LAWLS Bookstore

Monday, March 30, 2009

Iron Chef: Hot & Spicy Black Bean Soup

One of the most popular Carb-Monster soups on the 5 Day Pouch Test is the Black Bean Soup. It is made from scratch with fresh vegetables and black beans that are rehydrated during the cooking process. In other words, it takes time to make this healthy and crave-stopping concoction. Many times I'm asked, "Are then any ready-made products that will work just as well for the 5 Day Pouch Test?"

Recently I came across a boxed soup mix under the brand "Iron Chef". The mix, which cost about $5 and and makes 4 (1-cup) servings is "Hot & Spicy Black Bean Gourmet Soup Mix". Simply add water and simmer 15-minutes -- easy!! Without additions the soup is 100 calories per serving, provides 7g protein and 21g carbohyrate and only 1 gram fat.

I found this soup mix in our little tiny grocery store here off the beaten path, so I think it should be widely available at larger supermarkets as well. To learn more about the Iron Chef line of products and recipes go to: (This is not a paid endorsement - I just happen to think this is a pretty darn good product.)

Made as directed this soup is warmly satisfying and lacks an "out of the can" taste. The depth of flavor is top notch. To boost the protein I added one (15-ounce) can of premium black beans, rinsed and drained, during the final 10 minutes of cooking. This boosted the protein to 13g protein and doubled the dietary fiber to 14 grams.

Give this mix a try -- don't save it only for the 5 Day Pouch Test. For variety add 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese or a dollop of sour cream to your serving. Enjoy!

From the 5 Day Pouch Test:

Black Bean Soup: Days 1 & 2

Feed the Carb Monster

Taken From The New Glucose Revolution page 244
--Vegetarian Friendly

Beans are naturally a low-GI (Glycemic Index) food and one of nature's nutritional power packs. They are considered good sources of protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron, zinc and magnesium.

1 cup dry black beans
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1 large red pepper, roasted
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
2 quarts vegetable stock

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, cover black beans with 3 1/2 cups water and soak overnight.

Rinse beans in a colander with fresh water and drain.

Lightly spray a large saucepan with olive oil. Sauté onions, carrots, celery, roasted pepper and garlic Add vegetable stock and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour.

When beans are tender, pour into a food processor and puree. Add cumin, salt, oregano, parsley, and cilantro.

Serves 6. Per serving: 140 calories, 13 grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams dietary fiber and .5 grams of fat.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Feeling Backed-up? Constipation Relief

Usually we find the constipation questions in the Embarrassing Questions forum at the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood. At some point or another, most of us after weight loss surgery experience constipation. Really bad unrelenting painful constipation. Have you been there, done that? Recently we discussed this is the Diet, Nutrition & Supplements forum as the Neighbors are looking for natural and reliable relief when nature fails to call. Take a look:

Does anyone know of another juice that has the same effects as Prune juice but without so many carbs?
-- Sue W
Something Besides Prune Juice

Link above to read the full post and below is my reply to the question:

Hi Sue - Great question - and I think it is one most of us ponder occasionally (frequently) after WLS. You are correct that prunes and prune juice are high in carbohydrate and it is not the fiber that causes a laxative effect, it is an active enzymes.

Gwenda is correct that sugar-free items that contain sugar alcohols including mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol and maltitol will trigger bowel movement (sometimes too much movement.)

Over the years I've tried a number of things but at this point I'm sticking with some herbal teas that are blended for regular bowel movement.

My favorite is by the Republic of Tea ( and is called "Get It Going." It is blended from red South African rooibos, an herb, and includes seinna and ginger. It is not upsetting to the tummy and is not dramatic enough to cause pain or cramping. It tastes like herbal tea and benefits from a small bit of honey and a squeeze of lemon (also a cleansing agent).

Another tea that is available at stores like GNC is "Super Dieter's Tea" in a cranberry blend. This is a bit more powerful and works overnight to give relief the next morning.

I know there are many medications available for relief and have tried many of them. But I've found my happiest results in the teas described above.

Hope this helps -- We want to see you smiling and comfortable!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Weekend Update: I'm At Camp!

From our official Neighborhood Weekend Thread:

Hi Neighbors! Sounds like everyone is busy!

