So let’s file this under, “technically I could have bought these from the frozen section, but what fun would that be?”
Because honestly. What fun would that be?
Seriously though. There are a few good reasons to make your own cauliflower tots.
If you like a specific flavor to them. (For example, I like a little heat in mine).
If you like mix-ins. (Bacon cauli-tot? Anyone? Bueller?)
Or, such as the case was for me, you are in the middle of a snowstorm, you’re craving tater tots, you’ve given up all forms of potatoes (and other starches) for Lent and you don’t happen to have storebought frozen cauliflower tots.
See? Totally legit endeavor.
Anyhoo. As we know, cauliflower can act as a sub for a multitude of carb situations from rice to potatoes to pizza crust. The key to making cauli-anything, of course, is this. CONTROL THE MOISTURE. (Imagine me saying that with all the dramatic emphasis of that soothsayer in Julius Caesar who is all, “Beware the Ides of March!” Yes…it’s that deep.)
Water is your nemesis when it comes to using cauliflower as a carb swap. So lets just take a moment to go over the methodology I used.
First, I used frozen cauliflower. You can certainly use fresh. If you do, steam it first. Here’s what I do from there:
Place steamed/drained cauliflower florets into my food processor and puree.
Place pureed cauliflower in a sieve or inside some cheesecloth and strain out as much of the water as you possibly can.
There’s still water in there. Make no mistake. But get as much of it as you can!
From there, it’s a pretty simple process. I usually add my spices to my cauliflower at this point (I add them before I add egg so that I can taste test the mixture because salmonella = no fun). From there, I crack an egg in that sucker. (Use Egg Beaters if you don’t want all the calories of an egg. As I always say, cook your conscience!)
Next is by far the most tedious part in the process to me. I make my tots with a melon baller. Essentially I scoop up a bit of the cauliflower mixture, place it in the palm of my hand, and form it into a roughtly cylindrical shape. Then I place it on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Once they are all done, into a 425 degree oven they go!
That’s one other important note. Whenever you are faux frying something (anything) you need heat. Don’t be afraid of temps above 425 for oven frying! In this case, the heat is helping in several ways: it evaporates that leftover water (which I bet you will see and feel as you mold your tots) and it ensures a nice, crisp, brown outside.
But for goodness sakes, don’t forget to flip them! Now cook time may vary (for mine, I cooked them 20 minutes), but you need to flip them halfway through or one side will be brown (or even burnt) and one side will be super light. Not a good look.
From there, your biggest decision is what to use for dip. In these photos I opted for some low-fat ranch dressing. But maybe you’re a ketchup person? Or perhaps if you do the bacon-chedder cauli-tot (seriously…someone make that and invite me over!) you may opt to dip in some unflavored Greek yogurt flavored with onion powder and chives (mmmmmm).
Whatever you decide, make sure it elevates your tots!
Now, before I leave you to blissful tot-making I want to answer a few questions I imagine you might have:
Yes, you can freeze these. I’d advise you to freeze the uncooked tots on a plate or cookie sheet, before adding to a freezer bag. And make sure to press out ALL the air! Freezer burn does not taste good.
Yes, you can add protein powder to the tots. Unflavored, of course. (I hope.) I’d suggest no more than one scoop for this recipe. If you do that, add it to your cauliflower mixture after you’ve strained the water out. Just make sure your cauliflower is cooled down so the protein powder doesn’t cook. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe. Be advised this may alter your cook time (protein powder makes things cook faster) and the taste (because no matter how many times they say unflavored…it actually does kinda have a flavor!)
As always, no I’m not giving you the nutrition information for this recipe. Nor do I for any of my recipes. You are capable of figuring this out yourself with the information given. I believe in you!
Crispy Cauliflower Tots
Who needs potatoes when you can have warm, crispy, yummy cauliflower tots! These are so easy to make and the flavor possibilities are endless!
After cooking and draining cauliflower florets, pulse in a food processor until fully pureed. Use a cheese cloth or a sieve to strain out the excess liquid (of which there should be much). Once cauliflower is strained of water, empty into a bowl.
Add in spices and mix thoroughly.
Add egg and cheese and mix until thoroughly combined.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a melon baller or small scoop, portion out mixture into the palm of your hand and shape into a cylinder. Gently place each tot on the baking sheet.
Rikki Fernandez Cox (September 14, 1953 – March 29, 2012)
My mother was a goddess.
