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Monday, January 30, 2017

9 Treats the No Snacking Rule is Okay With!

With January nearing the end and our study of the Four Rules concluding as the topic of the month I'd like to address the idea of **BREAKING** the rules. In the true confessions of weight loss surgery post-ops it is Rule #2 - No Snacking that is usually the first one to be broken after our early post-surgery compliance. We live in a snacking world and this one is hard to keep. Here's a refresher from the 5 Day Pouch Test describing Rule #2:
"Rule #2: No Snacking. Patients are discouraged from snacking which may impede weight loss and lead to weight gain. Specifically, patients are forbidden to partake of traditional processed carbohydrate snacks, such as chips, crackers, baked goods, and sweets. Patients who return to snacking on empty calorie non-nutritional food defeat the restrictive nature of the surgery and weight gain results.  It is seemingly contradictory that the 5DPT allows snacking. High protein snacks are allowed because they keep the metabolism active, they satiate hunger, and they help relieve the symptoms of carbohydrate withdrawal."
Kaye Bailey ~ 5 Day Pouch Test Express Study Guide page 12.

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Parfait
In a perfect world we all make a weekly menu, do the shopping and preparation, and stick to our plan like NASA scientists. Then there are the rest of us! Sometimes my best effort is to plan the next meal and even getting that done is a chore. But on my best days, if nothing else, I plan a meal (or an appropriate snack) that I can look forward to when thoughts of food sneak uninvited into my day.

For example in the summer when our raspberry bushes are heavy with berries I looked forward to an afternoon snack of raspberries and vanilla Greek yogurt. In knowing this was on my plate that day I avoided feelings of tedium or deprivation that so often come when maintaining a dietary program. The anticipation of the berries and creamy yogurt served to deflect other temptations.

Ready Reference:  Dietary Protein: Quick List and Recipe Links

So much of our food psychology is looking forward to a meal or treat in association with an occasion. By providing a meal or treat to look forward to we acknowledge that core human desire to anticipate sustenance beyond the act of taking in nutrition. We provide opportunity to feed the psyche and soul as well as the biological necessity for nutrition. When I was obese I spent a great deal of time daydreaming about the next delicious meal or morsel I would eat. Now, with the help of weight loss surgery, I can still daydream about the next delicious food I'll eat but I must be more mindful  of my choices so that they support the health goals to which I am committed in order to keep my obesity in remission. It is a matter or re-allocating those basic human behaviors in a manner that supports our greater goals. And by starting each day with a plan for one meal --one moment of reward and enjoyment-- we can easily harness those behaviors to benefit our health rather than contribute to our illness (obesity). Here are a few of my favorite look-forward-to morsels:
  • Fruit and/or berries with dairy protein (yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese)
  • Ready-to-eat shrimp and cocktail sauce
  • Pickles with Cheddar cheese
  • Avocado with chopped hard-cooked egg and diced tomato. Add salad greens or seasonal vegetables for a full meal. Article: The Avocado Advantage
  • Turkey Roll-ups (Layer two turkey slices, smear with cream cheese and jelly, roll-up and refrigerate for a wonderful handy snack! Delicious beyond compare!)
  • Cooking with Kaye favorite recipe: Light Fresh Turkey Salad
  • Protein Pudding (Whisk together 1 package sugar-free instant pudding with 1 can ready-to-drink protein drink. Chill and enjoy. Use serving size recommendations on pudding mix).
  • Seasonal Favorite: Heart Healthy Pumpkin Spice Protein Treats with our popular Pumpkin Spice Protein Mix. Link for our Newsletter and Recipes.
  • Warm herbal tea or chilled ice tea infused with lemon, berries, fruit, herbs or other seasonal flavor boosters. Try this: Stomach Soothing Thirst Quenching Lemon Ginger Iced Green Tea

Further Reading: Evening Munchies: Slider Food Territory

Sunday, January 29, 2017

In Review: Did you do the 5 Day Pouch Test in January?

Link to Pinterest for Image
Did you take five days in this first month of 2017 to reset your dietary and lifestyle habits to align with our weight loss surgery guidelines? You are not alone. January is the most popular month of the year to do the 5 Day Pouch Test. We all want a fresh start that shows promise for self-improvement. As the month closes let's take a moment to reflect on what we accomplished in our five days and how we can keep the momentum in favor of forward progress.

5DPT is about Learning, Not Perfection

If we complete the 5 Day Pouch Test having learned a few things about our self, our weight loss surgery and our capability in managing life and weight loss surgery in relationship to one another we have succeeded: we can deem the 5 Day Pouch Test a success. Here are some things to consider while treating the 5DPT as a learning experience:

What can I eat that gives my pouch a feeling of fullness? What do I eat that fails to give my pouch a feeling of fullness?

Have the liquid restrictions become automatic to me? Do I have heightened awareness of how I consume liquids with my meals and snacks?
Refresher: Lots of Water & Liquid Restrictions

Am I eating protein in a ratio of 2 bites protein to 1 bite complex carbohydrate? (2B/1B Rhythm)
Article: Why 'Protein First' helps us lose weight

Have I found time to include physical activity in my daily routine?
Inspired Encouragement: No energy? Walk Toward the Light

Am I allowing myself to feel empowered when I make choices that nourish my body and respect my weight loss surgery? Read this: New Year's Resolved: Five Strategies for Success

Am I forgiving lapses in compliance with my guidelines and moving forward to make better choices the next time?

Download Free 5 Day Pouch Test Journal

Sunday Supper: Mahi-mahi with Macadamia Crust

Featured Recipe Cooking with Kaye Methods to Meals: Protein First Recipes You Will Love page 108.
Shared with permission, LivingAfterWLS, LLS (C) 2012.

This crispy heart healthy fish has a refreshing island flavor. Serve the crusted fillets with spears of fresh pineapple and small servings of sticky rice. Garnish with toasted chopped macadamia nuts.

Approved for Day 4 of the 5 Day Pouch Test

1/2 cup panko Japanese bread crumbs
3 tablespoons macadamia nuts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped
1 cup evaporated milk
4 (5-ounce) fresh mahi-mahi fillets, about 1-inch thick

Directions: Line a baking sheet with foil; place a wire cooling rack on the baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Set aside. Position rack in upper-third of oven and preheat to 425°F.  On a plate stir together panko, macadamia nuts, and parsley. Pour the evaporated milk in a shallow dish; dip each fillet in the milk and then dredge in the panko macadamia crumbs, pressing lightly so the mixture adheres well. Place the fillets on the rack in the baking pan making certain they do not touch. Season fillets lightly with salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven until fish is opaque throughout when tested with the tip of a knife and the crust is golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately.

