This post op diet is a transition period from clear liquids to solids in a period of Phases from 4 to 6 weeks.
It is important to understand that every patient is different and the time needed to complete each phase may vary between individuals. But please do not skip phases. Make sure you transition from one stage to the next only until you feel you can fully tolerate the foods in the previous phase. You can stay in any given phase longer than 1 week however please do not advance to the next stage any quicker than 1 full week.
Keep in mind that you are not only working with a smaller stomach that holds less food or a modified bowel anatomy that absorbs less calories. Along with this, you will very likely experience changes in your food preferences and in the feelings of hunger and satiety. So, avoiding hyperpalatable foods that can stimulate your appetite or trigger maladaptive eating behaviors is important.
Ultra-processed products and industrialized artificially flavored beverages that do not provide nutrients should be avoided at all times.
ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOUR BODY TELLS YOU. If you identify certain foods that give you discomfort. Please avoid them.
We suggest and highly recommend a WHOLE FOOD PLANT PREDOMINANT eating pattern post-surgery to obtain the most nutrients possible from your food and avoid deficiencies.
WEEK 1 (Phase 1)
The first 7 days after surgery, you will not be able to tolerate large amounts of fluids so it’s important to focus on HYDRATION
Taking small sips of clear liquids throughout the day will help you be well hydrated and avoid feeling lightheaded, tired, weak and/or muscle cramping.
Other issues we need to consider specifically during this phase are TISSUE REPAIR and ACID REFLUX
- Broths – Vegetable, Chicken, Fish, Bean, Miso Soup etc. can be soothing and may give you a feeling of satisfaction. Avoid eating packaged brands by cooking a big batch, dividing it in small portions and freezing them for later use.
- Infused Water – Pure water may be difficult to tolerate for some. If this is your case, infusing your water with herbs and/or fresh fruit and letting it rest overnight in your refrigerator can make it easier to drink.
- Teas/ Tisanes – Certain herbs or spices may aid digestion and reduce symptoms of acid reflux – Ginger, Licorice, Chamomile and Cardamom can be a good option for herbal infusions. If acid reflux is a problem, avoid peppermint and spearmint teas.
- Homemade Fruit/Veggie Juice – Avoid citrus fruits and tomatoes during this phase if acid reflux is a problem. If you do not have a juicer at home, you may blend your fruits and veggies and run it through a strainer or cheesecloth. Adding ginger and/or aloe vera to your homemade juices can be a good option for gastric issues. If acid reflux is a problem, avoid tomato and citrus fruits.
- Homemade Popsicles – Made with your homemade juices, infused water and/or herbal tisanes. Get creative with the different flavor combinations. You may add a touch of honey or date syrup if needed.
- Gelatin – It may provide numerous benefits after surgery including tissue repair and gut health. The same combinations you’ve been trying for your popsicles and be used to make gelatin. Avoid Jell-O and industrialized brands that have sweeteners, flavoring and coloring agents that can cause disturbances to your gut microbiome.
- Bone Broth – This highly nutritious stock can be easily made at home by boiling animal bones and connective tissue along with herbs to enhance the flavor. The longer it cooks, the more nutritious it will be.
- APPLES & PEARS® COLLAGEN+ – This supplement was designed specifically for this post-op period. It contains Hydrolyzed Collagen, Electrolytes, Multi-Vitamins and Minerals, Hyaluronic Acid, Resveratrol and Vitamin C – Aids in Hydration, Tissue repair and Nutritional Supplementation.
WEEK 2 (Phase 2)
As soon as you feel that you can completely tolerate the foods suggested in phase 1, (No sooner than 7 days out) you may move on to phase 2 where, in addition to the clear fluids you are already drinking, you may add full or thicker liquids that will give you a stronger feeling of satisfaction. Besides hydration, in this phase we need to focus on NUTRITION DENSITY with foods that will give you the most amount of nutrients possible in the small portions that you are consuming. A good blender will be of great use during your whole post-op but particularly in this phase.
- Smoothies – Blending fruits and vegetables is a great way of getting a good amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber in a glass. Adding nuts and seeds will give you good quality fats that your body needs and a feeling of satisfaction. (See Rainbow Smoothie Table below)
- Yogurt – The probiotics in yogurt can provide a numerous amount of health benefits. Make sure you choose a brand with no added ingredients other than milk and the culture. Make sure the ingredients read: CONTAINS LIVE CULTURES. If it has added sugars, artificial sweeteners, thickeners or color then it is not a healthy option.
- Creamy Vegetable Soup – Roasting your veggies with olive oil, herbs and spices will bring out their flavors. You may roast a big batch and refrigerate or freeze for later use. It is better if you use potatoes or yogurt to thicken instead of flour.