She had to be, after all, to raise a stubborn, willful child like me.
She was a force of nature. Like the wind. Like fire. Like water. Like earth.
She was so remarkable, that I have decided this year (as of this writing, it is 2018) to start this post about her and add to it each year, on the anniversary of the date she decided to leave us. Because she cannot be forgotten. She is one of the best things this world has ever produced.
So this post will get long and unwieldy after a while. I don’t really care. Read it if you want. Don’t read it if you don’t want. This is for me. Each year I’ll contribute part of what she gave me to share for the world. Here’s the first year.
2018: The 3 most prolific things my mother ever said to me
My mom had a lot of sayings. Some she got from her mother. Some she got from the Big Book (my mom had 25 years clean and sober when she died). Some she picked up from random people I’ll never know. My grandfather once called me the griot of the family (a griot is a West African storyteller, usually of family lineage). He used to tell me stories and I’d memorize them. Such is the case with the things my mother said to me. Your mother may have said some of these things to you. I’ll share what they were and what they meant to me.
“You are the descendant of kings and queens and noble tribesman. Only God is greater than you.” I don’t talk much on this blog about the experience of growing up black in America. But it is a factor that my mother considered every day of our lives together. From having the “talk” with me (for those who don’t know, that’s the talk most black American parents have with their kids on how to behave if stopped by the police such that you come out of the encounter alive) to making sure I had proper beauty references, my mother wanted me to be proud of my heritage. I was born into a world that was still trying to grapple with the ugly truth of slavery, and didn’t quite know where black beauty fit into the picture. And there I was, this funny-looking, multi-racial, pudgy kid. But it was important to her for me to know that I have a culture. That I come from “good stock,” as she said. These were the first words I heard after I was born. She saw to it. They were also the first words my brother heard. And the first words each of my children heard. She believed the first words you hear in life are powerful, and she made sure to craft powerful words to put into all of us.
“If nothing changes, nothing changes.” This one she got from my grandmother, who got it from who knows where. I’ve heard the saying in other places, but here’s what it means to me. You can’t expect change – good or bad – without change. You can’t just change one part of your life and expect that everything else is supposed to stay the same. That never happens. Ever. Ever! So she used to say that to me a lot. To remind me that if I want positive change, I have to embrace change. That has always been hard for me. But I remember this saying and it makes things easier.
“Excuses are tools of incompetence. They build monuments of nothingness. Those who specialize in them seldom accomplish anything.” I had to recite this when I made excuses as a child. I made my kids recite this. It does two very important things. First, it makes you aware that you are making an excuse. Second, it makes you aware of the nature of an excuse and how it does nothing to benefit you. Throughout my life I’ve made some pretty not-so-great decisions. And as a result, I’ve limited my own choices in life. Instead of berating me, my mother made sure I never made excuses. If there was something I wanted to do, she’d tell me, “Find a way. It’s there.” And when I gave all the reasons why I couldn’t, she’d simply say, “Excuses…”
These and many more things my mother said stay in my heart. I am so grateful for them because they make me who I am today. I am a person who sets goals and achieves them. I am a person who seeks to exude the love she feels for everyone. I am a person who wants to be fair and just. I am a person who will tell you the truth, even if it is a hard truth. I am a person who does not accept accuses but does not see the point in self-bashing.
Download the calendar and put the dates in your phone!
This is the official 2018 Bariatric Foodie Pledge calendar. The dates in orange are pledge dates. The dates in green are check-in dates. Please note that all dates are in Eastern Standard Time. Please adjust for your own time zone!
If you need to sign up for the 2018 Bariatric Foodie Pledge, click here!
This photo is of me and my bariatric surgeon, Dr. Kuldeep Singh. Thank you, Dr. Singh, for setting me on the path to this life!
Man…Foodies. I struggled with this post.
Because…10 years. 10 years??? Like…I have really survived TEN YEARS of post-op life.
To tell you the truth, I didn’t think I’d survive 10 weeks at the outset!
And for a milestone like this, I wanted to write something but nothing felt right. First I tried writing about what I’ve learned in my 10 years. But…booooooring! Then I tried to write about things that surprised me. I find my institutional memory of myself as a new post-op at this point is far too unreliable for such a post. Rather than remembering explicit details about these years, I remember general themes. But I knew I wanted to put something down and I knew that whatever that something was, I wanted it to benefit you. After all, reading this post will be X (however many) minutes of your life you can never get back – and I take that seriously!