Nutrition: Serves 4. Each serving provides 180 calories, 28 grams protein, 6 grams fat, 3 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram dietary fiber.

Mahi-mahi is a moderately fat fish with firm, flavorful flesh. It ranges in weight from 3 to 45 pounds and can be purchased in steaks or fillets. Mahi-mahi is best prepared simply grilled or broiled. Technically, mahi-mahi is a common dolphinfish, a surface-dwelling ray-finned fish. It is also know by the name dorado. It should not be confused with the marine mammals we adore called dolphins. The word mahi-mahi is Hawaiian for very strong.

Cooking with Kaye Methods to Meals: Protein First Recipes You Will Love, page 108

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Saturday Quick Tip: Visualize Yourself Thin

Visualization is a powerful tool in life. During weight loss we can use this tool to create a mental self-portrait of a thin and healthy being enjoying the spoils of weight loss and improved quality of life. Visualization exercises are powerful motivators to keep us head hungry for the goal of a healthier more enjoyable life through weight loss and obesity recovery.

Re-visit pre-surgery days when your head hunger was for a healthy weight body and all the things life held in store for you as you lose weight and become healthier and more energetic.

"We didn't ask for obesity and we didn't ask for the fight of a lifetime to keep it under control. Treat yourself kindly. Find your personal hell-bent determination. You already know how courageous and powerful you are: you learned that when you underwent bariatric surgery. The 5 Day Pouch Test will help you find that place again through the course of five days focused on your mental and physical wellness. Pull out your strength and reserves and let's do this together." ~ Kaye Bailey: The 5 Day Pouch Test Owner's Manual
What does your visualized image look like? Are you on track to see that reflection?

Four Truths About Weight Regain After Weight Loss Surgery
Nobody undergoes weight loss surgery thinking weight regain will happen to them. But statistics indicate that 80 percent of those who undergo gastric bypass, gastric banding, or gastric sleeve weight loss surgery will at some point regain some of the weight they lost initially with the surgery. Learn four truths about weight gain after weight loss surgery. Link to Article

Friday, January 27, 2017

Carbonated soda cravings and why we should abstain

Continuing our Four Rules discussion, Rule #2 is Lots of Water. Here's why carbonated soda is not a good substitute for pure body-cleansing health-supporting water.

Do you, like me, occasionally suffer cravings for a refreshing iced Diet Coke with a squeeze of lemon? This was my mainstay beverage before weight loss surgery and now and again I find myself indulging in that old refreshing thirst quencher.

But I know this is not a sensible choice following weight loss surgery and a recently published study confirms that partaking of diet soda is detrimental to health and weight loss efforts. I know I'm not alone in the WLS-after life when I reach for an ice cold Diet Coke, so today's post is all about the "don'ts" of diet soda and carbonated beverages after WLS. It is as much a reminder for me as it may be for you. Bottom line - carbonated soda does not support our weight management with WLS.

While we can stack the evidence against carbonated beverages (diet zero calorie or regular sugar sweetened) a mile high the single most basic reason to eliminate carbonated soda from our diet is it simply has no nutritional value. It is empty.

Try This: Stomach Soothing Thirst Quenching Lemon Ginger Iced Green Tea

Carbonated soda is void of nutritional enrichment.

This truth, above all else, should be used to inspire us to make better beverage choices. Will you pledge with me to make healthy beverage choices most of time? I'll toast our good health with a refreshing glass of iced green tea with a squeeze of lemon. Join me!

Diet Soda Health Risks: Weight Gain, Deadly Diseases

Excerpted from Huffpost Healthy Living. Link to full article
"In fact, according to a group of researchers at Purdue University, drinking diet soda may not only be as bad for your health as the regular stuff, but it may be causing you to pack on the pounds.

"It is not uncommon for people to be given messages that artificially-sweetened products are healthy, will help them lose weight or will help prevent weight gain," report author Susan Swithers said, according to a media release. "The data to support those claims are not very strong, and although it seems like common sense that diet sodas would not be as problematic as regular sodas, common sense is not always right."

Swithers and her team reviewed a dozen studies on diet soda and its impacts on health published in the past five years to prepare for their report. They say they were shocked by what they found.

The researchers found that just like with regular soda, the consumption of artificially sweetened beverages like diet soda is also associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Drinking just one can of diet soda per day is "enough to significantly increase the risk for health problems," according to the media release.

After WLS carbonation complicates weight loss efforts

From Day 6: Beyond the 5 Day Pouch Test page 100-102
"Carbonation- Carbon dioxide is added to a liquid to produce bubbles making an effervescent beverage such as soda pop or soft drinks, sparkling wine, beer and seltzer water. After the carbon dioxide is added the beverage is packaged and sealed, and the carbon dioxide remains inert until opened and atmospheric pressure acts upon it causing bubbles to be released. The bubbles are called carbonation.
When we drink active carbonation atmospheric pressure will continue to force bubbles to be released from the liquid even as it makes its way from our mouth through the esophagus and into the stomach pouch. This release of carbon dioxide will put pressure on the pouch causing it to expand temporarily. If we are eating while drinking carbonation our pouch will hold more volume than normal because of the stretching that results from the temporary stretching. More damaging, however, is that the release of carbon dioxide bubbles may force the food through the stoma and over time the stoma will enlarge. Eventually, it is believed, the stoma will not recover from repeated enlargements due to protracted consumption of carbonation. Weight gain will occur because food will flow too quickly through the pouch and satiation will not be achieved."

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Hot Topic: How soon after WLS can I do the 5 Day Pouch Test?

I've seen this question --about doing the 5DPT in the first year after surgery-- asked in several places and wanted to share the FAQ from our recent 5DPT newsletter "Top FAQ's of 2016". In this group I have welcomed one and all --regardless of surgery date-- and the reason for that is explained here. Please enjoy this little snippet and share with others who are curious or confused about when the 5DPT is appropriate! THANK YOU!

Check out our FAQ Special Edition 5DPT Bulletin

Can I do the 5DPT in my first year after surgery?
Without exception patients must follow the dietary program directed by their bariatric center for the first year following surgery. No exceptions. I do not recommend or encourage anyone in the first year post-surgery to do the 5DPT. Please, follow the plan your center prescribed specifically for you.

