BF Basics: Veggie Tales

Howdy, Foodies!

Have you ever wondered if it is possible to be both a WLS patient and a vegetarian? Many think it’s not possible because of the protein needs after WLS, but I happen to know a few post-op vegetarians who have realized great success. My friend Kelly, a three-year post-op and vegetarian of more than 25 years, is one of them.

This week, she’s going to share with you all the basics of vegetarianism, how that all relates to post-op life and even give you some tips and recipes for integrating vegetarian eating into your life! Thanks Kelly!

Over the next five days, this series will speak from Kelly’s perspective. If you have any questions for Kelly about any information she’s given, leave them in the comments and Kelly promises to respond to them quickly!

Here’s what Kelly has to say:

I was really excited when Nik asked me to write a series on a vegetarian post-op diet for Bariatric Foodie. I love Bariatric Foodie, I love being post op and I love being a vegetarian, so it’s right up my alley. I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking lately about my diet, and I’ve been considering transitioning to a vegan diet, so the timing was good for me.

I’ve been a vegetarian for more than 25 years, since I was 14. The food choices we make can be pretty complicated, but to put it simply, I decided I personally didn’t want to kill animals and that I didn’t need to do so in order to eat. I grew up in a family of meat-eaters and vegetarians were kind of rare back then. 

Now I find a lot more people eating a vegetarian diet and a lot more food options out there.
I had gastric bypass surgery a little over three years ago and it never occurred to me to start eating meat after my surgery. I did have to change my thinking about protein a bit and make some changes to my diet in order to increase my protein intake. The meal plans and recommendations I got from my surgeon and dietician were designed for people that eat meat so I had to customize those to fit my needs.

I’m not going to try to convince you that you should be a vegetarian. That’s up to you. I’m just going to tell you that you can be a vegetarian and get enough protein and be healthy after weight loss surgery, if that’s what you want to do. And I’m going to show you how to do it.

In this series, we’ll cover:


  1. I am excited about this series!!!

  2. Yea! Love this topic and love Nik and Kelly!

  3. Good, I was wondering how you get enough protein in, when you don't eat meat, this is a good topic

  4. Please understand that there's no judgement, just a true curiosity. How does a vegetarian wind up needing gastric bypass? I know that sounds odd, but, really, I'm curious. I know you can always eat too much of anything, even veggies, just wondering since in general, vegetarianism is considered so much more healthy. 🙂

    BTW, yes, I did have gastric bypass so I'm not some skinny minnie who's never had a weight issue in their life asking this 😉

  5. I forgot to also add that, at least for Lent, I've chosen to go pescetarian 🙂

  6. Hmmm, interesting topic. I'll have to see how/where this goes 🙂

  7. Kelly goes into how vegetarians can be obese later in the series, but the short answer is that vegetarian eating does not automatically = healthy eating!

  8. Mommyminusone, That's actually a very good question. I think many people mistakenly assume vegetarians just eat lots of veggies and must be skinny. Consider some of these meatless goodies I used to eat regularly: cheese pizza (Papa John's was my favorite and I could eat half a large pizza along with some cheesy breadsticks dipped in garlic butter), Ben and Jerry's ice cream (I could eat a pint at a time), cereal with milk, potato chips, lots of bread and crackers and pasta… are you starting to see how I might have gotten heavy? Oh, I did eat veggies, I ate salads and I loved cooked carrots and I ate onions in lots of dishes… but let me tell you, there are lots of meatless dishes that have lots of fat and calories! Kelly

  9. Anonymous, there are lots of foods that have protein besides meat. Dairy products have lots of protein and some vegetarians do eat dairy. There are also beans, nuts, tofu, veggie burgers and all kinds of "fake meat" products, soy milk, soy cheese, soy yogurt… and even foods like broccoli have some protein, just not a whole lot. Kelly

  10. I am so excited for this series. Once I have introduced more foods, I hope to get vegetarian, and see how that progresses.

  11. Great series! Can't wait to learn more as I'm leaning towards "flexitarian" myself. I'd love to have the discipline to be vegan, but I know myself well enough to know that flexitarian will be more realistic.

  12. Holly from 300 Pounds Down

    Well this isn't a topic I've really heard covered but my daughter is a vegetarian so I am always looking for more info on that. I'm looking forward to it!

  13. Anonymous, I'm curious about the term "flexitarian." Do you mean that sometimes you'll eat meat and sometimes you'll eat vegetarian stuff? I don't think I've come across that term before. I don't find it difficult at all to avoid meat but I think vegan would be a challenge for me. I've considered it from time to time but there are milk ingredients in so many foods!

  14. What a wonderful read! I'm an ovo lacto vegetarian, born and raised. It's great to see something so perfectly geared to me after having WLS a month ago. I would love to see more recipes. Thank you so much for all the information! 🙂

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