the Week. Notice the 1-ounce serving size. Even with WLS it is easy to over-eat the appropriate 1-ounce portion.

    By the way, one ounce of dry roasted pecans contains 187 calories, 2 grams of protein, 18 grams fat (1 saturated), 6 grams carbohydrate and 2 grams dietary fiber. nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats, the healthy fats. However, a little goes a long way!

    It's all about portion control! Make a visual image and honor your body with healthy foods in appropriate portion!

    Read more: Nuts a do or a don't?

    Monday, November 06, 2006

    WLS Webisodes!
    Knowledge You Need to Succeed

    We have been working closely with our partner, Healthology, to provide you the best, most up-to-date information about weight loss surgery. Today we are pleased to present seven new Webisodes (short online informational videos) that offer the keys to WLS success. The videos are in the Library: WLS Videos

    You will see the new titles listed in the right column under "Webisodes" - If you don't see them press F5 or Refresh to open the updated page. Take a look and let us know what you think - I know you will enjoy them and learn some valuable information that will further enhance your LivingAfterWLS!

    Kaye & Team

    Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    Shrimp-Tortellini Soup

    This was dinner tonight!!! Another great recipe from our forthcoming Neighborhood cookbook. This is so delicious, so easy and so quick. It meets every need of the health conscious WLS post-op. And it was created by none other than our multi-talented LAWLS webmaster scoop-diddy! Enjoy this sneak-peek at the Neighborhood Cookbook! It's what's for dinner!

    boiling water
    1 c. dry cheese tortellini
    pinch salt
    1 T. olive oil
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 small onion, minced
    1 large portobello mushroom, coarsely chopped
    1 tsp. Old Bay Seafood seasoning
    1 (14-0z) can diced tomatoes
    1 lb. ready-to-eat shrimp
    1/4 c. asiago cheese
    2T Parmesan cheese
    salt & pepper to taste

    Heat a medium pot of water to boiling. Add a pinch of salt and the tortellini, lower heat to a simmer. Cook tortellini to al dente and drain. Set aside. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the minced garlic, finely chopped onion, and chopped mushrooms. Saute' stirring frequently. Add Old Bay Seafood Seasoning to vegetables and garlic. Add tomatoes with juice, stir and bring to a simmer. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in ready-to-eat shrimp and cooked tortellini. Top with crumbled asiago cheese. Cover and allow to rest 10 minutes. Serve in soup bowls topped with Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

    Contributor's note: This is a healthy take on a classic Italian stew. It is quick, tasty and healthful. Editor's note: It is important to cook the tortellini separately from the stew. If you cook it with the stew too much starch will be released and the tortellini will become mushy.

    Recipe note: Serves 4. Per serving: 276 calories, 30 grams protein, 9 grams fat (3 saturated), 16 grams carbohydrate and 2 grams dietary fiber.

    Sunday, October 22, 2006

    Vegetarian Omega-3's
    Nature's Fatty Acids

    Cold Pressed Organic High Lignan Flax Oil

    Several of our LAWLS Neighbors supplement their diet with Flaxseed - - I am one of them. Here is some information on why I add a Flaxseed supplement to my daily vitamin cocktail:

    - Flaxseed is the most concentrated plant source of Omega-3s (good fat) found in nature.

    - Flaxseed contains linolenic acid and linoleic acid which are essential fatty acids that cannot be made by the body therefore they must be obtained through diet.

    - Flaxseed is a source of heart healthy nutrients and can support healthy cholesterol levels.

    Huge Vitamin Sale: Buy 2 Bottles Get 4 FREE. No Coupon Code Required.

    Dr. Andrew Weil in "The Healthy Kitchen" p. xxiii writes:

    "One special group of good fats deserves particular attention. Omega-3 fats are a group of polyunsaturated fats that are absolutely essential for optimum health. The body needs them on a regular basis to synthesize hormones and build cell membranes, including those of nerve cells in the brain. Dietary sources of omega-3s are few and probably, most American's are deficient in them. That deficiency may underlie our susceptibility to heart disease, inflammatory diseases, some forms of cancer and a variety of nervous and mental disorders...The main source of these good fats is fish, especially fatty fish from cold waters: salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and (to a lesser extent) albacore tuna. Non-fish sources are few: walnuts, flax seeds, hemp seeds and the oils extracted from them."

    Because my diet is low calorie and low fat I feel the addition of a flaxseed supplement in my diet is an intelligent and informed way to ingest these good omega-3s. It is believed by many bariatric nutritionists that flaxseed oil in softgel supplement form is favorably absorbed by patients with a malabsorptive WLS procedure (gastric bypass).

    I take Puritan's Pride product #1450 (1000mg Organic Flaxseed Oil).

    Cold Pressed Organic High Lignan Flax Oil

    Wednesday, October 18, 2006


    Many of you know LAWLS is sponsored in part by Puritan's Pride Quality Vitamins. For the next few weeks they are having a fabulous sale - Buy 2 - Get 4 FREE. In other words, for the price of 2 bottles of Vitamin C you get 6 bottles.

    Puritan's Pride Quality Vitamins

    In addition to the link above, you can link to the Puritan's Pride website through any LAWLS Library page such as this one on Calcium. The Puritan's banner is front and center just below the search box - click it and you will be directed to this fabulous vitamin superstore. You can also find a link to Puritan's right here on the LAWLS Blog in the right-hand column. A small procede of your purchase goes to support LAWLS, but more importantly you get a great product at a great price.

    In addition to my post-WLS vitamins, we purchase all of Jim's vitamins from Puritan's and pet vitamins as well. They also have a wonderful selection of children's vitamins and holistic products. Jim has been buying from Puritan's for many many years and personally swears by their products (and he is a picture of health!) I hope you'll give them a try. Let us know what you think. . .

    Oh, one more thing - Shipping is $3.95 on any sized order! Can't beat that!!!

    Puritan's Pride Shipping is Only $3.95 on Any Size Order!

    If you have a question about any of their products post it here. If I can't answer it we will contact their nutrition support team. If you have used Puritan's in the past let us know what you think too!

    Here's to our partner in good health Puritan's Pride Quality Vitamins!

    Sunday, October 15, 2006

    Creamy Butternut Squash Bake

    This recipe was featured in the LivingAfterWLS Recipe of the Week on October 1. It's quickly become a Neighborhood favorite with great reviews from all who have made it. Give it a try tonight.

    Creamy Butternut Squash Bake

    1 large butternut squash
    1/2 cup sour cream, light
    2 Tablespoons margarine/butter blend
    1/2 cup bread crumbs
    1/2 cup parmesan cheese
    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

    Wash and dry butternut squash. Leave whole. Pierce skin with a carving fork in 4 or 5 places. Place squash on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake in a 350F degree oven for 40 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

    When squash is cool enough to handle cut lengthwise in two pieces. Remove and discard seeds. Spoon out sqash into a casserole dish. Add sour cream and 1 tablespoon of the margarine/butter blend. Mash all ingredients together with a potato masher. Smooth mixture in casserole dish.

    In a small bowl melt the remaining tablespoon of margarine/butter blend. Stir in breadcrumbs and parmesan mixing to moisten. Sprinkle crumb mixture atop squash and sprinkle with grated nutmeg. Bake in 350F degree oven for 25 minutes.

    Serves 4. Per serving: 199 calories, 7 grams protein, 10 grams fat (5 saturated), 22 grams carbohydrate and 2 grams dietary fiber.

    Subscribe to the LAWLS Recipe of the Week

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    Cranberry Apple Cream Cheese Mold

    Since WLS I've become a Jell-O aficionado. Who among the WLS crowd isn't some kind of Jell-O expert since it is one of our early "safe" foods? The Kraft website has some terrific recipes and this is one of my favorites. Of course I always switch out the regular gelatin for sugar-free and in this case use the 1/3 fat cream cheese rather than full fat. This recipe is particularly good this time of year when the apples are so crisp and delicious. It makes a terrific side salad or dessert. If you can't find the sugar-free cranberry the sugar-free cherry flavored is a nice substitute.

    Cranberry Apple Cream Cheese Mold

    1-1/2 cups boiling water
    1 pkg. (8-serving size) or 2 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Brand sugar-free Cranberry Flavor Gelatin
    2 cups cold apple juice or cold water
    1 medium red apple, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
    1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA 1/3 fat Cream Cheese, softened

    STIR boiling water into dry gelatin in large bowl at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Stir in juice. Remove 1 cup of the gelatin; set aside at room temperature. Refrigerate remaining gelatin 1-1/2 hours or until thickened (spoon drawn through leaves definite impression).

