Help a vegan out?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 07, 2010 6:38 PM GMT
    Hey everyone, I'm desperate for any help you can give me! I'm a no meat, no dairy, no eggs, true vegan... as long as you ignore the fish I eat maybe once a week. I switched to a vegan diet because I kept reading adn hearing about the health benefits of it all, and I never really liked milk, meat, or eggs.

    I switched last August, and have been pretty thorough with making sure my diet is pure vegan, with the occassional slip up (almost always unintentional, I swear!). But I seem to have actually GAINED weight since switching!

    I seem to be eating a pretty decent diet I'd say... I love fruit (love what you are, right?), so I eat lots of those, and most of my meals are home made. I don't eat much candy or baking as a lot of it is not really vegan friendly. I never drink soda (can't stand the stuff), I do have a serious starbucks addiction... but even that is usually teas and iced teas, not lattes!

    I do however have a tendancy to binge eat... always have. And I tend to eat when I'm bored. Most of my friends have moved away for University recently, so I tend to spend a lot more time alone, which means a lot more binge eating. But it tends to be things like crackers, or vegan chips, or fruits, and things like that.

    As for working out... well... my work outs have always been pretty erratic. Don't know what else to call them. I love it while I'm at the gym... but I never seem to be able to get the motivation to actually get my butt there!

    I have had problems with sinking into self-image related depression in the past, and I can feel it starting to creep up again, so I would seriously love some help from you guys!

    If any one could tell me why I might have gained weight I'd be very grateful! Or if you have any tips on how to streamline the diet or motivate myself to get cracking, I'd love that too!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 07, 2010 9:01 PM GMT
    Some general pointers, though take them at face value as I'm not a dietician:

    I've noticed that a lot of vegans are heavier than vegetarians. I'm not sure what it is about the diet, but it might just be part of the deal.

    Vegans and vegetarians are sometimes lacking in certain vitamins and amino-acids, as well as iron. The human body is not designed to live on veggies alone, so you have to be smart and pay attention to the actual nutrients that are in the things you eat and make sure they are balanced. I want to say that it's usually b-vitamins and certain animal-based amino acids that they usually lack. Lacking these may cause changes in your body, and it may cause you to over-eat trying to find them.

    Stress also has a lot to do with what you weigh. If you are stressed out, you will put on weight. That drastic of a shift in your diet may be enough, alone, to stress it out.. but if you have any other stress in your life, that might be getting in your way. If not, see exactly how the foods make you feel. If you feel drained rather than energized, your body may be having trouble adapting to the food (even so long after you started).

    Binge eating is always a source of body-shape troubles. To put it in somewhat simplified terminology, your body looks its best when your food intake is regular and spread out. Eating too much at once causes sharp hormone changes that trigger weight gain. Similarly, eating too LITTLE (or not eating often enough) causes different hormone changes, but ones that ALSO lead to weight gain.

    Thyroid problems can also occur. I don't recall if any vegan diets are hard on the thyroid, but I know that a lot of people just have a wonky thyroid and it regulates their weight in unusual ways. Many friends of mine that had thyroid problems also had a pinkish blush to their skin a lot of the time. Look for possible problems in that department, because they can sabotage any good workout or diet.

    And last but not least, the problem may not lie in eating, but in exercise. You may have hit a plateau--have you changed up exercise routines lately? If not, or if your eating and working out aren't aligned properly with one another, you can also gain weight. On the other hand, working out too much with the vegan diet might be stressful on your body (Especially if you have any of the problems Ive mentioned above). Just make sure you're still using balance in your exercise and food and you should be okay.

    All in all, despite the smaller incidence of heart and cholesterol related problems, the human body is not at all designed to be purely vegan. Sure, we are even LESS designed to be pure carnivores (So don't switch to the Atkins diet, whatever you do). In order to go against nature, you have to be careful and do a lot of planning and nutrient-couting (rather than calorie counting, though that is still necessary for weight loss). Casual vegans put themselves in danger. Most vegans that visit a dietician (or even a decent doctor) are told to supplement their diet with multivitamins and amino-acids. Make sure you know exactly what you are eating, to see if you are missing something. Good luck on your decision, keep with it (and by the way, fish is the most efficient thing your body can eat, so don't feel guilty about it).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 07, 2010 9:02 PM GMT
    You should eat meat.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 07, 2010 10:50 PM GMT
    Progress saidYou should eat meat.


