Saturday, January 31, 2015

It is in the Palm of my hand

By Suzette

This morning it hit me right between the eyes why I need to not eat hand held foods like chips, cookies, biscuits…..not only are they carbs….they fit into the palm my hand and I carry it around munching, and don’t sit down and chew slowly and I eat more than I need or want….

Does this ever happen to you????

I am sure it does! More often than we want to admit. I find this is one of the carry over behaviors of a life time. If I happen to be in a hurry carrying something to quickly fill my appetite is not necessarily what I need to do. This is a behavior that I need to modify.

In looking back at what I personally did to become overweight was behaviors that I need to evaluate and eliminate. Yes, I am two years out from my sleeve and 10 ½ years out from my lapband and I still have epiphanies on a regular basis! And this is a good thing. It reminds me why I was desperate to regain my life and be in control of my eating and cooking.

Everyday I look myself in the mirror and think, how can I be better for myself and for my family. How can I leave behind memories of a person who has had many struggles but has overcame those same struggles. How can I give back to my friends and family who have supported me through all my trials and successes?

The best way I can give back is to continue to maintain my weight loss and become a positive loving role model for my family, friends and community.

When I write a recipe I do it thinking of how it will taste and how I can make it different along with satisfying. I think this is how I look at life. I want to taste the excitement and adventure and make a difference to everyone I meet.

This morning I realized as I was eating a sausage biscuit that I was holding my own future in my hand. If I eat it slowly savoring every bite it satisfies and appeases my hunger, if I hold it in my hand and rush around biting into it in a hurry and not taking the time to savor the taste my hunger is also not satisfied. There are lots of reasons that this choice was bad. You all know those, but everyday we all make those kinds of choices.

I am not a food Nazi, I can and do eat almost everything. I just can’t eat very much and there are many things that a taste is enough for a long time. I do for the most part stay low carb but occasionally I do “fall” and just like everyone else I pay the price. This incident this morning made me realize just how easy it is to fall back into old habits and not have a safety net to keep those things from happening. I am lucky to have a family that is my safety net. Jennifer never fails to smack me up side the head when I goof up. And I must say I do the same to her. But we are not the run of the mill family.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Busy Times Call For Busy Planning! BONUS! Support Group Listing For the DFW Area!

The busiest time of the year is HERE!!!  That can be exciting, frustrating and overwhelming all at the same time. I know it is for me and I don’t have small children at home like Jennifer and her husband.  

The holidays take a lot of emotional resources that sometimes we WLS surgery patients think we just don’t have.  

I am here to say, yes you do!! Taking time to make time is the most important thing for us to remain successful and not fall into the “bad” routines and “habits” of old.

Start out your week by breaking out time for support group. There are several going on every week in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. You are going to be out doing errands and shopping so plan your weekly meeting around the places where you are going to be shopping.

First Tuesday of every month:

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center 6:30-7:30 PM
        2800 Broad Street, Mansfield   Jan Stone Coordinator 214-947-8161

First Thursday of every month:

Plaza Medical Center 6:PM 900 8th Ave. Ft Worth, Tx
Melissa Bar Coordinator  817-347-1129

Texas Health Harris Hospital Ft Worth, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave, Ft. Worth
6:-7:PM  Tiffany Norris Coordinator 817-250-4933

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano
6: - 7: PM 6200 West Parker Rd, Plano
Nancy Velting Coordinator  972-981-3861

Second Monday of every month:

Medical City Dallas Hospital , 7777 Forest Lane, Dallas  Building E - 2nd floor
Heather Hunt coordinator   972-566-6749

Second Tuesday of every month:

USMD Hospital Arlington, 801 W. Interstate 20, Arlington
Cynthia O’Kelly coordinator  817-427-3830

Baylor Medical Center at Grapevine, Support Group meets at 411 Ball St. Grapevine
Kim Ewton  Coordinator 817-305-5065

Weight Loss Specialist of North Texas, 3321 Colorado Blvd. Denton
6:30 PM  Kevin Levin coordinator  972-841-9512

Second Wednesday of every month:

Baylor Medical Center of Plano  6:30 - 8:00 PM
4700 Alliance Blvd, Plano.  Marsha Emery coordinator  469-814-2548

Second Thursday of every month:

Baylor Medical Center at Dallas, 9101 N Central Expwy Dallas
6:30-7:30 PM Jennifer Gilbreath coordinator 214-820-2969

