Thursday, September 19, 2013


Hey kiddies, been a while! Well I've been working on a project with my mom for a while that has FINALLY come to fruition! That's right, 7 Bites is almost ready for the world!! So THIS blog will be moving over to THAT blog - I will post all my articles and updates on the 7 Bites blog starting next week. That link will be coming soon! Can't wait for you all to join this journey!

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Difference Between The Sleeve and Other Weight Loss Surgeries

I've had a lot of people ask me questions on this.
"Why is the sleeve so different?"
"Why the sleeve and not (enter other WLS here)?"
"What's the difference between the sleeve and (enter other WLS here)?"

There are so many surgeries out there, which one should a person chose? Which one is right for you?

I chose the sleeve because it fit in with my lfiestyle and what I wanted out of surgery. I didn't want to have to deal with the complications that can (and often DO) arise from the bypass or duodenal switch. I didn't want to have to continuously go back to the doctor for adjustments like you do with the band, and I wanted to know that there was no going back with this - that I couldn't reverse it even if I wanted to.

The sleeve is different than any other surgery out there for many reasons, here are just a few:

1. There is no pouch. With the gastric band and the bypass, the patient is left with a pouch at the top of their stomach. This pouch consists both the strong, muscular part of the stomach and the looser stretchier part. When used properly, this pouch restricts the amount of food that a patient can take in, therefore reducing calorie count significantly. The downside of the pouch is that since it does contain some of the stretchier stomach material, it can stretch, and often does. There are many, many stories of people "eating around" their band or their bypass. Not losing weight, or gaining a lot of weight back. This happens because the top of the stomach (the pouch) can stretch out to almost the size of the stomach prior to surgery.

2. Your intestines are left alone. With both the gastric (roux en y) bypass and the duodenal switch, your intestines are re-routed. This causes malabsorption of both calories and nutrients. The upside to this is that, especially for DANGEROUSLY obese people, the weight loss is very quick and efficient. The downside is that - well, you're not absorbing nutrients! Many people that have had these surgeries have to take multiple vitamin and mineral supplements daily. Another downside to this is what's called "dumping syndrome". While the sleeve patient does live with some dumping in the first 12-18 months, by the second year it has disappeared. With the bypass and duodenal switch patient, however, it is a consistent issue for the rest of his/her life.

3. It's permanent. The lap-band, bypass, and duodenal switch (the intestinal portion) are all reversible. The sleeve is not (keep in mind that the first step in the duodenal switch is removal of a portion of the stomach, similar to the sleeve. This portion of this surgery is NOT reversible). There IS no "changing your mind" after surgery. In my personal opinion, having the option of reversal is almost like giving yourself a way out. "If I don't like it, I can get it fixed" - almost like going into marriage with the mindset that "if this doesn't work out I can always get a divorce". It doesn't work that way with the sleeve. It's yours, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, 'til death do you part.

4. It's foolproof ... Mostly ... At least for the first year.  You really can't mess things up. Okay, well there was this one story my doctor told me about one of his patients that didn't lose any weight because all she ate was ice cream. Okay, come on, ICE CREAM?? That was her own fault, because I KNOW she got some nutrition training (my doc's nurse is a certified nutritionist and she's amazing). My point is this, though. MOST of us - at least in the first year - can't eat ice cream anyway or we'll get really sick. After the first two months (of which are spent in liquid and soft foods diet phases), you can eat what you can tolerate. And you will still lose weight. At least for the first year. There is no stretchy portion of the stomach, so you CAN'T overeat - or you'll get very, very sick. For the first year there will be things you can't tolerate - your body will take care of that for you as well. So you see, you really can't mess things up the first year. After that, your stomach will relax and the amount you can eat will increase slightly, so you will have to be more mindful of that. But as long as you stick to the diet plan that your nutritionist tells you to (which I can tell you right now will be - PROTEIN FIRST), you'll be just fine.