I am attending & participating in a research camp this weekend about long-term life after weight loss surgery. This past week I spent many hours preparing for this weekend and I'm so anxious to learn from others who work in the front-lines of post surgical weight loss. The point of view at this camp is not necessarily bariatric or even medical - the focus in on the physical, mental and spiritual changes affected by massive weight loss long-term. Another side-bar topic is revision surgery and I am hoping to learn a great deal about this to share with everyone here. I worry that those who undergo revision surgery are the "lost children" in our WLS community. My research is showing that there is shame invoked by the medical community when someone requires a revision to their gastric surgery. This must be changed and I intend to create a safe place here in the Neighborhood for those who do need a my heart.

If you are one who needs or has undergone a surgical revision of your weight loss surgery please accept my personal invitation to join The Neighborhood and share your story. In our safe haven circle of friends you will never be judged or made to feel a failure. We are here for you.

Write to me at

So, I'm looking forward to fresh insight and new information to share here so we can continue to expand our body of knowledge and improve our lives after WLS.

Have a great weekend, everyone! I will check in as often as possible and I'm (probably foolishly) optimistic that I can get caught-up from the week after spending lots of time offline preparing for this camp.


Weight Loss Surgery is Easy? NOT!

From my syndicated article file, published in 2005. Not much has changed since then. Please share your experiences with public perception of surgical weight loss. Thanks for stopping by.

Gastric Bypass: The Easy Way Out of Fat Land - Right?
By Kaye Bailey

If you listen, even for a moment, to the talk in overweight communities you will almost always hear that gastric bypass weight loss surgery is the “easy way out” of Fat Land. People with weak spirits and good insurance get a lucky break, have their stomachs whacked and stapled and lose weight the easy way. Weight Loss Surgery: seen by pious public to be surgical baptism for the guilty gluttonous slothful.

But those of us who step in the water to be cleansed of our fatty sins know better. Weight loss surgery is NOT the easy way out, a simple dunking of the repentant, the sins atoned, and the price paid, the soul and body healed. We know the atonement is paid every day for the rest of our lives when we set our healthy house in order with gastric bypass.

We understand that WLS is not easy. Why, then, does the public think it’s redemption to weight loss?

First: what the public sees is a rapidly diminishing person recently repaired by gastric bypass. The pounds melt away seemingly in a plain sight. What hides behind the curtain are the ugly demons. Dumping? We don’t talk about it. Vomiting? We don’t tell our regurgitating stories. Head games driving you insane? Who you going to tell? Who is listening? Exercising? Nobody wants to hear about the “E” word. So what the public sees front and center stage is a person consistently succeeding at massive weight loss; a person glowing in their own rebirth and betraying the fat and hopeless around them. How else can it be explained? WLS must be the magic pill, the easy-way-out of obesity hell.

Second: the WLS grass-roots public relations machine tells the public gastric bypass is easy, thus we become our own worst enemy. Tell me if this doesn’t sound familiar: “I can still eat the same things, just less of them! ha ha ha!” or how about, “I lost 145 pounds and never had to do a moments exercise – WLS is fabulous that way – no exercise required.” And so the popular belief perpetuates that fat glutton slobs can lose weight just by eating less of the same foods and never exercising. Brilliant! How easy is that?

Let me tell you what weight loss surgery is really like for me.

I am six years post-op. Two nights ago I vomited my dinner (bacon-seared sea scallops and green beans) because it was just a bit too greasy for my sensitive stomach. A week before that I became deathly ill, it’s called dumping, from snacking mindlessly on Chinese chow mein noodles. Disorientation, hot sweats and then cold chills – dumping – a dire consequence of eating the wrong foods with the malabsorptive system. This morning, just like most mornings, I walked two brisk miles on the treadmill to begin my day. This evening I spent 25 minutes strength training to maintain my muscle tone, keep my metabolism running high and making damn sure I don’t regain one single pound.

And this is how it will be for the rest of my life. I will vomit, dump, exercise and be vigilant day in and day out if I want this easy weight loss surgery to work for me.

