If you’re looking for a little taste of fall this season, add this pumpkin spoonbread recipe to your list. Not only delicious, it’s also suitable for the bariatric eating plan or anyone wanting to cut carbs. It’s also an easy make-ahead recipe for Thanksgiving!

Try it today. You and your guests will thank us!


  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups Splenda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups solid-pack pumpkin (pumpkin puree with no additives)
  • ¾ cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice


  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the oil, Splenda, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin, then set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Add all the web ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Be cautious of overmixing.
  4. Grease and flour a 6×9 pan baking dish. Pour the batter into the dish.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick in the center of the loaf and it comes out clean.
  6. Allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to fully cool.

Servings: Approximately 18

Serving size: ¼ cup

Nutrition per serving:

  • Calories: 150
  • Carbs: 2.2g net
  • Fat: 14g
  • Protein: 2g


Providing tasty, bariatric friendly recipes is one of the many ways we support patients in their new bariatric lifestyle at the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital. Learn why hundreds of people choose our program to lose weight and change their lives at bmi.arheart.com.

Even though many prepackaged dressings are off-limits on the bariatric eating plan or for a healthy diet, salad dressings can still be flavorful, healthy and easy to make. In just a few steps, you can make your own Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital dietitian-approved dressing.

Try one of these salad dressing recipes:

Court’s Simple Vinaigrette


  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup red or white wine vinegar
  • About 1 cup of Splenda
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick Mediterranean spiced sea salt* or you can do Kosher salt, fresh black pepper, garlic, etc.


  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Transfer to a glass bottle with a rubber stopper to store in the fridge.

Smoked Jalapeno Vinaigrette


  • 4 teaspoons Splenda
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle chili
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil


  1. Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a small saucepan and place over medium heat.
  2. When the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour the dressing into a bowl. Drizzle the oil into the dressing in a thin stream while whisking quickly.
  4. Pour into a covered container and chill until cold.

Asian Dressing


  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons minced ginger (can use less if desired)
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup Splenda
  • Few dashes of light soy sauce
  • Splash of sesame oil


  1. Add ingredients in a medium sized bowl, whisk to combine.

Estimated Nutrition info per Tablespoon: 60 calories and 7 grams fat

Our team of cardiovascular experts and weight loss doctors are ready to help patients put their health goals in reach. For patients who don’t see success with medicine and other treatments, we offer a second chance. Learn more about our unique approach to weight loss, and visit our From the Heart blog for more recipes and resources.

Lara wanted to start her golden years healthy and energetic, but extra weight, high blood pressure and arthritis were holding her back. She found a new lease on life with weight loss surgery at the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute. Read her story.

A Lifelong Struggle

I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life. My mother wrote “too pudgy” in my baby book when I was four, and I was on my first diet at eight years old. Twice in my adult life, I’ve lost more than 100 pounds but I always gained it back. My highest weight was 324 pounds.

I had considered bariatric surgery in my 40s, but the timing wasn’t right for my family. In my 50s, my health began to deteriorate, and daily tasks became more difficult. I got tired easily, and I was worried all the time about fitting in chairs, booths, airplane seats and bathroom stalls. I would get winded going up and down stairs, and I was never able to find clothes that fit me. I was on high blood pressure medication and had degenerative arthritis in my knees and back.

Taking Action

I knew life as a senior would be difficult, and I wanted to enjoy my golden years and not be a burden to my daughters. I decided it was time for me to take action.

I contacted the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute in March 2021, and I underwent gastric bypass in July 2021 with Dr. J.D. Fuller, bariatric and general surgeon.

Recovery and Support

The stay at Encore Medical Center was amazing. It was awesome having the BMI team in the same building and readily available. I had no complications, and the BMI team was very responsive to my emails and phone calls.

Everyone at BMI has been very responsive and supportive. From the first phone call to my last checkup, people are present and paying attention to your needs.

A New Lease on Life

After surgery, everything is better! I’ve lost more than 160 pounds, and I’m smaller than I was in junior high. I am off four medications, and my energy, sleep and flexibility are better. My degenerative arthritis in my knees and back is much less bothersome due to carrying less weight.

The biggest change since surgery is my improved energy level. Taking on tasks or chores are met with strength and determination. From raking leaves to scrubbing down cabinets, I can meet those challenges easily. I can even get down on my hands and knees and get up again! I can also cross my legs while sitting.

I now look forward to family trips and airplane rides because I don’t dread lagging behind my family because of my size or lack of energy.

I’m grateful to Dr. Fuller, Lauren, Courtney, Shanna and all the BMI staff for this amazing tool and this new lease on life for the second half of my life.


The Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital strives to make permanent weight loss a reality through personalized attention and innovative surgical options. From insurance approvals to emotional and physical wellness, we are here for you every step of the way. Start your journey by finding a bariatric surgeon.