It was not an easy decision for me to make the choice to have weight loss surgery. I fought against the idea for years. Literally, YEARS. The day my husband looked at me and told me he didn't want to lose me was the day I made that choice. And I will never regret it. While I'm not where I WANT to be as far as my weight goes, I am so much healthier than I have ever been. I am able to do things now that I couldn't do even in my teen years. I am so thankful for the tool that I have been given with the sleeve and I will never go back.

Thank you all for joining me on my journey! God bless!

Don't forget to check out my vlog on my You Tube channel.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The More I Learn, The Less I Know . . .

I have said this statement more than any other in my life.
And, can I just say, that sometimes TOO MUCH INFORMATION does more damage than good.
There are so many "eating lifestyles" around now, how can a person tell what they should or should not be eating?
This is a topic I've revisited again, and again.
And I've come to a realization.
Since my surgery, I cannot look at food as a non-surgery person looks at food anymore.
I should have had this figured out a year ago, but I didn't.
You see, a year ago, I was still in the mindset that, after healing, I could go back to eating whatever I wanted, only in smaller amounts.
This is a lie that I was telling myself.
Actually, this is a lie that MY ADDICTION was telling me.

Yes. I am an addict.
I have talked about this before - several times, I'm sure. But it doesn't sting any less for me to say that out loud.
Yep, I had to say it again.

So, here's what I'm learning:

Eating for sleevers is NOT the same as "dieting".
We can no longer be on diets, actually.
We have to eat a certain amount of certain things daily for us to even be able to FUNCTION.
One thing I learned that is NOT a fad diet thing is that the human body requires a certain amount of protein, water, vitamins, and minerals a day in order to function. Without these primary building blocks, our bodies shut down. We become listless, have less energy, and become sick.
Some of what we need:
Protein: 60 g
Water:  64 oz
Calcium: 1000-1200 mg
Iron: 8-18 mg.

There's more, but these are the ones that I found to be the most important to a sleever specifically.
So, what does this mean?
This means we have to eat differently than everyone else on the planet.
Remember when the doctor told you "protein first"?
Yeah. He wasn't joking.
Where are the BEST sources of protein?
Well, here's something else I've learned of the last few days:

The leaner the protein source, the higher the protein count.
Yes. Really.

For example:

1 whole egg contains 6 g of protein.
1 egg white ALSO contains 6 g of protein.
I can eat a whole egg.
I can also eat TWO egg whites.
So, if I chose the egg whites over the egg, that's 12 g protein vs. 6!!

Here's another example:

1 oz of chicken breast contains 9 g of protein
1 oz of thigh meat contains a mere 4 g!
So, I can eat 3 oz of meat (usually) in a setting, so if I chose the breast over the thigh, I can get in about 27 g of protein - almost HALF of what I need!!

But what about fiber? Vitamins? Minerals??

All-natural gurus won't like this much, but:


Take your vitamins - DAILY.
If you need it, add a fiber supplement to your diet.
Yes, these vitamins and minerals are VERY IMPORTANT so PLEASE don't pooh-pooh them off!!

SO, now that this blog post has gone on for MUCH longer than I anticipated . . .
I think it's safe to say that I have learned a LOT over the past year.
And I have figured out that it's time that I start over - again.

Remember, kids:

Protein, water, vitamins.
God bless you all,

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Tacon Turger Salad w/Condiment Vinagarette

This week I started a new challenge with my dear friend, Melissa who is a Beach Body coach! It's a mommy boot camp - 90 days of transformation. To learn more about why I'm doing this, check out my video here. Each Tasty Tuesday will include a delicious recipe along with my dinner and workout schedule for the week.

My program of choice is Body Gospel which is a high-spirit work out plan. It's mid-impact (not low, not high) and is easily modified for those that need it. What I like about it the most is the fact that it's spiritual in nature. Another great perk is that there is a variety of workouts, so you won't get bored with it for sure. The eating plan goes right along with it - it's a low GI plan filled with fresh foods and high fiber! Delicious!