    SPOON half of the thickened gelatin into 6-cup mold sprayed with cooking spray; top with single layer of apple slices, with slices slightly overlapping. Cover with remaining thickened gelatin. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until set but not firm (gelatin should stick to finger when touched and should mound).

    BEAT cream cheese in medium bowl with wire whisk until creamy. Gradually add reserved 1 cup gelatin, beating until well blended. Pour over gelatin layer in mold. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Unmold onto serving platter. Store leftover gelatin in refrigerator.


    How To Soften Cream Cheese
    Place completely unwrapped package of cream cheese on microwavable plate. Microwave on HIGH 15 seconds or until slightly softened.

    How To Unmold Gelatin
    Dip mold in warm water for about 15 seconds. Gently pull gelatin from around edges with moist fingers. Place moistened serving plate on top of mold. Invert mold and plate; holding mold and plate together, shake slightly to loosen. Gently remove mold and center gelatin on plate.

    Monday, October 09, 2006

    Update from the LAWLS Test Kitchen

    Hello WLS Bloggers!

    I can't believe two months have slipped by since my last post here at the LivingAfterWLS blog. Boy time flies when a person gets busy. And busy I've been - testing and editing recipes for the first ever LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood Cookbook.

    Earlier this year we enlisted the help and expertise of community members to share their recipes for our cookbook. We wanted recipes that complied with the weight loss surgery dietary requirements (high protein, low carbohydrate, low fat), recipes that were fast and easy to prepare and dishes that were refreshing and delicious to enjoy. After all, if you can only eat a few bites what you eat should be delicious!

    The response to our recipe request was fantastic - we received over 300 recipes ranging from simple make-n-take protein roll-ups to elegant entrées for romantic dining WLS style. We even scored some pretty terrific healthy snack recipes and sensible desserts for everyday and special occasions.

    Once the recipes were submitted it became my job as the lead cook in the LAWLS kitchen to test each recipe, calculate the nutritional content, double check ingredient lists, instructions and even spelling. Most of the time this was fun and exciting. Some days it got to be a drag when the weather was so pretty and I would have preferred to be playing outdoors. Overall, however, it was a pleasure to step inside the "kitchens" of my fellow WLS'ers and learn how they cook, what they eat and what is working for them.

    What resulted from this collective effort is an original cookbook by WLS patients for WLS patients. I'm very proud of the contributions and effort by the Neighbors to share their recipes and tips for making life healthy and good through smart WLS cooking. The book is in the hands of our publisher now and will be ready for shipment come mid-November. I can't wait for the Neighbors to see their creation.

    Order the LivingAfterWLS Cookbook: $14.00 (SAVE $2 off cover price)

    Here are a few things I learned while editing the cookbook:

    Ketchup, catchup and catsup are all correct spellings for a seasoned pureed condiment made from tomatoes. We used catsup in our book.

    Chick pea is often written as two words, it is really one word: chickpea.

    Parmesan is capitalized.

    Spinach (fresh or frozen) is a favorite ingredient for many WLS cooks.

    Most contributors made use of a variety of seasonings and herbs to enhance the flavor and appeal of their recipes. Fresh ingredients were emphasized by many. Processed ingredients were seldom called for.

    There are an infinite number of ways to make stuffed eggs and most home cooks believe their recipe is the best.

    Chicken, turkey and shrimp are top favorites for clean mean protein. But salmon, halibut, pork, beef and even scallops each make impressive appearances in the cookbook.

    Finally - the most important thing I learned is that the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood abounds with great cooks who are feeding their bodies well and succeeding with WLS. Congratulations to all my Neighbors!

    Thursday, July 27, 2006

    Mechanics of WLS: A Quick Refresher Course

    I have found that occasionally re-visiting the mechanics of surgery helps me to remember to respect my new body. I don't want to take for granted the surgical changes to my body. These two quick videos, explain the mechanics of gastric bypass and banding. Watching them was a great reminder for me that I'll never go back to "normal". Take a look:

    Understanding Gastric Bypass Surgery and Adjustable Gastric Banding Surgery

    What Are the Different Types of Surgery for Obesity?

    Monday, July 24, 2006

    Why LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood is Different

    Earlier this year LivingAfterWLS added a community forum to the web-suite. It's called The Neighborhood: A safe haven circle of friends who are LivingAfterWLS. In a short time the forum has become an active support community of which I am personally quite proud.

    I've watched several topics and posts the last few days that have truly made me appreciate how different the LAWLS Neighborhood is from other online WLS communities.

    One thing that makes me particularly proud is the acceptance of the individual while celebrating in the united cause of living well. Years ago I left an active online WLS community because of the bigotry that brewed between the so-called "light-weight" and "heavy-weight" post-WLS membership. Perhaps some of you have seen this in your online travels. The heavy-weights treated the light-weights with disdain for their "cosmetic" surgery and the light-weights ridiculed the heavy-weights for waiting so long before doing something. It was ugly. Bigotry among our own people.

    Morbid obesity is a disease and the best known medical treatment to put that disease in check is gastric surgery: banding or bypass. I don't care who you are or how much you weigh, when you take the plunge into weight loss surgery you demonstrate bravery, grit, determination and resolution to work with the tool to change your health and your life for the better.

    We have people of all sizes here. The common thread is we all suffer from morbid obesity and are treating it with the best medical option available. Some recent posts could have taken us down the heavy-weight/light-weight path, but they didn't. All members of this community rallied for our Neighbors when it came time to support, commiserate and encourage. For that I applaud you all!

    Thank you,

    Sunday, July 23, 2006

    Informational Videos

    Are you in the "considering surgery" phase in your fight against morbid obesity? Are you wondering if you are to blame for your weight problem or is Morbid Obesity a disease over which you have little control? To answer these questions watch this video provided to the Neighborhood by Healthology, a leading producer and distributor of physician-generated health and medical information on the Web.

    What Is Morbid Obesity and What Can Be Done?

    You may also find these videos informative as you learn more about morbid obesity and what can be done about it.

    Gastric Bypass Surgery, most commonly Roux en Y
    Adjustable Gastric Banding (Lap-Band)

    Please link to these brief, but informative videos, to learn more about these procedures to help you know what is right for you.

    Understanding Gastric Bypass Surgery and Adjustable Gastric Banding Surgery

    What Are the Different Types of Surgery for Obesity?

    Preparing for Weight-Loss Surgery

    The LivingAfterWLS website is funded in part by Healthology.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    Intuitive Eating:
    Another WLS Tool

    We all know that WLS is only one tool in our pursuit of a healthy body and mind. To that end we must constantly educate ourselves and indeed arm ourselves with other tools to work in tandem with the WLS so that we achieve our health and wellness goals.

    One of the latest buzzwords is "Intuitive Eating". "Intuitive eating teaches a philosophy of making peace with food preferences and choices, with the understanding that balance and wisdom regarding nutrition will emerge." Elyse Resch, co-author of "Intuitive Eating: A revolutionary Program that Works" was quoted in this month's "Food & Fitness Advisor" from Cornell University. She claims that many of us label certain foods "good" or "bad" in a process of deprivation, which ultimately leads to bingeing and sabotage efforts at healthful eating. She counsels to quit judging food and take an intuitive approach to eating.

    "Lifting the ban on so-called "bad" foods eliminates associated feelings of deprivation and guilt. Over time, intuitive eaters taper off from eating excessive amounts of these items and become more able to enjoy them in quantities good for maintaining a normal weight and healthy lifestyle."

    So how can this philosophy work with the WLS lifestyle? Certainly in the malabsorptive-restrictive procedures (gastric bypass) certain foods must be banned or illness results. In addition, as you have heard me say so often, "If you eat the foods that caused obesity before surgery, they will surely cause obesity after surgery." So in a sense we in the WLS lifestyle do assign judgment to foods: crackers = bad, lean deli-turkey = good.

    What I suggest and am in personal pursuit of is "learned intuitive eating." To that end I am approaching my food selections with the question, "Will this food choice give me energy, satiate my hunger, satisfy my taste and sustain my healthy weight?" By engaging in this dialog I'm becoming more skilled at intuitive choices because I want energy, satiation, satisfaction while staying a healthy weight.

    What about you - - How can you apply the concept of intuitive eating in your WLS lifestyle?

    Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    Controversial Cauliflower

    Recently at the LAWLS Neighborhood we had a lively discussion about using cauliflower for a recipe called mock fried rice. The recipe, provided by our good neighbor Keri:), sounds very good. However, cauliflower is one of the "controversial" foods bariatric dieticians debate, sometimes quite passionately, as a post-WLS do or don't.

    Cauliflower is from the cruciferous vegetable group (broccoli, cabbage & Brussels sprouts) and contains high amounts of digestive enzymes that often cause gas, bloating and gastric distress. In some gastric bypass patients these symptoms are severe when cruciferous vegetables are consumed. It is believed that there is not enough stomach acid to neutralize the enzymes, thus the gas/bloating result. Some bariatric dieticians/nutritionists ban these vegetables, others say enjoy in moderation and yet others say learn what works for you.

    So - there you have it! Who knew cauliflower could be so controversial?

    I enjoy cauliflower occasionally if it is lightly steamed and eaten with protein. But because of the confusion surrounding these vegetables I have elected to not include them very often in the LAWLS recipes/menus.

    What foods have you heard of post-wls that are controversial?

    Read the Great Cauliflower Debate

    Friday, June 02, 2006

    Basics of Low-Carb Eating

    Recently at LivingAfterWLS we've been focused on finding ways to beat the Carb-Monster. Most WLS post-ops, me included, learn the hard way that a return to processed carbs starts a wicked cycle of binge eating, grazing and ultimately weight gain. Sometimes we feel totally mired in the carb trap without means or will to find our way out.

    I suppose the easiest advice to give a pre-op WLS candidate is "Never ever taste another processed carb again. Just don't go there." But in our carb-happy world that's tough advice to follow. Some of the best advice I've found comes from the low-carb diet camp (think Adkins). Here's an abreviated list of low-carb basics that not only expains why we get trapped in the carb cycle, but the benefits of getting out of the cycle.

    Low-Carb Basics

    Many people cannot eat large amounts of carbohydrate foods – sugars and starches – without making and storing body fat.

    All carbohydrates, except for dietary fiber, are ultimately broken down into simple sugar molecules by the digestive processes.

    The body will not burn fat for fuel as long as there is a steady supply of quick-to-burn sugar. Inversely, without sugar, the body will be forced to use body fat for energy.

    The breakdown of body fat will produce energy for the body and ketones, which are eliminated in the urine.

    Insulin levels are stabilized because the pancreas no longer has to pump out large amounts in response to sugary, starchy meals or snacks.

    Without surges and dips in insulin levels, your blood sugar remains stable.

    Ultimately a steady low-carbohydrate diet eliminates cravings and blood sugar swings. The presence of ketones helps control hunger. You lose fat and lose weight.

    Thursday, May 25, 2006

    Boundaries After WLS

    Last evening I attended a support group meeting, the first face-to-face support group I've been to in years because of the miles that separate me from my surgeon's office. I was the guest of my friend Lori who you've met here before.

    What a refreshing experience.

    An effervescent slender woman named Jo welcomed me at the door with a smile and handshake - she is the group leader and 5-year successful RNY post-op. She began the meeting reviewing the courtesy rules of the group and then we each introduced ourselves. This is a graduate support group, members are 1+ years post-op and they all seemed to know and enjoy one another. I appreciated that Jo asked us not to give our weight stats. She said "Once you are one year out you are all success stories." It made me feel warm and welcomed.

    I liked Jo the minute I met her - she conveys compassion and celebration at the same time. But what made me fall in love with her is that she opened with the announcement that she'd had a horrible day - "The day from H**L!" And, in response to what she described as feelings of lost self-worth and stress, she ate not one, but two cookies! My goodness - this ray of sunshine is a real person!

    Jo is a 5-year post-op success story. And she had a bad day and she did what any of us have done on occasion: she self-medicated with food. Her candor elevated her in my eyes. It was so important for her to share this, that even the strongest struggle with WLS. We talk about it all the time here at LAWLS, that WLS isn't an easy answer and lot's of times it's hard work and even a menace to be compliant with the WLS way of life. I sometimes struggle and stress gets the best of me resulting in poor food or fitness choices. It was so comforting to learn that I am not alone.

    The topic of the night was boundaries. She explained that as morbidly obese people (in recovery) we need to set boundaries. Several group members gave examples of boundaries they have set to help use their WLS successfully.

    In my own life initially after surgery I set the boundary that I would not eat at the computer. As a writer it was my habit to eat while writing which contributed to my morbid obesity. For years I honored that boundary. However, early this year when I was working under intense deadline I excused this boundary and began eating at the computer. What happened? Weight gain. In my personal self-assessment in April I identified that I had let this boundary slip and set the goal to restore it. No more eating at the computer. It feels good to be in control of the boundary again.

    The discussion was enlightening and engaging, fun and serious both. Jo concluded the meeting with the challenge that we identify and set boundaries in respect for the WLS lifestyle. She then encouraged us to include positive affirmations in our day so that we can see ourselves positively. She said, "If you could only see yourselves through my eyes you would all know that you are success stories."

    What a great experience for me. I hope I'm invited back.

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006

    Healthy Snack Trap

    Are you caught in the "healthy snack trap?" Are you lured in by foods with a healthy wholesome image? Foods like nuts, yogurt and gronola?

    Many a WLS post-op has fallen under the spell of healthy snacks thinking the nuts, yogurt and granola can be consumed with abandon. But what really happens is a sabbotage of weight loss results from indulging in these "healthy snacks". Many brands of granola, for example, can be packed with up to 600 high-fat calories per one cup serving, something a WLS patient can easily eat during the course of a day without disrupting the fuction of the pouch.

    Nuts are protein, right? So we think we are compliant with the *Rules" when we snack on nuts. Consider this: one ounce of roasted mixed nuts contains 175 calories and 14 grams of fat, 5 grams protein and 8 grams carbohydrate.

    Not exactly protein first.

    Don't be lured by the marketing claims or urban legends that certain foods are diet or health foods.

    Read labels.

    Ask your bariatric dietician.


    Don't let the cloak of "health food" spoil your WLS success!

    Read more in the LivingAfterWLS Library: The Nutty Truth About Nuts

    For daily support in your LivingAfterWLS lifestyle visit the Neighborhood, a safe have circle of friends who are LivingAfterWLS.

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006

    Aloha Sweet Meliss
    Travel Safely My Friend

    Once in a while a special person comes into our lives who has the wisdom of the ages, the wit of a joker and the heart of queen. I met this person through her blog, Big Grandma. Meliss. Sweet Meliss. Aloha Meliss.

    She started blogging prior to her weight loss surgery last winter. She shared her ups and downs, some pretty funny moments and keen observations in life. A native Hawaiian Meliss speaks Hawaiian Pidgeon and she writes in the same dialect.

    When the LivingAfterWLS introduced the Neighborhood Forums in March Meliss became an instant super-star, the first to welcome neighbors, lend encouragement and sometimes deliver a swift kick. To one newcomer she wrote, "Aloha, Welcome Braddah to the neighborhood. No can go wrong with us here to give you support and lots of hugs and kick ass when you need it." She embodies the true spirit of neighborliness and loyal friendship. She told another new neighbor, "We all have the same goals...........a healthier and longer life."

    Meliss is both powerful and fragile. We've shared some breakdowns and celebrated her rise above life's bumps. After a recent bout with injury and discouragement she rose like the sun tell us, "I woke up this morning, feeling so good inside, deep in the core of me. I am ready to face the world again with a smile." On the same day she was feeling emotionally low she unselfishly reached out to another with words of encouragement, "This is another rainbow after the rain moment in your life."

    If you've been reading Big Grandma you know she has packed her bags to leave her native Hawaii and move with her husband to San Antonio. She'll be off line for a few weeks and we will miss her terribly.

    Godspeed Meliss - Travel safe.

    And to borrow your personal phrase, "A suppppppaaaaaaaaaaah duuupaaaaaaaaaaaah happy happy hug!" You are loved.

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    LAWLS Cookbook Project
    Recipes Wanted!

    Are you ready to contribute to the first ever LivingAfterWLS cookbook written by WLS patients for WLS patients?

    Who among us in the weight loss surgery community isn't constantly looking for a fast, economical, protein rich recipe that meets our nutritional requirements and satisifies our love of food? I know I'm always looking for something yummy and healthy to cook.

    Now is your chance to share with the LivingAfterWLS community your best recipes for long-term weight maintenance and health after bariatric surgery.