What are your bariatric surgery options?

This fall, don’t just carve your pumpkins, savor them! These nutrient powerhouses are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, can boost eyesight and are a great addition to the bariatric eating plan.

Reap the rewards of this tasty vegetable with this pumpkin spice recipe that’s perfect for your protein shakes.


  • 1 can Libby’s pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • ¾ cup Splenda
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice to taste
  • Pinch of kosher salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat.
  2. Simmer ingredients for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Place it in a storage container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Add ¼ cup to your favorite protein shake along with ice. Blend until smooth.

Recipe yields 4 servings.

Nutrition per ¼ cup:

  • Calories: 25
  • Carbs: 5g
  • Fiber: 1.5g

We believe food should be healthy and taste good. That’s why our bariatric dieticians provide a wealth of delicious recipes for our patients, no matter the eating plan they’re on. Learn how you can start your weight loss journey, meet our bariatric surgeons and explore our financing options at bmi.arheart.com.

Read how Gary exchanged yo-yo dieting for running shoes after gastric sleeve surgery.

It’s football season and that means it’s time for wings! If regular wings are off limits in your bariatric eating plan, our creative dieticians have your back with this bariatric friendly crispy cauliflower wings recipe, an interesting and delicious twist on traditional wings.


  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • 3 eggs ¾ cup almond flour
  • ¾ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sugar-free BBQ sauce of choice (G. Hughes Sugar-free sweet honey wing sauce if our favorite!)


  1. Wash and chop cauliflower into florets. Each piece should be the size of a small egg.
  2. In a bowl whisk eggs together.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients.
  4. Dip each piece of cauliflower into the egg wash and then into the batter and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet or air fryer.
  5. Spray the florets with a non-stick cooking spray or oil.
  6. Bake at 420 degrees for 20 minutes or in the air fryer at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Recipe yields 4 servings.

Nutrition per serving:

  • Calories: 270
  • Carbs: 5.75g
  • Fat: 16g
  • Protein: 20g

NOTE: The calculated nutrition includes all ingredients. Actual values will be slightly less than stated due to not using the entire egg wash and batter.

We believe food should taste good. That’s why our bariatric dieticians provide a wealth of delicious recipes for our patients, no matter the eating plan they’re on. Learn how you can start your journey to a new improved you at bmi.arheart.com.

Try this BMI friendly bang bang shrimp recipe.

Kelsi feared what seemed like inevitable health conditions. So, she took charge of her future with gastric sleeve surgery, became a mom and began participating in pageants. Read her story.

Getting Ahead of Health Conditions

I struggled with my weight my entire life being overweight from adolescence to mid-20s. Life was very depressing because I always kept to myself in fear of being made fun of because of my weight.

I chose to have gastric bypass surgery because heart disease, diabetes and strokes run in my family on both sides.

Ten out of Ten Experience

In December 2019, Dr. Samuel Bledsoe, bariatric and general surgeon, performed gastric bypass surgery. He and his team at the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute (BMI) provided a ten out of ten experience and the best care I have ever received in a hospital.

My experience with recovery has been a breeze. I quickly learned to listen to my body, and I haven’t had any issues whatsoever.

Life of Fun and Adventure

After surgery I lost a total of 157 lbs. Because of the surgery, I was able to get pregnant with my son. I am currently losing again and down 51 lbs. Life is fun, always an adventure and full of laughter. I am able to run around with my son and be on my feet all day without any pain.

I also started participating in pageants. I started off with small community pageants just to meet new friends and gain more confidence. I was nominated to represent Arkansas at the National Women of Achievement pageant in California. I currently hold a national title with the pure international system and will be competing at the international level in Florida.

Our nationally recognized team of surgeons, dietitians, nurses and therapists are here to guide you to a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life through bariatric surgery. Go to bmi.arheart.com to see if you qualify for surgery, learn about your surgical options and watch our free online on-demand seminar.

Learn how to break weight loss plateaus.

They say a dog is a man’s best friend, and it turns out this cherished friendship has more benefits than just providing unconditional love and loyalty. Research shows that dog ownership can positively impact your heart health.

The Arkansas Heart Hospital explains how the bond between humans and their furry companions can lead to a healthier heart and overall well-being.

Decreased Stress and Anxiety

The simple act of interacting with a dog can trigger a surge of oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone” or “bonding hormone.” This natural chemical helps reduce stress and anxiety levels, leading to a more relaxed state of mind. Studies have found that spending time with dogs can lower cortisol levels associated with stress. Consequently, individuals who own dogs tend to experience lower blood pressure and heart rate responses to stressful situations. In fact, Arkansas Heart Hospital has used pet therapy as a way to promote healing, motivate progress and lift spirits for our patients.

