Vegan and VSG - Considering this, but need help

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GalgoMomAnita
GalgoMomAnita Posts: 84 Member
Hi All - Happy to be joining in! I am considering a VSG but am trying to get more information about doing so as a vegan. I'm completely vegetarian and about 75% on my way to managing vegan, but I'm not very good at planning meals and getting in my nutrients. Are there any vegans or mostly-vegans that could share their thoughts? I'd much appreciate any input. Thanks in Advance!

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  • jove102
    jove102 Posts: 68 Member
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    I'm not vegan but I am someone who looooves veggies!! The diet after surgery is very high protein! It might be particularly hard for a vegan to get tht much protein from food...your options are more limited...beans and nuts would be a huge source...mostly every meal I eat mostly high protein...you would be eating a lot of tofu, vegetable protein, beans, nuts and the "fake meats" as I like to call them..your shakes would have to be made with almond milk or something...you could definetly do it...just have to make sure you are extremely conscious of the protein aspect...The one thing I would find hard as a vegan is using the artificial stuff like margarine instead of butter etc...but I'm sure you can make it work!

    I love tofu but it didn't sit well with me after surgery...

    Just food for thought
  • garber6th
    garber6th Posts: 1,894 Member
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    With the high protein diet WLS patients need to have in the long run, it could be challenging to do so as a vegan. Beans and nuts are an ok source of protein, but the quantities you would have to eat for the protein you need would be too large and too calorically dense. Protein shakes and bars that are vegan could work, but the goal is to get the majority of your protein from food. Tofu is a good option, like jove mentioned. There are some good "veggie" products like veggie burgers etc. but sometimes those are high in carbs, which we have to watch post surgery. It's probably not impossible to be vegan post-surgery, but it will be a much bigger challenge. Have you had a consultation with a surgeon yet? They might be able to give you some insight. I am 20 months out from surgery, and I do have meatless days, but vegetarian, not vegan.
  • 5BeautifulDays
    5BeautifulDays Posts: 683 Member
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    I could easily do my sleeve diet as a lacto-ovo vegetarian, but it would be really hard work to get 80 g of protein a day from just vegetable sources (and I would personally be wary of an overload of soy). Can you make an appointment with a nutritionist and create a plan that would work in theory so you can see what you would need to eat to make it happen?
  • badhair56
    badhair56 Posts: 239 Member
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    I agree with 5BE, you should definitely meet with a nutritionist to assist you in this
  • GalgoMomAnita
    GalgoMomAnita Posts: 84 Member
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    I think I've put at least 3 or 4 hours in scouring the internet trying to find a dietitian anywhere in the country who specializes in vegan bariatric surgery. You would think there'd be at least one that would come up! I did find a really good article from a journal written to educate dietitians on how to work with veg diets. So far that's been my best find along with a blog that I haven't had a chance to fully look through. It is definitely possible to get enough protein in with a vegan diet. I really hoping someone who's gone ahead of me might have worked out some great food plans or knows of a knowledgeable dietitian. Unfortunately, very few surgeons have dealt with this. I just found one this evening down in Texas and I'm going to read through all of his materials. I agree with you @5BD that soy overload wouldn't be the greatest thing, although I could live with that for a bit initially until my options open up a bit. @Jove I've found I like the Nature's Balance butter a lot. Definitely as good as Shedd's Spread that I used to use and pretty healthy as those sorts of things go.
    Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts - I really appreciate your taking the time :)
  • tat2cookie
    tat2cookie Posts: 1,899 Member
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    There are a ton of plant based protein shakes out there. I use one called RAW and its vegan. I don't think that you will have much of a issue with protein as long as you know what to eat. There are also vegan protein bars too. You just have to watch the sugar content with some of them. I made my own protein pudding with chia seeds, the raw protein powder and cashew milk. And I agree with seeking out a bariactric nutritionist who knows a thing or two about a vegan diet, because a lot of them have a mind set that you have to eat sugar free everything and meat in order to succeed.
  • GalgoMomAnita
    GalgoMomAnita Posts: 84 Member
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    Thanks tat2cookie! I'm continuing my hunt for a vegan nutritionist. I'm thinking I'll have to find one who is very good at the vegan part of things and then explain the requirements related to the surgery - hopefully that will come together nicely :)
  • blairmundy
    blairmundy Posts: 219 Member
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    I would have trouble doing that, at least at first. I struggle to get enough protein in even without being vegan. And I know vegans get a lot of crap about not being able to get enough protein and in general that is dumb - there are tons of plant based proteins out there. But the first year or so of VSG it's hard to eat much of anything and the stomach can be irritated by things that seem normal and easy to eat (like tofu). Also your quantity is so greatly reduced that even if things sit well you might not be able to get them in. I'd say I can eat about 20% of what I used to be able to eat. And I'm supposed to get 60g protein. Are you able to eat 300g of vegan protein every day without having way too many sugars? If so, you could probably do it. But think about what your daily diet would look like to get that much protein in. Would you ONLY be eating nut butters and beans? Remember that you might not be able to eat chips or bread or raw veggies for a while if at all, so you might be eating nut butters and hummus and beans with no accompanying item. Is that something you think you could do? I've found dried seaweed very easy to stomach and the protein isn't bad but the salt gets me. I maybe need to go exploring in the asian market here and see what I can find. I'd build some menus out and see if it feels like an ok way to eat, knowing things will get easier after a year or so.

    That said, dairy and fish are essential for me to get it in. Eggs and other meats don't sit well anyway and I don't eat mammals. But, my husband has also had this surgery - he's a year ahead of me - and can at this point eat enough to do it vegan if he wanted to. So I'd say as a lifelong situation you'd be fine but the first 6-18 months might be tough and if you were willing to eat some amount of dairy or fish during that time, it could make it more doable. If not, you may need to be REALLY creative. I'm curious to find out what the nutritionist says.
  • GalgoMomAnita
    GalgoMomAnita Posts: 84 Member
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    Thanks for the added input blairmundy. I finally found a dietitian who is vegan and has worked with gastric surgery patients before. I've also found some good information on which amino acids are in what food sources so I'm feeling better about trying to balance that out. I'm hopeful I can pull in at least a third of the protein requirement with powders. I have thought about how some meals might consist of only beans, so I'm working on finding basic combinations of proteins rather than just one source at a meal. Once I get a lot of this figured out and see how it works in reality I think I'll post a bunch of info for others. Even if people aren't vegan it would give more options to have some variety in meals. I'm going to be making the call today to register for surgery August 27th. I'm fighting the urge to start an early food funeral. My birthday is two days before surgery, so I do think I'm going to have a night out a few weeks early with my husband :smiley: