Product Review – Flatout Flatbread

Bread.

In all of it’s many forms.

Ask 10 post op WLSers about bread (do you eat it? should you eat it?) and you’ll probably get 10 different answers.

Immediately after surgery and for the first 6 to 9 months eating bread will take up what little space you have in your stomach. You need this space for more important things such as protein and vegetables (fiber, antioxidants, minerals yay!). Bread might go down easy but many of us find that it fills us up quickly. My suggestion is to hold off and eat your protein first.

As time goes on, and there’s a bit more room in your pouch, the issue of bread comes back up again. For some of us the quickly broken down carbohydrates in bread lead to a dumping episode  or a fun time with reactive hypoglycemia. Others find that it makes them feel too full or that it feels like it’s just sitting there. The sensation can be uncomfortable and so they avoid bread.

Others avoid bread for their own personal reasons. Perhaps it was a trigger food that lead them to over eating in the past. They avoid it now because they don’t want to go back to former habits that lead to unhealthy eating.

Me? I avoided it for years due to issues of lack of space, dumping and reactive hypoglycemia episodes. I’m now 11 years out and I do enjoy a sandwich as well as pizza on occasion. I’ve tried making a variety of low carb versions but nothing was quite the same. Often I would just stick my sandwich fillings into a salad or scrape the pizza toppings on to a single slice. But now I’ve discovered Flatout Flatbread. I love this stuff!

 

flat out bread 1

One version I can find in my local store is the Multigrain with flax. It contains half the calories of 2 slices of whole wheat bread and, even better, each flatbread contains only 7 grams of carbohydrates (15 grams total minus the 8 grams of fiber). This means I can actually make a sandwich, quesadilla or pizza and not die from horrible dumping induced gut death or have a blood sugar crash. They are soft yet nice and sturdy. They also fold easy without breaking or tearing apart like most tortillas do. Taste? They taste great! Far superior to any low carb breads or wraps I’ve tried to make myself and the carb count is quite similar.

I make my lunch for work every day and bring a wrap in once or twice a week. I can’t eat the whole thing at once so I usually have half during lunch and the remainder as a snack when I’m on break. I’ve discovered a really easy method of creating a wrap so that I can get it to work in one piece and easily wrap the remaining sandwich to eat later. I’ll post this tomorrow so stop by in and check it out.

Are you post WLS? Do you eat bread or avoid it? Got a favorite brand to share. Why not leave a comment,  share how you deal with the issue of eating bread after weight loss surgery.

Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry

Curry is one of those foods that I could make again and again. You can swap out one ingredient for another such as replacing white potatoes with sweet potatoes. Or replace the chicken with chickpeas. That’s exactly what I did with this recipe. It’s suppose to be served over basmati rice but I usually just eat it as it is.

 

Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry

 

sweet potato chickpea curry

Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
Replace the sweet potatoes with white potatoes and swap out the can of chickpeas for 2 cups of diced chicken.
Ingredients
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peel and cut into small pieces
  • 1 can of coconut milk (approximately 12 to 15 ounces)
  • 1 can of chickpeas (15 ounces) drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can peas (8 ounces) or ¾ cup frozen peas
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan and add the onions. Cook until they are soft.
  2. Add the diced sweet potatoes, curry powder, garam marsala, salt and the coconut milk. Simmer over medium heat until the potatoes are soft.
  3. Add in the chickpeas and peas.
  4. Cook until they have warmed through.

 WLS Tips: this dish is filling so I generally pass on serving it over rice. It had plenty of carbs from the potatoes, peas and chickpeas. If you’d like a protein boost try adding in some shredded chicken.

Freezer Tips: this dish freezes well. The sweet potatoes will be extra soft when you reheat the dish but the taste will remain delicious. Freeze in individual serving sizes and toss in your lunch bag before heading off to work. It will slowly thaw and, when lunch rolls around, you can easily reheat it in a couple of minutes.

Time Saving Tuesday (TST) 4

Time Saving Tuesday

Join me for the (mostly) weekly Time Saving Tuesday tip.

As a single mother with three daughters, a house, cats and a job working close to 50 hours a week, the only way I can keep up my wonder woman persona is to find things that save me time. This can be a good thing when it comes to not slipping back into former habits that contributed to hurting my health. Over the years I’ve come up with lots of tricks that work for me and, thanks to Pinterest and the many websites out there, I see lots of others that I’d like to try one day. Each week I thought I would share either a tip that I use or something that I’ve seen on another site. Perhaps some of these will work for you to help save you time and make things a bit easier. If you’ve got a great time saving tip to share why not post it in the comment section below.