Let’s just call this my official “before” photo. I was about 350 lbs. in this photo.
Now I’m no nutrition guru (I just like to eat and cook). I’m not a fitness expert. I’m not even a mindset/mental wellness role model, if we are being honest. (If you’ve followed me since the beginning you’ve seen I have as many mental breakdowns as every other post-op!)
But one place I feel like I have a greater-than-normal market share is on mistakes. Yes, mistakes.
Mistakes are really what Bariatric Foodie is all about, if you think about it. Whether it be with recipes, or life advice, or fitness advice, my mission has been to try things, be honest about my mistakes, and try my best to help you avoid some of those same mistakes.
So it only seemed fitting, as I mark this special occasion, to share what I’ve learned in such a way that you don’t make some of the mistakes that I made. And if that helps even one of you live a calmer, more centered, more sustainable and successful post-op existence, it will have been well worth the effort.
Without further adieu…here are the 10 things you can (and should) learn from my 10 years as a weight loss surgery post-op!
Being skinny and being healthy aren’t automatically the same thing.
This came as a SHOCK to me! I thought once I was “skinny,” all my other issues would be resolved. But, as so many of us find, losing the weight is just the beginning. Let’s put aside physical ailments for a moment. Physical health isn’t the only type of health. And one of my biggest mistakes early on was not giving credence to the ways that I was unhealthy that weren’t physical. I had body image issues. I had self-esteem issues. I had identity issues. I was just a big ball of issues and the more I tried to focus on my body, the more those unresolved issues got in the way. It wasn’t until I started trying to deal with those issues that things started to turn around for me. So being skinny and being healthy are not the same thing, Foodies! A healthy body weight is a part of an overall healthy life, but in order to achieve total wellness, you have to work on making all aspects of your life healthy, not just your weight.
Too much is always too much
Ask most post-ops what’s the #1 rule after weight loss surgery and many would say PROTEIN! And protein is important. It helps you heal after surgery, promotes weight loss and fat burning, and it helps you preserve muscle mass.
But early out when they told me to focus on protein, I took that to the extreme. I’m not kidding! What my dietitian said was, “Your daily intake should be protein heavy.” What I heard was, “The more protein you’ll eat, the more weight you’ll lose!” Bad translation.
At one point in my post-op journey I had, for all intents and purposes, a raging eating disorder whereby I challenged myself to get the most grams of protein from the least number of calories. This involved cutting out food groups that contained essential nutrients that were good for both my health and weight loss process. But I didn’t care because, to me, more protein = more success.
That bubble got burst when I plateau’d at about a year in. And it made me angry because in my mind I was doing everything “right.” But I wasn’t. I’d just misread the tea leaves, Foodies. Too much is, and will forever be, too much. So do what your dietitian tells you to. And be open to feedback!
I’m not you. You’re not me. That’s ok!
There’s a saying that goes, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
It’s so true!
The first few years after my surgery I compared myself to people to the point of nearly driving myself to depression. You see, I have always weighed just a bit more than other post-ops. According to my surgeon, I will always weigh more than I look like I weigh because of my body composition. I had a hard time accepting that.
So you can imagine how hard it was for me back in the day to see folks achieving 150, 140, even 130 lbs. and there I was, bottoming out at 172. But see that pic right above? I was a size six. SIX! And I didn’t enjoy it because the number on the scale didn’t say the right thing – the thing that was on everybody else’s scale.
That? Was dumb. And I regret doing that. If I ever get that body back? I may just never put clothes on! Kidding. But if I ever choose to get back to that point, I will definitely enjoy the fruits of my labor!
The “Russian Roulette” Rule
So follow me on this one. I see lots of post-ops express curiosity about what they can “get away with” eating. I did that. I call it the Russian Roulette. You try something and see if it causes a reaction. Then, if it doesn’t, you try something else and something else until…well, we know where that story goes.
I call it Russian Roulette because if you think about it before putting that first questionable food choice in your mouth, it’s sort of like Russian Roulette. (For those who don’t know what Russian Roulette is, it generally refers to putting one bullet into a gun’s chamber and then firing. The “thrill” is that you may shoot someone. Or the chamber may be empty.) Think about it. The food may make you sick. It may not. The question is: do you really want to know? Like…what good can come of that information?