Alright, enough about that, here's the recipe I know you've been waiting for!!

In our family we make turkey burgers and turkey bacon - a lot, in fact. We've made up our own word for both as well: tacon for turkey bacon and turger for turkey burger. It's fun to say and the kids love having Tacon Turger night!

With the hubbs and I lowering our carb levels, we decided that we would make this one with no bread - making it into a salad. Topped with a homemade dressing made of all the usual burger condiments, it hits the spot and doesn't feel like a deprivation in the least!

Tacon Turgers:

2 frozen turkey burger patties OR 1/4 lb. ground lean turkey, formed into patties and refrigerated for at least an hour.
4 slices turkey bacon

Cook burgers on grill (High) or in a skillet (med-high) on the stove - 3-5 minutes per side until cooked through (should be around 165 when checked with a meat thermometer).

Cook turkey bacon in a skillet coated with 1 tsp oil (I used coconut oil) and heated on medium heat. Flip every minute or so for the first five minutes, then every thirty seconds until as crisp as you like.


4 C chopped romaine lettuce, mixed greens, baby spinach, or a mix of all three
1/4 C chopped dill pickle
1/2 C cubed cheese of choice (I used an applewood smoked gouda!)

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.


1 T mustard
1 T mayonnaise
1 T Ketchup
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp celery seed

Mix all together in a small bowl until well combined.

Now assemble:

Put two cups of salad on a plate. Toss with 1 T dressing. Break up turkey burger over top. Top with two slices turkey bacon. Drizzle with a touch more dressing, if needed.

Delicious and so, so tasty!!!

And here's my menu for the week (Dinners only) with my workout schedule.

Tuesday: Bacon wrapped steaks, salad, roasted veggies - workout: Body Gospel Core Revelation
Wednesday: Turkey Bratwurst, sauerkraut, salad - workout: Body Gospel Body Revival
Thursday: Grilled Chicken Salad - workout: Body Gospel Stretch in the Spirit
Friday: Homemade pita pizzas, salad - workout: Body Gospel Body Revival
Saturday: Smoked chicken, roasted veggies - workout: Body Gospel Stretch in the spirit
Sunday: Grilled Turkey Burgers, Salad - workout: REST DAY
Monday: Portobello Mushroom pizzas, Salad - workout: Body Revival

Saturday, May 18, 2013

30-Day Paleo Challenge Weekly Update - Confessions of a Carb Addict ...

Well, this week has been decidedly NON-paleo for me.
I jumped right back on the whole "Oh, this won't hurt me - not this once!" bandwagon - but I jumped on it EVERY DAY THIS WEEK.
Yeah - it's been THAT kind of week.
It started when I got results back from my blood work with my primary doctor. According to him, I'm one of those people that is not only not effected by dairy, but actually NEEDS it in order to produce certain necessary vitamins and enzymes in my body. As a result, I added back in cheese and yogurt to my diet.

Now, cheese and yogurt are not bad things. But I never thought they'd be my gateway drugs into a path of destruction ...

Monday - I ate a half of a biscuit I had made for my kids. I had an allergic reaction! It was as if I had eaten an entire handful of pollen.  My nose stopped up, my eyes started watering, and my ears even started to act as though they were closing up. One step farther and I might have gone into anaphylaxis! So this tells me that I have some kind of reaction to wheat. Which I guess is good to know . . .

Tuesday - I took my children to the doctor for their check up, which actually ended up going very well. And it was a pretty good eating day as well, for me. It was all meat and veg that day - and I even made up a batch of hard boiled eggs that my daughter and I snacked on.

Wednesday -  I was having a BAD day. It was one of those "pity party" days where I just didn't feel good enough. I didn't want to get up and do anything. I was feeling like a bad mom, a bad wife, a bad EVERYTHING. Then my parents took us to lunch. I had a flauta and a few bites of rice and beans. I did NOT have a reaction to these things. But still . . . two days off the wagon in ONE WEEK??