Enhanced Physical Activity

Regular exercise is a cornerstone of good heart health, and dog ownership provides a built-in incentive to get moving. Engaging in activities such as walking, running or playing fetch not only benefits the dog but also helps improve cardiovascular health in humans. Even a moderate increase in physical activity can positively impact heart health by reducing the risk of heart disease and obesity.

Social Support and Companionship

Loneliness and social isolation can negatively affect heart health, increasing blood pressure and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Dogs are excellent companions, offering unconditional love and unwavering support. Since dog owners often converse with other pet owners during walks or visits to the park, dogs promote social connections and reduce feelings of isolation.

Petting a dog has been shown to release endorphins, the body’s natural mood enhancers. This can help lower stress levels and improve overall emotional well-being.

Stress Reduction Through Snuggles

The simple act of interacting with a dog can trigger a surge of oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone” or “bonding hormone.” This natural chemical helps reduce stress and anxiety levels, leading to a more relaxed state of mind. Studies have found that spending time with dogs can lower cortisol levels associated with stress. Consequently, individuals who own dogs tend to experience lower blood pressure and heart rate responses to stressful situations. In fact, Arkansas Heart Hospital has used pet therapy as a way to promote healing, motivate progress and lift spirits for our patients.

Heart-Protective Effects of Unconditional Love

The emotional bond between a dog and its owner is powerful and unique. The sense of companionship and unconditional love a dog provides can decrease depression and anxiety, promoting emotional stability. A happy and emotionally balanced individual is less likely to engage in harmful behaviors like smoking or overeating, further reducing their risk of heart disease.

Beyond being adorable and affectionate companions, dogs can remarkably improve our heart health. From reducing stress and anxiety to encouraging physical activity and providing emotional support, the benefits of dog ownership extend far beyond the surface. Incorporating a furry friend into your life enriches your daily experiences and contributes to a healthier heart and a happier life overall.

So when you see us walking our dog listening/singing to Shaggy’s “Who Let the Dog’s Out” a bit too loud, just know we’re doing it for our heart!

Tired of feeling miserable and motivated to watch his grandchildren grow up, Steve chose gastric bypass surgery at the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute to change his life. Read his story.

Frustrated but Determined

I struggled with weight on and off for the last 30 years. I would lose weight with diets, but when I stopped dieting, I would gain it back plus some. It was very frustrating.

At 70 years old, I weighed 315 pounds and was on high blood pressure, cholesterol and arthritis medications. I struggled walking long distances, and any strenuous work forced me to take breaks. I was disgusted with the way I looked and felt all the time.

I decided to have surgery because I was miserable, and I have eight grandchildren I wanted to see grow up and do activities with.

Easy Experience

In July 2022, I underwent gastric sleeve surgery with Dr. Samuel Bledsoe, bariatric and general surgeon, and he and his team took good care of me. My hospital stay was better than expected. Everyone was courteous and very helpful. It was the easiest surgery I have experienced as far as pain.

New Life

I’ve lost more than 120 pounds and I’m off all medications. I’m back to my old self, doing things around the house. I don’t feel tired after a walk or strenuous work, my legs don’t get heavy and my joints say, “thank you” every day. I have fun watching my grandchildren grow up, hunting and just enjoying my back porch.

I thank the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital for this tool that let me live my life again.

At the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, our primary focus is to help you in reaching your weight goals and regaining your health. A nationally recognized team of physicians, nurses, counselors and dietitians, we are your lifelong partners in the journey to a longer, healthier life. From insurance approvals to emotional and physical wellness, we are here for you every step of the way. Watch our free, on-demand informational seminar to start the process.

Find more weight loss surgery testimonials, recipes and bariatric surgery resources.

Read 12 questions to ask before bariatric surgery.

Bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, is a powerful tool that is proven to transform lives by resolving and preventing weight-related diseases, improving quality of life and extending life expectancy up to 10 years.

It is important to understand that bariatric surgery is permanent, and you should gather as much information as possible before making the decision to undergo this surgery. One crucial step is to have a thorough discussion with your bariatric surgeon, dietician, psychologist and other members of your medical team so you can be empowered and prepared for life before and after bariatric surgery.

Dr. Oscar Talledo, bariatric and general surgeon, shares 12 important questions you should ask your bariatric surgeon and team before undergoing weight loss surgery.

  1. What are the different types of bariatric surgery and what is your recommendation for me?
  2. What are the potential risks and complications?
  3. What tests and appointments will I need before surgery?
  4. How much weight can I expect to lose?
  5. Will surgery resolve my current health conditions?
  6. What does recovery look like after surgery?
  7. What can I eat and not eat after surgery?
  8. If I smoke and drink alcohol now, can I do so after surgery?
  9. Will my current medications have to be adjusted after surgery?
  10. Will I have to exercise?
  11. What is my post-surgery plan?
  12. What kind of expert support after surgery will I have to help me succeed?


