Bariatric Diet: Community Supported Agriculture is a Tool for Eating Healthy - My Bariatric Life

Patient Expert

There are going to be the inevitable complications after weight-loss surgery. Nothing is particularly simple anyhow and, given the very nature of what a bariatric surgery is, it is difficult to think of it as anything other than complicated.

The complications that follow gastric bypass -- or any weight-loss surgery -- fall under a blanket of those lifestyle changes that are reiterated and emphasized through the full course of the process and beyond. The bariatric surgeon has done her job, and it is your turn now. You are responsible for your own well-being, and one of those responsibilities is adhering to a healthy bariatric diet.

Malabsorption

Anyway, back to complications.

One of the post-surgery complications weight loss patients will encounter is malabsorption, the inability to properly absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

As absorption of calories decreases, so does absorption of vitamins and minerals. If gastric bypass patients do not take supplements, they are at risk for such illnesses as iron deficiency anemia, B12 deficiency, and osteoporosis to name just a few.

The Importance of Vegetables in a Bariatric Diet

Minerals and vitamins can and should be provided through supplements, but many foods contain those same minerals and vitamins and should be included in the bariatric patient's diet, as well.

Minerals are found in a number of vegetables including artichokes, asparagus, avocados, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower.

Consultation regarding your bariatric diet should be had with a nutritionist or dietician before beginning a diet. For example, certain vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, celery and corn should not be had during the recovery period after bariatric surgery because they would be too difficult to digest.

Professional guidance will minimize risk and discomfort.

Community Supported Agriculture

If you wish some time in the sun, a bit of exercise, and an improved and healthier diet, community supported agriculture (CSA) might be for you.

CSAs have become increasingly popular over the last twenty years. The exchange is simple: Consumers buy local, seasonal produce directly from a farmer who has grown her product right on the premises.

The CSA that I am involved with sells shares prior to the growing season. Once the season begins, my husband and I visit the farm every week on designated days to pick our own produce, and help ourselves to already-picked vegetables that have been sorted into individual baskets. There is no duplication between the vegetables that have been freshly-picked for us and the field vegetables that are ready for us to pick. We get to chose what we like from many varieties of vegetables, as well as some herbs, flowers, and fruits.

The benefits are obvious: Guaranteed fresh organically-grown vegetables direct from the fields at a reasonable price. For our $550 share, we get enough vegetables for feed our omnivore family of two people  and three dogs, for about 9-mos.

While there is certainly the labor factor of canning and freezing, an investment in improved health will have an excellent return. Morning hours are best for picking to avoid the summer heat.

Mutual Advantages of CSAs

Both the farmer and the consumer profit from the CSA experience. You will obviously be eating better and probably gaining exposure to foods you have not tried before. Potential favorite meals are in the fields.

Transportation costs and undesirable environmental damages are reduced because the food does not have to be shipped across long distances. You will also be supporting a local farmer and enhancing your local economy.

References:

Gastric Bypass and Malabsorption http://teamcrown.net/wp-content/uploads/GastricBypassMalabsorption_002.pdf  - accessed 6/11/12

L.A. Bariatrics http://blog.marinahospital.com/what-vegetables-to-eat-after-gastric-bypass-and-other-weight-loss-procedures/  - accessed 6/11/12

LiveStrong.com http://www.livestrong.com/article/215574-complications-with-malabsorption-after-gastric-bypass/  - accessed 6/11/12

Local Harvest http://www.localharvest.org/csa/  - accessed 6/11/12

Rosy Blue Handmade http://www.rosybluhandmade.com/2012/05/26/5-tips-for-getting-the-most-out-of-your-csa-share/  - accessed 6/11/12

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