My Russian Roulette moment came with a piece of barbecued chicken. Yep. While sugar, in general, makes me sick, one day I ate a piece of barbecued chicken and it did not. I theorized this was because it was sugar paired with protein. Which led me down a rabbit hole of experimentation that ended in me realizing the parameters under which I can successfully eat things I HAVE NO DAMN BUSINESS EATING VERY OFTEN!
So. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, Foodies. That’s all I’m sayin’.
Be like an ant
What the hell does that mean? Right?
I read once that ants follow very specific paths to get places. So much so that if you put an obstruction in an ant’s path, they simply don’t know what to do. Now I don’t want anybody to feel lost.
But I would encourage you to develop healthy routines and guard them with your life. When you do healthy things habitually, they become second nature, such that it feels wrong to skip the healthy thing. I’ve managed to establish some of those kinds of habits, but I don’t have as many as I’d like. Good news is, it’s never too late to form a new habit!
Do you. Be you.
“OMG! You can eat all that???” This is a common thing I get when I post eats on Instagram or Facebook. Yes. Yes I can. Side note: that’s kind of a rude thing to say, no matter how you meant it!
I’ve met a lot of post-ops in my 10 years, through my local support system, WLS conventions, etc.
There’s this really weird thing in WLS group dynamics wherein when we all get together, we go to eat. But then we proceed to lament about how much we cannot eat.
I can eat. A good bit. And I’ve been able to for quite some time.
So getting together with other post-ops stressed me out. Because I’d order something and take two bites, but then everyone else was “OMG! I’m so full! I can’t finish this! This is four more meals for me!” (It was probably 1.5 meals for me.)
Which made me think something was wrong with me, with the way I eat. And in all honestly I am not the perfect post-op eater. I’m really not. But I will say that most of the time I fill my plate with good stuff: lean proteins, nutrient-packed veggies, and sometimes good, whole grains. And, yes, I can eat it all. And when I do, guess what happens? My body is nourished!
So my advice to you? If you feel like you are different than other post-ops, don’t necessarily view that as a bad thing. Figure out your version of healthy – what works for you in terms of losing weight, maintaining health, and peace of mind. Then do you. Be you!
There’s, like, all this other stuff that can happen to your body!
This sort of goes along with the whole “being skinny does not equal being healthy” deal.
You all have heard me speak (ad nauseum) about breast cancer diagnosis in 2016. But one thing I haven’t talked about as much is how weight played into that story.
I had a few symptoms that were pointing to something weird. One of them was the fact that I dropped a lot of weight effortlessly. And when I say effortlessly, I mean I made zero effort. I wasn’t eating my best (or particularly healthfully, at the time). I wasn’t exercising more. I wasn’t drinking more water. There was no scientific reason I should be losing weight at all, and certainly not at the pace I was losing it.
And I recognized that and reported it to my doctor – who congratulated me for shedding pounds! But I knew I didn’t deserve those accolades so I kept pushing for answers. A few months later, my diagnosis came down, I elected to have a double mastectomy and, shortly thereafter, my body “found” all that weight it had lost.
My big point here is to pay attention to your body. Pay attention to your health, your symptoms. Not everything is about weight loss. There’s all this other stuff that can happen to your body! And you should investigate if anything seems off.
Be nice to long-termers. You’ll thank yourself later!
Back in the day, I was the carb police! I remember one episode on ObesityHelp where I reamed someone out for eating strawberries.
Yes, Foodies, strawberries. Because strawberries are CARBS!
And I was a complete and total asshole to long-termers, especially those who struggled to keep the weight off.
To be fair, when you’re new and you’re dropping weight like gangbusters, and complying with every rule in the book, it’s hard to understand how anyone could go off the rails. It’s mystifying how folks can experience regain on any level. Because…how. Like…really…how.
But then life starts to come at you, Foodies. And it comes at you fast! I’m so glad I knocked that obnoxious behavior off. Because it was long-termers who helped me to deal with my struggles. It was them who understood and cheered me on. It was from them that I drew the inspiration I needed to keep trying again and again and again. I still l have folks further out than me who I look up to in that regard. Because even at 10 years post-op, I’m still falling off the damn horse. And I keep getting back on.
Self-esteem: Fake it ’til you make it
This is me and my bestie (also a post-op…just two weeks after me!) at an event I threw in 2015 called “Bariatric Prom” to give post-ops a chance to get gussied up and celebrate their success!
Here’s a secret. Nobody is born with a high sense of self esteem.
