Friday, April 25, 2014

A Guide to Making the Perfect Smoothie!

Dr. Michael Feiz, a leading Los Angeles weight loss surgeon, is often asked for nutrition advice on healthy eating, and one of his tips for a satisfying morning meal is a green smoothies. Healthy smoothies blends carbs, protein, and fat in a delicious beverage which isn’t too high in sugar or calories. By making a smoothie at home rather than buying one, you can control the
ingredients, nutritional value, and calories. You’ll also save time and money. The key to making
a healthy smoothie is choosing the right ingredients that will help you stay full until your next

Here’s a guide to making the perfect smoothie, from the bottom of your blender to the top, courtesy of Dr. Feiz & Associates:

When you’re ready to start making your smoothie, add the liquid ingredients to your blender or
juicer first. You can try many different types of liquid to make the perfect smoothie, from coconut
water to almond milk. The most common choice is dairy milk, but any type of milk will work as a

Try the following liquids in your healthy smoothie:

• Milk. You can use dairy milk in your smoothie to get a smooth base to your drink. Dairy
products are linked to improved bone health due to the high calcium content. The high
level of potassium in milk can maintain healthy blood pressure and lower the risk of
heart disease. Choose fat-free or low-fat milk, which has little or no solid fat.
• Non-dairy milk. Soy milk is naturally cholesterol-free, high in protein, and low in fat and
is a popular choice for the lactose-intolerant. Almond and coconut milk are another
great alternative to dairy choices. Almond milk has a rich, creamy taste which is lower in
calories and fat than dairy milk. Coconut milk has a light, sweet flavor but is higher in
• Fruit juice. While fruit juice is a popular addition to a smoothie, it also usually has added
sugar. Try to stick to whole fruits, which have natural sugar and are not as calorically
• Coffee or Tea. If you’re making a blended coffee drink, you can get a caffeine boost in
your homemade Frappuccino. Tea has caffeine, as well as antioxidants.
• Yogurt. Thicker than dairy milk, yogurt comes in a variety of flavors. Try a non-fat or
low-fat variety, and check the ingredients list to determine how much sugar it has. Aim
for no more than 14 grams of sugar per serving. To replace your regular yogurt, try
Greek yogurt, which is thicker and has twice the protein.
Although many smoothies contain dairy to give them a milk consistency, you don’t need it to
prepare a well-balanced smoothie. You can still get that creaminess by adding certain fruits,
which bulk up texture, in the next step.


When you’re thinking of the perfect smoothie, no doubt fruit is the main ingredient. As the most
popular smoothie ingredient, you have lots of choices. While fruit has many vitamins and minerals, and most are fat free, it’s important to choose ingredients wisely so you have a
delicious drink which isn’t too high in sugar.
• Bananas. As one of the most popular fruit smoothie additions, bananas can give your
beverage a creamier texture without adding any fat. Bananas are high in fiber, vitamins,
and minerals, and are worth the 100 calories you’ll get in a medium-sized fruit. Bananas
have lower water content than other fruits, making them more calorically-dense, but as
part of a healthy diet, will not lead to weight gain.
• Berries. Fresh or frozen, berries are a healthy low-calorie, high-fiber addition to a
smoothie. If you’re buying canned or frozen berries, make sure they have no added
sugar or syrup. Berries such as strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are naturally
sweet without the need for added sugar. Berries also have a high amount of vitamin C,
calcium, magnesium, folate, and potassium.
• Citrus fruits. Comprised of the lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit and tangerine, the citrus
family offers an amazing source of vitamin C, as well as fiber, calcium, and folic acid.
Plus, they add a low-calorie “zing” to your smoothie. Watch that you don’t add too many
acidic fruits or it may irritate your mouth.
• Other fruits you may choose to add to your smoothie include apples, grapes, kiwifruit,
melons, pears, peaches, papayas, pineapple, plums, mangoes, avocados, or tomatoes.


Although you may not think of adding a cucumber or cup of kale to your smoothie, the taste of
these nutritional powerhouses is easily canceled out by the fruit and other ingredients. Another
added benefit of putting veggies in your smoothie is that you’ll easily boost your daily servings of
vegetables. Even though they may turn your smoothie bright green, don’t worry, you’ll still taste
the orange, banana, and yogurt on top of the spinach!