My body does not take weekends off from weight loss surgery. I don’t get chocolate cake just because it’s my birthday. I do not have a double-cheeseburger with fries and a shake just because I’ve had a stressful day and I deserve it. My body is on the gastric-bypass plan 24-7.

Do you think that’s easy?

Weight Loss Surgery post-ops understand what I’m talking about. Many of us go through a phase of fighting the gastric bypass and engage in snacking or grazing. We out-eat the stomach pouch and regain weight and we become self-loathing. We vomit and dump and do it all over again thinking we can somehow trick the body. Eventually we learn and we get it: WLS is for life.

Weight loss surgery pre-op patients want badly to understand this, but the dieting culture has taught us to be strict for X-number days and then we get a free day. The culture has taught us if we can stick to a plan for X-weeks and lose X-pounds then we can “get back to normal”. We are all expert dieters by the time we elect to have gastric bypass surgery.

There is no back to normal after WLS – it is a lifetime lifestyle commitment.

Kaye Bailey © 2005 - All Rights Reserved

Article Source:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

LivingAfterWLS Newsletters Honored

Constant Contact 2008 All Star
Hello Neighbors!

I hope you don't mind this self-indulgence but I'm just tickled pink to share the good news that the LivingAfterWLS email newsletters were awarded the 2008 All Star recognition from email marketer Constant Contact. To earn this distinguished honor we maintained an extremely high level of integrity in our newsletters. Our newsletter list grew 100% during 2008 and we sent 758,000 emails during the year with less than .001% spam reports (this is a BIG deal with email newsletters). On average 34% of the emails from LivingAfterWLS were opened compared to an 18% open rate in similar business segments. That means we are providing content you want to read and for that I am infinitely proud and humble at the same time.

Thank you for making the newsletters a part of your LivingAfterWLS toolbox. I pledge to continue to improve our product always keeping our readers in mind. Thank you for sharing this honor with me and LivingAfterWLS.

LivingAfterWLS Newsletters

Chicken & Pepperoni - Low Carb Slow Cooker Supper

I have been a fan of pepperoni for as long as I can remember. Here is a recipe from Diabetic Living that incorporates today's leaner figure-friendly turkey pepperoni with succulent dark meat chicken in a no-fuss no-muss slow-cooker supper. At zero carbs you can enjoy this protein dense recipe with a crisp side salad or steamed veggies. It's what's for dinner in your LivingAfterWLS Kitchen!

Chicken and Pepperoni

6 (4-ounce) servings of chicken

3 1/2 to 4 pounds chicken legs and/or thighs, skinned
2 ounces sliced turkey pepperoni
1/4 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (2 ounces)

Place chicken in a slow cooker. Season chicken with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Cut pepperoni slices in half. Add pepperoni and olives to slow cooker. In a small bowl whisk together chicken broth, tomato paste, and Italian seasoning. Add to mixture in cooker.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting 3 to 3-1/2 hours.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken, pepperoni, and olives to a serving platter. Sprinkle chicken with cheese. Cover loosely with foil and let stand 5 minutes to melt cheese.

Per Serving: 209 calories, 33g protein, 7g fat (2g saturated fat), 484mg cholesterol, 1g carbohydrate and 0g fiber.

Curious what other weight loss surgery folks are cooking? Visit the Neighborhood Kitchen.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Healthy Carbs - We can have those, right?

Hello Neighbors!

One of the things that I struggle with, and many of you as well, is including healthy carbs as part of our post-surgical weight loss diet. We know we need to eat Protein First and saving room for that crisp delicious salad is a tough task. So what role do healthy carbs play in our diet?

LivingAfterWLS Salad Recipes

Salads are a popular meal both at home and at restaurants. We need to aim for 2 ounces of protein
(minimum) which provides 14grams of protein. We can get that from beans, poultry and cheese. To that we should add fresh, non-starch vegetables such as cucumbers, radishes, peppers, and broccoli. Unsweetened fresh fruit such as berries or melon will keep your glycemic impact down yet provide only 60 calories and about 15 grams of carbohydrate and dietary fiber.

This protein and carbohydrate needs to be consumed with some healthy fat (monounsaturated) that will help the body absorb nutrients. You can get healthy fat from an olive oil vinaigrette dressing (served on the side, of course) or a small serving of fresh diced avocado. Remember to follow the 2B/1B rhythm (2 Bites Protein, 1 Bite Carbohydrate) and chew chew chew. Stop at the first sign of fullness and ask for a to-go box.