    Way to be constructive with such an ignorant post.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Apr 08, 2010 12:10 AM GMT
    Given that you're vegan (except, you say you eat fish, which as far as I can tell makes you rather decidedly not vegan) because you think there are health benefits to it, rather than from a moral/ethical/environmental standpoint, it's not totally absurd to suggest that you might want to consider some additional animal products in your diet. Humans are, by nature, omnivores, and it can be difficult for us to absorb all of the amino acids we need in sufficient quantities from plant and fungi matter alone. It can be done, but you'd likely benefit from speaking with a dietician, who can point you toward the necessary combinations of food to get a complete package of protein. Soy and quinoa are a good start (though I'm personally a little leary of trying to rely too heavily on soy alone, as soy is relative rich in plant estrogens), and lentils and beans can help round out your essential amino acids which would be lacking if you relied primarily on wheat and corn. Even when you've gotten to a complete protein profile from plant matter, you will likely need to consume more of it to reap the same benefit as you would from animal products, as we're simply not as efficient at utilizing the plant-derived protein. So if your overriding concern is your personal health, rather than the welfare of animals or the environmental impact of raising livestock, you'd probably save effort and mental energy by including some eggs or cottage cheese or low fat milk for a simple and complete protein source.

    As far as the weight gain, the same basic rule of thumb applies regardless of the type of food you're eating: if calories in - calories out is a positive number, you will gain weight. There are many people who get it in their head that as long as what they're eating is healthy, they can have however much of it they want. Seeds, nuts, and dried fruit can all be good for you; and all of them are very calorie-dense foods, so it's very easy to eat trail mix and consume 4x the calories as you would if you were snacking on potato chips. Your waist isn't going to care if those extra calories came from raisins or deep fried twinkies. I've also seen a number of reports where people who consume at least some dairy in their diet end up losing more fat than people who consume an equivalent number of calories but none of them coming from dairy products. Why this would be, I don't know, but it's something to keep in mind.

    There's also the issue of the binge eating. The general advice is that you'll do better having a larger number of individually smaller meals; this will keep your blood sugar levels much more constantly, and will avoid the spikes that can trigger insulin problems and greater conversion from sugar to fat.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 08, 2010 12:38 AM GMT
    PAJohn said
    Progress saidYou should eat meat.


    UR a dick. How about we send you to work in a slaughterhouse for a while and then see if you still feel like making stoopid comments afterwards.


    Too bad that plants can feel pain and communicate, too. Too bad that bacteria are aware when you eat them. Too bad that ANY living creature can understand its own demise, and fights to prevent it. At least a cow, even in a slaughter house, might get lucky and wrestle around until it kills its tormentors. Plants don't have that ability, all they can do is sit and scream. Sure, they're using hormones and pheremones, like a bug, not using a voice, like an animal. Sure, they don't have nerves or a brain. But if you took some biology classes, you'd find that those are not the be-all, end-all of sensation. It's pretty ignorant to be too kind hearted to kill an animal, but okay with killing insects, plants, or microorganisms. Life is life, death is death. In nature, you kill to survive. You kill the diseases that infect you, you kill the dust-mites you breath in. You even kill your own body and your own cells.

    Veganism is something that should be done for health reasons. If you want to be spiritual and "advanced", you should do what hardcore buddhists do--don't eat anything that hasn't died of natural causes. Only eat leaves that have fallen off the plant, and don't eat any meat because the cells and bacteria inside are still alive.

    Oh, but wait.. plants don't have a face, so I guess that makes them less alive. Never mind that the oldest living creatures are plants. Never mind that plants provide the air you breathe, the carbon that your body needs. Never mind that they evolved a very long time ago, and have survived cataclysms that animals could not. Are they really all that "inferior" to us? Why is it people feel justified in killing one thing, but not another? After all, if you want to eat something that can't experience pain or be aware of itself, you should eat all the brain-dead people in comas, because they feel and "think" less than a plant does.