    Link to the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood: Cookbook Project to learn more.

    Hurry - we are accepting recipes for a limited time. Submit yours today!

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    Meeting Lori:
    Super Person, Super Foods

    Earlier this year I introduced you to Lori Rosendahl who took the Fit Is It Challenge of 180 minutes exercise per week and doubled her activity time to over 400 minutes per week. When I introduced her on February 1 she was 8 months post-up and down about 130 pounds.

    Saturday it was my privilege to meet Lori in person! She is dynamic and captivating and she literally sparkles with a love of life and wellness. We met in a parking lot in Salt Lake City and I recognized her immediately. She had enjoyed a four mile walk earlier that morning and was glowing with good health. Julie Hullinger, the LAWLS Public Relations Director, joined us for lunch and we ate from the guilt-free menu at Chili's. We talked about weight loss surgery, the emotions associated with obesity and the need to constantly strive for good health through nutrition and exercise aided by our WLS tool.

    Lori is a believer in Super Foods. As a breast cancer survivor she embraces nutrition as an opportunity to keep her body healthy. She continues to lose weight and is zooming in on her goal. And though she is doing very well, like many of us during weight loss, she worries she won't reach goal weight. It is natural for all of us to have fears of not making goal weight. But the thing that will get Lori to goal weight is her personal accountability for her own success. She is not simply letting the "WLS Tool" do the work and hoping for the best. She is taking charge and embracing a new healthy lifestyle.

    Welcome to your new life, Lori! You Have Arrived!
    Read & Download the Fit Is It Challenge

    12 Super Foods to add to your Diet

    The Secrets of Eating Right and Living Longer

    -- By Antigone Arthur, Health Writer

    Yes, it's possible to eat certain foods and boost your longevity. Often labeled "super foods," these foods have the ability to not only strengthen the immune system, but to also fight disease, and lower body fat and cholesterol.

    All of these health benefits can help you live a longer, healthier, and happier life.

    Some super foods contain substances called antioxidants and phytochemicals, which work together to fight disease and promote a long life.

    A majority of these foods work best when they're combined with a well-balanced diet.

    Common Super Foods For Boosting Longevity

    Certain types of fish, particularly fatty cuts of fish, contain healthy fats that help lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks. These foods may also reduce depression. Salmon, trout, and mackerel are among the top choices. These fish contain valuable omega-3 fatty acids.

    Tomatoes are valuable because they contain lycopene, which helps fight free radicals. Free radicals can damage the skin and vital organs. Lycopene also helps stimulate the immune system; some studies show it might prevent the progression of certain degenerative diseases, and protect against prostate cancer.

    When it comes to broccoli, your mother had it right. Broccoli could be considered the number one super food; many experts agree that if you can eat just one vegetable, these green guys are your best bet. Broccoli contains large amounts of vitamin C, calcium, and fiber, and can help prevent bone loss, fight disease, reduce your risk of heart disease, and even boost your immune system.

    Garlic is a wonderful supplement that acts as a powerful anti-viral which can reduce your chances for catching colds and common infections. Garlic also has many natural anti-oxidant properties. Fresh garlic contains the most nutrients, although it's also available in capsule form. Spice up your favorite dish with some dried garlic for an extra boost.

    Oats, like many other types of grain, are high in soluble and insoluble fiber, which help protect the body from colon cancer. This high-fiber cereal keeps you fuller longer, aiding in your weight loss efforts. Oats also help build strong bones.

    Green tea helps stimulate your metabolism (a bonus for anyone trying to lose weight) but also helps prevent the oxidation of cells in the body. Green tea is also thought to be an immune system booster. It's rich in antioxidants and certain vitamins, including A, C and E. Replace your after-dinner coffee with this brew, and your body will thank you.

    Yogurt contains "friendly" bacteria, which help maintain the intestines and keep the bowels regulated. It can also suppress yeast overgrowth in both men and women. High in calcium, yogurt is also believed to act as a natural appetite suppressant. Soy yogurts contain these same live cultures, so don’t let a dairy-free diet stop you from getting these essential nutrients.

    Nuts scare most people away because of their high fat content, but they're actually very good for you. They contain healthy fats, part of a well balanced diet. Some nuts, particularly brazil nuts, contain selenium, which helps prevent certain types of cancer.

    Beans (kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, and more) are rich in folate, an important nutrient— particularly for women. Eating an adequate amount of folate helps prevent birth defects in newborns. Beans are also a cholesterol-free protein source, and high in fiber.

    Popeye has it right when it comes to spinach. This super food is rich in vitamins A and C, folic acid and magnesium. All of these work together to help reduce the likelihood of cancer and even help decrease the risk for heart disease.

    Most mushrooms contain a substance that stimulates the immune system. Mushrooms are often used in natural therapy to help fight off illness. Some mushrooms (shitake, enoki and reishi varieties) also have anti-cancer effects.

    Bananas are a great super food for athletes. They're rich in two essential nutrients (potassium and magnesium) that aid in proper hydration, and they help reduce the likelihood of muscle cramps. They also provide a good source of soluble fiber.

    Thursday, April 27, 2006

    The Carb Debate

    I came across this article and found it rings quite true - here's an excerpt:

    Just This Once Won't Hurt
    by Ken Miller

    The number one factor that affects a WLS patient's rate of weight-loss and the ease with which they are able to maintain their weight after they reach their goal is the intake of refined carbohydrates. Of course there are rare exceptions, but my observations clearly show these two facts:

    Those WLS patients who say to themselves, "Just this once won't hurt anything . . . I'll go back to no carbs tomorrow," and eat refined carbohydrates struggle to reach their goal weight and then, if they do reach their goal, they have a much harder time maintaining their weight than those patients who don't.

    Those WLS patients who eat only complex carbohydrates and who do not eat any refined carbohydrates lose weight rapidly and consistently and they have a much easier time maintaining their weight during the following years.

    So, here's my advice to those who might be interested; Don't make the mistake of saying to yourself, "Just this once won't hurt anything." IT WILL. The consequences of that decision won't be immediately evident to you; it will take time before they show up. But, they WILL show up, and by the time they do, it will be too late to go back and "fix it".

    Don't cheat yourself out of the final success that you can achieve and maintain for the rest of your life, by trading it for "Just this once . . ." The Carb Monster shows no mercy; not today, and not tomorrow, or next year.

    We've been discussing topic at the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood. The Carb Monster is definitely alive and well, but we are doing are darndest to scare that monster away.

    Wednesday, March 29, 2006

    Following Four Rules Rocks!

    Hi Everyone!

    Sorry I've been a sloth about posting here. We've actively been upgrading the LivingAfterWLS website and truthfully, I think this has been more challenging for me than WLS! At any rate, things are moving along nicely.

    LivingAfterWLS has been fortunate to welcome Holly (aka Holly's Zoo) to our Neighborhood - the community forum for long-term success with WLS. Holly is an outstanding example of a realist who is making WLS work for her. On Monday she posted her plan for "De-Carbing" and by today she was celebrating a 5-lb weight loss. She noted that following the four rules is a sure path to success!

    I am so thrilled for Holly. And I am so proud of the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood, for the support community it's become in just over 2 weeks. Support with tons of knowledge and experience and a touch of tough-love when it's needed. We call the Neighborhood "a safe haven circle of friends who are LivingAfterWLS" and how quickly it's become that. Thanks Holly for joining the circle.

    Please stop over, read about Holly's success, and meet the people in the Neighborhood. It's a great place to be!

    Tuesday, March 21, 2006

    Andie Jamari's Blog

    Hi Everyone!

    Hope you are doing well. I just wanted to give a quick shout-out to Andie Jamari's new blog: Climbing Mount Everest. You may remember some of Andie's articles in the LivingAfterWLS newsletters - she writes beautifully. On Friday, St. Patrick's Day, she was approved by her insurance for WLS! She has been fighting this battle for 3 years. I'm so happy for her and pleased she will share with us by way of this new blog. Please stop over and offer her congratulations!

    Sunday, March 12, 2006

    Welcome to the NEW-IMPROVED

    Hey Everyone! I know I've been AWOL for several days - We've been working on the LivingAfterWLS website upgrade - - WOW! I'm a writer, not a html.coder! It's been a ton of work, but we have lots of content and interaction to offer. Hope you'll come over for a look. We believe we've created the most comprehensive resource for long-term life after WLS!