This week’s TST tip is to help save you time and money is choose frozen vegetables.

While people often believe that fresh fruits and vegetables are the better option you may be surprised to learn that the nutrition in  their frozen counterparts is generally equal to, if not better than, those that are fresh. Those fresh fruits and vegetables that you see in your local market quite often take weeks to go from being picked on the farm to various wholesalers and distributors before arriving at your grocery store. During that time the nutritional content of the produce is slowly declining. From there you purchase them and they then spend a little more time sitting in your refrigerator waiting to be used.

Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak of ripeness and are frozen within hours. Freezing helps to maintain the nutritional content as well as the flavor. Plus they save me a ton of time because I don’t have to peel and chop them. After a long day of work frozen vegetables help me cut down on the time it takes to put a meal on the table. Bonus time saving points for simply opening a bag of mixed frozen vegetables to add to a crockpot dish before I run out the door in the morning.

Choosing frozen vegetables often saves me money as well. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has purchased vegetables with every intention of using them in a recipe. A week later they are still sitting in the vegetable draw looking a bit sad. A short time later I re-discover them only now they are badly wilted and fit for the compost pile. Every time I toss out a forgotten vegetable I’m throwing my hard earned money out as well. Frozen vegetables often save me from doing that.

How about you? Do you use frozen fruits and vegetables? Got a favorite one that you use often? How about a favorite recipe featuring frozen items? Why not share a link to it or comment on it below.

Recipe ReDux – Gingerbread Quick Bread

Hard to believe that we are coming up on the end of November. Time flies and the holiday baking season is getting ready to start. With holiday meals, family get togethers, work parties and other gatherings coming up there’s lots of opportunities to bake goodies for everyone to enjoy. One of my favorite sweet treats at this time of year is gingerbread. I love it made into cakes, muffins, cookies and more. The only problem with all of these things is they tend to be high in sugar and carbs. Since this month’s Recipe ReDux theme is creative quick breads it gave me an opportunity to see if I could take one of my favorite holiday flavors, gingerbread, and turn it into something a bit lower in carbs that I can enjoy.

To make this recipe I started out playing around with another recipe that I’ve used to make low carb pumpkin muffins. I used the low carb bake mix which helps give baked items a texture similar to flour based items. The nice thing about the mix is you can whip up a big batch to keep on hand until you need it. It stores up to 6 months in the refrigerator or freezer. This recipe makes one loaf or spoon the batter into muffin tins to create 12 individual quick bread muffins.

Low Carb Gingerbread Quick Bread

low carb gingerbread1

Recipe ReDux - Gingerbread Quick Bread
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 slices
 
Try adding in several tablespoons of chopped raisins or crystallized ginger. For gingerbread with a twist add in 2 teaspoons grated lemon or orange peel.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups of almond flour or low carb bake mix
  • ½ cup Splenda or your favorite sweetener
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Xanthan gum (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup or 6 ounces of Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • ½ cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 X 9 or a loaf pan with nonstick spray or butter.
  2. In a bowl whisk together the bake mix/almond flour, Splenda, spices, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum (if using) and salt.
  3. In another bowl beat the yogurt and butter together until smooth. Add in eggs one at a time and mix until combined. Add molasses. If you are using the optional lemon/orange zest or raisins/ginger add it in now.
  4. Add the half the bake mix/spice mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Mix in the almond mix. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  5. Pour into your prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out on to a wire rack and allow to cool.
  7. Slice into 12 slices and serve.

 

TIPS: the texture of this quick bread is great and it also can be spooned into muffin tins to create muffins.

FREEZER TIPS: Once completely cool wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for up to six months. I have wrapped individual pieces so I can take them out one at a time, toss them into my lunch bag and by the time I am ready to eat it the slice has thawed.

TIME SAVING TIP: I like to save myself some time when I bake. Once I know it’s a recipe that I like I will prep more than one set of dry ingredients at the same time. Measure out all the dry ingredients to create two or more quick breads into separate mixing bowls (bake mix, Splenda, spices, baking powder/soda, xanthan gum and salt). I use one for the recipe that I’m currently making and the other I pour into a freezer bag, seal and place inside of a second freezer bag. I also stick a copy of the recipe in between the two bags so I know exactly what’s in the bag. When I want to bake another quick bread I simply mix the wet ingredients together and continue on with the recipe.