- Creamy Bean or Lentil Soup – Legumes are one of the most wonderful foods for the post-op. They are full of nutrients and can be cooked in a big batch and frozen for later use.
- Bisque, Velouté, or Chowder – These creamy soups are also a good way of consuming adequate amounts of protein. They can be easily made at home to avoid high sodium store bought options
- APPLES & PEARS® PROTEIN+ – This protein formula was designed specifically for patients with bariatric surgery. I contains 30g of whey protein per portion, probiotics, digestive enzymes, multi-vitamins and minerals, omega-3
- APPLES & PEARS® WHEY ISOLATE – Pure whey protein of the highest quality. It can be added to anything during this phase to give your meals a protein boost.
- Comparable high quality protein shake or powder, criteria listed in preop.
RAINBOW SMOOTHIE ANATOMY
|BASE||Water, Coconut Water (NATURAL)||Avoid ultra-processed plant milks|
|LEAFY GREENS||Spinach, Kale, Arugula, Beet Greens, Carrot Greens, Swiss Chard, Microgreens, Sprouts, etc||Try using darker greens… the darkercolor the more nutrient dense|
|VEGETABLES||Carrots, Beets, Celery, Cucumbers, Cactus, etc.||Use a variety of colors of both fruits and vegetables|
|FRUITS||Apples, Berries, Bananas, Oranges, Mango, Papaya, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Grapefruit, Peach, Kiwi, Grapes, etc.||Use a variety of colors of both fruits and vegetables|
|NUTS: at 4 weeks post-surgery||Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Macadamia, Pistachio, etc.||Healthy fats that give you satiety|
|SEEDS: at 4 weeks post-surgery||Chia, Flaxseeds (ground), Sesame, Pumpkin, Sunflower, Hemp, Poppy etc||Omega-3 and nutrient dense|
|FLAVOR||Honey, Dates, Lime, Ginger, Herbs (mint, basil), Cardamom, Cacao, Vanilla Bean, Cinnamon||Go easy on the honey and dates
Avoid artificial sweeteners
|EXTRA GOOD FAT||Avocado, Coconut Flesh, Plain Yogurt, Nut butters||Adds texture and increases satiety|
|EXTRA PROTEIN||Pure whey protein, Cottage Cheese, Cooked white beans, PB2, Quinoa, Amaranth, Hemp||Good for meal substitution|
WEEK 3 (PHASE 3)
You will be transitioning to solids during this phase so it’s better to focus on soft foods that don’t require too much chewing. Again, NUTRITION DENSITY is key to a good post-op recovery. A food processor is a tool that will make your post-op life way easier. It is well worth the investment.
- Soft Fruits – Peeled an pitted. The edible skin of fruit is a nutritious part of it but avoid it during this phase.
- Nice Cream – Bananas are high in pectin. If you freeze them and then put them in the food processor, it will give you a delicious treat with the consistency of ice cream. You may add cacao, vanilla, cinnamon, other frozen fruits, honey or other whole foods or ingredients that can make it yummier
- Cooked Vegetables – Roasted with herbs, steamed or sauteed. Just make sure they are soft enough to tolerate
- Dips and Spreads – Made from legumes can be a great option to pair with roasted veggies. Other options are guacamole or babaganoush. Avoid cream cheese dips or other ultra-processed products
- Purees – fruits or veggies can be pureed to make them easier to tolerate. Adding a bit of plain yogurt to your pureed veggies can give them a protein boost.
- Fish – Good source of protein and Omegas. Go for the fattier fish, they are more nutritious (Salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, tuna, cod)
- Creamy Salads – Egg, Tuna, Potato. These salads are easy to tolerate and highly nutritious. Avoid using mayonnaise. Try instead olive oil, avocado or greek yogurt to make these salads creamier.
- Eggs – Wonderful source of protein, vitamins and mineral They can be made any way you prefer.
- Nut Butters – Very easy to make if you have a food processor. Just roast the nuts a few minutes in the oven, blend them in the food processor with a little sea salt or honey and that is it! If making them at home is not an option, go for the brands that have less ingredients. The only ingredient that any nut butter needs is nuts… no more.
WEEK 4 (PHASE 4)
This is where you should be able to tolerate almost anything as long as you chew well. A Whole Food Plant Based eating pattern is recommended. The following food groups will give you all the micro and macronutrients you need.
- Legumes – Beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas
- Whole Grains – oats, quinoa, brown rice, corn, wheat, barley, rye, amaranth, buckwheat, farro
- Dairy (Good Quality)