Mostly vegetarian diet after RNY?

on 3/4/18 9:07 am
RNY on 02/28/17

Hi folks. I had my RNY a year ago and have eaten a high protein diet with mostly dense protein. Only in maintenance have I added more veggies, fruit and some healthy carbs like oatmeal. It has worked well for me.

My wife is also SMO with co-morbidities and our PCP is really pushing her to have a RNY especially now with my success. She is very hesitant even though she would like to lose weight for a number of reasons such as chronic pain and fibromyalgia, which make it hard to exercise. She says that her main reason for not having surgery is because she doesn't process dense protein very well. That is true. Sometimes she gags on meat and doesn't eat any fish but has no problems with beans, eggs, yogurt and milk, all of which have protein, but also have more carbs. She sees me eating mostly dense protein and isn't sure that she could do that.

What do you think? Can a vegetarian be successful with weight loss after a RNY? I don't know what to tell her and how to help.

Thanks for your thoughts.

HW: 248, SW (2/17): 244, GW (10/17): 125, CW: 117-122

RNY w/ Joseph Afram: 2/28/2017; Plastics w/ Douglas Forman: Extended mastopexy, Extended abdominoplasty-5/18/2018

H.A.L.A B.
on 3/4/18 9:42 am

Imo - it can be possible. She may have to use protein powders to supplement her diet for the rest of her life. She may not lose all her excessive weight- but even losing and maintaining 50% loss may improve her life.

Hala. RNY 5/14/2008; Happy At Goal =HAG

"I can eat or do anything I want to - as long as I am willing to deal with the consequences"

"Failure is not falling down, It is not getting up once you fell... So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again...."

CJ On Orcas
on 3/4/18 9:47 am
RNY on 09/09/16

Congratulations on your success!

Personally I think it would be tough to do this without eating a lot of (mostly) dense protein. When I first had rny I ate mostly yogurt, cheese, protein shakes, and eggs, and dense protein really put me off. I could not tolerate almost any meat. But, on the advice of veterans I gradually moved towards meat, which fills me up. These days I would rather chew on a piece of beef jerky than almost anything else.

I am sure you will get comments from people who know more, good luck to you and your wife. I know this is a big decision!

on 3/4/18 10:24 am - Philadelphia, PA
RNY on 04/28/15

Managing hunger is what I think will be tougher is she goes for RNY. Dense protein is our holy grail for all things hunger. If she draws the rny short straw, and still has hunger post op, or it returns quickly, a vegetarian diet would be harder (in my inexperienced/unscientific opinion). And remember rny can create issues with dairy post-op, even if short lived.

I'd make a point to get certain testing I personally didn't consider pre-op. I.e. allergies, gluten, dairy, protein; chron's/celiac. That way she'll know what may be an issue- or if something specifically developed post op.

Do I still think it's worth pursuing- yes, yes and yes.

5'6.5" High weight:337 Lowest weight:193/31 BMI: Goal: 195-205/31-32 BMI

Donna L.
on 3/4/18 1:01 pm - Chicago, IL
Revision on 02/19/18

Part of the issue is that we digest and absorb animal protein much better than we do from plant sources. Being vegan is more of an issue because it's hard to get the same amount of protein from beans alone, and you'd have to eat very diverse food, such as tofu, seitan, and other things (seaweed, tamarind, etc) to get complete protein. Being vegetarian makes it more feasible closer to surgery. It's still not recommended in general, though that's a better conversation for her to have with the surgeon and nutritionist.

If she can do eggs and milk that makes it much easier for sure. She would just have to be diligent in getting in that protein. Eggs are in some ways harder to digest than meat in many cases when people are refeeding post-op, unfortunately.

I follow a ketogenic diet post-op. I also have a diagnosis of binge eating disorder. Feel free to ask me about either!

It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much...the life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully. -- Seneca, On the Shortness of Life

on 3/4/18 2:52 pm, edited 3/4/18 6:52 am
Revision with

Yes, I think you can be successful with weight loss as a vegetarian after WLS. There is a bariatric surgeon that is vegan and a big proponent of plant-based diets for his patients and others. He has written a book called Proteinaholic that is an interesting read; he is not a believer in the baseless (his word) protein dogma that many adhere to in North America.

Personally, I have never been a big meat eater and am often a full vegetarian. I am currently below goal weight and about 11 months post-gastric bypass. Since I have hit normal BMI I have scaled back my consumption of meat considerably and am doing very well. My labs are good and I am off all medications except thyroid medicine for Hashimotos. My diet has not hindered my weight loss. I think your wife could be successful too. Do your research and I think you will find others that thrive post-WLS consuming plants instead of animals.

on 3/4/18 2:55 pm

She could have eggs, refried beans, cheese, eventually a bean chili, yogurt and protein powders. Not the ready made protein drinks crap but good ones made from powder. Can she stomach thin sliced cold cuts? I do not eat fish or pork. I like ground beef better then steak or chicken. Early out and still. Now almost 10 years I can eat steak or a piece of chicken but prefer ground beef. I barely eat veggies... I like fruit but certainly not daily. I am not a vegetarian but rely a lot on protein via yogurts, cheese, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, chili, protein powder, cold cuts.

I think she should do it. She will be happier. She has you to help her and will be great for both of you.

on 3/4/18 3:05 pm

And most important she will be healthier!

on 3/4/18 5:08 pm
Revision with

I eat veggies and fruit daily without any issues; no gastro problems or impact to weight loss.

on 3/4/18 5:33 pm, edited 3/4/18 9:33 am

I was not saying a hinderance to weight loss or gastro problem...I just prefer other things with more protein. I eat apples, strawberries, cantaloupe and watermelon... occasional Bananna... not daily however... because no desire not any other reason. Fruits once in awhile... not so much.

not many veggies because never was a huge veggie fan !! Good / bad who knows as long as protein and vitamins in not a big concern.

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