Why not stop by this month’s Recipe ReDux and see some of the great quick breads that other dieitians have created.

Happy 11th Surgiversary!

11th anniversary

On the morning of October 5, 2004 I did something that changed my life…..I had gastric bypass surgery. After having spent the majority of my life battling to lose weight, and after fighting with my health insurance company as they constantly change their approval criteria, I set off for the hospital to have surgery. That day was my youngest daughter’s birthday (she turned 3 that day) and my mother told me if anything were to go wrong during surgery it would become the worst day in her life. She was worried, as are the family and friends of anyone who is choosing to take what they see as elective surgery. It was not elective to me. It was absolutely necessary. I didn’t want my daughter to have future birthday memories of a mom who wasn’t able to do things because of chronic pain. My life hasn’t been the same since that morning. Here it is, eleven years and a little over month later, and what those of us in the bariatric world call a  surgiversary…..the anniversary of your surgery….. has quietly gone by. Actually, it didn’t quietly go by. I was just too darn busy and the day passed by. I only thought about it because my daughter was looking at a old family picture and wondered who that person was in the photo. It was the former 300 lb me. Looking at that picture made me think back to what has gone on in those eleven years?

My highest weight before surgery was 320 lbs.

Weight at the time of surgery 290 lbs.

Lowest weight 158 lbs (down 132 lbs from the date of surgery).

Current weight 172 lbs (down 118 lbs) according to my scale this morning.

I went from a size 28/30 to a 12/14.

I no longer live with chronic knee and back pain. My chiropractor only sees me on rare occasions when I’ve ended up needing an adjustment because of a migraine. Prior to surgery I was there frequently due to the chronic back pain.

My doctor says my lab work is better than his other patients my age and even those in their 20’s and I am no longer pre-diabetic.

I regained 50 lbs and then spent a year and a half losing it again.

I became lactose intolerant and ended up with reactive hypoglycemia but figured out how to deal with those things.

I returned to college, got a Bachelor’s Degree in Food and Nutrition (cum laude no less) and recently I passed the licensing test to be a Registered Dietitian.

I ended up getting divorced.

I had two surgeries to deal with the “lose” skin. More like melted skin but that’s a whole different story.

I now do all the things I wanted to to but couldn’t due to pain…..walking long distances, white water rafting, ice skating, bike riding and so much more. I can wear my kids out!

Occasionally my kids raid my clothes and wear my clothes.

I met a great guy who I am happy to have as a partner in crime.

Surgery wasn’t the easy way out and the fight to maintain my weight loss continues every day. Only now I win it more than lose it.

My life has changed for the better and I’m very happy that I went through with it. The journey has not been a bed of roses but life rarely is. My surgiversary day/weekend was spent walking and hiking through the woods geocaching with my guy. I met someone just as dorky as I am. How great is that! We walked over three miles of trails, hiked up and down hills, crawled down into an old bunker to find our geocache treasure and enjoyed the day. Before surgery I was lucky to walk up and down stairs. Now I can run them.

When asked if I would do it again without hesitation I would say hell yes! I only wish I did it sooner. My advice for others who are following along this same path or thinking about doing it is to remember that surgery isn’t a cure. It gives you a life long tool that will be there for you but you have to use it. If you set it aside and return to old habits it won’t work. But, the good thing, is you will not break it and it will always be there for you to use again. A regain of 50 lbs in a year taught me that lesson.

There is no one right or wrong way. Everyone must figure out what changes they can make in their lives that will affect them for the best. You are not someone else so stop comparing yourself to them. Focus your time on learning methods to handle yourself in different situations where food is involved. You will never eat to perfection but each meal will give you another opportunity to remake what you put on your plate. You will slip back into old habits but you can change them. Focus on well defined, small goals because they will help you achieve the bigger picture. Never let doubters hold you back. It is far easier for them to take pleasure from failures then it is to celebrate the victories.

For those who comment on taking the easy way out smile because only you will know the truth. For family and friends who tell you that EVERYONE regains the weight back know that they don’t. For those in the medical field (this goes for dietitians too) keep encouraging people to make healthier choices that work for them and don’t look down on those who regain weight. Unless you’ve walked a mile in that person’s shoes you have no idea what kind of struggle (mental, emotional or physical) they are going through.

These are just a few of the things I’ve learned over these past 11 years. I look forward to finding out what new things I’ll have discovered by my next surgiversary date.

How about you? Celebrating your own surgiversary date or just making some great discoveries about yourself/life as you work through your own weight loss (or maintenance)? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about it.

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