Many who have undergone weight loss surgery have indications of Type II diabetes. In the paragraph below registered nutritionist Beck Abel from DiabeticLivingOnline explains why ALL carbs must be counted:

Myth: Eating healthful carbs will control blood glucose

"Fact: All carbs matter, says Becky Abel, R.N., CDE, director of the diabetes self-management center for the LHC Group in Lafayette, Louisiana. One of Abel's patients with high blood glucose was shocked to learn that her daily tropical fruit smoothie packed 126 grams of carbohydrates -- eight carb servings! Sure, it was made with healthful fruit, but good-for-you ingredients don"t negate the carbs. Healthful trail mix, whole grain cereals, and sweet potatoes supply nutrients, but they're packed with carbs, too, and your body is aware of every one. In a curious moment, I weighed some apples and oranges. Most had 25 to 30 grams of carbs, equaling two servings of fruit, not one. Yikes! So I started buying bagged fruits, which are often smaller. Weighing and measuring portions really helps. With practice, you'll get better at knowing what a serving looks like. The moral of this story: Count the carbs -- all the carbs."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Veggies Close to Home for Obamas

As reported in the New York Times March 19, 2009. I believe the example this will set sends a powerful message encouraging healthy food grown close to home. I will anxiously be watching for updates on the garden and watching my mail for an invite to a White House Dinner serving home-grown heirloom tomatoes! Good Food - Good Times!!!

Obamas Prepare to Plant White House Vegetable Garden

WASHINGTON — On Friday, Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets (the president doesn’t like them) but arugula will make the cut.

While the organic garden will provide food for the first family’s meals and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at time when obesity has become a national concern.

In an interview in her office, Mrs. Obama said, “My hope is that through children, they will begin to educate their families and that will, in turn, begin to educate our communities.”

Twenty-three fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington will help her dig up the soil for the 1,100-square-foot plot in a spot visible to passers-by on E Street. (It’s just below the Obama girls’ swing set.) Students from the school, which has had a garden since 2001, will also help plant, harvest and cook the vegetables, berries and herbs.

Almost the entire Obama family, including the president, will pull weeds, “whether they like it or not,” Mrs. Obama said laughing. “Now Grandma, my mom, I don’t know.” Her mother, she said, would probably sit back and say: “Isn’t that lovely. You missed a spot.”

Whether there would be a White House garden has been more than a matter of landscaping. It’s taken on political and environmental symbolism as the Obamas have been lobbied for months by advocates who believe that growing more food locally could lead to healthier eating and lessen reliance on huge industrial farms that use more oil for transportation and chemicals for fertilizer.

In the meantime, promoting healthful eating has become an important part of Mrs. Obama’s agenda.

“The power of Michelle Obama and the garden can create a very powerful message about eating healthy and more delicious food,” said Dan Barber, an owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., an organic restaurant that grows many of its own ingredients. “I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it could translate into real change.”

The Clintons grew some vegetables in pots on the roof of the White House. But the Obamas’ garden will have 55 varieties of vegetables — from a wish list of the kitchen staff — grown from organic seedlings started at the executive mansion’s greenhouses.

The Obamas will feed their love of Mexican food with cilantro, tomatilloes and hot peppers. Lettuces will include red romaine, green oak leaf, butterhead, red leaf and galactic. There will be spinach, chard, collards and black kale. For desserts, there will be a patch of berries. And herbs will include some more unusual varieties, like anise hyssop and Thai basil. A White House carpenter who is a beekeeper will tend two hives for honey.

Total cost for the seeds, mulch, etc., is $200.

The plots will be in raised beds fertilized with White House compost, crab meal from the Chesapeake Bay, lime and green sand. Ladybugs and praying mantises will help control harmful bugs.

Cristeta Comerford, the White House’s executive chef, is eager to plan menus around the garden, and Bill Yosses, the pastry chef, is looking forward to berry season.

