Bariatric Meal Plan: Can you be a Vegetarian after Gastric Bypass?

Living a vegetarian lifestyle after gastric sleeve surgery is not impossible, but it’s not easy either. Intaking enough protein is a big part of a weight loss surgery patient’s diet, it will be difficult to get what you need from other products. It will take some careful attention to detail and planning, but it can be done.

It can be even more difficult for vegans and gastric sleeve surgery. Many vegans have a difficult time meeting the protein requirements and must follow a very regimented diet. This includes both the bariatric meal plan as well as their lifestyle. It is an uncommon combination but can be achieved with determination.

Before any bariatric surgery at WeightWise, you will meet with our surgeons for an initial consultation. We want to discuss your current lifestyle, what you hope to achieve through surgery, and a host of other questions to get a better understanding of each and every patient.

If you are a viable candidate for weight-loss surgery, you will then have a conversation with our exercise physiologists and dietitians. In most cases, patients are able to resume day-to-day activities like taking the kids to school or visiting the grocery store just a few days after surgery. Still, it’s important to ease into any new activities.

We’ll outline a plan for you that fits your current lifestyle and gradually increase your flexibility and improve the cardiovascular system. Will you be running a marathon a week after surgery? Of course not – but is nine months out of the question? Not at all.

As a vegetarian, what you put into your body is very important. Although many equate protein with meat, that isn’t the case at all. There are many forms of protein available that we will focus on. A dietitian will access what protein sources you will eat and what you will not eat, in order to construct a diet plan based on your preferences. For example; eggs, cheese, protein bars, protein shakes, beans, tofu, and occasional plant-based substitutes

Here are some tips on how to be vegetarian and still undergo gastric sleeve surgery or any other type of bariatric surgery.

Post Gastric Sleeve Diet

Protein is found in many different foods. You will need to read and research about plant-based diets and what proteins can be found in various vegetables. Patients are able to drink any protein shake that is less than 7 grams of carbs. Beans are limited to 2-3 times a week due to the starch content. We also push more for dense proteins rather than ones found in veggies.

In addition to your own findings, WeightWise dietitians will be creating diets for you to follow in the days, weeks, and months that follow the surgery. Working with your surgeon, the dietitian will take your needs into account when making your day to day diet.

Vegan Bariatric Vitamins and Supplements

Talk to your medical team about what supplements you will need to use in lieu of meat, dairy, and other animal by-products. As a bariatric patient, it’s important to remember not to start taking any supplements without first consulting your physician.

As a vegetarian, your diet will be quite different than a meat-eater. Post-Op bariatric diets are made specifically for each patient and trading one protein for another is not always advisable. Don’t exchange poultry for a protein shake or add protein powder to your meal plan unless the bariatric surgeon or the dietitian signs off on it.

Know how much to eat: Vegetarian Bariatric Diet

After weight loss surgery, your lifestyle will change dramatically. You will want to ensure that you are consuming some form of protein three times a day and avoiding snacks. This will ensure that your energy levels stay elevated, will decrease the amount of muscle mass that you lose during the weight loss process, as well as keep you full in between meals.

In the days leading up to the surgery, and for the rest of your life, you’ll still need to watch what you eat. Many fruits and vegetables still contain a lot of sugar and fat. Eating too much in one sitting will cause discomfort, pain, slow down in weight loss, and even injury.

This is true of all gastric sleeve, duodenal switch, and gastric bypass surgery patients. The body needs time to get used to the new eating habits – both physically and mentally. After the first few days, however, the body begins to adapt and releases hormones that ease the transition.

Plan: Gastric Bypass Vegetarian Recipes

Having a plan will help you stick to your vegetarian diet and encourage healthy eating every day. So, consider what you will need to start planning your meals ahead of time, instead of just going with the flow.

Your new body awaits! A healthy, active lifestyle and a diet that integrates approved protein sources and non-starchy vegetables will help put you on the path toward a full, thinner life.

If you have additional questions about how you can live a vegetarian lifestyle after gastric sleeve surgery, contact our experienced team of surgeons at WeightWise. Our staff of dietitians, exercise physiologists, and patient advocates look forward to meeting with you!

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