    And the best feature - the NEIGHBORHOOD! A free full-featured interactive online community! Come over, take a look! Post! Chat! And enjoy your safe haven in the LivingAfterWLS World! Become acquainted with people just like you, people doing their best to live well and healthy after WLS!

    I'll be back blogging this week! Promised.

    And, I'll be catching up on what you all have been up to!! I've missed you so much - can't wait to get back!


    PS - Don't miss the new Recipe section - - in April we have a HUGE announcement coming about this!

    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    New Improved LAWLS Website

    Hi Everyone - Hope you are doing well this week.

    The new LivingAfterWLS website is partially online and work continues on the final segments. If you have a moment please stop over and see if you like it. The Library is full of articles and information related to weight loss surgery. The Recipe section is better organized so you can cook healthy and well for yourself and your family. The tools, such as the Vitamin, Nutrition & Fitness Minder or Personal Self-Assessment are now available for downloading - - no longer do you have to wait for me to send them to you!

    Coming soon:


    Stay tuned!

    Take care,

    Saturday, March 04, 2006

    You Have Arrived Button Books

    So you've lost the weight and are buying a new
    wardrobe! What do you do with all those little
    baggies of buttons & thread that come with your new

    The You Have Arrived Button Book – Of

    This is a classy way to organize the spare buttons & threads. The 32 pockets each include a form to record the item, merchant, purchase date and price and SIZE!! Complete the form and slip the buttons or thread in the same pocket! No more looking in boxes & drawers for spare buttons! You can even slip the sales receipt in the pocket!

    Introductory Price!!!
    $8.00 plus $1.85 S&H

    Three stylish colors:
    Cashmere Tan
    Cobalt Blue
    Cranberry Red


    See More Exclusive You Have Arrived Products

    Friday, March 03, 2006

    Update: Kelly McCamey

    Do you remember Kelly McCamey, our friend who decided to give conventional dieting one last try before considering weight loss surgery? I am happy to report Kelly continues to do well with her weight loss and physical fitness even though life has thrown her a curve.

    Kelly told me, “Well, as for me, since my weight loss, of now over 70 pounds, I have seen some serious change in my life. I am now divorcing my husband of over 14 years. We have grown apart, and I decided that I did not want to be sedentary, as he is. I need to grow, and continue to work at my weight loss, not hinder it. He still brings home the food that I call the forbidden. We have grown apart for two years now. I am in the process and this is the most difficult time for me, as he is fighting not to get it. But it is much too late. I have lost emotionally with him, and we have not had a real relationship since I started my weight loss.”

    Kelly’s story isn’t unique, as we know of many relationships that crumble, in part due to a changed behavior such as diet and weight loss. As we have talked before weight loss won’t fix a relationship that is already broken.

    But in the true spirit of resiliency Kelly is moving forward stronger than ever. She said, “Even though my marriage is ending, I still have to move on and be happy. I am into the weight loss and working hard to get to my goal. I have learned a lot of things, especially about myself. I understand I was hiding inside my body for protection. I didn't want anything or anyone to bother me. I am so glad that I understand why I was eating and what the end result created. I am much stronger coping with problems and feel as though I have taken a long journey to get to a safer place.”

    Kelly hasn’t gone it alone. She is a member of Jenny Craig and is not teaching others about weight loss. “I am dedicated and hopefully by July I will have reached my personal goal of 100 pounds off. Then I will have 32 more to go. (my ultimate goal is 132 pounds).” She added, I feel so wonderful as you must as well! I can walk better, breathe better, stay up later, have more energy during the day and over all my health just improved significantly!”

    I am so proud of Kelly for her fortitude and perseverance. Weight loss isn’t easy when things in life are perfect; it’s even harder when the walls come crumbling down. Kelly, thank you for sharing your story, for being a part of the LivingAfterWLS neighborhood and for being yourself. You are truly an inspiration!

    To read more about Kelly link to these articles:

    August 22, 2005: One Last Try: Kelly McCamey’s Story

    September 6, 2005: Update Kelly McCamey

    Monday, February 27, 2006

    Recipe of the Week & Sugar

    Did you all receive the LivingAfterWLS Recipe of the Week Newsletter yesterday? It featured a bistro menu of roasted chicken, steamed asparagus and balsamic strawberries for dessert. One of our astute community members, Mimo, wrote to me regarding this menu. She said,

    "Greetings, and Salutations! I enjoy your newsletter and am concerned that you are offering a recipe with sugar in the first 3 ingredients! I have not used, have not craved or even wanted, sugar in any form -- with the exception of fresh and occasionally dried fruit.

    I realize we each have a choice in re: consuming refined sugar. I choose to omit it from my menu."

    First, I commend Mimo for her choice to omit sugar from her food selections. She is just under 3 months post-op and enjoying a terrific weight loss. She brings forward an excellent point about the sugar called for in the Balsamic Strawberries recipe. Sometimes when I work on these newsletters I'm so close to the information that I forget to include the reasons behind the menu.

    This bistro style meal is designed to satisfy every taste need from the savory chicken to the spring fresh asparagus to the sweet and tangy fruit finish. Patients who address all flavor needs in a meal report feeling more satiated for longer after the meal. They also report feeling fewer post-meal cravings. That's what we are looking for in balance so we are able to sustain weight loss and maintain a healthy weight in the long-term.

    The menu is designed to be high protein sided with nutrient rich vegetables and finish with antioxidant rich strawberries. The components of the meal satisfy several different nutritional and comfort needs associated with food. Four ounces of roast chicken with 1 / 4 cup of onions and mushrooms is the bulk of the meal - 34.5 grams of protein and 4.6 grams complex carbohydrates. Roasted chicken is an all-time satisfying comfort food for many people.

    One-quarter cup of asparagus tips with a squeeze of lemon contains 1.3 grams complex carbohydrates and .7 grams fiber all for only 7 calories. The grassy taste with the sour lemon is a refreshing and satisfying spring taste.

    The meal concludes with Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar Marinade. To make this one cup of strawberries, rinsed and quartered, is sprinkled with 1 teaspoon granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. This causes the berries to release their natural sugars. After enjoying the chicken and vegetables the balsamic berries finish the meal with just enough sweetness and tang to satisfy any sweet craving. A ¼ cup of berries is 20 calories and 3.7 grams of sugar. By the way, 1.8 grams of sugar occur naturally in the berries, the other 1.4 is from the refined sugar and .5 from the vinegar. A sugar substitute such as Splenda or Equal will not result in a favorable maceration of the berries and most likely will cause a slight off-taste.

    Observing the portion sizes indicated the overall nutrition for this meal is very good at 239 calories, 35.5 grams protein, 5.5 grams fat and 10.7 grams healthy carbs. That makes it 61% protein, 21% fat and 18% carbs.

    Thursday, February 23, 2006

    Fit is It Spotlight: Donna Estrada

    Email Me The Fit Is It Challenge

    Recently Donna Estrada introduced herself to me and I immediately liked her! She said, “I Love to exercise!!! Now that I can do it all I have so much fun. I have made exercise a part of my life it's not such a drag, I look forward to my workouts I leave feeling stronger and healthier.”

    “For me exercise plays a big part in my life I am proud of the time and effort I put into it. Even when I don’t get the results I want on the scale I can look back and say well you stuck to your exercise plan this week and you didn’t let other things in life get in the way of that. I still feel like I have accomplished something.” Well said, Donna! These are words we could all live by, don’t you think?

    Donna is 2 ½ years post-op and has maintained a loss of 120 lbs. She goes to the gym five days a week fearlessly trying many different classes including core, strength, spinning, eliptical and most recently a “group power” class that involves barbells for weight training set to music. Sounds like fun! Donna said The group power” class works every part of your body. I love it!”

    She admits to being challenged by the core routine but was encouraged by the instructor. The instructor said, “You have to work on building up those muscles.” When Donna, who would like to lose 10 more pounds, asked if she needed to lose more weight to successfully do the core routine her instructor said, “There are people who weigh more than you and they can do it because they have built up their muscles.”

    Donna was encouraged, “I felt better and I have a new exercise goal to work on.”

    Thanks for the inspiration Donna & keep up the great work and wonderful attitude!

    Denise Austin Website

    Denise Austin, the modern woman’s fitness leader, has some midsection (core) Do’s and Don’ts that I have found helpful. From her book, “Shrink Your Female Fat Zones” on pp. 144-146:

    Do zip up your abs all day long. Whenever you get a free moment, look down. Are you allowing your abs to pooch outward? Pull them in!