And if you really can’t bear the thought of a green smoothie, add in darker berries, such as
blueberries and blackberries, which will mask the green color.

• Spinach. When blended, spinach is pulverized into almost nothing, so have a heavy
hand when adding spinach to your smoothie. Once incorporated, you’ll get all of the
great nutrients spinach provides and you’ll barely taste it, if you notice it at all. Raw
spinach has very low caloric density, at only 7 calories per one cup. Spinach also has
more than 100 percent of your vitamin K in one serving, as well as a high amount of
vitamin C, A, and E.
• Kale. This dark, leafy green it has loads of vitamins, minerals and calcium. Similar to
spinach, kale is very low in calories.
• Carrots. As one of the vegetables with higher sugar content, this versatile vegetable can
be added to your smoothie without worry that it will muddle the taste of your
masterpiece. Carrots have a number of health benefits, such as improving vision with
high vitamin A content, fighting free radicals, and protecting against certain cancers. One
thing to be aware of is that carrots may be harder to blend, depending on the wattage of
your blender. If you’re not keen on carrot chunks, use a juicer to blend carrots or buy
carrot juice instead of adding raw carrots. • Some other veggies which work well in smoothies include chard, cucumbers, celery, peas and water chestnuts.


This tasty addition will add a thicker texture to your smoothie while adding plenty of protein,
fiber, and essential fatty acids. Nuts are naturally low in sodium, but nut butters may add in salt
for flavor, so check for unsalted varieties. Nut butters all have high fat content, so just a
tablespoon is likely to give your smoothie the kick it needs without adding too many calories.
For a nut butter with heart-healthy unsaturated fats, try almond butter. This variation to classic
peanut butter has a higher amount of essential fatty acids and is a good option for those with
peanut allergies.

Peanuts aren’t actually a nut, but a legume, but they are in the same category as nut butters.
Choose organic, unsalted peanut butter, which is less processed than its brand name
counterpart. Peanut butter is often processed so the oil won’t separate, or to reduce the fat

Here are some nut butters you may want to try in your smoothie:

• Almond butter
• Cashew butter
• Macadamia nut butter
• Peanut butter
• Pecan butter
• Pistachio butter
• Walnut butter


• Protein powder. By adding this popular supplement, you can make your smoothie more
like a meal. Check the ingredient of your protein powder to see if it has added calories
along with its boost of protein. Protein powder comes in many varieties, such as whey,
soy, or casein-based, and also comes in a many flavors. Plain or vanilla protein powder
blends best with fruit flavors.
• Chlorella and spirulina. These food sources come from algae, or sea vegetables, and
are high in protein and contain essential fatty acids.
• Seeds. Another source of protein and essential fatty acids comes from flax, chia, and
other seeds. They are nutrient rich and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. You can
buy whole flax seeds or powdered flaxseeds. • Spices. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon, nutmeg, or other spices to add sweet complexities
to your smoothie without adding any calories. Cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar
while nutmeg can help improve sleep.
• Flavoring. You may opt to add some honey, agave extract, or brown sugar to your
smoothie if it doesn’t have enough natural sugars to satisfy you. Another, no-calorie
option is adding stevia, a natural sweetener.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Body and Spirit

As often happens during this time of the year, two of the world's most important religious celebrations are coinciding.  This week is the ongoing Jewish celebration of Passover, today is Good Friday, and Sunday is Easter.

As the offices of a bariatric surgeon, we obviously concern ourselves with matters that are much more medical and scientific than spiritual. However as we fight the ongoing obesity epidemic, it's not a bad thing to reflect a bit on some of the universal values that, believe it or not, animate a lot of what we do.

What many people don't understand is that a weight loss surgery in Los Angeles or anywhere else is about many things but, among them, are two items most people wouldn't immediately associate with our work: freedom and love. We don't want to directly invoke the religious meanings of this week's holidays but, clearly, the Old and New Testament episodes celebrated this week involve these universal values in a very deep way, and -- in a way -- so does weight loss surgery.