Remember, your first year of attentive care from your bariatric provider was part of your surgery package. The bariatric center has your health information and surgical information and they are highly invested in you reaching a favorable outcome with surgery. While the 5DPT and other after-surgery programs are effective in our life-long weight management they are written for the general audience. You will see the words, "in general" or "as a rule" or "many patients" etc., that prompts awareness a program is generalized. Your bariatric center, however, is working for you specifically and they understand that one size does not fit all after WLS surgery. Take advantage of the care your surgical center offers - this is truly one of the few times in life where you are the total focus of attention.

In a 2016 Bariatric Times editorial Dr. Christopher Still reminded surgeons of the importance of face-to-face interaction with patients and customary post-WLS dietary and behavioral coaching. "When evaluating a patient for a specific meal and physical activity plan, remember that it is not one size fits all. While one diet may have been successful in one patient, it may prove unsuccessful in another similar patient for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes finding the right plan takes trial and error. When working with your patients, remember to help them focus on realistic goals and finding a routine that is just right for them." This is never more important than during the first year (or even first 2 years) following WLS. Please, stick with your bariatric center in the beginning, get your monies worth, and get your personalized lifestyle plan that affords you the greatest success in weight and health management with your surgical tool.

The only OFFICIAL 5DPT Group on Facebook
Participation Helps! With that said, it cannot be overstated the value that comes from following a 5DPT participant group that uses the plan to get back to the basics they've forgotten. New patients can learn and benefit from the mistakes of others and be well-equipped to quickly spot behaviors that may take us off track from the basics. Don't wait to find yourself well into the danger zone to start learning from others. It is the shared experience of the group that makes the individual strong.

Link to the newletter: Top 10 FAQ's about the 5DPT

These questions are addressed in our FAQ Special Edition 5DPT Bulletin:
  • One: Will the 5DPT work for me?
  • Two: Will my pouch shrink by doing the 5DPT? 
  • Three: My center didn't give me the Four Rules. Does that mean they will not work for me? 
  • Four: Can I do the 5DPT in my first year following surgery? 
  • Five: How can I make it past Day 1?
  • Six: I Don't like water at all! What are other options?
  • Seven: Stress eating habits derail me, how can I prevent this?
  • Eight: I want to make a few tweaks to the 5DPT, will it still work?
  • Nine: I messed up, do I need to start over? 
  • Ten: Can I just use any prepared soup or soup recipe or do I have to use the specific 5DPT recipes?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Managing Protein Beverages and Liquid Restrictions

Pumpkin Spice Protein Latte
Question: Do I need to wait the 30 minutes after drinking a protein shake before I can drink some water?

Protein Drink & Liquid Restrictions:
Take time to absorb & digest the nutrients . As far as I am personally concerned, the only reason for me to ever drink a protein shake meal replacement is so that I can deliver to my body easily digested food that can be efficiently broken down into nutrients to be absorbed out of the digestive tract and into the body. Convenience and economics are secondary considerations for me because I understand the importance of providing high quality protein, vitamins and minerals to my body. My preferred method of doing this is eating solid food. But if I am unable to provide adequate nutrition with solid food it is essential I supplement with a high-quality, preferably medical grade, protein beverage. Most dieticians working with bariatric patients recommend protein supplements made with whey protein isolate.
Reminder: Take to heart "Protein First" rule of WLS

When I include a protein beverage in my diet it is key to observe the liquid restrictions by drinking no other liquids 30 minutes before or after drinking the protein shake. In addition, I try to take no longer than 15 minutes to consume the shake. This is to ensure that beginning with ingestion when food mixes with saliva in the mouth that I give my body every opportunity to absorb the nutrients in the shake. If I chase a shake with a drink of water without allowing time for digestion and absorption I am missing the opportunity to make use of the nutrients.

Refresher Learning: Understanding the Liquid Restrictions

For me a high protein low carbohydrate sugar-free protein shake is the best. I look for ready-to-drink shakes or powder that contains 15 to 20 grams protein per serving using whey protein isolate. A single serving should not exceed 200 calories. Using a blender I like to mix 3/4 cup room temperature coffee with 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 2 tablespoons plain non-fat yogurt and 4-5 ice cubes, blending until smooth. This takes me about 30 minutes to drink and keeps me full for several hours.

Looking for some great protein fortified beverages? Check out our wildly popular newsletter:
Ridiculously Scrumptious WLS Recipes for Guilt-Free Autumnal Treats
Late last year we published a newsletter that featured this Multi-Use DIY Pumpkin Spice Protein Mix recipe and ways to use it as we actively seek to increase our daily protein intake. This newsletter was so well received by our subscribers it has been our most popular publication of 2016. You can read this newsletter in full online in our archive: Pumpkin Spice Protein Mix

Stomach Soothing Thirst Quenching Lemon Ginger Iced Green Tea

In keeping with our January Theme - The Four Rules, today I offer this terrific recipe for flavored herbal tea that both soothes the stomach, quenches thirst, and meets our Rule #2 - Lots of Water requirement. Remember, a goodly amount of daily water is essential for weight loss and in continuing weight maintenance with bariatric surgery. Earlier this month we talked about the benefits of lemon water. This Lemon Ginger Tea has the added benefits of green tea (including powerful antioxidants that promote fat loss) and the stomach soothing properties of ginger.

I use this recipe often and enjoy it served warm, freshly brewed or over ice. There is a certain clean feeling that comes from drinking beneficial herbal tea. I think if you are not already including green tea in your healthy weight management plan that once you do, you'll be hooked. Give it a try! Herbal tea counts towards water intake and provides many health benefits.

Lemon Ginger Iced Green Tea
2 cups water
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
6 green tea bags
juice of 1 lemon
low-calorie sweetener of choice, to taste

Add water, ground ginger, and lemon peel to medium saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to where it sustains a gentle boil and cook for about 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat and add the green tea bags. Steep this tea mixture for 10 minutes, stirring or dunking the bags often.
Remove tea bags and stir lemon juice into the tea liquid. Cover and refrigerator for up to 1 to 2 weeks.

For a warm cup of pre-brewed tea simply heat to desired temperature in the microwave. To make a cup of iced tea, pour 1/4 cup of the concentrated tea mixture into a tall glass and stir in 3/4 cup of cold water, add sweetener as desired.  Add ice cubes and enjoy!

