Eating Slowly

Do you find yourself rushing through meals? If you eat too fast, you may not be chewing thoroughly, which can cause you to have pain and difficulty keeping foods down. Also, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is getting full, so if you eat faster than that, you may eat too much before you even realize you’re getting full.

Be sure to focus on eating and avoid any other distractions during meals. Turn off the TV, avoid eating while driving and avoid any intense conversation. Remember to take small bites, chew your food thoroughly to toothpaste consistency and try putting your fork down between bites. Meal time should be enjoyable, so take your time, taste your foods and enjoy!

Spinach, Tomato, Feta and Basil Omelet

Spinach, Tomato, Feta and Basil Omelet

– 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
– 5 cherry tomatoes, diced
– 1 whole scallion, sliced
– 1 cup fresh baby spinach
– ½ cup liquid egg substitute
– 1 Tablespoon skim milk
– 1 Tablespoon low-fat crumbled feta cheese
– 1/8 teaspoon salt
– 1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
– 1 Tablespoon fresh basic, chopped chiffonade

1. Spray a small, nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.
2. Add tomatoes and scallion to the skillet and cook, stirring once or twice, for 1 or 2 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
3. Arrange spinach on top, cover, and let spinach wilt for about 30 seconds. Stir to combine.
4. In a small bowl, combine egg substitute and skim milk.
5. Pour egg mixture into skillet, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula for about 20 seconds or until egg is starting to set. Continue cooking, lifting edges so uncooked egg flows underneath, for about 30 more seconds or until egg is mostly set.
6. Sprinkle feta cheese, salt and pepper over omelet. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 2 minutes or until egg is completely set and cheese is melted. Fold omelet in half using the spatula. Garnish with chiffonade basil and serve.

Makes 1 Serving

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 165 calories, 9 g carbohydrate, 5 g sugars, 19 g protein, 6 g fat, 2 g fiber

Recipe from Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Well after Weight Loss Surgery by Margaret Furtado, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., R.Y.T. and Joseph Ewing

Nutrition Tip: Choosing Soy Can Help You Meet Your Protein Needs

Many of us forget that there are other ways to get protein besides meat, fish and poultry. We can also get our protein from soy foods. Soy has been shown to help lower cholesterol and it is a good source of protein, fiber and B-vitamins. The phytoestrogens found in soy products may also help prevent breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.

Soy comes in a variety of forms, with one of the most popular being soy milk. This is a great option for anyone that is lactose intolerant or vegan because it can be used the same as cow’s milk. Tofu is a high protein form of soy that is typically used as a meat substitute. Tofu comes in a variety of textures and takes the flavor of the foods and seasonings that you cook it in. Firm tofu is great in stir-fry, grilling and mashed as a substitute for scrambled eggs. Soft tofu is typically used for pureeing, mashing and mixing into other dishes such as casseroles or meatloaf. Silken tofu is smooth and works well in dips, sauces and puddings. Edamame (a fancy name for soybeans) is often served as an appetizer in Asian restaurants. There are also miso, soy nuts, soy flour, soy yogurt, and many other forms of soy available. If you’re looking for a low-fat way to boost your protein intake and you’re tired of chicken and fish, give soy a try!


Recipe: Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders


  • 10 – 12 chicken tenderloins
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (use low-fat or fat-free to reduce total calories and fat in recipe)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Progresso Italian flavored bread crumbs or panko


Preheat oven to 425°F. Place chicken tenders in a small bowl, cover with water, add salt, and soak for 10 – 15 minutes. Remove tenders from a brining solution, drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Place the mayonnaise in a small bowl with the chicken tenders – use your fingertips, squish the tenders around in the mayonnaise to coat them. Combine the cheese and breadcrumbs in a shallow pan then lightly roll the chicken tenders in the crumb mixture. Place on a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake for about 8 minutes or until almost cooked through; turn on broiler and continue to cook until golden brown, about 1 – 2 minutes.

Makes 4 servings. Serving size is 2 pieces.

Nutrition Information: 208 Calories, 8 g Fat, 5 g Carbohydrate, 22 g Protein

Recipe from

Dr. Wagner Improving Bariatric Experience with Single Incision Weight Loss Surgery

bariatric, weight, loss, surgery, St., Louis, MO

Dr. Van Wagner Performs Innovative Single Incision Weight Loss Surgery

Using a new weapon in the fight against morbid obesity, Van L. Wagner, MD and his Heart of America Bariatrics, LLC practice have now achieved a milestone by performing the 300th single incision weight loss surgery in St. Louis. Dr. Wagner started developing the technique he describes as PeriUmbilical Laparoscopic Surgery (PULSsm) over 1 year ago, and the technique has evolved into a revolutionary new procedure. The procedure is so unique, Dr. Wagner has a trademark patent pending. He is the only surgeon in the area using the PULSsm technique, which has a significant advance of maximal cosmetic appearance. The single umbilical incision usually heals to the point that the scar retracts into the depths of the umbilicus and the scar cannot be seen. The PULSsm technique is the ultimate in patient privacy. One major benefit Dr. Wagner says his patients enjoy is imagining the ability to wear a bathing suit on the beach with no visible scar and with no one able to tell they had weight loss surgery.