Sam Kass, an assistant White House chef who prepared healthful meals for the Obama family in Chicago and is an advocate of local food, will oversee the garden. The White House grounds crew and kitchen staff will do most of the work, but other White House staff members have volunteered.

“First of all,” Mrs. Obama said, “there’s nothing really cooler than coming to the White House and harvesting some of the vegetables and being in the kitchen with Cris and Sam and Bill, and cutting and cooking and actually experiencing the joys of your work.”

Mrs. Obama, who said that she never had a vegetable garden before, said the idea for it came from her experiences as a working mother trying to feed her daughters, Malia and Sasha, a good diet. Eating out three times a week, ordering a pizza, having a sandwich for dinner took it’s toll. The children’s pediatrician told her she needed to be thinking about nutrition.

“He raised a flag for us,” she said, and within months the children lost weight.

For children, she said, food is all about taste, and fresh and local taste better.

“A real delicious heirloom tomato is one of the sweetest things that you’ll ever eat,” she said. “And my children know the difference, and that’s how I’ve been able to get them to try different things.

“I wanted to be able to bring what I learned to a broader base of people. And what better way to do it than to plant a vegetable garden in the South Lawn of the White House.”

The country’s one million community gardens, she said, can also play an important role for urban dwellers who have no backyards.

But, sitting in her office in the East Wing, Mrs. Obama stressed that she doesn’t want people to feel guilty if they don’t have the time to have a garden: there are still many small changes they can make.

“You can begin in your own cupboard by eliminating processed food, trying to cook a meal a little more often, trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables,” she said.

Monday, March 16, 2009

An Irish Blessing for My Neighbors

A Wish for a Friend
Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

Guinness Beef Recipe

Here is a traditional Irish stew that we can enjoy any time. The recipe comes from Recipe Zaar featured Chef John Sebastian. To lower the starch and high glycemic carbohydrate omit the potatoes from your serving. Eat the meat first. Remember the 2B/1B rhythm: 2 Bites Protein, 1 Bite Carbohydrate and closely monitor your portion size.

Guinness Beef Recipe
This is a modified recipe from one that a friend gave me. This is perfect if you love stew, and the beer is in no way overpowering. It makes the beef nice and tender, in fact you can cut the beef with your spoon. I prefer the potatoes unpeeled, and for carrots I've used baby carrots instead of 3 regular carrots sliced, which works good too. Enjoy with a nice glass of Guinness. I suggest not substituting the Guinness for another beer in this recipe, I've tried it with Blue Moon and it does not work. And use regular Guinness from the bottle, or tap if you're lucky, not Extra Stout or from the can.
by ChefJohnSebastian

2-3 hours | 10 min prep


2 lbs sirloin steaks
2 onions
8 red potatoes
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup plain flour
1 cup beef stock
1 cup Guinness stout
3 carrots
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons parsley

1. Chop onions, crush garlic and slice carrots and potatoes, do not skin.
2. Cut meat into small chunks.
3. Fry onions in dripping. When golden brown add crushed garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
4. Remove onion and garlic from the frying pan and put aside. Add meat to remainder of dripping in pan and fry until meat is brown on all sides.
5. Reduce heat and add flour. Coat the meat with the flour and add stock slowly to form a thick sauce. Add Guinness and simmer. Add onions and garlic, potatoes and carrots, herbs and season with salt and pepper. Stir all ingredients simmer for 1-2 hours.
6. Don't cover. This gives it a thick sauce. Stir occasionally so that the meat doesn't stick to the bottom of the saucepan.
7. Garnish with parsley before serving. This dish can be prepared the day before and reheated gently before serving. Great the next day.

Monday, March 09, 2009

When Fresh Isn't Best

Hello Neighbors & Happy Monday!

We have all heard over the last few years that for our health and for the health of the planet we should buy food grown close to home when it is in season. Support local agriculture and reduce our environmental impact. I am in agreement with this to the extent that I can be in the high elevation Rocky Mountains. But to be honest, we go through some pretty dark months here where fresh produce is scarce and food grown locally does not exist. But just because the earth is in hibernation it does not mean that my nutritional needs and goals hibernate. Here are a few substitutions I've found when "Fresh Isn't Best" --- let me know some of your ideas for filling the seasonal gap between harvests.