Thursday - I was snacky. And the pediatrician had told us to clean out our cabinets this week of all unhealthy foods. So we did. And I had popcorn. And rice cakes. And a handful of gluten free snack crackers (my kids eat a lot of gluten free foods because they like them). And some cereal. Good heavens. My carb monster came out to play.

Friday - Friday was grocery shopping day. And another lunch with the fam. Which meant another flauta. I didn't eat the rice or beans - is that an improvement . . ?

So where did I go wrong? What was it that led to this inevitable downward spiral this week? Stress? Lack of will power? I'm not 100% sure. I know it's not the group - there is an AMAZING group of people that are very supportive there. I think it's something inside of ME - there's a reason I was up to 300 lbs. I am a food addict, plain and simple. This is something that I obviously need to work on for myself.

So as a result, this week I gained back the four I'd lost last week. Yeah, see what carbs does??
So how am I going to handle this next week?

Better planning, for one thing. I already have every meal planned to a "t" for the next week. Most of them are not, unfortunately, on Leanne's plan for the week, but that's only because we are on a very tight budget and the cuts of meat I can get are different from what is in the plan. But that's not going to affect my eating plan. I did shop this weekend and bought fruit and veggies, plus I still have carry over veggies from last week, so I'm good there. And all the carby snacks that were tempting last week? They're out of the house now, so those won't be a problem.

So here I go. Back to square one.
Next week should -
be better.  I know it.

How was your week? Sound off below!

Friday, May 10, 2013

30-Day Paleo Challenge Weekly Update

In case you missed this post, I've decided to give Paleo eating a shot. My friend Leanne over at Saving Dinner has issued a challenge! A 30-Day Paleo Challenge, to be exact. This challenge is a STRICT Paleo eating plan for 30 days. It began Monday and ends Wednesday, June 5th. Haven't joined yet? It's not too late! Run over there now and get signed up!

So how did this week go for me?

Well, I have a mouthful of canker sores. Not sure if that's b/c of something I'm eating or another reason, but it's NOT FUN. I can't seem to get rid of them. I was hoping that Paleo eating would help with this issue, but so far . . . notsomuch.

That being said, I do have GOOD news. I have lost about four pounds this week. Which means that AWFUL stall (you know - bouncing between 198-200?) is DONE. I am at 194! Whoop whoop! SO excited about that.

Do I feel better? Well, no. Honestly, I can't say that I really feel any different than before. But then, the only thing different I'm doing now than what I WAS doing is that I cut out dairy. I wasn't eating grains before, and it's been a long time since I've had any beans or other starchy veggies. I've also eaten more sweet potatoes than I have in a long time. Found that we REALLY like them. Maybe too much . . .

So what did I eat this week?
Lots of eggs. Bacon, ham, pepperoni, roast beef, pork tenderloin, moroccan spiced chicken legs, really good vegetable soup, lots of roasted and sauteed veggies. I also made some great paleo friendly pumpkin muffins. REALLY great.

Is it easy? Yes. Super easy. A lot easier than I actually expected, honestly. And fun! I am using spices that I've never thought I'd ever use (think coriander, curry, rosemary . . .). I am actually taking the time to MAKE my lunch (like sauteed shrimp and asparagus with cilantro-cashew pesto!). I am enjoying food. A lot. And watching my portion sizes to boot. Which is super important for us sleevers (ever heard the term sliming? Yeeaahh . . . You don't really want to know what that is . . .).

What do I miss? Sucralose. Stevia's just not cutting it for me.
                          Surprisingly, popcorn. I wasn't even THAT into popcorn (did you see my nose grow just
                          then?) Okay. I confess, I LOVE popcorn. Everything about it. But I can't figure out a
                          viable substitute . . . Yet. Just wait. I'll figure one out.
                          CHEESE. I. LOVE. CHEESE. A lot. And I miss it too. A lot. *They* say nutritional yeast
                          is a good substitute for cheese, but I'm sorry it's not. Not when you're craving a nice chunk
                          of a good aged raw-milk cheddar . . . Mmmm.

