Vegetarian Chicks - Longtime vegan, new to dieting

View Full Version : Longtime vegan, new to dieting

05-20-2011, 12:21 PM
Hi everyone. I've been vegan for 14 years, and I was slim for a long time, but unfortunately I'm almost entirely housebound, and sometimes bedbound, due to disability (severe ME/CFIDS), and I've ended up putting on quite a bit of weight. When I started new meds that happened to suppress my appetite a little recently, I decided to take the opportunity to try to lose weight.

A month on, it's going very nicely. Appetite is OK, tracking is fine (FitDay), clothes are starting to feel a bit looser, and the bathroom scales arrived a couple of days ago. I'm naturally a good cook and healthy eater, so the main things I am doing are calorie counting, avoiding obvious things like biscuits or crisps, being careful about snacking, making one meal a day (usually lunch) soup and/or salad, drinking lots of water, eating more wholegrains, combining proteins where possible.

The one thing I'm confused about, however, is macronutrient ratios. I've been hanging around the FitDay forums, but while they're a nice bunch, they are heavily biased toward low-carb, high-protein diets with lots of animal foods, and as a vegan I'm not really feeling like we're on the same page in this respect. While snooping around last night, I found the McDougall site and read a lot of articles. It was a relief to be reading something that wasn't pushing animal foods or demonising perfectly innocent wholegrains all the time, but to be honest I found some of his writing rather suspect, especially his rants about how all fats are evil, and the 80/10/10 ratio seems as extreme as the 40/30/30. (Especially since my ME improved noticeably after I started supplementing with essential fatty acids. Humans need some fat, damnit.)

So what sort of ratios do most vegans go for? For the last week, I have been at 58C/21F/18P, though before that the fat was higher and the protein and carbs a bit lower. The main thing that's new is that I'm trying to have porridge in the morning every day, and I've started added soy protein isolate to it since everyone is making me feel that I should have more protein. And indeed I end up with more protein, but I still don't know if it's the right amount, plus 10g protein powder spoils the taste of the porridge enough that I have to add a couple of chopped dates to cover it. This morning I went for 5g protein powder instead plus a teaspoon of a chopped nut/seed mix I made up a while ago, and still ended up adding a bit of molasses to stop it tasting odd. (It probably didn't help that I was feeling nauseous, I think I need to be careful to take my meds with meals rather than just before.) I could probably cope with the protein powder if it's the best thing for me, but after reading the McDougall site I'm not sure of that any more either! Advice, folks?

(By the way, I'm visually impaired, so please don't put in smilies or change the text formatting, and plentiful paragraph breaks are much appreciated.)

05-23-2011, 04:12 PM
Every time that I've tracked my intake on a site like that, it shows that I eat at least 60% carbs, 15-20% fats, 15-20% protein.

I think quality of food is more important that macronutrient percentages, but that's my opinion and what works for me.

As a vegan, I tend to base all of my meals around whole grains, beans, and vegetables, all of which are loaded with carbs. I will usually also add a teaspoon or two of a healthy oil like olive oil.

I've learned to stop caring about the percentages, because with all of the low-carbing that goes on, it just makes me feel bad or less than when my pie-chart's carbs are so plentiful.

I think that your eating plan sounds great!

05-24-2011, 08:18 AM
You're quite right. I think it's just that I'm new to this and trying to find my way amongst the huge amount of conflicting advice out there. I've been vegan for 14 years, I know how to cook, I know how to balance a diet, and I know how to follow a wholefoods diet, so I should really stop fussing! I've ordered a couple of different brown rices to try to lure me back to that, since brown rice is one of the areas I struggle with. Finding a nice one is the key, usually: I eventually found a good wholewheat pasta, and red Thai rice turns out to be stunning in miso soup. The other problem is just keeping up with the cooking, which is trickier as I'm disabled, and managing to keep hunger at bay and cope with it when it does break through. I'm starting to get to the point when I wonder if boredom will be a problem with this salad-and/or-soup-for-lunch deal, but for the time being I am going to try to overcome this through more creative cooking.

Meanwhile, home-grown beansprouts seem to be a great snacking food. I've a feeling the nutritional data on them is incorrect, if it's doing what I think and analysing the sorts of beansprouts you buy where the bean is missing and the root is long and mostly water. The ones I grow have very short tails and of course the bean is still very much part of it, so they're probably higher in calories, protein and so forth. Any idea where I could find the correct data? I've googled my heart out and I keep getting the same results.