Tomatoes: Right now our local grocery store does carry fresh tomatoes. But they are mealy and lack flavor, moisture and color. In fact, some are hard as softballs. I've found that canned tomatoes, even on green salads, are an acceptable ingredient. In fact, some studies indicate that canned tomatoes (reduced sodium) contain increased amounts of lycopene over fresh tomatoes. Lycopene is considered a strong cancer fighter and those who ate lots of tomato products have a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Canned tomatoes often go on sale and can be stored until the "use by" date. Stock-up as much as your pantry allows and you can enjoy the health benefits of tomatoes year-round.

Substitute 2 (15-ounce) cans drained, diced tomatoes for the fresh tomatoes in this recipe:
Tomato-Basil Saute'

Berries: One of the best bargains in the supermarket and big-box stores is frozen berries. Fresh berries, even in our global marketplace, have a short-lived season. Yet both strawberries and blueberries are considered top anti-oxidants in the biological fight against free radicals. Certainly we want to include them in our healthy diets. Look for bags of frozen berries in the freezer section. Avoid the canned frozen berries that are preserved with sugar syrup. The bagged berries are flash-frozen close to the point of harvest making them as close to fresh as possible. Add frozen berries to your blended protein drink or top yogurt or cottage cheese with thawed berries. Delicious!
Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Lemons and Limes can be quite expensive this time of year in my area ($1.29/lemon!), yet I find many of my recipes call for lemon. In addition, I use lemon juice in my herbal tea for it's cleansing properties and fresh taste. In most cases bottled lemon juice (I prefer ReaLemon by Mott's Inc) will take the place of freshly squeezed lemon juice. It is more economical and efficient to use with just a squirt from the bottle. If the recipe depends on the flavor of lemon or lime zest I'll splurge on the real thing. But for now I'm happy with bottled lemon and lime juice.

Peppers & Onions are hit-and-miss this time of year. And peppers are getting very expensive often topping $2 a piece. Who can afford that? Yet I look at the orange and yellow and red peppers knowing they are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C. Am I not worth it? Sure I am but like everyone else, I have a budget. Canned roasted red peppers are a good substitute for the fresh. Look for those canned in water, not oil and keep refrigerated after opening. A little goes a long way in enhancing the flavor of your recipe. In the freezer section you will also find frozen chopped peppers, onions and pepper & onion mixes. These are great for saute' recipes or in soups and save time as well as money. While still frozen remove the measure you need for your recipe, reseal the bag and return to the freezer for next use. No chance of spoilage or waste and you have saved time and money.

I hope some of these ideas are useful to you. These days we can all use a break at the checkout and some nutrition on our tables. Let me know what tricks you employ to save money and live your healthy LivingAfterWLS way of life.

Learn more budget saving ideas from the Neighbors

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Walking to my Birthday

Hello Neighbors!!!

You may have noticed my new signature ticker:

2009 is a big year for me. This summer is my ((gulp)) 25 year high school reunion and in September is my 10 year Arrivalversary. I want to be my best for these events. Lately I'm not particularly motivated by a weight ticker as my maintenance is pretty steady give or take a few pounds. But I have become a bit lazy when it comes to my cardio workouts - you know - hit and miss, nothing regular.

So my birthday is coming up in April and I've set myself a goal to treadmill 160 miles between now and then. Walk to my Birthday! I'm not going to count my outdoor walking because I don't get the burn from it like I do the treadmill. Yesterday I did 2 miles and today 3. I have 45 days left to walk the last 155 miles to my Birthday! And the reward? Strong toned legs and a new pair of shoes!! (A friend asked me, "What happens if you don't make it?" and I answered, "That is NOT an option.")

So join me in this personal fitness challenge or create your own!

Remember, we all do better when we have a challenge, a goal and a plan.
I will keep you posted of my progress: follow this thread in the Neighborhood.

Happy trails . . . . .

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Meal Planning Saves Money

In these tough economic times meal planning can go a long way in saving money at the supermarket and avoiding waste at home. Here are a few timely tips from Tisha Kulak Tolar:

Your Meal Plan Really Matters
By Tisha Kulak Tolar

How many times a week do you ask your family what they want for dinner only to receive a few mumbled "I don't cares" in response? It can be difficult to come home after a long day of work and still have to make decisions and do the legwork when it comes to supper time. However, with a few tweaks of your daily living habits, you can not only cut out the stress of preparing a meal, you can actually save money on it too.

