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A Chefs Perspective

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Quote Originally Posted by chefjake99 View Post
Hello there all. I wanted to write something in response to many comments made by people to threads that I have started in the past. I apologize that it has taken me this long to respond. I have been hesitant to voice my opinions for many reasons: everyone is different, I am not a doctor or nutritionist (although I have taken classes in nutrition as part of culinary school), and some people may take offense to what I have to say. In other posts I have gotten responses saying things like "what is your diet", "your a chef, what is your plan", etc. Again I have hesitated to respond for the above reasons. I don't write a lot here but come here when I need some encouragement or am struggling with something, I am always humbled and uplifted by the great and courageous people here. I am just over 5 months post op and have lost about 102 lbs (depending on the day and time of day). I am proud of what I have accomplished so far but need to continue my focus and would like to lose about 50 - 60 more pounds. So theres the background of all this... with that said here is my so called two cents. As a chef I have never been more challenged, I am around, touching, smelling, sometimes eating food all day. 70-80 hours a week. I really don't know how I have overcome that to this point and sometimes I lose the battle. Its a struggle for me every day. But like I said I have some very strong opinions about the diet aspect of this journey and what brings success and what doesn't. So here it goes.

Keep it real simple. Follow your doctors and or nutritionist orders when it comes to eating. I try to eat around 1000 calories a day, somewhere between 80-120 grams of protein, and as low fat and carb as possible. Stay away from the simple carb foods, no that doesn't mean you can never have, potatoes, rice, or pasta again but when you do, eat very very little of it 2 ounces or less. Measure everything out. Too many times I read on here that people are struggling and when asked about it they don't really even know what they are consuming. Now this next part may offend some and I apologize to those that are offended but maybe you just need a wake up call or maybe you just don't know any better and to that I am sympathetic.

Stay away from crappy food!!! What does that mean? Stay away from the ultra processed, gmo, preservative laden, high fructose corn syrup (and all the other cheap crappy sweeteners), high fat (it comes in too many forms), and all around cheap crappy food. And especially stay away from restaurant food!!!! I have also read, well I go to ABC restaurant and eat off their "healthy" menu or whatever restaurants are calling their "healthy" options these days. Let me put this in perspective. A typical restaurants menu item is any where from 1000 to 4000 calories and so high in fat, carbs, sugar (yes the crappy kind) that they are able to put a 600 calorie item on and call it a healthy option. So unless you educate yourself on what a healthy meal looks like you are sure to be duped by these crafty marketing schemes these multi million dollar a year restaurant companies come up with. Yes I work for them I know. Often times restaurants use sub standard quality products too... Plain and simple these foods are not good for the average person and they sure as hell are absolutely poison to people like us. There are ingredients in some of these foods that act like drugs to our bodies and we become addicted to it like its heroin. I often crave cheeseburgers... why ? because their freaking delicious and the artificial / highly processed sweeteners have addicting properties in them and will keep you coming back for more.

I was fortunate enough to be covered by my insurance and had my surgery by a very good well respected bariatric surgeon. To no wonder why my restaurant company actually included it in our insurance though... There were at least four other chefs in our company that had some form of weight loss surgery. I still payed close to $3000 out of pocket, we all know what the recovery and pains we go through as well, not to mention the absolute change in lifestyle. With that said it absolutely blows my mind to read on this forum some of which have paid 100% out of pocket do not take this huge change seriously. I have read things like they still drink soda (again poison to the average Joe), eat fast food, sweets, beer etc. WHY!!! Just don't do it. I know that for some this is as much mental as it is physical but damn!!! I look at the bowl of fries in my restaurant and its damn tempting sometimes I find myself out of habit reaching for them and have even picked them up and about to pop them in my mouth when I snap through and say to myself, "HEY STUPID WHAT THE @#$& ARE YOU DOING"? I did not go through all of this to just go back!

So what does good food look like? It looks like this. It's as simple, pure, organic, non GMO, no preservatives, no artificials as possible. Some say well thats boring? (Ill get to that in a minute). Some say well I cant afford all these foo foo fancy organic stuff. Let me challenge that real quick. Before I was sleeved I said some similar things although tried to simplify my diet. With that said... I was eating WAY more food than I am now. I would contend that there were days where I probably ate 10k calories or more. That is a lot of food. And you know what most of the time I was never full or satisfied. So now that I am eating only 1000 calories a day I am spending way less money on food and can now easily afford to buy the all natural organic stuff. Look plain and simple there is WAY too much crap going into our food. It wreaks havoc on our bodies, immune systems, etc.

So what do my meals look like? I have an egg for breakfast with some fruit and or yogurt. Even fried eggs sometimes, just not fried in butter. I have a very high quality non stick pan and use very little olive oil or olive oil spray and fry it. I season the egg and its good. Lunch is tuna or turkey with some steamed veg, sometimes salmon or grilled chicken. Sometimes ill take a lil bbq sauce or something to add some flavor. I use mustard and a very lil bit of mayo, chopped pickles and onion in my tuna. Dinner is blackened salmon or chicken, veg or salad. Sometimes Ill even do some tacos with fish, ground turkey or chicken even the tortilla! You can still have a lil bit of sour cream salsa. Just eat one or two tacos instead of the 6 I used to. Ill have some black beans with that that I seasoned with garlic, cilantro, cumin and lime. It tastes great with a slice of avocado. Ill usually have a protein drink once a day. The one I like the most is one made by cytosport (same makers of muscle milk). It comes in a ready to drink bottle and comes in three different flavors. They have 32 gr. of protein, low calories and low carbs. They are not chalky like the powders and is more like drinking gatorade. I dilute it with a lil water because they are a lil too sweet for my liking. So whats that look like? Today I consumed roughly 1070 calories, 111gr. of protein, 63 gr. of carbs (a lil high for my liking) and 42gr. of fat. I exercised and burnt about 385 calories bringing my net to 685 calories. I use an app on my phone and computer called "lose it" its free and is incredible to use. I can scan barcodes of product to pull up nutritional info, can write my own recipes based on a huge database of ingredients to give me the info and to me its fun and challenging to see how I do for the week and or day. At this point I can physically eat anything that I did before. I just take a lot different approach to it. I use herbs, seasoning, and spices instead of fat and or sugar laden sauces for flavor. I grill a lot its healthier and adds flavor too. My approach to a meal is simple its protein first, a lil veg or salad, and some kind of complex carb a very lil amount. I am always full and the food tastes great. I keep a few protein bars and drinks around for when I am too busy to actually cook a meal but that doesn't happen much because I try my best to plan ahead. Sometimes even do all the prep work ahead so its fast and simple when it comes to meal time.

Bottom line is this, know what you are consuming and putting in your body and how much, know where your food is coming from and whats in it. As much as possible keep it local, organic, and crap free as possible. If you cant pronounce it or need a spell checker to write it its crap. Stop eating in restaurants that serve crap food, spend the time at home with your family and teach them about cooking its fun. Go to the local u pick farm and get great produce its decent exercise, its fun, and you know the food intimately. I eat jam because I picked the fruit, I made it and it only has 3 ingredients in it and very little or no sugar and when I do use sugar its evaporated cane juice (much less processed and sweeter so I use less). Learn about food and how its processed. The more you know about what you are putting into your body the more equipped you will be for success.

Again I apologize if any of this offends someone. Not my intention at all. I am in no way shape or form claiming to be God's gift to chef's or sleevers. I struggle every day. Its freaking hard, the hardest thing I've been tasked with in my life. I very humbly give my advice to those who have asked for it and hope it helps bring them success too. I am more than happy to give more specifics to those that reply and will try to respond as quickly as I can. I wish everyone success in their journey to being healthy. Thanks for listening to my rant about food.

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  1. SuzyQ951's Avatar
    Thank you,thank you, thank you! Your words are so true! I have also seen comments about how the person can still eat chips and drink beer etc.Why!? For heaven sake,why! We have gone through so much to get through the sleeve. Most of us so we'll feel better and be healthier. As it's been said over and over on here, the sleeve is only a tool to that end. If we continue to eat the same old things in the same old way, why did we bother?
    That doesn't mean you can't occasionally eat something not on plan. But remember, like you said some foods are poison to some of us. Like an alcoholic, one taste of one of my trigger foods and it can set me back weeks!
    I found it interesting that my primary care doctor's biggest problem problem with me having the sleeve wasn't the surgery itself. It was the failure rate. He said he had 10 patients who had had weight loss surgery over the years,of those 10, only two had maintained their weight loss. Why? They continued to eat the easy they always had. Pushing past the limits of their new pouches etc.
    So I applaud your words. If they keep even one person from falling back on that abyss,thank you.
  2. KathyL's Avatar
    Thank you.
  3. perkymander's Avatar
    Wow! Thank you. You truly put something complex (in my mind) into simple, matter of fact, understandable terms. I still have a hard time grasping what is important as far as calories, fat, protein, etc. But reading your blog helped me make more sense out of it all than I ever have. You have nothing to apologize for, your words of wisdom are true and should be heard. I think if anyone is offended they should take another look at what they are doing, and realize you are right, we have all taken big steps to get to this point and spend lots of money why waste this 2nd chance to try to be a healthier, happier person ON FOOD! Thank you so much, I am new to all this (10 days post op) and you have helped me see things from a different perspective. I really appreciate that. I look forward to reading your blogs in the future.
  4. LinaC.'s Avatar
    I am so happy you said what you said! Even before my sleeve my family and I made the switch to a no processed, nothing artificial, no gluten way of life and it has most definitely made me a healthier person.
    I paid 100% of my surgery and am not going to let myself fall into the same traps as before. I guess everyone has their own journey to follow but we all need a wake up call when it comes to food in today's day and age.
    Thank you for your wisdom!
  5. tbrown9's Avatar
    Boy that was enlightening! Great post that needed to be said!
  6. pasturedoglover's Avatar
    Well said!!