What I don't miss? Coffee creamer. I really thought I would. But I don't. I found a great one that is made
                              coconut milk. So Delicious Coconut Creamer. So far I've found plain, French vanilla,
                              and hazelnut. My favorite is hazelnut.
                              Peanuts and peanut butter. I am HOOKED on almond butter. It is the BOMB. Slather
                              some on a piece of celery and . . . Fuggitabowtit. SO delicious.
                              Crackers.  Who needs 'em when you've got so many other really yummy crunch things
                              like cucumbers, carrots, and celery. OMG, did I just say that? Yes. Yes I did.

So, challengers, how'd your first week go? Successes? Messes? Moments of "Oh my God what the heck am I doing??" Chime in and tell me how you're doing!

*Note - I was GOING to do a link up party, but the service I used - Linky tools - is now a PAID site. Bummer. So if you have a blog, please leave your link in the comments and I will be sure to visit!! Thanks for joining me in this journey!*

Friday, May 3, 2013

30 Day Paleo Challenge! Starts MONDAY!!

So I am stuck at 200 lbs.
I hate being stuck.
I have this HUGE fear of being stuck since I was at 285 for TWO YEARS.
I've been toying with the idea of changing my diet plan, and researching different eating plans for some time. One that really draws me in is the Paleo style eating plan.
What is Paleo? Well, in a nutshell, it's a diet with no grains, no legumes or beans, and no dairy. It sounds really weird, and very "fad" diet-ish. But it's backed by science. A LOT of science.
Now, as far as some of the philosophy ("This is what the caveman ate!") as a Christian Creationist that's not something that I buy into (but that's another blog post). But reading the research behind it has been a very interesting activity and one that I'm really glad I've done.

So what CAN you eat on paleo?
Meat. LOTS of meat.
And fat. Animal fat. You know, lard, bacon grease, chicken fat, pork fat, butter. . .
And other fats too - coconut oil, palm kernel oil, dende oil, olive oil, walnut oil . . . (just no peanut oil).
And lots of veggies - even sweet potatoes (in moderation).
Even fruit - apples, berries, mango, kiwi, citrus . . .
So, there's not a whole lot of  "denying" one's self.

What are the no-no's? Well, of course theirs the obvious - no dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc. - butter is the one exception), no grains at ALL - including corn, wheat, rice, etc., no beans, no legumes, no peanuts, no peas. Also excluded are starchy veggies like peas, white potatoes, and fruits with a very high sugar content (bananas, etc - although they are not 100% excluded in every version of Paleo eating).

So, as you can see, there's really a whole lot more you CAN eat, than you CAN'T.

Well, you're eating a low carb diet filled with protein and vegetables. It can't be UNhealthy . . .

So what I'm leading up to is this.
My friend Leanne Ely runs this AMAZING website called Saving Dinner. If you've never been there, you need to go. NOW. Go on . . .  I'll wait . . .
. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

Oh, good, you're back! See! Isn't she AMAZING??
Well, she is doing something wonderful. She is starting a challenge that will last for 30 days.
It's called the 30 Day Paleo Challenge with Saving Dinner. If you have been thinking about eating Paleo, or wondering "what's all the hub-bub, bub?" about it, this is the PERFECT opportunity for you to try it out. And the best thing? You get emails, videos, and encouragement from Leanne DAILY.

Your mission, if you chose to accept it, is to FLY over to Saving Dinner and TAKE THE CHALLENGE!!

Every Friday I will do an update with a LINKY PARTY! So if you are taking the challenge (or even if you just want to link up!) you can come join in the fun! The Linky Party starts NEXT FRIDAY! And you have until MONDAY to sign up for the challenge. It will be the best $15 you've ever spent - seriously!

By the by - let it be known that I am NOT getting paid for this plug! This is a product that I 100% believe in and I think that you can benefit from it!

See you Friday!