Meal planning is something you should already be doing if you are living on a strict budget. The more prepared you are to make meals, the less time you will spending making them and the more money you will save.

One of the major reasons families no longer make sitting down to dinner at home a priority is because everyone is so busy and have different schedules to deal with. This necessitates some tired families hit the drive-thru on their way home, wasting more money without good nutrition. Instead of relying on Ronald McDonald to feed your family, start planning your meals. Take some time out of your day, before you would normally go grocery shopping and prepare a list of dinners you can make for the week.

AND - here's an important tip....

When you sit down to make your meal list, make sure to have a copy of the flyer from your supermarket so you will know what is going to be on sale when you are shopping. Now, instead of pouring over recipe books, looking for something good to make, you can simply see that pork roast is on sale and find a recipe for making the roast. Whatever other ingredients you will need to go with the roast and the side dishes can be added to your grocery list for the week so you will be sure you have what you need and that you will only be spending a certain amount each week.

Using a grocery store flyer is also a great way to compare prices at each store in your area if you have the options to shop at various places. You can browse each flier and find out where the deals can be found for the other meals you plan to prepare throughout the week. Heading into the store with a complete list will help ensure you bypass the impulse buys and help you stick to your grocery budget each and every time.

Tisha Kulak Tolar is a writer for where she regularly writes about debt consolidation.

Article Source:

Friday, March 06, 2009

You Have Arrived Alumni Club

Greetings Neighbors!

I am so excited about this new area of our Neighborhood which we are introducing as part of our Third Anniversary celebration!

(Neighborhood anniversary - March 10 --- Stay tuned for exciting things!)

The You Have Arrived Alumni Club is a place where you can connect with others who underwent surgical weight loss during the same decade (1980's & 1990's) or same year (2000's) as you. One of the things I have observed in my work with weight loss surgery living is that there is a definite cycle that repeats over and over for most of us. The pre-op stage is a time of concern and excitement while the first year is full of compliance and curiosity. At year two many experience an "I can't believe it's me" euphoria which leads to year three when rules are relaxed and the water is tested. Often by year four and five there is weight regain and frustration at realizing we do have to work at weight control, even with weight loss surgery. The years that follow are full of ups and down but generally we feel more balance and more comfort in our own skin.

I believe there will be value in having a place to connect with others who are experiencing things similar to you and I hope you will use this forum as a place to learn and grow together.

Visit the You Have Arrived Alumni Club

To begin with we have arranged the 1980's & 1990's each as a single sub-forum while each year of the decade 2000 has it's own sub-forum. The sub-forums should include all surgical procedures as the chronological experience patterns tend to be similar no matter the procedure.

If you have ideas or suggestions to make this a better tool for you please let me know. I'm excited to build one more place to improve our overall weight loss surgery experience.

CHEERS! - You will see me in the 1990's sub-forum! Here is my introduction

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Kim's Strawberry & Spinach Salad

In North America we are on the cusp of one of my favorite seasons: Strawberry Season! Strawberries are so healthy full of Vitamins C & A and phytochemicals that are cancer fighting agents. They are freshly sweet with a burst of tang that simply screams Spring.

At the market look for strawberrys that are plump, colorful, and, most important, sweetly fragrant. The leafy caps should look fresh and green. Check the bottom of the box - stains there suggest that the berries at the bottom may be crushed or spoiled. To prepare the strawberries risne them in cold running water and gently pat dry with paper toweling. Hull the strawberries by removing the leafy caps and the white core attached to the cap.

One of my favorite ways to use strawberries comes from our Neighbor Kim and is published in the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood Cookbook (page 75). Here is the recipe:

Strawberry & Spinach Salad
1/4 bag baby spinach
1 sliced hard-boiled egg
2 ounces cubed Jarlsberg Light Swiss cheese
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1 tablespoon slivered almonds
1 tablespoon sugar-free strawberry jam
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Mix the spinach, egg, cheese, sliced berries and almonds in a bowl. In a small bowl whisk together the strawberry jam and vinegar and toss with the salad. Enjoy!