Further Study: Restrict Liquids, Drink Lots of Water - HUH? Making Sense of WLS Guidelines
In a country where food and drink go hand in hand weight loss surgery patients are challenged to follow the liquid restrictions as instructed by their bariatric center. But understanding and following the liquid restrictions plays a key role in long-term weight maintenance following gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or adjustable gastric banding (lap-band) surgeries. Learn more: Restrict Liquids, Drink Lots of Water - HUH? Making Sense of WLS Guidelines

Monday, January 23, 2017

LivingAfterWLS Classic Recipe: Salisbury Steak

Greetings Readers!
Snowy January 2017.
I hope you are doing well this fine Monday. We are "enjoying" yet another snowstorm here in the high Rocky Mountains of Wyoming. So far today at least 6 inches of new snow - that's on top of the two feet previously fallen snow that has yet to melt! It has been a very long time since we've seen a winter like this and nothing calls for comfort food more than a long cold snowy season.

Yesterday, by request of the family, I pulled out one of our LivingAfterWLS Classics - Salisbury Steak to feed and comfort those gathered at our kitchen table. This recipe is suitable for Day 4 of the 5 Day Pouch Test and is featured on page 156 of the The 5 Day Pouch Test Owner's Manual and on page 62 of the 5 Day Pouch Test Complete Recipe Collection..

Salisbury Steak
Classic comfort food, Salisbury steak is traditionally a ground beef patty flavored with minced onion and seasonings before being fried or broiled. It was named after a 19th-century English physician, Dr. J. H. Salisbury, who recommended that his patients eat plenty of beef for all manner of ailments. Salisbury steak is often served with gravy made from pan drippings. To suit our different tastes this recipe may be prepared with ground beef, ground pork, or ground white meat poultry. 

1 pound ground meat of your choice
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1 large onion, sliced
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed beef broth
1 can (4 ounces) mushrooms, drained
2 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Mix ground beef, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and egg: shape into 4 oval patties, each about 3/4 inch thick. Cook patties in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally until brown, about 10 minutes. Drain excess fat from skillet. Add onion, broth and mushrooms. Heat to boiling: reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes.

Remove patties to a plate, tent with foil to keep warm. Heat onion mixture to boiling. In a small bowl whisk together water and cornstarch. Stir into onion mixture whisking to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil and continue whisking for 1 minute as mixture thickens. Serve sauce over meat patties.

Per serving using extra lean ground beef: 321 calories, 27 grams protein, 21 grams fat (8 saturated), 6 grams carbohydrate and 1 gram dietary fiber.

Per serving using lean ground pork: 354 calories, 24 grams protein, 25 grams fat (9 saturated), 6 grams carbohydrate and 1 gram dietary fiber.

Per serving using ground turkey: 225 calories, 25 grams protein, 11 grams fat (3 saturated), 6 grams carbohydrate and 1 gram dietary fiber.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Today's 5 Day Pouch Test Bulletin: Top FAQs of 2016

Hot Off the Press!
5 Day Pouch Test Bulletin: Top FAQs of 2016

Have you checked your Inbox today? We've published our most popular newsletter of the year - the top 5 Day Pouch Test FAQs of 2016 asked and answered. This is the one you will want to print and keep as ready-reference in support of your healthy weight management goals this year!

You can also link here to our newsletter archive:

Greeting from Kaye: 
"Hello dear readers and happy 2017! I do hope you are off to a great start and have made a pledge to making 2017 your healthiest year ever.

Today we deliver our most popular newsletter of the year: a review of the top 10 FAQs about the 5 Day Pouch Test from the previous year. This year our newsletter is a bit lengthy. The marketers keep telling us to keep newsletters brief, that readers do not have a long attention span. But you know, the LivingAfterWLS readers are different. You are knowledge seekers and information collectors. You know that detailed understanding goes a long way in putting in motion a plan that works. So please, take a few minutes to enjoy this newsletter online, or using your browser print commands make a hard copy to keep. I learned a great deal in preparing the answers to the FAQs and I think you will as well. Here are the questions answered in this newsletter:

    One: Will the 5DPT work for me?
    Two: Will my pouch shrink by doing the 5DPT?
    Three: My center didn't give me the Four Rules. Does that mean they will not work for me?
    Four: Can I do the 5DPT in my first year following surgery?
    Five: How can I make it past Day 1?
    Six: I Don't like water at all! What are other options?
    Seven: Stress eating habits derail me, how can I prevent this?
    Eight: I want to make a few tweaks to the 5DPT, will it still work?
    Nine: I messed up, do I need to start over?
    Ten: Can I just use any prepared soup or soup recipe or do I have to use the specific 5DPT recipes?

Best Wishes and Happy Healthy 2017 to You!

PS: Be sure to visit and bookmark the LivingAfterWLS Blog. After spending last year deep in research tasks I am back to posting great timely content to the blog.

Are you stress eating? Try this surprising easy fix

I have interacted with literally thousands of people who have undergone weight loss surgery in the management of obesity. Not one of these people has ever told me they do not eat when feeling stressed. The reality is we reach for food in times of stress for the comfort or distraction it offers. It is not a moral weakness. Hunger cravings during stress are intrinsic human biological responses, the body's call for fuel to produce serotonin.

Fortunately, we can manage these cravings and control what we eat by carefully selecting the food we eat in response to stress-induced hunger and cravings.

Recent research identified vitamin C as a stress reducer. Psychology Today reported in June 2016 that studies show positive improvement when vitamin C is used as part of healthy and holistic stress management:

"It's already everybody's favorite nutritional supplement, linked, however controversially, to preventing the common cold and fighting cancer. But vitamin C recently added a new notch on its belt. The vitamin helps reduce both the physical and psychological effects of stress on people.

People who have high levels of vitamin C do not show the expected mental and physical signs of stress when subjected to acute psychological challenges. What's more, they bounce back from stressful situations faster than people with low levels of vitamin C in their blood.

In one study German researchers subjected 120 people to a sure-fire stressor—a public speaking task combined with math problems. Half of those studied were given 1,000 mg of vitamin C. Such signs of stress as elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol and high blood pressure were significantly greater in those who did not get the vitamin supplement. Those who got vitamin C reported that they felt less stressed when they got the vitamin."
Foods rich in vitamin C, particularly berries and citrus food, quickly cause a surge in serotonin production which produces a feeling of emotional relief. We often turn to simple carbohydrates -sweets, salty snacks or starchy foods- for comfort during stressful times. In a way we are correctly answering the cry of stress because we are eating foods that will increase serotonin which produces calmness. Knowing this we can eat in response to stress but rather than grab the snacky chips or cookies let's give an apple, a tangerine or strawberries a try. The resulting emotional relief paired with the knowledge of making a healthy choice is bound to go a long way in restoring emotional balance.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Breakfast Basics of WLS: Instant Download eBook

LivingAfterWLS eBook Short Volume 4 by Kaye Bailey
In this LivingAfterWLS eBook by Kaye Bailey, we take a highly focused look at breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Why is it important? What are the high protein options? What about hectic mornings? We provide options for picky eaters; suggest out-of-the-box meals featuring the flavors of your favorite foods; find a superb use for last night's left-overs; place emphasis on fresh clean ingredients; reveal fail-proof preparation methods for cooks of all skill levels; and give you warm and cold breakfast meals to savor.