Freedom comes up because the fact of the matter is that seriously overweight people are not completely free. The hormonally-driven compulsion to overeat that only gets worse when people lose weight on their own can feel like almost like a form of enslavement. It's often easy for thinner individuals to sit in judgement of people who are morbidly obese and dealing with issues like type 2 diabetes because they've never really had to struggle with an irrational, but impossible to ignore, drive to repeatedly overeat. People with weight issues don't actually choose to overeat, they are driven to it.

As for love, well, anyone who has performed a job as difficult as surgery might understand what we're struggling to say. Yes, this is what we do for a living, but every time we help a patient by freeing them from the persistent drive to overeat, we are motivated by a drive that goes beyond simply wanting to do a good job on behalf of our patients. We're not sure what to call it, a love of our work and a genuine concern for the people we're trying to help really does play into it, though. Call it what you will.

Have a very happy and peaceful holiday, everyone and, if you or someone close to you is struggling with severe obesity and feels trapped, please feel free to contact us at 310-855-8058.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Go From Shopping In the Plus-Sized Department to a Size 6-12 with Dr. Feiz!

As Dr. Michael Feiz' patient Andee Granados can tell you, living life over 250 pounds (especially on a petite frame) is something that is painful in more ways than one. Andee decided she needed to get the LAP-BAND surgery in Los Angeles, and was happy to have found a competent, caring doctor in board-certified bariatric surgeon, Dr. Feiz. Now at a healthy weight after losing more than 120 pounds since her lap band procedure, Andee lives life to the fullest and feels better than ever. In fact, since her 2009 surgery, Andee is proud to go clothing shopping at regular, fashionable stores that don't specifically cater to plus-sized women. She has maintained her healthy weight and a size 6 clothing size, and said she couldn't feel better.

Watch Andee's story on YouTube here:
As she mentions in her patient testimonial, Dr. Feiz and his staff have been at her side through the first consultation through the surgery itself, and most importantly, aftercare. She no longer feels the urge to go through the drive-through for a quick, calorie-packed meal, and is content eating meals that are healthy. Andee also was championed by her mother during her Lap-Band journey, and credits her for a great deal of support. As Dr. Feiz would tell his patients, a group of support is a very helpful way to get through any surgery, especially one as life-changing as bariatric surgery. Even if it's just from your peers in a patient support group or an online message board, any form of encouragement can help a patient get through the ordeal of losing weight.

If Andee or any other of Dr. Feiz' patient ambassadors have inspired you to make a change, simply call his offices to book an appointment. Remember that while you may have more than 100 pounds to lose, it can be done, and every journey begins with a first step. Call 310-855-8058 today to speak to a friendly consultant at the offices of Dr. Feiz & Associates!

Friday, April 4, 2014

In Medicine, Never Say Never

We all know that the obesity epidemic often seems like a never ending struggle, which is why the rise of bariatric surgery over the last twenty years has been such a ray of hope for so many people. At the same time, it's important for us in the medical community to not be cowed by thinking that some sort of medical achievement which, in theory, should be possible, is impossible because it just seems to difficult or even unlikely.

We're thinking, of course, about the new study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, documenting remissions in type 2 diabetes. In the past, type 2 diabetes has been thought primarily as a chronic disease that could be controlled, but not really put into remission, much less cured. However, looking at obesity surgery patients, researchers have found that about one-third of the patients actually did go into full-blown remission for a period of years.

This is a huge step that few would have predicted before fairly recently, even though bariatric procedures have been with us for decades now, and it's hardly the first time this has happened in medicine. Those of us who are old enough to remember the AIDS crisis know that the idea that an extremely deadly disease could be transformed into a manageable chronic illness seemed beyond remote, yet that's what happened.

In medicine, you really can't say "never" about anything that might be possible, and that definitely applies to individuals and weight loss. If you've tried repeatedly to lose weight and still find yourself severely obese and maybe with health complications directly related to it, now may be the time to stop saying "never" and explore weight loss surgery with Dr. Feiz. Feel free to give us a call to inquire about a free seminar at 800-868-5946.