If someone says they are, they are LYING.
Self-esteem is something that is developed. And as humans we develop it in much the same way we develop other skills – by trying it out and seeing what happens. The problem is that when you are a person affected by obesity, the overwhelming message is that you should hate yourself. You should hate your body. You should look down on any good traits you have because you are, first and foremost, FAT. And to many in society, that is simply unforgivable.
The process of rebuilding your self-esteem is…well, a process. It is NOT true that you’ll automatically gain self esteem when you are at your goal weight. Sorry to tell you, but you are just as capable of hating yourself with a BMI of 20 as you are at 40. So let’s squash that thinking right now.
Every single human on this earth learns to love themselves. Some of us learn to do so early on in life (and for some of us, that love is reinforced by those around us and “sticks”) and some of us are tasked with learning it a bit later. But you can always learn.
Just recognize that it’s OK if it doesn’t come naturally to you. You may have to fake it ’til you make it. Do things that people who love themselves do. Say things that people who love themselves say. Experience things that people who love themselves experience. Sooner or later, you’ll convince yourself. And you’ll fall in love.
Don’t waste a mother(bleeping) moment of this life you’ve been given!
Yep. I kissed a pig. And I liked it!
This is general life advice. Time is a resource you can never get back. Ever.
Through my 10 years, life has hammered this fact into my head more and more. When my mother died in 2012, that fact was especially pronounced. When I got cancer it was painfully obvious too. Not so much because I thought I was going to die. (Seriously, guys, I had stage 0 breast cancer…the most curable stage) but because it reminded me of my grandmother, who succumbed to cancer at just 49 years old.
Time is something you don’t get back. Spend it WISELY. Fill your life with things that bring you fulfillment. (Notice I said fulfillment and not joy. The two are sometimes the same, sometimes not.) Work on making your relationships with people you love stronger. Have new experiences. Laugh. Love. Be Loved. Take care of your body. It’s your vessel through this thing called life. Make sure it’s healthy – in all the ways that it can be healthy!
Ok, guys! That’s a wrap for my reflective moment. One last word…of gratitude.
Thank you for being here over the past nine years I have been blogging. Thank you for your support, your kind words, your gentle criticism. Thank you for always pushing me and each other to be a little bit better today than we were yesterday. My post-op journey would not be the same without you. <3
Sorry…I get a little giddy about non-food, non-drink, non-ingest something type reviews. Plus…I love getting my move on!
In the interest of full disclosure, I did have to enlist help to do this review. About the time I was to review this fitness program, I had surgery and it took a bit more out of me than I anticipated. But thankfully my beautiful, energetic, vivacious, beautiful, intelligent, kind, beautiful (and did I mention she’s beautiful?) friend Kesha (who goes by Waning Woman on Instagram) came to the rescue! She participated in the program and shares her experience below.
If you haven’t before, meet Kesha:
(See? I told you she’s gorgeous!!!)
Before we get to what Kesha has to say, let me first give you the deets about what GoGirl Fitness and the GoGirl Resolve program are.
About GoGirl Fitness & GoGirl Resolve
In addition to being a Week 3 sponsor of the Bariatric Foodie Pledge, GoGirl Fitness Studio is physically based in Wilmington, NC and is managed by my good friend, personal trainer, weight loss coach, weight loss surgery patient, runner-girl, obesity rebel and all-around badass Pandora Williams, who you might know as the author behind Desperately Seeking Slender.
Pandora brings to GoGirl her personal philosophy that “fitness fits everyone.” What that means is that we should recognize that we don’t all approach fitness the same, but if we keep an open mind and determination, we can all find a fitness routine that is both possible and sustainable.
About GoGirl Resolve
In addition to being a physical fitness studio studio, GoGirl is launching an online group fitness program called GoGirl Resolve where, from the comfort of your living room (or hotel room, or office…or wherever you want), a GoGirl trainer will lead you, and several others, through a series of strength and cardio moves designed to give you a challenging workout.
In keeping with the “fitness fits everyone” philosophy, GoGirl Resolve is lead by Pandora through a program called Zoom, which connects her at the GoGirl Fitness Studio to you, wherever you should happen to be! Through the use of cameras and screens, Pandora can demonstrate moves and observe clients form, posture and assess their level of exertion.
So…what’s it like to go through a GoGirl Resolve workout? For that…we turn to my (“yes, we know, Nikki, she’s beautiful!”) friend Kesha. The rest of this review will be interview style with my questions in bold italics, followed by Kesha’s answers.