    Do protect your back. Do this by keeping your lower back pressed down to the floor and bringing your navel toward your spine during this type of abdominal crunch.

    Do keep your head in a neutral position. Do this for every exercise. To know what this feels like, stand against a wall, aligning your buttocks, shoulder blades and head against the wall. Now walk forward. Take a moment to memorize that feeling.

    Do stay smooth. Resist the urge to use your arms to jerk your head forward during abdominal exercises that require you to place your hands behind your head.

    Do exhale at the proper time. Exhale whenever you contract your abdomen during an exercise.

    Do stay consistent. Fortunately the abdominal muscles respond quickly to toning – no matter what your age. Consistently work your abs and back at least three times a week to keep them fit and firm.

    Don’t get discouraged. Ab work can feel tough, especially in the beginning (as Donna learned). Just do your best. As a general rule go until you start to feel the burn and then do two more.

    Don’t rush. The more slowly you do each exercise the more effective the movement.

    Don’t ignore stretching. Stretches help you to make the most of your abdominal work by allowing you to recover between exercises, helping you to work each movement to your fullest potential.

    Be sure to visit Denise’s Website for great tips on healthy living and exercise. She has some terrific newsletters available!

    As for my Fit Is It Challenge – I’ve made my goals (240 minutes) the last two weeks and it feels great saying that! In fact, during the last two weeks I have worked long hours on the LivingAfterWLS website upgrade (coming March 5) and I think my exercise is the only thing that has kept me sane!

    Good Luck Everyone! Write and tell me how you are doing!

    Email Me your Fit Is It Story!!!!

    Tuesday, February 21, 2006

    Introducing Regina Chayer
    Photographer Extraordinaire

    Regina Chayer and I have been writing to one another for several months but it was just last week she revealed her secret to me. She is a talented gifted photographer. I was breathless looking at her online photo gallery and you will be too. Please visit her gallery at this link:

    Photos by Regina Chayer

    Regina told me, "I do carry my camera with me almost everywhere, you just never know when a great shot will appear! I don't make a living with photography, but I do sell some of my work via greetingcards, stock photography, as well as doing a few weddings and some portrait work. I recently won 3rd place in a contest sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of Art. That was a big thrill!"

    Regina is a little over six-months post-op. She said, "I work in an office at a desk 40-hours a week so my free time is spent trying to get outside and seeing some of the natural world. I started a few years ago during a difficult time in my life as a way to force me to get out of the house. I got hooked and have never looked back. The shutter bug really bit me! I have not been shooting as much since my surgery because of focusing on health and exercise, but as more weight comes off and the weather improves, I know I will be back out there snapping away."

    I can hardly wait to see more of Regina's work! Thank you for sharing your talent and WLS inspiration with us! Regina is the featured inspiration in tomorrow's You Have Arrived Postcard Club! (click the sign-up link in the blog header to recieve this email.)

    Kim's Meatballs from Heaven!

    Back by popular demand - Kim's Meatball from Heaven! This is one of our most popular LivingAfterWLS recipes - enjoy it this week!

    Original recipe by Kim Stover
    Let me start out by saying that I try to use organic ingredients as much as possible. These meatballs are a meal in themselves. Enjoy!

    1 lb ground skinless turkey breast
    1 small chopped onion
    2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
    5 oz. frozen chopped spinach
    1 teaspoon crushed garlic
    1 teaspoon salt
    freshly ground pepper to taste
    1 cup low or no sugar whole grain cereal flakes
    1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
    2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    1 teaspoon dry mustard
    1 egg and 1 egg white
    ½ cup shredded mozzarella
    salt and pepper to taste
    Non-stick cooking spray

    Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place spinach in a strainer and run some cool water over the pile and let it hang out to finish thawing over a bowl or sink. Get a baking sheet and line it with foil, spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.

    Spray a medium skillet with non-stick cooking spray and cook the onions, garlic and mushrooms with the 1 teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Once this cooks down and the liquid from the veggies evaporates, remove the mixture from the pan and spread it out on a plate to quickly cool. Set it aside for later.

    In your food processor, place the cereal flakes, Italian seasonings, salt, pepper, and dry mustard and blend until it has turned into fine crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, place all of the ingredients in a plastic Ziploc bag and beat it with a rolling pin. Pour the crumb mixture into a large bowl. Beat the eggs slightly and add to the crumb mixture. Squeeze all of the water out of the spinach and add to the bowl along with the cooled veggies and mozzarella. Finally, add the turkey and mix with your hands…it’s the only way to get everything blended.

    Form meatballs that are about 2 ½ oz each. If you have an ice cream scoop, it makes the perfect size ball. Spray it with non-stick cooking spray and you’ll get a nice release. Try and get your meatball as “tight” as possible. Place on your prepared cookie sheet. Spray the tops with non-stick cooking spray and bake for 22 minutes. If you choose to make your balls smaller or larger, adjust your cooking time and use a meat thermometer to ensure doneness. (The USDA recommends ground turkey be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F). Let the meatballs sit for a minute and then devour!

    I’ll eat two meatballs with a side salad that is made of sliced tomato, freshly torn basil leaves, chopped red onion and a splash of balsamic vinegar. I’ve taken the leftovers and sliced them onto toast to make a meatball sandwich. A bit of spaghetti sauce spread on the bread is wonderful. I’ve also added the meatballs to prepared low carb spaghetti and marinara sauce. Another delicious way of using these are to smash them up and add them to scrambled eggs. A low carb tortilla wrapped around it with some salsa and you have yourself a breakfast burrito. The best part of this recipe is that it provides tons of protein in a tight little package.

    You can also change it up a bit. Perhaps, lose the spinach and mushrooms and replace it with red and green bell peppers. Use a Mexican seasoning blend and jack cheese to create an entirely different flavor profile. Or, if you feel like going Oriental style, you could replace the spinach, mushrooms and onions with blanched mung bean sprouts, chopped green scallion and some grated fresh ginger. A splash of soy sauce instead of the Worcestershire and use an Asian spice blend. I don’t think that I’d use any cheese for this version! You could serve these with some steamed brown rice.

    Friday, February 17, 2006

    Cheerful As Spring Crocus
    Refreshing Blogs to Read

    I spent time this morning enjoying some of my favorite blogs - here are a few of my favorites today - Enjoy!

    Through the snow
    Originally uploaded by fedex_ita.

    Cee Cee's WLS Journey is a great place to read about the early days and weeks after surgery. Cee Cee's new life started December 19, 2005 and she has since dropped 40+ pounds and boxed away her size 2X scrubs! She is insightful and honest sharing the good and bad of this infant phase in her life after WLS. Her recent post is a great look at the first two months of her new life.

    In Cee Cee's February 7th post she mentions a common problem in our WLS world - conflicting information. Have you run into that? Her surgeon prescribed VIACTIV calcium soft chews which are calcium carbonate. The general belief on the WLS message boards is WLS patients should ONLY have calcium citrate. This is a passionate topic for many people. In my research I've found clinical studies that can sway the argument either way. My advice to Cee Cee and others is always follow the advice of your surgeon, not the message board chatter, not even what Kaye says! Your surgeon has your medical records, your blood work and he knows your body intimately. Always follow the advice of your physician.

    Cee Cee - you are doing great and I enjoy the things you share! Keep up the good work and the good blog!

    Over at Plow Hazard Jenn is on the homestretch with only 30 more pounds to lose. I think Jenn should open a lemonade stand because she has an uncanny ability to take life's lemons and make lemonade. I am awed and inspired by each post she shares with us. Way to go Jenn! Go visit her and be sure to link to this post to see some great pictures of one terrific lady.

    For a peek into a frantic life go see TriMom at Who Moved My Cheese? I can hardly keep up with this gal - she is on the go and moving fast. She has recently changed her blog to focus on her training towards a more active life that involves swimming, skiing and future fame in the triathlon. Check her out for some laughs and motivation. TriMom's hubby is a few weeks behind her with his own WLS - they are a WLS team.

    Now, I am sad to report Melissa, AKA Big Grandma, has gone missing. Perhaps she is showing off her new body on the black sand beach of Punaluu Hawaii. But what I really think is she dropped below the 300 pound mark and is still celebrating her entry into the 2's. Whatever the reason you are missing, Melissa we want you back! Update your blog soon or a bunch of us are coming to Hawaii to look for you! Any volunteers????