Medical Center of Plano, 6: - 7: PM, 4001 W. 15h St. Plano
Bldg 3 Room 315, Patti Allard coordinator 514-473-7605

Second Saturday of every month:
After the Cut 10:30 to 12: AM, Wilshire Baptist Church, 4316 Abrams Rd. Dallas,
Shana Hardin coordinator  972-454-9864

Third Tuesday of every month:
Plaza Medical Center 6:PM 900 8th Ave. Ft Worth, Tx
Melissa Bar Coordinator  817-347-1129
Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Ft Worth, 6:00 - 7:30 PM
Carter Rehab and Fitness Center 1400 8th St. Ft. Worth
Gina Winfree coordinator  812-922-1770

Baylor Medical Center Frisco, 5601 Warren Parkway Frisco
PSU 2 Room 218, 6:00 to 7:00 PM, Deborah Thetford coordinator  214-407-5260
(May, Nov & Dec - See week 4 below for other months)

Methodist Dallas Medical Center 1441 N. Beckley Ave, Dallas
6:00- 7:30 PM,  Jan Stone Coordinator 214-947-8161

Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital 800 W. Randol Mill, Arlington
6:30 PM ,Jackie Minier coordinator 817-960-6107

Third Wednesday of every Month:

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas 1:00- 2:00 PM, 
8194 Walnut Hill Lane, Dallas
University Bldg. Red Conf. Room.  Toya White Coordinator 214-345-5155

Third Thursday of every month:
Baylor Medical Center at Carrollton, 4343 N Josey Lane, Carrollton
3 Floor Conference Room, Karen Baumann coordinator 972-394-2332

Third Saturday of every month:
Thinspiration WLS Support Group 12:30 Pm Locations vary in the Plano/ Frisco area
call Kevin Levin coordinator 972-841-9512

Fourth Monday of every month:

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Rockwall, 3142 Horizon Rd, Rockwall
MOB Suite 202, Jane Cauley coordinator 469-698-1622

Fourth Tuesday of every month:
Baylor Medical Center Frisco, 5601 Warren Parkway Frisco
PSU 2 Room 218, 6:00 to 7:00 PM, Deborah Thetford coordinator  214-407-5260
(Jan - April; June - Oct, see week 3 above for other months)

Dr Provost’s Office Denton, 2501 Scripture Rd, Denton Med Bldg 6 Suite 303
Missy Tharp Coordinator 940-323-3450

Fourth Thursday of every month:
Medical Center of Plano, 6: - 7: PM, 4001 W. 15h St. Plano
Bldg 3 Room 315, Patti Allard coordinator 514-473-7605

Fourth Saturday of every month:

After the Cut 10:30 to 12: AM, Wilshire Baptist Church, 4316 Abrams Rd. Dallas,
Shana Hardin coordinator  972-454-9864
Doctor’s Hospital at White Rock Lake
10:30-12:AM, 9330 Poppy Dr. Dallas, Suite 206, West Tower Classroom
Terri Rivers coordinator 214-324-6127

         WLS Support Group, Freedom Life Church, on Theater Rd, Bowie Texas 
Jennifer DeMoss & Suzette Munson coordinators  972-898-5462

Check your calendar and make notes of the nearest support group to your area.  If you need information, check with the coordinator at the hospital closest to you.

I hope this bit of information is helpful going into the holidays and into the new year.  I keep my list posted on the refrigerator to make sure I have my meeting scheduled every month or more often if I am struggling.

If you are aware of a support group that we do not have listed please let us know at  We love to hear from you about your support groups and how they help you through the tough times.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Step-By-Step: Peach Pie Bites (AKA Peach Ravioli)

Last week on 7 Bites we used up the last of the summer peaches in a delicious bite sized recipe that tickled our taste-buds with the comforting warmth of peach pie. This week Suzette shares her step-by-step instructions for making and assembling these little gems!!

7 Bites Show

You will need:1 Peach chopped and combined with 1 cup peach butter and the juice of 1 lemon (alternatively you can use apple butter. You can also use apples instead of peaches!) 
1 package puffed pastry
1 egg for egg wash Flour for dusting the board A rolling pen a pizza cutter A spoon and fork and a pastry brush

Flour your board and lay out the thawed puff pastry. Flour your rolling pen and gently roll out the dough slightly. Cut puff pastry sheet into thirds, using the seems as your guide.

Use the spoon to spoon out 2-3 bits of peach mixture onto the dough about 1/2-3/4 of an inch apart:

Lay the second sheet of puff pastry on top ...