So what made you decide to try GoGirl Resolve?
GoGirl Fitness came a’knockin’ and asked yours truly to participate in an invitation only, pre-launch focus group. I replied, “I’m in like natural Black hair, gut health, and JoJo Siwa bows.” In other words, yes!
Tell us about the set-up? Do you need equipment? And how do you even access the classes?
I checked my email before the initial training session and found that Pandora recommends dumbbells and a stability ball. I have only kettlebells and my fabulous self. Oh well. #KanyeShrug. I just used my kettlebells while others used their dumbbells. Or in the case of one participant, cans of corn. Yes, Pandora told her to go to the pantry and hustle up some weights. It’s easily and immediately adaptable for equipment, mobility, and experience.
To access the class, I just launched the easy to install, easy to navigate app Zoom on my phone and was on my way. Although there were several participants, I could double tap Pandora’s window to pin her to the screen. I didn’t have a great place to sit my phone without out it sliding and moving, so I felt a little weird about the participants seeing me at unflattering angles. I quickly snapped out of it when i realized that they would see these exact same unflattering angles in a live class setting.
What are the workouts like? Are they super hard?
The training sessions were strength and stability based. Pandora is good at adapting the routine to our abilities. Here, let me give you my best online Pandora impression.
“Limited range of motion? Take it as high as you can. Your back hurts? Get off of the floor and take it to the wall. Oh you wanna twerk, Kesha? See if you can keep that up for 60 seconds while we march in place.”
See? Totally adaptable!
Seriously though, after approximately an hour of various dips, squats, curls, planks, bridges, lunges, and occasional twerks courtesy of moi, i was definitely ready to finish up my session, but I didn’t feel like Wal-Mart the day after Christmas: bombed out, depleted, and in desperate need of salvation. I actually felt good and ready to do it again!
What’s Pandora like as a trainer? What can folks expect when they work with her?
Well, I can’t speak for everyone but Pandora’s training style meshes really well with my personality. I am not about that in-your-face life. She pushes me, but also respects the fact that I know what my limits are, and she pushes me toward that, not beyond that. I’ve had workout/ training sessions that are just TOO hard and I’ve quit on the spot. This isn’t one of those. She’s a motivator, not a drill sergeant.
What did you think about online training? Did you like it?
Virtual training incorporates the ease of working out at home with the accountability factor of a trainer. Theoretically, I could work out for free on YouTube, but Billy Blanks ain’t staring at me from the other side of the camera saying, “Nope! Get those arms up and lift your rump. ”
I’m a very last minute person, so scrambling to throw on my workout clothes at 6:57 (after making a totally Instagram worthy food shot) worked out perfectly for ME.
I have a couple of caveats though. If you are an advanced fitness enthusiast and strength train on a level that requires using multiple machines, multiple weights, or do split training, the virtual group training model might not be the best fit for you.
I like to give my readers a sense of the value of the things I review. Tell us: do you think the GoGirl Resolve program is a good value?
(Nik note: The GoGirl Resolve program has two different options. You can do three times a week for $179/month or up to six times a week for $255/month. BUT they are offering a great price for the 3x’s weekly package in honor of the Bariatric Foodie Pledge – just $119! Figured it’d be good to, y’know, know the price as Kesha is talking about value. We now return you to her regularly scheduled fabulousness…)
I personally like to train with my partner. Even though men technically can take part in GoGirl Resolve, it’s primarily a safe training space for women, which is so necessary. But that means the Mr. isn’t participating with me.
Again, I completely understand the value and necessity of women only space, and in fact, I think that is a huge selling point, but I do feel that it’s worth pointing out.
All-in-all, though, I would say the GoGirl Resolve program is a great value, especially for:
those with beginner to intermediate proficiency
those who need modifications,
those who work,
those who have families,
those who want a safe space
those who breathe, aaaaaaand…
Those who have finally realized that their time is even more valuable than money.
Pledge to win GoGirl Fitness Resolve!
As I said above, GoGirl Fitness Studios is a Week 3 sponsor of the 2018 Bariatric Foodie Pledge. Make sure you are signed up for the Pledge so that you can be eligible to win yourself some GoGirl Resolve fitness sessions. ALSO mark your calendar because during Week 3 (February 11 – 17) you’ll be able to snag that sweet price of just $119/month for three training sessions a week! Be sure to check out their website and get to know the program.