Serves 1. Per serving: 280 calories, 28g protein, 13g fat, 14g carbohydrate and 6g dietary fiber.

Get your Neighborhood Cookbook Today
! 300 Recipes for WLS patients, by WLS patients!

Assignment: Chocolate & Strawberries

Have you heard about the LivingAfterWLS Chocolate & Strawberries challenge? It all started when one of our Neighbors was struggling with evening sweet cravings. I tossed the challenge out to her in the Neighborhood (Read Here) and it was featured in our 5 Day Pouch Test Bulletin on March 2. Here is the full challenge:

Sweet Treat: Permission Granted

Today's 5 Day Pouch Test Bulletin is all about indulging yourself! So often we struggle with feelings of deprivation for the so-called "Bad Food" or "Forbidden Food." But there are many nutritious treats in which we can indulge while respecting our LivingAfterWLS way of life. In the assignment below you will learn how to include chocolate and strawberries in your eating program without feeling guilt or remorse. Are you ready to take this assignment? It's the perfect time of year as strawberries are abundant in the marketplace.

If you are doing the 5 Day Pouch Test this week plan this special treat to conclude your program on Day 5. You deserve to be healthy, nourished and treated!

You Can Do This!

The assignment:
Please go to your grocery store and purchase two items:
1 quart of fresh strawberries (they are looking really good this time of year)
1 jar sugar free chocolate syrup (or 1 bar of 70% cocoa dark chocolate)

Next - think about these beautiful berries that are full of vitamin C, fiber and carcinogen fighting phytochemicals. Putting these strawberries in your body is a nurturing gift. Think about that today, but don't eat the strawberries just yet. Just focus on how sweet and succulent they will taste and how you will kindly nurture your sweet cravings with this wonderful food. Think about how you will feel as you eat them and how you will feel in the morning knowing you did not give you body food that made it sick and sluggish. Remind yourself that you deserve to feel healthy and in control of your eating and you are capable of being healthy and in control of your eating.

What you are doing is creating that "mental storm of enthusiasm" for nurturing your body with smart food choices.

Now, tonight when the sweet craving hits I want you to wash 6 strawberries in cold running water. Dry them gently with a paper towel and arrange them on a pretty plate. If they are large cut them in bite-size slices. Drizzle them with the sugar free chocolate syrup -- not too much -- just a drizzle. Then find a comfortable place without distractions to sit and enjoy each bite. If you like, invite your boyfriend to join you with YOUR refreshment and kindly ask him to respect you by not having his chocolate in front of you. Enjoy every single bite and reflect on how good it feels to treat yourself in a nurturing and healthy manner.

This is a treat and a ritual you can do every night. If you chose to get dark chocolate instead of the syrup just melt one or two ounces on low in the microwave and dip your berries into the creamy chocolate that is actually low in sugar and rich in antioxidants.

Join others in this fun assignment: Go to the Neighborhood

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

FaceBook Group: LivingAfterWLS Neighbors

Type: Common Interest - Health & Wellness

An outreach social network for Kaye Bailey's LivingAfterWLS community and Neighborhood. Please join us to share your surgical weight loss surgery experience, celebrate your health, support others and rejoice in living. This group was created by Kaye Bailey and officially sanctioned by LivingAfterWLS, LLC.

Join me on FaceBook - But don't forget the Neighborhood!

I'm in the FaceBook - Are You?

Greetings Neighbors!

Well, after stalling and ignoring for a long time I'm now actively using FaceBook. I'm finding it a bit intimidating but also fun exploring. So I've added a FB badge to my blog and you can link me there. I am certainly enjoying the glimpse of many of your lives beyond the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood.

Now don't worry, I'm not going to abandon the Neighborhood and I hope you don't either. I envision participation on FaceBook will be lighthearted and social while also being a valuable networking resource. So if you are part of this social network give me a shout and let's be friends!

And that cute button up there - It's in my "Pieces of Flair" box and captures the ribbon rainbow that is our signature LivingAfterWLS look symbolizing diversity, motion and hope. You can grab it there for posting on your own flair bulletin board. Enjoy.