Then do this with your hands:

Okay ... this is actually Suzette using her hands to seal the pastry around the peach mixture.

Then cut them with your pizza cutter to make little ravioli-shaped bites.

Press the fork into the dough around the edges to seal them ...

Then lay them out on your baking sheet 1 inch (or so) apart.
Beat one egg in a bowl and use the pastry brush to brush the egg over the tops of the bites:

This makes them glistening and pretty! 
Bake them at 425 until gently browned - about 12-15 minutes.

And Voila!
Aren't they cute??

And here's the actual recipe:

Peach Pie Bites

1 Large peach Chopped
1 lemon - juiced
1 cup peach butter
1 package puff pastry
1 egg for egg wash

Preheat oven to 425.

Thaw the puffed pastry, dust the board with flour, roll out the puffed pastry out till it is thin.

Cut each sheet of pastry into thirds.

Mix lemon juice with chopped peaches.
Add the peach butter to the mixture of peaches and lemon.

Place about a teaspoon of peach mixture on to the pastry as shown in the pictures.

Stretch the second strip of pastry over the first seal as if it is ravioli.
Then cut into pieces and press the edges with a fork to crimp to seal.

Beat the egg in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of water, brush over the pie pieces, this will make the pie pieces brown evenly.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the pieces about 1 inch apart on the pan. Cook for 12- 15 minutes on center shelf of the oven. Oven temperatures may vary so watch them closely the last 5 minutes.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Snack, A mini Meal, or a S N A C K

By Suzette Munson

Are you a Snacker? If you snack regularly, are you snacking because we are supposed to eat 5 times a day, or because you were a snacker and are still a S N A C K E R ???

After my lap-band surgery ten years ago, I was told to eat 3 small meals a day with 2 protein snacks. Then with the revision to sleeve, much the same, 3 small meals a day with a concentration of protein and a couple of protein snacks to see me through the day.

For me the snacking was never the issue, it was, more like, I’ve been snacking for years, and I need to break the snack habit….

Truthfully, I can snack anywhere, anytime, and if I don’t keep the stuff out of my reach I would eat through my life. I have to restrict my snacking, or make sure I’m snacking on good stuff all the time.

I keep nuts. Everywhere we go I get nuts to snack on, I know Jennifer keeps jerky for her snacks. You see, if I allow a cookie, even if it is sugar free, I will eat the whole package, knowing that a calorie doesn’t care if it is sugar free or not!! Also, I suffer after eating “sugar free” processed foods with our old hateful friend Dumping!! Obviously, the snack crackers, and cookies are a real disaster for me. I have learned to bypass those things, though my head hasn’t quite realized it yet!

Another downfall for me is chips! Yep, potato, corn, popcorn what ever the concoction it is a carb and I take one bite and don’t stop! We call these sliders, they satisfy the chew signal from our brain but don’t satisfy anything else. They are tricky little buggers, they taste so good and we can eat a lot of them without feeling full. So, I avoid them like the plague they are!!

Though I am unable to drink milk and yogurt doesn’t set well, cheese is my friend. Whenever we are in Dallas and can get to a good grocery store I stock up on lots of different kinds of cheese. At one time I will have no less than 2 and as many as 8 kinds of cheese in my stash. I definitely enjoy cheese. Thank goodness it is filling and I get the “enjoyment” from it along with it providing, protein and calcium that my body needs.

Stop for a moment and think. What do you pack in your lunch bag, or snack bag as quick snacks that are healthy and high protein?

Don’t tell me you have veg, carrot sticks and celery...UCK !...they have no protein and after eating them you are ready to eat something else. Protein will satisfy and keep your blood sugar level so that you don’t have the afternoon doldrums. Protein is the key thought you should have when you are shopping for your snacks.

For you who are just starting out on your WLS journey just coming out of the phases of surgery and discovering you can eat just about anything if you chew it properly: WELL, here is the good news….you don’t have to think DIET any more..YOUR new thinking should be LIFE CHANGE and LIFE STYLE...never going back.

I won’t say there aren't difficult times, there are, I struggle daily, but I know that with my new body, comes a new way of thinking. Thinking that has to be personal to you, but thinking that there are new things to discover and new foods to try, not thinking deprivation and diet.

Play with your food and discover new snacks and foods that you did not “like” or “want” before.

