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Digestion Starts Here 
Why making good chyme fuels weight loss  


Thank you for your time as you join me in this weekly digest from LivingAfterWLS. Recently I've found myself busy-eating or multi-tasking through meals. The result is poorly chewed food, pouch discomfort and unsatisfied hunger. I know better. We all know better, right? From our earliest school years we were taught to slow down to eat, chew our food completely, and don't talk with our mouth full. Such sensible advice that is so easy to forget.

In today's newsletter I share a section from my Protein First book that discusses the essential importance of chewing our food well and how doing so leads to improved weight loss: The disgusting reality of digestion.  I needed this refresher and I hope you find it timely as well. You will also find a terrific weeknight recipe for Skillet Parmesan Chicken and a link-summary of popular posts from the LivingAfterWLS Blog.

Thank you for your time and I wish you a distraction free, unhurried meal where you can chew your food well and enjoy the benefits of a well-digested nutritional meal.

Kaye Bailey


Shared with permission from Protein First: Understanding and Living the First Rule of WLS by Kaye Bailey page 43.

"Gross Me Out! Quite honestly, this topic of chewing and swallowing and digesting food is my least favorite WLS issue to research and report. Do you remember back in grammar school, maybe the fourth grade, when there was always that one uncivilized boy who had a penchant for opening his mouth to reveal a nasty wad of partially-chewed food, often smelling of peanut butter, to announce, "I'm on a seafood diet - I see food I eat it!" To this day the thought of chewed food or the eloquently called "chyme" and the subsequent dirty business of digestion elicits a gag reflex in me, thank you very much gross-Phillip from the fourth grade! Chyme, pronounced KIME, by the way, is the "semi-liquid mass of partly digested food expelled by the stomach into the duodenum."

Are you hungry now?

The reason I take time to research and report this information to you is because it can singly make a difference in the amount of weight you lose and your overall health and well-being. As disgusting as this process is, --the chewing and the mixing and the grinding and the swallowing-- it is the difference between health and sickness. Making good chyme is vitally important to healthy weight management and the avoidance of weight loss stalls.

Perhaps this is the first you have learned how important quality protein and the effort to digest it is to your post-bariatric surgery weight management. That's not surprising. In the previously cited 2008 ASMBS report the authors suggest maybe this is a discussion to be had with patients so we can comprehend what a big deal Protein First is. The authors write, "It is important for the medical team members to be familiar with the process of extreme weight loss and the body's ability to metabolically adapt for survival in the semi-starvation state that is commonly produced after bariatric surgery."

I add emphasis to the following as the report continues, "Perhaps explaining the mechanism of weight  loss and the desired outcome, in terms the patient can understand, would help to promote compliance and provide motivation to choose quality foods consisting of high biological value protein balanced with nutrient dense complex carbohydrates and healthy food sources of essential fatty acids."

Perhaps indeed. The take-away here is that digestion begins when food enters our mouth. Chew food to a paste before swallowing. If necessary it is acceptable to sip a bit of water or tea to assist your salivary glands in pulverizing your carefully selected protein before swallowing. Do whatever it takes to consistently masticate your food: count chews, time yourself (30-seconds per bite), pay close attention to texture, and eat with purpose and attention to the task at hand.

If we are mindful to the act of chewing as part of the digestion process we are well positioned to absorb as many of the nutrients that our pouch system allows and we actively propel our health and weight loss efforts in the desired direction.
Slowing down and chewing our food well means we avoid the unpleasant experience of having food become stuck along the esophagus or in the pouch which is stressful and uncomfortable, not to mention discouraging. While stuck food is short lived (we either expel it by retching and vomiting) or it digests over several uncomfortable hours, the ramifications are lasting. It is quite possible to develop a food aversion after an unpleasant incident when the offending food became stuck."
Protein First, Pages 43-46

Dietary Protein: Quick List and Recipe Links
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This tiny gem of a book available now in paperback, is bursting with the essential information you must have to help you lose weight and keep it off. You'll treasure an enlightening 100-page read that informs with updated research, tempts with savory flavor-balanced Protein First recipes, encourages with smart life-management tips, and inspires you to excellence.

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Inspired Protein First Recipe
ChickParmSkillet Chicken Parmesan
Shared with permission from Protein First: Understanding and Living the First Rule of Weight Loss Surgery by Kaye Bailey. Page 69

This is a favorite go-to recipe around our house. In the cool days of autumn I like to serve it with baked spaghetti squash. A fresh green salad also goes nicely with this nutrient rich meal.

olive oil flavored cooking spray
4 (4-ounce) chicken breasts, no skin, no bone, Ready-to-Cook
1 (26-ounce jar) marinara sauce
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, part skim milk, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions: Coat a 10-inch skillet with olive oil spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook 6 minutes. Turn and continue cooking. Pour marinara sauce over chicken, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Divide the mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese evenly over the chicken pieces. Remove skillet from heat, cover and let stand 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve warm.

Serves 4. Per serving: 341 calories, 38g protein, 13g fat, 16g carbohydrate, 1062mg sodium, 88mg cholesterol.  Chicken, especially dark meat pieces, are an excellent source of niacin.

Try This Comfort Soup: Mexican-Style Chicken Soup

Participation Helps! It cannot be overstated the value that comes from following a 5DPT participant group that uses the plan to get back to the basics they've forgotten. New patients can learn and benefit from the mistakes of others and be well-equipped to quickly spot behaviors that may take us off track from the basics. Don't wait to find yourself well into the danger zone to start learning from others. It is the shared experience of the group that makes the individual strong.

LivingAfterWLS Blog: Must read posts
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