And be sure to sign up for the Bariatric Foodie Pledge!
Participate all four weeks by submitting a pledge and a check-in
Take part in the Grand Prize Week competition
Do that and you could win one of every prize awarded during the entire four-week challenge. Shipped to YOUR door! Check out the Grand Prize below! And don’t forget – the 2018 Bariatric Foodie Pledge begins on Sunday, January 28!
I’m gonna keep it 100% real with you guys. Jump Start Energy Drink Mix wasn’t an easy product for me to assess, but not for the reasons you think.
There were three main reasons I struggled with this one:
Because it took some time for me to understand what it was supposed to do
The reason it took some time for me to figure that out is because I am not your bariatric (or otherwise) vitamin/supplement guru.
Once I did figure out that this was an energy drink mix, I faced another conundrum. I’m sort of naturally high-energy. So…would I notice any difference?
Let’s dive in and see what happened.
About AmBari Nutrition
In addition to being a Week 2 sponsor of the 2018 Bariatric Foodie Pledge, AmBari Nutrition is an online store that sells things like protein bars, shakes, snacks and, apparently, energy drink mix! I should note that the same folks who own AmBari own another of the Pledge sponsors – Bariatric Food Source, which is sponsoring Week 3. The owners of the company have supported the Pledge for the past three years – and we are thankful!
Jump Start Energy Drink Mix: What the hell is in it?
I am guessing that’s the first thing you’re wondering, so let’s talk about that.
Here’s what’s on the AmBari website:
“This refreshing drink contains ginkgo biloba, B vitamins, and caffeine (comparable to drinking half a cup of coffee)to give you that extra boost to start your day the right way!”
Aaaaaand thus begins Nik’s foray into research. Forgive the long chunks of text, but I didn’t want to leave anything important out!
Gingko biloba (source: WebMD): For thousands of years, leaves from the Ginkgo biloba tree have been a common treatment in Chinese medicine. In the U.S., many take ginkgo supplements in the belief that they will improve memory and sharpen thinking. Ginkgo improves blood flow to the brain and acts as an antioxidant. These effects may translate into some benefits for certain medical problems, but the results have been mixed.Some studies have found that in healthy people, ginkgo might modestly boost memory and cognitive speed. Other studies have not found a benefit. Several ginkgo studies have shown that it can help with memory problems caused by dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It seems to help prevent the progression of dementia symptoms, especially if the dementia is thought to be the result of atherosclerotic vascular disease.
B vitamins (source: Nature Made): The B vitamin family is made up of eight B vitamins. Although they are commonly recognized as a group and often work together in the body, each of the B vitamins performs unique and important functions. Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, riboflavin supports cellular energy production. Niacin is also known as vitamin B3, and supports cellular energy production.† Niacin, in the form of nicotinic acid, helps support cardiovascular health. Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, helps support cellular energy production in the body. Vitamin B6 is instrumental in keeping various bodily functions operating at their best. Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is needed to metabolize amino acids and glycogen (the body’s storage form of glucose), and is also necessary for normal nervous system function and red blood cell formation. Biotin may help support healthy hair, skin and nails.† Biotin also supports carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism. folic acid is most commonly known for its role in fetal health and development as it plays a critical role in the proper development of the baby’s nervous system. And then there’s my personal nemesis…er, favorite: vitamin B12, or cobalamin, plays a critical role in the pathways of the body that produce cellular energy.† It is also needed for DNA synthesis, proper red blood cell formation and for normal nervous system function.
Caffeine (source: HealthLine): s loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients that can improve your health. The studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of several serious diseases. A few benefit claims of caffeine are that it improves energy levels, aids in fat burning, and contains essential nutrients such as B vitamins, Manganese and Potassium.
Whew! If you know me, you know I must love you all because I am usually a “gimme the synopsis” type of person. Moving on…
So the ingredients, as I understand it, all have some sort of energy boosting capability. However, as with all energy-type supplements these claims are not verified by the Food & Drug Administration. (I don’t think I’m obligated to say that, but it felt like I should so…yeah.)
Here’s the exact nutrition label from the box.
I’m going to assume it’s calorie-free because, for the life of me, I cannot find any mention of caloric content!
Mixing & Tasting
So now that we (sorta) know what’s in this, let’s mix it up!
The drill on this is the same as every other drink mix ever. Get a glass. Pour 8-10 oz. of water. Mix in powder. Stir.
