Do not advance the diet yourself. The diet is designed for safety and proper healing. When you advance to the next stage of the diet without being cleared by the surgeon you put yourself at risk for a potential leak.
Condiments and herbs/spices are a good way to add flavor to foods as long as they are used in moderate amounts. Choose low fat, low sugar varieties when possible. Be cautious with overly spicy condiments/herbs for the first 6-8 weeks as they may cause stomach irritation or increased symptoms of reflux.
Given the small amount of food your stomach holds immediately after surgery, it will be nearly impossible to get enough protein from your three meals a day until 3 to 6 months after surgery. If you are having trouble finding a protein drink you can tolerate, speak to the Dietitians for suggestions and also refer to your Nutrition Guidelines Book for additional protein resources.
You may add extracts such as peppermint, vanilla or banana to your protein shakes as long as they do not add additional sugar or calories. You can also add sugar free water flavor enhancements such as Mio Drops, Crystal Lite.
Once you can comfortably consume enough protein from food sources alone, including Protein bars, you no longer need liquid protein supplements every day. The amount of time it takes to get to this point is different for everyone. Most people reach this point between 6 to 12 months after surgery.
There is not a standard amount of calories Bariatric patients should eat daily. After surgery it is more important to keep track of your protein and fluid intake. After 1-2 years, most weight loss patients consume approximately 1200-1500 calories daily.