My tastes have changed and things that I really liked are not what they used to be. I am glad in so many ways that my tastes have changed. I like the new me, I like eating protein and maintaining my weight. I like the fact that I don’t eat just anything anymore. And that is by choice! I can find a few bites to eat anywhere, but if it is my choice to eat the way I do, and my choice to change old habits.

When you come to my house you get what I eat, the hubby may not like everything, but he has not missed a meal, and comes back for more...I cook for my eating style and most of the time company doesn’t know they have been fed anything different or unusual.

Same goes for snacking, I carry enough for the grandkids, they either want it or not, and usually they like what I have (except Jake, he doesn’t like any kind of nut). But cheese and some of my high protein snack bars and granola always disappear when he is around.

When you are filling out your shopping list, don’t buy for the family. Buy for your lifestyle and believe me they will fall into line pretty quickly. The food is so good and filling and they don’t miss the bread, chips and unhealthy snacks. They go to the fridge looking for that crazy cheese you had last week, or the snack bars you made and froze, or the smoothie you made that tasted just like strawberry ice cream. You are the one the family spins around, you are the one that made the lifestyle change, you are in control and you need to remember that when you give into getting the”kids” a package of something you know you are going to stick in your mouth! You have taken control of your body, now take control of your lifestyle and make the best of your new body.

Think of new snack recipes and new things to try. You are losing weight, not your mind, so use that mind and think outside the box, that is the snack box!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Feeling Good About the New You!

By Suzette Munson

Jennifer and I have been visiting WLS Support Groups in our area and have learned that some of you are struggling with your new image.

I did, Jennifer did, and I think it is normal. Especially when you are less than 6 months out and have not lost a lot of weight, or maybe you have lost so much that nothing fits, you're broke, and you can’t go out and spend money that you will have to spend again in a few months.

Yep, we were both there!
We often focus on the food and exercise so much that we forget the person within.
The person we are all striving to become!
That beautiful person you know you are and you want to share with the world.

Well, if you are a little down and need a boost take your self to your nearest resale shop!!

RESALE is the word for today! The word that saved me tons and gave me a chance to spend my money on new underwear and bras which made me look even better!!

If you are 6 weeks out and 30 or more pounds lighter, you are seeing changes in your body that your big loose clothes are hiding. I didn’t mind wearing droopy clothing around the house, but I wanted to look good when I went out to work or church. I wanted to start to look like I was changing.

Show off those new curves, they are going to get more pronounced and you want to show where all that hard work is going.

I don’t mean go get something off the wall provocative, but some nice new tops and maybe some slacks that show your body changes.  A new dress or jacket for work is always fun and will not only boost your ego but let folks know you are changing.

Now I know there are those that haven't told anyone you've had or are having surgery. That is okay, but it's obvious your body is different, so show it off.  Don’t wait till the butt of your britches hits your knees!!

The metro area has lots of choices for resale and I wish I could list them all. I love going reselling, and the grand kids have bought into it too. It has become a favorite event. Now, we don’t buy everything resale, but if we can find pretty tops and name brands at severely discounted prices, hey, why not!

The first time you go if you are not used to your new size, you may want to measure yourself, then measure the item you are interested in to figure out what size you will fit into. Pick a few items and try them on. That's the best way to know your fit.  Remember clothing, such as jeans, tend to be listed as Juniors (odds), Misses (evens), Women’s (plus sizes),  then you have length such as average, tall and petite.

If you have been a Plus you may be a regular. I was a Plus Women’s 26 and after my first 6 weeks I was a Women’s size so you just have to try on starting a size smaller.  I still pick clothes too big!

Make it an event! Take a friend or family member with you! I love buying, but I am not a shopper ... if a color or shape of an item catches my eye I try it on, Jennifer is the “shopper” she will look at every item in the store and then make her choices, we are definitely different in our shopping methods as we are so different in our styles but together we make an awesome team. She can point out when something is definitely not a good look for me and I do the same for her.

We try to pre-set our budget for the trip and try to find things we know we will wear later, not just something that is pretty. These have to be functional for us in every way. Then when we tire of the items, we return them for re resale! Some stores give you store credit that you can use as you go so when you are ready to dump the mega clothes you have been hoarding you can have a little bundle to put toward your new clothes!

Try it and see what jewels you can find and show off that hard work you have been doing!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Back to School ...

This week my son starts 1st grade. Next week my daughter and I start her 5th year homeschool lessons.
'Tis the season for Back to School.

Recently, mom and I have been discussion our philosophy of going "Back to Basics" and something came to both our minds ...