    And last but never least is our friend Sandi at Sandi's RNY Journey. Sandi is a writer of great talent and brilliant wit - just check out her post titled "hmmm, droopy boobs" for a chance to nod you head and say, "I didn't think it would happen to me either." Next week is her 3-months anniversary and she already has her eyes on size 10 jeans! Way to go Sandi! It hasn't been all cupcakes and roses for Sandi as she suffered a terrible personal loss recently. Yet she marches along doing the best she can with vigilance toward self-evaluation and personal improvement. We can all learn from Sandi.

    There are many more fabulous bloggers who I will mention another day. Please everyone, keep up the good blogs, keep sharing, keep us crying and keep us laughing. We are all in this together!

    Now if you are writing a blog tell me about it! I'd love to read your story and share with others. Email Me!

    Have a GREAT Day!

    Wednesday, February 15, 2006

    LivingAfterWLS Tool:
    Vitamin, Nutrition & Fitness Minder

    Please Send Vitamin, Nutrition & Fitness Minder

    Do you find yourself at the end of the day wondering if you have taken all your vitamins, eaten your protein and done enough exercise? Sometimes in our multi-tasking world it’s hard to keep track.

    LivingAfterWLS has created a weekly tracking sheet to help you monitor your supplement intake, protein and water intake and exercise minutes. This tool is a simple to use and makes managing your health and nutrition a breeze. Two weeks are printed on one sheet of paper. If you are interested in receiving this tool click the email link above and we will send the pdf file to you free of charge. It is our little way of helping you help yourself!

    You Have Arrived Boutique

    You Have Arrived Vitamin Tote

    Another tool to help with vitamin organization is the You Have Arrived Vitamin Tote – available exclusively to the LivingAfterWLS community. Nobody wants to pack those geriatric drugstore pillboxes around. One community member told me “Those are for sick people!” The LivingAfterWLS Tote is a classy and practical way to organize your daily vitamins. To use, simply sort your vitamins once a week into the labeled weekday pillboxes. Each morning set out the pillbox for that day and when it’s empty you’ll know you have taken all your supplements. It’s as simple as that! We have included large boxes for prescription medicine (Rx) and miscellaneous OTC medicine (Misc). All of the boxes stow safely in the sturdy plastic tote box, which can be used when traveling too.
    Introductory Price: $14.00 + $2.30 S&H = $16.30

    You Have Arrived Greeting Cards

    Brand new in the Boutique this week – the “You Have Arrived Greeting Cards.” These gorgeous artisan-crafted greeting cards truly represent the LivingAfterWLS motto – “You Have Arrived.” One set of four cards features a hand-knit work-in-progress sweater. Two cards contain the inspirational quote "Dream, Believe, Succeed" and the other two our slogan, "Whatever else you have on your mind, Wherever else you think you're going, Stop for a moment and look where you are: You Have Arrived." Please order quickly as supplies are limited.
    Introductory Price: $16.00 + $3.50 S&H = $19.30

    Dog Show Winners

    Originally uploaded by square2.
    Ok, for those who missed the Best In Show last night a Bull Terrier named Rufus took home the big trophy at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

    My own favorite breed, the Old English Sheepdog did well placing first in the herding group. The OES is pictured here - a face only a mother could love! By the way, today (February 16) is my own boy Howard's birthday. He's 12 - not too bad for an OES! Happy Birthday old boy!

    Other winners:

  • Sporting Group: Golden Retriever

  • Working Group: Rottweiler

  • Toy Group: Pug

  • Non-Sporting Group: Dalmation

  • Hound Group: Scottish Deerhound

  • Maybe next year the Schipperke & Corgi will make it to the Best In Show ring!

    Monday, February 13, 2006

    The Superbowl of Dog Shows

    Originally uploaded by Demedulce.
    I know the Winter Olympics have started but the sporting event that will have my attention for the next two days is the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show – the World Series/Superbowl of dog shows!

    My husband and I are lucky to enjoy the company of Howard, an Old English Sheepdog of remarkable heart and joy. Howard will be twelve on Thursday.

    I know many of you are dog lovers. Kim has three Golden Retrievers, Andie Jamari has Bichons, Julie has a Black Lab, and Corgimom has, of course, Corgis!

    So let’s hear from you dog lovers! Who is your pick to win the big silver bowl at this year’s WMKC Dog Show? My vote is for the Old English Sheepdog, of course!

    When should we share our bariatric story?

    Sharing our bariatric stories is as personal decision as electing to have the surgery itself. Some of us are very private and others of us are very open. Overall I think we do the best we can on any given day. There are times when the moment is right to share and times when it is best to keep quiet. Here are a few things this bariatric zealot has learned the last several years:

    It is well known that when a person affects a tremendous change in their life they often experience a great spirit of sharing and a desire to convert others to the new belief system. This is an altruistic desire to bestow upon others their wonderful new life. Think of converts to religious beliefs or former addicts graduating from recovery programs; often these people reach out enthusiastically to others who are as they once were. The recovering alcoholic is a champion of reform to the drunken and depressed. The born again believer is a champion to the sinners and downtrodden. So it is with the bariatric zealot, a champion to the fat and hopeless.

    The desire to share our stories - to make converts to the bariatric persuasion - is sincere and well intentioned. But just like the recovered addict or the new believer, we must tread lightly when it comes to proselytizing this new wonderful way of life. First, we cannot assume that every obese person we meet is in a place where they wish to hear about our weight loss success. Second, it is quite easy to hurt someone’s feelings by suggesting weight loss surgery – it implies inferiority, even coming from a formerly obese person.

    Think back to when you were overweight and hopeless. Didn’t you sometime feel betrayed by a former fatty gone thin? Chubby folks stick together and when one betrays the band to join the tiny tummy league the others can feel exposed and vulnerable. They can feel like failures because one of their members has succeeded where they have given up hope.

    On the other hand, a bariatric patient is an inspiration for the heavyweight hopeless among us, a living breathing shrinking miracle overcoming the obstacle of obesity right before our very eyes. It is my experience that this metamorphosis is the greatest inspiration of all. Let the physical manifestation do your talking for you and tread lightly on tender feelings. We all share a great empathy for the obese and should never forget where we came from, even after the giant clothes have long been tossed on the garbage heap.

    My simple rule is to never give advice unless I’m asked for it. I often think back to how I felt before my weight loss when well intentioned people offered “constructive criticism” to “help” me with my “problem.” I hated it when well meaning friends or doctors told me to lose weight, to get fit, eat less, exercise more. I felt ashamed when people belittled the illness of obesity saying, “just stop eating so much.” I didn’t initiate conversation about my illness with anyone, but certainly more times than I care to count I endured the constructive criticism of others who were superior to the Little Fat Girl. I became a closet eater because I couldn’t cope with the unsolicited, “constructive criticism” of strangers in the mall’s food court telling the fat lady what she shouldn’t be eating.

    By calling it constructive criticism it becomes socially acceptable to be superior to another person. When constructive criticism is offered the implication is that the person to whom the criticism is directed is in error and the person providing helpful advice is wiser and above that error. Criticism is rarely constructive. Obese people are painfully aware they are obese. They know why they are obese and they know the efforts they have exhausted trying to overcome obesity. As zealous as we may feel we never have the right to constructively criticize or give unsolicited advice to another person.

    But when asked about the wonderful transformation weight loss surgery has affected, the opportunity is ours to empathetically inspire others with hope. Love the heavy woman on the plane. Commiserate. Obesity is a lonely place to be. Sharing an intimate understanding of that loneliness will go far to ease another’s pain. And perhaps, in their own time, they will have the good fortune to experience living after weight loss surgery.

    Thursday, February 09, 2006

    Fit Is It Update

    This is how I looked at life last week - I wanted to sleep by the fireplace rather than exercise. sigh.

    Life is rough...
    Originally uploaded by dreamline.

    Email Me the Fit Is It Challenge

    Fit Is It Update

    Well the time has come I have to confess I did poorly last week on the Fit Is It challenge. I've been procrastinating this post because I feel a stewardship to set an example and yet I spent last week making excuses. Not feeling well. Drop-in company. Superbowl Sunday. When all was said and done I had 110 minutes of exercise. That's 130 minutes short of my personal goal for 240 minutes each week.

    Yesterday I received an email from one of my favorite LivingAfterWLS friends - Corgimom. The eye-opening quote she sent me is now front page in my Inspiration Book:

    "Though no one can go back & make a brand new start, anyone can start from now & make a brand-new ending."