You will find something exciting to start your day no matter your schedule, kitchen skills, or budget!  This all new breakfast companion focuses on variety, quality ingredients, protein options: All hot topics in this Volume 4 of the popular LivingAfterWLS Shorts series. The recipes are supported with 12 informative articles featuring the current scientific beliefs in health, weight management, and bariatric nutrition.

Learn more than a formula: learn why certain ingredients and meals work to support your weight management goals!

Breakfast Basics of WLS: Why you must eat a high protein breakfast every day.

Tempting Recipes:
Just a few of the tempting breakfast recipes that can be prepared in under 15 minutes!
  • Mocha Morning Coffee Smoothie
  • Cappuccino Cooler
  • Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie
  • Kiwifruit-Lime Yogurt Parfait
  • Cinnamon Peach Swirl
  • Chilled Plate: Caprese Layers
  • Melon and Swiss Continental
  • Creamy Dreamy Green Eggs
  • Fiesta Quesadilla
  • Salsa in the Morning Mug Scramble
  • Mama Mia Egg Lasagna

Go ahead! What are you waiting for?
Breakfast Basics of WLS just $4.95 instant download

What's in it: Specific recipes and methods to start the day -even on the run- with a healthy high protein meal that supports your goals of weight management and balanced health following all bariatric procedures. From breakfast beverages to quick-fix microwave eggs this guide is sure to please even picky eaters and take away the guesswork out of the most important meal of the day.

LivingAfterWLS Shorts
Who it's for: Patients of all bariatric surgical procedures will benefit from an improved repertoire of morning recipes to support their high protein diet prescribed for weight loss and lasting weight management after surgical intervention for the treatment of obesity.

Breakfast Basics of WLS (60 pages)

No Kindle? No Problem! Just download the free Kindle eReader app and take your Kindle library wherever you go on whatever device you prefer! Easy Fast Portable Efficient! Never lose your eBooks to a phone or device upgrade.

The Four Rules of WLS: Our January Topic

Get this free Four Rules magnet with any LAWLS Bookstore order
No coupon required
Part of your complimentary goody bag.
For me January is always the month to get back to the basics and put things to right in the areas of my life that need some order and re-focus. Not surprisingly, my health management always requires an effort of reordering and focus on the dawn of a new year. I don't know why I drift away from the basics of weight loss surgery health management as the year progresses but I do with the same predictability as the phases of the moon.

So, with your indulgence I'm using the LivingAfterWLS Blog and our different newsletters to study and refresh my understanding of the Four Rules of weight loss surgery. You've already seen some posts related to the Four Rules and I'll continue to work through each rule in detail as the month marches along. Today I'm sharing the Four Rules Summary, with permission, from The 5 Day Pouch Test Owner's Manual. This is a brief rundown on the rules and why we have them - a good reference point to support the rest of our Four Rules discussion. Be sure to click the link for our Four Rules infograph - a free download poster for you to enjoy!

Thanks for joining me this year and I'm looking forward to feeling my best as I set to right my health in this new year!

Four Rules: Weight Loss Surgery basics

Shared with permission from The 5 Day Pouch Test Owner's Manual (2nd Edition) by Kaye Bailey
"As patients we are well aware that WLS is frequently perceived by outsiders as an easy means to weight loss that requires little or no effort by the patient. It turns out there is nothing easy about the post-WLS lifestyle. At the time of surgery we agreed to follow Four Rules of dietary and lifestyle management guidelines for the rest of our life in order to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. This is our burden and our responsibility if we wish to keep morbid obesity in remission.
All surgical weight loss procedures including gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding (lap-band) and gastric sleeve, promote weight loss by decreasing energy (caloric) intake with a reduced or restricted stomach size. The small stomach pouch is only effective when a patient rigorously follows the Four Rules: eat a high protein diet; drink lots of water; avoid snacking on empty calorie food; engage in daily exercise.

"In our introduction to a bariatric program we were taught and agreed to follow the standard Four Rules which work in concert with our surgically altered stomach and digestive system to bring about rapid massive weight loss. In fact, most of us were asked during the psychological evaluation if we could commit to following the Four Rules. Like me, I bet you said “Of course” with complete confidence.  What I missed in the orientation was that these rules would be a way of life for the rest of my life. The Four Rules and other WLS dietary basics are discussed in greater detail in Chapter 9. For now let’s take a quick look at each rule as it applies to WLS patients.

"Protein First: At every meal the WLS patient will eat lean animal, dairy, or vegetable protein before any other food. Protein shakes or supplements may be included as part of the weight loss surgery diet. Patients are advised to consume 60-105 grams of protein a day. Eating lean protein will create a tight feeling in the surgical stomach pouch: this feeling is the signal to stop eating. Many patients report discomfort when eating lean protein, yet this discomfort is the very reason the stomach pouch is effective in reducing food and caloric intake. Animal products are the most nutrient rich source of protein and include fish, shellfish, poultry, and meat. Dairy protein, including eggs, yogurt, and cheese, is another excellent source of protein.

"Lots of Water: Like most weight loss programs, bariatric surgery patients are instructed to drink lots of water throughout the day. Most centers advise a minimum of 64 fluid ounces of water each day. Water hydrates the organs and cells and facilitates the metabolic processes of human life. Water flushes toxins and waste from the body. Patients are strongly discouraged from drinking carbonated beverages. In addition, patients are warned against excessive alcohol intake as it tends to have a quicker and more profound intoxicating affect compared with pre-surgery consumption. In addition, non-nutritional beverages of any kind may lead to weight gain and increased snacking.

From our Four Rules Infographic. Link Here to see the full poster & download free!

"No Snacking: Patients are discouraged from snacking which may impede weight loss and lead to weight gain. Specifically, patients are forbidden to partake of traditional processed carbohydrate snacks, such as chips, crackers, baked goods, and sweets. Patients who return to snacking on empty calorie non-nutritional food defeat the restrictive nature of the surgery and weight gain results.  It is seemingly contradictory that the 5DPT allows snacking. High protein snacks are allowed because they keep the metabolism active, they satiate hunger, and they help relieve the symptoms of carbohydrate withdrawal.