With about 11 million people in the U. S. weighing 80-100 pounds more than what’s thought to be the average weight for their size, St. Louis bariatric surgeon, Dr. Van Wagner, is using a new weapon in the fight against obesity: single-incision weight loss surgery. He says he understands weight loss surgery is a complex decision for the growing number of Americans confronting their continuing battle with weight gain, and is proud to be able to provide his patients with the new technique to make scarring virtually unnoticeable and recovery more comfortable. As the only bariatric surgeon in St. Louis specializing in the PULSsm single incision weight loss procedures, Dr. Wagner is currently celebrating the success of the 300th single incision weight loss surgery at his Heart of America Bariatric practice.

Single-incision weight loss surgery is a technique which uses small diameter medical instruments and a camera to perform the surgical procedure. Dr. Wagner makes a semi-circular incision near the navel that is about two inches in length, which is required for placement of the port in gastric banding surgery. A liver retractor, camera and two operating instruments are placed through the single incision. He then performs the surgery with the aid of the video monitor. The single-incision technique eliminates the need for multiple incisions throughout the wall of the abdomen usually required in more traditional laparoscopic weight loss surgeries, which may cut down on recovery time and post-operative scarring. Dr. Wagner performs all gastric band surgeries using the PULSsm technique, unless there is an anatomical or medical reason to use the traditional laparoscopic approach.

With more than 1,000 St. Louis laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding system procedures performed, utilizing both LAP-BAND® and REALIZE® Bands, Dr. Wagner continues to foster a successful environment for his patients from the initial educational seminars, to the first consultation, through the recovery process. Heart of America Bariatrics is also unique as it is the only practice in Missouri that uses an office-based state of the art fluoroscopic x-ray machine to perform all laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding system] adjustments, including needle localization of the port to minimize discomfort, and Upper GI contrast studies to monitor amount of restriction through the gastric band.

To further customize the bariatric surgical process, Dr. Wagner offers gastric bypass in St. Louis. He says the Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB) procedure is one of the most effective and popular procedures in the battle against morbid obesity. Instead of the traditional long tubular stomach pouch, Dr. Wagner specializes in this less invasive laparoscopic procedure, which is a newer and safer version that creates a small stomach pouch about the size of an egg, and requires less recovery time while reducing the risk of infection. While progress is monitored throughout the process at the Heart of America Bariatric center, normal daily routines are typically resumed within two to three weeks, with dramatic weight loss of up to 80% possible within the first year following surgery.

Dr. Wagner also offers the gastric sleeve in St. Louis, which is a newer bariatric procedure. According to Dr. Wagner, the use of the gastric sleeve procedure, which he performs laparoscopically with the PULSsm technique, is an ideal procedure for patients who have a lower BMI (around 50 or less) and who would not want a gastric band. He is the only surgeon in the area who performs the PULSsm technique for all his sleeve gastrectomy patients, unless the traditional laparoscopic approach is indicated for medical or anatomical reasons.

While each of these procedures is designed to help patients with their weight loss struggles, Dr. Wagner stresses that his St. Louis weight loss surgery patients need to understand significant dietary changes are required to ensure eventual success with any of these innovative procedures offered by Heart of America Bariatrics. With more than 1000 laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding procedures, 500 laparoscopic gastric bypass surgeries, 25 laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomies now performed, including over 300 patients weighing between 350 and 550 pounds, and over 575 patients with a BMI of 50 to 92, Dr. Wagner says he continues to balance experience and education in all areas of bariatric surgery to ensure the highest rate of success with all of his patients. As Heart of America Bariatrics celebrates the 300th single incision procedure, Dr. Wagner says he will continue to concentrate on making his patients more comfortable while remaining dedicated to their successful weight loss.

About Dr. Wagner

Dr. Wagner received his Medical Degree from New York Medical College in Valhalla, and completed his general surgery residency at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He is board-certified by the American Society for Bariatric Surgery, of which he has also been a member since 2004. Dr. Wagner’s practice, Heart of America Bariatrics, has been recognized as a Bariatric Center of Excellence since 2006 as well.

Dr. Wagner and his Heart of America Bariatrics practice are located at the Doctors Building of South County 1400 Lemay Ferry Rd. Suite A, St. Louis, MO 63125 and be reached at (314) 776-7112 or or the Heart of America Bariatrics, LLC Facebook page.


Making Healthy Choices in the Cereal Aisle

The cereal aisle at the grocery store can be very overwhelming because there are so many choices. How do you know what to choose? You want to find a cereal that is high in fiber, but low in sugar. A good rule of thumb is to find a cereal with at least 5 grams of fiber and no more than 5 grams of sugar per serving. Here are some examples that meet this standard: Quaker Multigrain Oatmeal, Kellogg’s All Bran Original, Kellogg’s All Bran Complete Wheat Flakes, General Mills Wheat Chex, General Mills Fiber One original, Post Original Shredded Wheat Spoon Size, Kashi 7 Whole Grain Flakes, Kashi 7 Whole Grain Nuggets, Kashi Heart To Heart(Honey Toasted Oats) and Weetabix Whole Grain Cereal.

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