    I'm committed to making a brand-new ending and I appreciate the inspiration from Corgimom. She will be 1-year post-op on March 1st and has done a remarkable job with her weight loss and personal development. I wish her tons of continued success and look forward to each email she sends.

    I've become acquainted with another of our LAWLS neighbors - her name is Felicia and she is spirited and inspiring. She found our website one night when she was surfing the web and frustrated with her personal management of the WLS. She wrote, "Thanks for being there in the middle of the night when I needed to relate and be empathized with. I am grateful."

    She completed here LivingAfterWLS Personal Self-Assessment Worksheet and took seriously the contract she made with herself. And I do mean seriously. Here's what she wrote on Tuesday:

    "There IS light at the end of the tunnel!! Did I work out today you ask???? DID I EVER!!! I reply... Today, another good no great day! I did spinning for an hour (hated every second of it! but finished it like a champ) And I went back later in the day and took the belly dancing class.... Thank you very much... (my Elvis impersonation)!" Isn't she great!

    And then she tossed the challenge back to me, "I hope you have a fantastic work out, I'll pretend that we are running, jogging, walking or whatever it is that you do at the gym... in unison... as a team..."

    I take Felicia's challenge and hope you will to. We CAN succeed with our WLS, we just need to do it in unison... as a team...

    So here's to a better week and a new start at making a brand-new ending!!!

    Thanks everyone for the inspiration.

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006

    The Bottled Water Dilemma

    Bottled water 1
    Originally uploaded by dotjay.

    One World News reported last week that consumers spend a collective $100 billion on bottled water each year. They report consumption of bottled water in developed countries has increased 57 percent since 1999.

    While I drink tap water at home I often buy bottled water for the convenience. I don't particularly believe bottled water is healthier than tap water, it is simply more convenient.

    You can recognize a person in pursuit of weight control by their ever present bottle of water. As we all know water is a key player in weight loss and weight maintenance.

    During weight loss there are many waste products to eliminate. A high water intake protects you and helps your body to rid itself of waste products efficiently, promoting better weight loss. In addition water fills the pouch and helps to prolong and intensify your sense of satisfaction with food. Feelings of hunger can often be relieved by drinking water.

    Water consumption plays a key role in weight management as well by flushing toxins, staving hunger and preventing dizziness that results from dehydration.

    The question raised by the environmental think tank the Earth Policy Institute (EPI) is the ecological soundness of bottled water. "Tap water comes to us through an energy-efficient infrastructure whereas bottled water must be transported long distances--and nearly one-fourth of it across national borders--by boat, train, airplane, and truck. This 'involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels,'' EPI Researcher Emily Arnold said.

    Contributing further to the economic impact is the cost of fossil fuel to manufacture bottles. 'Making bottles to meet Americans' demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 U.S. cars for a year,'' Arnold said.

    Here-in lies the dilemma for our LivingAfterWLS community. We are committed to our water intake, we are people on the go and need a steady supply of water, health researchers are telling us don't reuse the bottles because they harbor bacteria and environmentalists say the economic impact of bottled water is killing the planet.

    What are we supposed to do to meet our needs, respect our health and the planet?

    I drink tap water at home, but I also keep a supply of bottled water in my car and at my office. When I stop to put fossil fuel in my car I usually buy a bottle of water to take on the road.

    What is your strategy for always having available water? Do you worry about the enviornmental impact of bottled water?

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006

    Double Cheese Meatloaf

    This recipe for Double Cheese Meatloaf is the most popular recipe on the LivingAfterWLS website. There's a good reason for that - it is high in protein, big on flavor and easy to make. Why not consider trying it for tonight's dinner? And remember, you can always substitute ground turkey for beef or pork if you have a low tolerance.


    LivingAfterWLS Recipe Index

    Are you receiving the LivingAfterWLS Recipe of the Week? If not enter your subscription email address below and update your interest categories. This Sunday's issue features a complete "Valentine's Dinner for Two" menu and recipes.

    Recipe of the Week Email Newsletter

    Vitamin Sale Extended!
    Buy 2: Get 3 Free

    Just a quick note - our vitamin affiliate, Puritan's Pride has extended their fabulous "Buy 2-Get 3 Free" vitamin sale to the LivingAfterWLS audience! Please check out their website and products for your vitamin and nutritional needs. Also, they have some great children's vitamins - now would be a terrific time to stock-up! And shipping is always only $3.95 per order!

    Take Your Health to Heart: Buy 2 & Get 3 FREE!

    For a list of Kaye's recommended supplements visit the LivingAfterWLS Vitamins & Nutrition page.

    Exclusive Vitamin Tote
    Have you ordered your "You Have Arrived Vitamin Tote" yet? This is the first of many exclusive products we are introducing in the "You Have Arrived Boutique." This is a classy yet practical way to manage your daily vitamin supplements - think Martha Stewart meets Marilyn Monroe! Order your tote today - supplies are limited!!!

    Monday, February 06, 2006

    Chocolate – What’s Good, What’s Bad

    2005 Valentine's day chocolate
    Originally uploaded by appler.

    If there is one food people are emotional about it’s chocolate. We love it, want it, crave it, fear it. Thoughts of chocolate evoke tender feelings of comfort and self-pampering. We associate chocolate with happy times and consider it a must-have tonic in times of stress and anxiety. With Valentine’s Day next week the store shelves are loaded with the “guilty pleasure.” Let’s take a look at the latest scientific beliefs and establish the facts before we let chocolate be part of our LivingAfterWLS diet.

    Chocolate comes from roasted cacao beans, which are mashed into a thick paste, heated to liquid state and then tempered before being shaped into bars. Sugar and vanilla are added during the mashing phase. The result of this process is cocoa butter, chocolate liquor or cocoa.

    The cocoa butter in chocolate is a saturated fat. According to recent studies the body is able to turn the cocoa butter fat into monounsaturated fat in a process similar to pressing olive oil. According to Dr. Andrew Weil chocolate appears to be neutral in regard to cardiovascular health and may actually lower serum cholesterol. In addition it contains strong antioxidant activity, equivalent to that of red wine and green tea.

    Dr. David Katz, a nutrition expert with the Yale School of Medicine agrees with Dr. Weil. "There are some unique health benefits in chocolate," said Katz. “These include an array of antioxidants that have been shown to give some protection against cancer. In fact, cocoa has more flavanoids — an important antioxidant — than green tea. It's probably the richest source of flavanoids in our diet," he said.

    Is this carte blanche to indulge in chocolate? Probably not. Dr. Katz warned “chocolate will never help you lose weight. While chocolate may be high in nutrients, it is also high in calories. Even a new sugar-free chocolate introduced by Godiva doesn't give people a free pass to go overboard.”

    What is the best chocolate in respect for the WLS?

    From a health standpoint the best choice is high-quality, plain, dark chocolate. Dr. Weil suggests, “Cheaper brands contain less actual chocolate, often replacing expensive cocoa butter with unhealthful hydrogenated vegetable oils. The first ingredient on a bar of high-quality chocolate should be chocolate (also called chocolate liquor, cacao or cocoa. It should never be sugar.”

    Quality chocolate will bear a “percent” of cocoa. Bitter baking chocolate is 100% cocoa. Most people enjoy and are satisfied by 70 percent cocoa and 80 percent is too bitter than most people enjoy. Remarkably, most people who enjoy an occasional treat of quality chocolate report being satisfied with a very small one-once serving. carries a line of quality organic chocolate. A one-ounce serving of Dagoba 74% dark chocolate contains 159 calories, 7 grams fat, 13 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams protein, 8 grams sugar and 4 grams fiber.

    In comparison, a 1-ounce serving of Hershey’s Dark chocolate contains 152 calories, 8.6 grams fat (4.6 grams saturated) 2 grams protein, 17 g grams carbohydrate, 15 grams sugar. And the Hershey’s Dark Chocolate is only 35% cocoa, which means the flavanoids, and antioxidants are not dense.

    Either choice is a gamble. Considering the fat and sugar content of both examples even one ounce of chocolate is a potential dumping disaster for the gastric bypass patient. For the lap-band patient who doesn’t fear dumping the potential to eat more than a one ounce serving is a potential weight-gain disaster.

    Dr. Katz said dark chocolate is the best choice because it is rich in fiber, magnesium and antioxidants. Moderation is the key. "It's an indulgence," said Katz. "But if you choose wisely, you can get some health benefits