"Daily Exercise: In general patients are advised to engage in 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. The most effective way to heal the body from the ravages of obesity is to exercise. Exercise means moving the body: walking, stretching, bending, inhaling and exhaling. Exercise is the most effective, most enjoyable, most beneficial gift one can receive when recovering from life threatening, crippling morbid obesity. Consistent exercise will keep morbid obesity in remission and help compensate for lapses in following the three other rules. People who successfully maintain their weight exercise daily"

Free Four Rules Infograph from LivingAfterWLS

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Resolution: Take to heart "Protein First" rule of WLS
At LivingAfterWLS we live by the commonly accepted Four Rules of weight loss surgery, the first of which is Protein First. In dieting language we follow a high protein low carbohydrate diet. This is the diet prescribed by most bariatric centers for patients to follow for life. Scientific and anecdotal evidence supports that following a high protein diet is the most effective way to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight while using the benefits of bariatric surgery.

For quick reference check out this blog:  Dietary Protein: Quick List and Recipe Links

If you are trying to lose weight after surgery, if your weight loss is stalled, or if you are struggling to maintain your healthy weight, now is the time to revisit the Protein First rule.

Eat protein (excerpted from: Inspired Reminders Newsletter)
We know the first rule of weight loss surgery is to eat protein first. That means we must eat protein at every meal. The high protein or protein first diet is prescribed for all bariatric procedures and is the dietary guideline patients are instructed to follow for life. The bulk of our calories at any meal should come from animal, dairy, or vegetable protein. This includes breakfast. By eating protein first thing in the morning we instantly raise our metabolism, we promote feelings of satiation and reduce cravings for snacks or simple carbohydrates. Link to newsletter in our archive: Inspired Reminders Newsletter

Suggested Reading: Understand the Four Rules of WLS Before Going Under the Knife

 WebMd tells us, "Protein is the ultimate fill-me-up food -- it's more satisfying than carbs or fats and keeps you feeling full for longer. It also helps preserve muscle mass and encourages fat burning. So be sure to incorporate healthy proteins like seafood, lean meat, egg whites, yogurt, cheese, soy, nuts, or beans into your meals and snacks."

Eating a high protein breakfast effectively staves hunger cravings and snacking binges later in the day because it reduces the circulating levels of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates hunger. So not only are we raising our metabolism with high protein nutrition, we are managing the brain chemistry that often gets the blame for head hunger and snacking binges. The earlier in the day we eat protein the more likely we are to stick with our high protein diet plan without annoying cravings or sluggishness.

Try this yummy recipe: Spring Eggs with Salmon and Asparagus

Try starting your day with 35 grams of high quality protein including eggs, meat, poultry, shellfish or fish, Greek yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, vegetarian protein, or protein supplementation such as protein shakes or protein bars. I keep hard-cooked eggs on hand for a quick-grab breakfast and more often than not mix my ready-to-drink protein shake with hot coffee (use it like coffee creamer) for a steady supply of morning protein. For more protein breakfast ideas check out Breakfast Basics of WLS: Why you must eat a high protein breakfast every day.

Extra Credit Learning: Check out these featured articles

Earlier this year we published a newsletter that featured this Multi-Use DIY Pumpkin Spice Protein Mix recipe and ways to use it as we actively seek to increase our daily protein intake. You can read this newsletter in full online in our archive: Pumpkin Spice Protein Mix

 Protein Supplementation after WLS
It is common to see the question, "What protein powder should I use?" asked in online groups. What is surprising, to me, is the inconsistency in answers and the passion with which people believe there is only one true and correct answer to the question. Continue Reading:  5DPT May Bulletin Online

Suggested Reading: Understand the Four Rules of WLS Before Going Under the Knife
Weight loss surgery is frequently perceived as an easy means to weight loss that requires little or no effort by the patient. However, patients who undergo bariatric surgery are prescribed Four Rules of dietary and lifestyle management that they will follow for the rest of their life if they wish to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. Here is what you need to know about the Four Rules of weight loss surgery before going under the knife. Continue Reading

Dietary Protein: Quick List and Recipe Links

Are you looking for a go-to reference list of dietary protein and some links to our most frequently requested recipes from our LivingAfterWLS Blog archives. I'd love to know what recipes are your favorite! Leave us a comment.

Meat: beef, bison, lamb, game. The term meat is a broadly used term that includes beef, bison, lamb, and game meat. Beef is the most commonly consumed meat in the United States while lamb is the top in meat consumption worldwide. Bison or buffalo is becoming more readily available with the increase of agricultural bison ranches. Bison and game may be substituted for beef in most recipes. People following a high protein diet should select lean cuts of meat to reduce their intake of saturated fat.
Protein and Iron Rich Beef - Osso Buco

Poultry. Chicken, turkey and other poultry are popular sources of lean protein for their ease in preparation and affordability. White meat poultry contains less fat than dark meat, but dark meat protein is a better source of nutrients including B vitamins.
Tarragon is delicious: Try Easy Chicken Chasseur

Pork. There is much talk about today’s leaner pork thanks to improved agriculture practices. Lean cuts such as tenderloin, top loin, rib chops, and sirloin steak are 31 percent leaner than the same cuts two decades ago. Pork cooks quickly and is affordably priced similar to chicken.
Ham and Egg Breakfast Bowl
Fish and shellfish. Perhaps the best source of lean protein combined with healthy fats, fish and shellfish support a well-planned high protein diet. Most fish contain the heart-healthy fat known as omega 3 which is shown to improve cardiovascular health and prevent the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Tuna-Spinach-Strawberry Salad

Soy. Plant based soy protein, the base ingredient for tofu, is a low-fat protein option with the added benefit of cholesterol lowering properties.
5 Day Pouch Test Ham and Cheese Soup with Tofu

Beans and legumes. High protein diets tend to be low in dietary fiber. Including beans and legumes in meals provides the benefits of plant protein and dietary fiber in one healthy ingredient. A half cup serving of beans contains nearly the same protein as 3 ounces of broiled steak.
5 Day Pouch Test Beans and Barley Soup

Low-fat dairy. Milk, cheese, eggs and yogurt are not only protein-rich; they also provide calcium for strong bones and a healthy heart. Low-fat, or reduced fat dairy products provide the benefits of dairy with lowered calories.
It's World Egg Day! Yes - How eggcellent is that?