Every bariatric surgery patient’s weight loss journey is unique. The team at the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital might have additional recommendations or requirements for you, which will be discussed during your office visit.

We are here to assist you on your journey to better health for life. Take the first step to a new you at bmi.arheart.com or call 501-210-7770.

Learn how bariatric surgery can treat sleep apnea.

Courtney SutterfieldWeight loss after bariatric surgery does not always follow a straight path. Sometimes, the number on the scale goes up after weeks of following the bariatric eating plan, which can be disheartening. There’s no need to panic, but weight gain after bariatric surgery should be an indicator to make adjustments to your eating and exercise habits. After all, weight loss surgery is not a quick-fix diet – it’s a tool for a changed lifestyle.

“It’s important to remember that just because you’ve had bariatric surgery, that life does not stop,” says Courtney, dietician at the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital. “It’s important to have other ways of dealing with that other than turning back to food.”

Continue reading for tips to avoid weight regain after gastric bypass surgery or gastric sleeve surgery.

Be honest with yourself. If you are regaining weight, ask yourself if you have been following all the guidelines established by your physician, dietician and care team. The sooner you commit to getting back on track, the sooner you will see results! If moderation didn’t work for you before surgery, it is not going to work for you after surgery. If you need support, request a “back on track” appointment with the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute team.

Be aware of carbs. Excessive carbohydrate intake through processed foods or too many complex carbohydrates will slow initial weight loss and lead to weight regain. “Keep your food simple,” Courtney says. “Protein and non-starchy vegetables are the best sources of fuel for us humans. Once we’re adults, our need for carbs is drastically reduced. Even exercising for an hour a day doesn’t require a drastic increase in carb intake.” Once you’re in the lifetime eating stage, your diet should be comprised of real, whole foods. Avoid processed foods, including certain protein shakes and bars.

Remember what worked after surgery. Get out your manual and start again. Processed foods and junk weren’t your friends before surgery, and they aren’t your friends now. “If you’re a year out from surgery and seeing weight regain, get back to the basics in BMI’s education guide,” Courtney says. “Utilize the recipes. Don’t eat quick, fast and easy.”

Try this protein-packed grilled pork tenderloin and firecracker slaw recipe.

Don’t skip breakfast. You don’t have to eat eggs, but breakfast does need to consist of a quality protein. “A protein is anything that walks, swims or flies – beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, cheese or eggs. These are the best sources of proteins for us humans,” Courtney says. “Don’t get fooled by food that says it’s high in protein such as protein chips, cookies or drinks.”

Plan and prep your meals. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Planning ahead for meals is your best weapon against impulse eating. “The long-term rewards of meal planning and prepping far outweigh any little bit of extra time you have to spend in the kitchen to get your meals ready for the week,” Courtney says. “It really does make life so much easier when you prep.”

If you absolutely cannot prepare a meal at home, try these fast-food eating tips.

Keep a food journal. If you bite it, you write it. We tend to underestimate what and how much we eat; this helps identify possible pitfalls.

Exercise is a must. Immediately following surgery, you will lose weight regardless. But then it will slow and if you haven’t established a good exercise routine it will not be any easier later in the game. “Being active is important,” Courtney says.” Do different types of exercise. Cardio is good for fat burning, but strength and resistance training are equally important since they minimize muscle loss after surgery.”

Try these exercises for bariatric patients and beginners.

Avoid grazing and unhealthy portion sizes. Just because a food is labeled “healthy” doesn’t mean it is for you if you are eating it throughout the day or eating large volumes.

Avoid night eating. It is easy to consume several hundred calories while watching late night TV. Burning off those calories the next day is no fun, so instead of getting a snack, get some sleep.

Hold yourself accountable. At the end of the day, the only person responsible for your success or failure is you. “The BMI team is here for you, and we want you to succeed but you have to do your part,” Courtney says. “If you start gaining weight back, don’t just think ‘my surgery quit working for me.’”

Reach out to the BMI team. The BMI team is here to help you identify the underlying causes of stress eating, why you turn to food or self-sabotage. “We know that this is long-term, lifelong commitment to this eating,” Courtney said. “That’s why we have great team members and bariatric physicians in place that provide support and resources such as recipes.”


Bariatric surgery is not a diet or magic pill – it’s a lifestyle. The Bariatric & Metabolic Institute offers physical and mental support for life when managing obstacles such as weight regain after surgery. Our team is there with guidance and resources to help through clinic appointments, a private support group and weekly live discussions on a variety of topics.

Find a bariatric surgeon at BMI, learn if you qualify for bariatric surgery and see our weight loss surgery financing options.