Veggie Tales (part 5): A day in the life of a post-op vegetarian

So now that we’ve gone over what a vegetarian is, whether post-ops can even be vegetarians, how to make the transition and how to make good food choices, I figured I’d give you a day in the life of a post-op vegetarian.
Let’s start in the pantry.
Here are some of the staples you’ll always find in my
  • Greek yogurt (usually
    homemade; vegans could substitute soy yogurt)
  • Soy milk and/or raw milk
    (regular skim milk from the grocery store would work, too)
  • Shredded cheese (vegans
    can buy soy cheese)
  • Canned beans (dried beans
    are cheaper but I like the convenience of canned beans)
  • Canned garbanzo beans
    (chickpeas) for roasting for snacks
  • Nuts and/or nut butters
  • Tofurky Italian sausages
    (I use them in dishes like jambalaya but also eat half of one sliced up
    with spaghetti sauce on it for a quick and easy  meal)
  • Morningstar Farms fake
    meat products, like fake ground beef, fake chicken and fake bacon
  • Protein powder and protein
    bars (the ones I usually use contain whey isolate but there are soy
    isolate options available for vegans)
With these staples, I can throw together a quick meal like
black beans with a little salsa and shredded cheese on top or a stir fry make
with Morningstar Farms fake chicken and whatever veggies I happen to have in
the house.
A couple other items you might want to keep on hand are
cottage cheese and tofu; I just don’t care for either of those things myself.
Sample Menus
Here are a couple days’ worth of sample menus, which are
pretty typical for what I eat.  These
menus give me plenty of protein as well as other nutrients.
Day One
Breakfast – protein shake with soy milk and protein powder

Lunch – pumpkin spice Greek yogurt (plain Greek yogurt mixed
with sugar free cheesecake pudding mix, pumpkin puree, a little Splenda and a
splash of sugar free caramel syrup, topped with Cool Whip Free and sprinkled
with cinnamon and nutmeg; vegans can use soy yogurt)
Snack – roasted chickpeas (see recipe to follow)
Dinner – sausage and beans (see recipe to follow)
Snack – protein bar
Day Two
Breakfast – protein bar
Lunch – Island Red Beans (see recipe to follow)
Snack – almonds
Dinner – scrambled egg with cheese (scramble tofu with vegan
cheese if preferred), Morningstar Farms breakfast strips, apple cinnamon muffin
Snack – Greek yogurt (or soy yogurt) with sugar free banana
pudding mix and Splenda, topped with half sliced banana

Roasted Chickpeas

Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas (also called garbanzo

Put a towel on a baking sheet, spread the beans on the towel and pat dry. 
Remove the towel, drizzle with olive oil (or just spray with cooking spray),
stir, and spread out in a single layer.

Bake for about 50 minutes at 400 degrees.  Yeah, they take a while. 
Stir three or four times during baking.

Take out of the oven, season however you like, stir and eat. 

Sausage and Beans
4 Tofurky Italian sausages, sliced
2 cans kidney beans
1 onion, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
minced garlic (I use about a tablespoon)
Franks’s sweet chili sauce (by the hot sauce in the grocery store; I use about
¼ cup)
tomato sauce (a couple tablespoons)

Sauté the diced onion and garlic in a little olive oil in a
big pot until slightly soft.  Add the
beans, sausage and diced tomatoes.  Stir
and add tomato sauce and sweet chili sauce (a little of the chili sauce goes a
long way).  Simmer for about 20 minutes.  You can cut this recipe in half if you don’t
want to eat leftovers all week.
Island Red Beans
4 cans kidney beans
1 onion, diced
minced garlic (I use about a tablespoon)
2 habanera peppers, diced (this makes it really spicy; use just one pepper if
you want it less spicy; these peppers are small but a little goes a long way)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 or 2 cups water (depends on how saucy you like your beans)
½ teaspoon dried cilantro
½ teaspoon dried oregano
salt and black pepper to taste

Sauté the diced onion and garlic in a little
olive oil in a big pot until slightly soft. 
Add the diced habanera peppers and cook for a couple minutes.  Add beans, tomato sauce, water and

Bring to a boil, then reduce
to a simmer and cook about 25 minutes. 
You can cut this recipe in half if you don’t want to eat leftovers all

Well…that about wraps up this BF Basics series. Thanks for allowing me to share a bit about my life as a vegetarian with all of you. Nik has assured me that there will be a version of this series for download within the next few days, so look for that soon!

Until then…play with your food!

<< Making good vegetarian food choices


  1. I wanted to thank you for doing this series. I am working hard to incorporate more vegetarian/vegan options into my diet and found this series very helpful!!

  2. Thanks for the info. Still not sure if I will ever fully commit to becoming a vegetarian, but the information you have provided will help me make better choices for myself and my family in the future.

  3. Thank you for this! I am an ethical vegetarian…almost as many years as you…and my sleeve surgery date is December 4th. I've been a little nervous about life post-op and this made me feel A LOT better. Thanks!

  4. Thank you! I've been struggling so much and I found this series helpful. I had sleeve surgery in August and just came across some really disturbing information in November that made me want to stay away from animal products. Up until now, I just haven't had the stomach for animal products, especially meat, and I've been avoiding them without really planning…which leads to not getting my protein in. I see now that I can do this in a healthy way!

  5. Virginia Morrison

    Seitan is a great vegan protein choice.

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