LivingAfterWLS Publications

Protein First: Understanding and Living the First Rule of Weight Loss Surgery
Instant eBook Download.
Just $4.95
In this LivingAfterWLS eBook, we take a highly focused look at the Protein First Rule: why it matters, and how to live by the rule in a world addicted to the instant gratification found in inexpensive, readily available, convenient non-nutritional simple carbohydrates. An understanding of Protein First is the most exciting knowledge patients can hold in support of lasting weight management goals after weight loss surgery.

What’s in it: A current and comprehensive dialog discussing the weight loss surgery high protein diet, standards for calculating daily protein intake, and recipes to support the weight loss surgery high protein diet.

Who it’s for: Patients of all bariatric surgical procedures will benefit from an improved understanding of the Protein First diet prescribed for weight loss and lasting weight management after surgical intervention for the treatment of obesity.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Do you suffer from Sitting Disease? Try this quick fix!

Hello Dear Readers. I wish you a mindful Martin Luther King Jr. Day and I hope your reflections today celebrate the good things in life.

Do you remember back in 2013 when the American Medical Association (AMA) declared obesity a disease? Here's a link to the announcement, just a little refresher:  Obesity a disease, not a choice

That same month (June 2013) the AMA announced, with less fanfare, that sitting was the new smoking and the term "sitting disease" gained awareness and attention from the leading health organizations. The AMA bluntly declared that sitting down for too long is hazardous to your health. Numerous studies support this claim and implicate the change of workplace behavior from active and service oriented jobs to sedentary desk jobs as the leading cause of "sitting disease."  The AMA points out that excessive sitting contributes to an 18 percent increase in dying of cardiovascular disease and a 17 percent increase of dying from cancer. And here's the scary part -- 86 percent of office workers report sitting at work all day, every day.
 "The science is absolute: The more you sit, the more you get sick. And the more you get on your feet and move, the quicker you regain your health and vitality." Reader's Digest "Reverse Diabetes".
 I'm one of the 86 percent and after undergoing weight loss surgery to control my obesity it seems quite counter-intuitive to then engage most of my waking hours sitting and compromising my hard-earned good health.

My workday as a research journalist is spent sitting. Sitting for very long periods of time either reading or writing about obesity management and health management. Ironically, prolonged sitting  is about the most ineffective way to pursue a healthy life that I know of. But do not despair! We can include small but significant changes in our sedentary day that will increase our energy levels, burn extra calories, tone muscles, improve posture, increase blood flow and boost metabolism.
Excessive sitting impacts our body’s metabolic system: “Today, our bodies are breaking down from obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression and the cascade of health ills and everyday malaise that come from what scientists have named sitting disease.” ~ James Levine, MD, PhD.
Years ago in when I was stiff, uncomfortable, and grumpy from prolonged sitting a colleague told me "Stop what you are doing, stand up, slowly do six medium knee bends, then stretch overhead, and concentrate on your breathing for 90 seconds. Just pause your day and do it, then go back to what you were doing."  Really? It sounded hokey to me. But you know what - I felt instantly energized and less hopeless about the state of my sedentary life.

How To: Knee Bends

For a medium knee bend stand with your posture straight, but relaxed, feet shoulder width apart. Elevate your arms in front of you, parallel to the ground, palms down. Slowly lower into a knee bend about half-way to sitting position. (A deep knee bend is lowering to sitting position.) Raise, pause, repeat. Six times. Then lift your arms above your head and take slow deep breaths concentrating on inhaling and exhaling for 90 seconds. That's it. Try it. I hope you are pleasantly surprised as I was to find how effective this little movement is in improving my overall wellness and reducing tension throughout the day.

Quick Reminder: Rule #4 Daily Exercise - Try Walking

Bariatric professionals are taking note to educate us one the importance of reducing sedentary time as part of our overall weight management program with surgery.  Dr. Christopher Still* suggests education about the dangers of prolonged sitting and suggestions to remedy excessive conditions should be part of our WLS toolbox. He notes, "Just as the contributors and effects of obesity are multi-faceted, so too are the approaches we take in fighting them. Educating patients on the health risks of prolonged sitting and encouraging less sedentary time is another tool in our toolbox."

An excellent website for information to reduce prolonged sitting is:

*Dr. Christopher Still, DO, FACN, FACP, Co-Clinical Editor, Bariatric Times; Medical Director for the Center for Nutrition and Weight Management at Geisinger Obesity Research Institute, Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, PA.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Encore Post: Soups ON! When & How to Enjoy Soup after WLS

From our Newsletter Archives:
Cooking with Kaye Newsletter January 25, 2012
(Please note that promotions and coupons featured in this 2012 newsletter are expired a no longer valid. To check out our current promotions visit the LivingAfterWLS Bookstore).

Earlier this week on the LivingAfterWLS Blog we talked about enjoy a fresh winter walk and coming home to a hot pot of delicious Mexican-Style Chicken Soup. Soup has truly become a mainstay of my diet and many of you tell me it is an important menu choice in your ongoing post-WLS diet. We've developed and tested numerous soup recipes here at LAWLS so today I share with you a terrific Cooking with Kaye email newsletter from 2012 that features several soup recipes and includes an article pointing you toward fast food and restaurant soups that work with our dietary needs and goals. I hope you enjoy this encore presentation from LivingAfterWLS.

January 25, 2012
"It is not very often that I hear from someone who struggles with technical issues when eating soup after weight loss surgery. Soup doesn't get "stuck" going down and if we eat too much the discomfort is short-lived (compared to eating too much solid food that is poorly chewed and eaten quickly.) In fact, when post-WLS patients discover soup it often becomes their go-to comfort food. When animal protein is cooked into a soup it is moist and succulent making it easy to chew, swallow, and digest. Cooked vegetables are more readily tolerated by many WLSers compared to raw vegetables. And grains like pearl barley or quinoa are portion controlled and digestible when included as an ingredient in soup."

This reader favorite Cooking with Kaye Newsletter (January 2012) presents delicious soup recipes to keep your pot full and your pouch happy. There are also many great tips for getting the most enjoyment and nutrition from a meal of soup. I hope you enjoy these recipes and make them a part of your dietary rotation.