All that is pretty basic, but what I was wondering was about the flavor. Would it be good? Bad? Weak? Strong?
OMG THIS STUFF TASTES REALLY GOOD!
Like…I kid you not. It tastes like a less sweet version of berry snowball syrup. (Some of you may know this as snowcone syrup, which I will allow, although the proper term is snowBALL!)
I liked it even better after I added some ice cubes to the mix. It almost felt like there should be a shot of something in there. But I’m pretty sure that would defeat the purpose.
Instead maybe I’d freeze it in an ice cube tray covered with plastic wrap so I could put toothpicks in it and make mini-freezer pops. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll traverse into the bowels of my basement and dig up my kids old Snoopy Snow Cone Maker (I’m not making a great case for the legitimacy of the word snowball, am I?) and make myself a nice icy treat!
Whatever. The stuff is good is the main point I’d like to make.
But did it work?
I have no idea.
Honestly. One of the blessings of my post-surgical life is that my metabolism took off to the races at about four months post-op and while it has slowed some in the past few years, I still burn calories like a mofo. Which is to say that I am pretty high energy. I don’t require much sleep and I can go and go and go and feel energized for hours.
So if this has energy benefits, I wonder if I would even feel them. I’m going to send Shannon some and see what she thinks. Because I would like an honest assessment about whether this stuff does anything besides making a party on your taste buds. Which, for me, is good enough. But for you…maybe you need energy! And I wanna know!
Cost & Value
This product comes in a box of 10 and sells on the AmBari website for $11.95. That is, of course, $1.19/serving.
I’m hard pressed to speak to its value because I am not sure if it provides boosts of energy or not. But if it does, that seems a small price to pay to get it. One thing I found noteworthy is that they suggest you drink this twice a day for optimal results. I don’t think I’d do that. But as a yummy “wake me up” type of drink, I could totally see myself drinking this.
Would I buy this?
Well like I said, I could see this being either a nice treat or a nice wake-up drink. The taste is really fantastic. Did I mention that? I wasn’t expecting a lot but HOLY COW! Someone who struggles with energy, try this and see if it makes a difference and report back. Because if it really, really does and it tastes that good? Yes, I would totally buy it.
Pledge to win AmBari products!
As I said above, AmBari Nutrition is a Week 2 sponsor of the 2018 Bariatric Foodie Pledge. Make sure you are signed up to participate in the Pledge so that you’re eligible to win their prize! PLUS mark your calendar because during Week 2 (February 4 – 10), take 20% off your entire order with code BFoodie18. Be sure to browse their website so you know what to order when the time comes!
Not sure what the Bariatric Foodie Pledge is? Learn how it works – then sign up so you can have the chance to win prizes for working on your healthy goals!
SUPER IMPORTANT: This year you must be signed up in order to participate in the Bariatric Foodie Pledge. To sign up, click here! Then be sure to follow my instructions from there very carefully, even if you’ve done the Pledge in the past. Some things have changed.
With the business behind us…let’s talk about your Week 2 sponsors
Week 2 Sponsors & Prize Package
Week 2 of the Bariatric Foodie Pledge begins on February 4 and ends on February 10. The sponsors for Week 2 are:
Read on to learn more about each sponsor and prize, along with some special discount offers just for the Bariatric Foodie Pledge!
Ambari Nutrition products, originally created for medical weight loss, are made from the highest quality ingredients and are designed specifically to support a healthy lifestyle. Whether you’re looking to add some high-quality protein into your diet, or just want to lose some weight the healthy way, you’ll find it all on the Ambari Nutrition website!
Ambari Nutrition’s contribution to the Week 2 prize package is its Bariatric Starter Kit, which comes with a 10g Protein Bar Sampler, 15g Bar Meal Replacements, 15g Shake Variety, Snack Variety Pack, Select Sample Pack, and a Blender Bottle.
During Week 2, take 20% off the entire order with code BFoodie18. (Valid 2/4 – 2/10)
BariMelts® was designed with the special needs of Bariatric patients in mind! With unique formulations & our melt-in-the-mouth technology, our vitamins allow you to get the nutrition your new system needs, without having to swallow large chalky tablets that may cause discomfort.
My Bariatric Box seeks out the best bariatric diet compliant foods, snacks, supplements, fitness gear, healthy eating tools, and non-edible indulgences and deliver 8 or more of them right to your door every month.