Why do we need to go back to basics? Because we stepped off the basics to begin with!
So often we get into the mindset of "oh, I can eat that" (I'm as guilty of that as anyone!) This especially happens with sleevers when we find out that we can eat things like sugar and carbs again.

Cooking for a family makes it even harder, especially for those of us smaller children. There's no secret that they NEED things, like (healthy) carbs that we don't.

There are those that will tell us to just not buy our trigger foods, but what if a trigger food is something your
child needs to carry in a lunch sack? Or if a trigger food for you is a healthy choice for an after school snack for your child?

This is something I, personally, have struggled with. Cookies, chips, crackers ... These are all trigger foods for me, but things that I keep on hand for my children for their lunches and after school snacks. Of course, I buy the "good stuff" - whole grains, no refined sugars, organic when possible, etc. BUT - a trigger food is a trigger food even without pesticides and GMO's.

In a perfect world, these things wouldn't matter. In a perfect world, I'd have self control and will-power. In a PERFECT world - I wouldn't have cravings. Sadly, this world is FAR from perfect. I do still have cravings. I do still WANT certain foods. And some days, I NEED certain foods (chocolate, anyone?).

Sometimes, WE have to "back to school" when our kids do. What that means is, we have to learn and re-learn how to feed our families so that our children can get the nutrients and macronutrients they need, while we are sticking with what we need.

For me, that means putting up reminders on sticky notes. Those reminders tell me how these foods make me feel when I eat them. Cookies, for example, make me have a HORRIBLE sugar crash. Some varieties actually give me dumping syndrome. A sticky note that simply says "SUGAR CRASH/DUMPING!!" makes me think twice about having it. Chips are another trigger food for me. I can sit down and eat half a bag of funyuns in one sitting (yep - TOTAL slider food!!)! Afterward, I feel sluggish, I have an uneasy tummy, and I get a headache from the MSG in some chip varieties. So my sticky note for that says, "TUMMY LUMPS AND MSG!" Hey. It makes sense to me!

Now I'm not saying that these foods are bad - there is really no "good" or "bad" food. Food can't control itself. I've said it before but it's worth repeating that it's not the cupcakes fault it's a cupcake. BUT these foods are not beneficial.

So, for me, back to school time means re-focusing and re-learning. Remembering that there are foods that are beneficial and foods that aren't. Focusing on protein and water, and remembering my vitamins (BIG one for me!).

How are you going "back-to-school"?
Go join our discussion in our facebook group!

Monday, August 11, 2014

What's Cookin'?

By Suzette Munson

How many times a week do you hear this, or possibly think this? More times than I want to I promise. Sometimes I really don't want to eat nor do I want to cook. But the question still stands.

We are visiting my youngest son, JR, and his wife, Adriane. JR is the lead cook, and he is good at it, but last night I took his role and let him play with our granddaughter Olivia. I wanted to fix a kid friendly, adult worthy meal with lots of flavor. I made "veggetti". What is that? zucchini spaghetti with 4 cheese Alfredo sauce and shrimp! Simple because I used prepared products - yes I cheated! And that is okay to do occasionally.

We keep frozen boiled shrimp in the freezer at home. Fresh zucchini is a staple also. When I pick the jarred product I look for the least sugar added (they all have some) and the protein per serving. If there is no protein then where is the cheese? I add more grated Parmesan or hard cheese to improve the sauce.

A tip on cooking the zucchini is to put the sauce in a large sauté pan and begin to heat on medium heat, add the zucchini strings and let them cook gently in the sauce. I tried boiling and straining the zucchini and it was very watery..the zucchini has lots of water in it and when it heats it releases the water. Even sautéing the zucchini before adding the sauce is a way to get some of the water out of the squash. Either way when the zucchini is tender add the frozen cooked shrimp and heat until it is warm through.

This meal is so quick and summery, even little Olivia dug in with gusto. She is not a shrimp eater but she loved the veggetti!

Sue's Zucchini Spaghetti with 4 Cheese Alfredo Sauce (the cheat method)
4 bariatric servings, 2 "normal" servings

2 zucchini, washed and trimmed. Cut into spaghetti strips using a "vegetti" maker or cut into long, thin strips using a knife. If you don't want to do this, just chop your zucchini up and saute it first!
1 jar of  4 Cheese Alfredo Sauce (Jen's daughter's favorite food on the planet)
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

Heat the sauce over medium low-medium heat until just coming to a simmer. Add the zucchini and the shrimp and heat through until shrimp are cooked through (they should be pink!).