Get these fabulous soup recipes now! Link to Cooking with Kaye Archive
  • Tuscan Smoked Turkey-Bean Soup
  • Woodsman's Turkey Bean Soup
  • Chicken & White Bean Soup
  • Chicken & Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto
  • Hot & Sour Soup
  • Italian Meatball Soup

Friday, January 13, 2017

Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter

My husband and I enjoy a sunny winter day in the Rocky Mountains.
The Centers for Disease Control website is a bountiful resource of information to improve and protect our health beyond disease management. Check out their CDC Features: a library of reliable articles on health and disease, emergency preparedness including disasters and weather emergencies, healthy lifestyles to reduce the incidence of disease, workplace safety, and life stages. There are also many fine printable check lists and files that make organizing your health and home a breeze.

Earlier this week on the LivingAfterWLS Blog we talked about winter outdoor activity to increase our exposure to sunlight and enhance our health. See this article:  No energy? Walk Toward the Light. When considering outdoor activity these tips from the CDC can be used to ensure fun and safety:

The Take These Precautions Outdoors

Shared from the CDC Emergency Preparedness & Response 
Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous. Stay safe and healthy by planning ahead. Prepare your home and cars. Prepare for power outages and outdoor activity. Check on older adults.

Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.

Many people spend time outdoors in the winter working, traveling, or enjoying winter sports. Outdoor activities can expose you to several safety hazards, but you can take these steps to prepare for them:

Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: wear a tightly woven, preferably wind-resistant coat or jacket; inner layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.

Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.

Learn safety precautions to follow when outdoors.

Work slowly when doing outside chores.

Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.

Carry a cell phone.

Bonus Tips: Dress for the Weather

Here are winter weather clothing tips provided by:
Ready. The Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Dress for the Weather
If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
  • Wear a hat. A hat will prevent loss of body heat.
  • Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Comfort Soup: Mexican-Style Chicken Soup

In our previous blog post  No energy? Walk Toward the Light we considered the positive affects sunshine has on our health and even weight loss efforts, particularly during the long cold dark winter months. How great a day would it be to enjoy a brisk walk in the winter sun knowing you have a Protein First comfort soup waiting for your arrival home.

This recipe, shared with permission from Cooking with Kaye Methods to Meals: Protein First Recipes You Will Love is sure to hit the spot.

Ready when you are:
The method in this recipes calls for a stove top preparation. However, you can prepare the soup to the point where instructed to
reduce heat to a simmer and place the covered Dutch oven in a preheated 325F oven, or place the soup directly in the bowl of a slow cooker set to low. Oven bake or slow cooker heat for a minimum of one hour and serve hot garnishing as desired.

Mexican-Style Chicken Soup

Cooking with Kaye page  67.
This colorful and flavorful soup comes together quicker than you can say taco take-out. The traditional flavors of Mexican food are showcased in this nutrition-packed soup. This is a fine use for leftover chicken or turkey.

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red sweet pepper, seeded, chopped
1 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 (14.5-ounce) cans reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 (14.5-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8-ounce) package butternut squash, cut to half-inch dice
2 cups cooked chopped chicken meat, boneless, skinless
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped or 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Directions: In a large 4-quart Dutch oven heat canola oil over medium high heat. Add onion, red pepper, chili powder, and ground cumin and cook about 5 minutes until tender. Add chicken broth, water, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add black beans, squash, chicken, and corn and return to boil. Lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook 20 minutes. Stir in cilantro or parsley and serve immediately.

Nutrition: Serves 6. Each 1.5-cup serving provides 267 calories, 27 grams protein, 6 grams fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams dietary fiber.

Try This: In place of the stewed tomatoes use a 16-ounce jar of your favorite salsa. ~ Garnish soup with a dollop of sour cream, chopped fresh avocado, shredded cheese, or sliced fresh green onions.

More Soup Recipes:

No energy? Walk Toward the Light

Frosted Winter by Kaye Bailey
Oh What a Winter! How's the weather where you are? My home is in the high desert of Wyoming at 7,000 feet above sea level. We expect harsh winters and prepare for them. But this winter, which began December 21, 2016 is already testing my sensibilities. The temperature has stayed at or below zero, wind chill factors are life threatening, and snowfall is currently being measured in feet now, not inches. Yesterday's storm took us over 5-feet snow accumulation so far this season! FIVE FEET!

Like anyone in a far northern climate this is the time of year I crave sunlight and sun warmth. An increasing number of studies suggest this isn't just the winter blues or cabin fever. Research concludes that for overall health a daily dose of sunlight is essential.  Starting the day with exposure to natural sunshine can go a long way to improving health and protecting against disease and illness.

Open the curtains first thing in the morning to bright the morning sunshine inside. Bright morning light is a powerful regulator of the biological clock cycle, according to the National Sleep Foundation. More importantly exposure to sunshine helps your body control the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melanin which can lead to groggy mornings. "When natural sunlight hits the skin it triggers the body's production of vitamin D. Vitamin D is also known as “the sunshine vitamin.” It is a crucial ingredient for overall health; protects against inflammation, lowers high blood pressure, helps muscles, improves brain function and may even protect against cancer."

Your body is meant to be in the sun, and exposure to sunlight during the day is crucial to your well-being. It is advised to get at least 10-15 minutes of sunlight daily.

Exposure to sunlight has a huge impact on depression, seasonal affective disorder and sleep quality. According to Forbes, “in 2012, 60 million Americans filled prescriptions for sleeping pills, up from 46 million in 2006 (as reported in The New York Times). 

When sufficient natural sunlight is not available due to weather and climate conditions or when working night shifts it may be necessary to incorporate daily sunlight sessions with artificial light as a means to improve health. This alternative medicine is called Light Therapy.

“More than 80 percent of people with low energy, fatigue or the Winter Blues may expect to benefit from light therapy. Although it varies from person to person, most feel the effects of light therapy within two to four days.”
– Norman Rosenthal, M.D.Light Therapy Pioneer
Our bodies take cues from the environment – especially from light. When our schedules are driven by man-made light, it may negatively affect our circadian system. Underexposure to natural light can result in winter blues, fatigue, sleeplessness, impaired concentration and mental focus. According to Rosenthal, energy lamps help the body re-calibrate and stabilize by cuing its natural energy enhancers and providing light to replace what’s missing during the winter months.

Check out this affordable Portable Light Therapy Energy Lamp: Just $39.95 on Amazon

Sunshine for Weight Loss
Adding a little sunshine to your life can even promote weight loss. Reasonable winter outdoor activities such as hiking, sledding, walking, snow shoveling/removal, skiing, snow shoeing and the like provide an opportunity to burn calories and achieve sensible amounts of sunlight exposure.  You will be surprised to see what spending a little time outdoors can do for your health. Be sure to dress properly for weather conditions and cultivate awareness of rapidly changing weather to avoid being caught in blizzards and storms. Have fun and be safe!