    This message is sponsored in part by Poison Ivy, and the Tree Hugging society of America. Thank you, and have a nice day.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 08, 2010 1:02 AM GMT
    The kids doing it for his health, so saying he should eat meat isnt really a dick move... and the whole except for fish thing is total bullshit, your either a vegan or not... thats like calling me a vegetarian because my average meal doesnt contain meat.
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    Apr 08, 2010 1:30 AM GMT
    Saying that humans need meat is like saying that, men need women. While both statements are true, they are both false. No human has to have or even needs meat to survive or to be "healthy."

    Everyone needs protein, carbs, fats, etc... as well as vitamins and minerals.

    True you are not a true 'vegan' if you eat fish or have "slip-ups." Also, just because you are vegan does not mean you will loose weight. Losing weight deals with exercise and calories taken in and expended throughout the day. The things that you eat have a major effect on what you weigh. If you eat sugar, of most any type, you are likely to actually gain weight; it doesn't matter how much you exercise. Eating sugar makes your insulin spike and blah, blah, blah.

    If you are eating a vegetarian diet to loose weight, then try watching exactly what you eat, how large your meals are, and how much you exercise. Also try cutting out all of the unnatural sugars in your diet. The only sugar you take in should be found naturally in fruits and vegetables.

    This may not be a lot of help, but there are a lot of websites out there to help you become a more self-sufficient human.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 08, 2010 3:54 AM GMT
    It's hard to say exactly what the issue might be because you haven't really provided us with enough information, like what you eat on an average day, for example, or even what an average meal is. We also need to know what you're doing for exercise/cardio.

    As a vegan I try to split my food groups into three equal parts. 1/3 fruit, 1/3 vegetables, and 1/3 nuts, seeds and pseudo-grains. The vegetables are mostly leafy greens.

    You mentioned fruit a few times and that's something that stood out to me. Fruit has A LOT of sugar in it, which for a lot of people can translate to unwanted fat. Fruit is awesome, it's a great source of fibre, certain fruits are rich in antioxidants etc, but watch how much you're eating. Same thing goes for certain vegetables like carrots and beets....lots of sugar which equals lots of fat.

    I'd be interested to know what kind of healthy fats you're consuming as well....
  • metta

    Posts: 39104

    Apr 08, 2010 8:13 AM GMT


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  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 08, 2010 10:41 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidTo the OP. You just admitted to more frequent binge eating due to friends away at university. That's the problem right there. Get your eating under control.


    This and your erratic work outs are the problem. Veganism has nothing to do with it.
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    Apr 08, 2010 10:55 AM GMT
    the_sin_elf said
    Too bad that plants can feel pain and communicate, too. Too bad that bacteria are aware when you eat them. Too bad that ANY living creature can understand its own demise, and fights to prevent it. At least a cow, even in a slaughter house, might get lucky and wrestle around until it kills its tormentors. Plants don't have that ability, all they can do is sit and scream. Sure, they're using hormones and pheremones, like a bug, not using a voice, like an animal. Sure, they don't have nerves or a brain. But if you took some biology classes, you'd find that those are not the be-all, end-all of sensation. It's pretty ignorant to be too kind hearted to kill an animal, but okay with killing insects, plants, or microorganisms. Life is life, death is death. In nature, you kill to survive. You kill the diseases that infect you, you kill the dust-mites you breath in. You even kill your own body and your own cells.

    Veganism is something that should be done for health reasons. If you want to be spiritual and "advanced", you should do what hardcore buddhists do--don't eat anything that hasn't died of natural causes. Only eat leaves that have fallen off the plant, and don't eat any meat because the cells and bacteria inside are still alive.

    Oh, but wait.. plants don't have a face, so I guess that makes them less alive. Never mind that the oldest living creatures are plants. Never mind that plants provide the air you breathe, the carbon that your body needs. Never mind that they evolved a very long time ago, and have survived cataclysms that animals could not. Are they really all that "inferior" to us? Why is it people feel justified in killing one thing, but not another? After all, if you want to eat something that can't experience pain or be aware of itself, you should eat all the brain-dead people in comas, because they feel and "think" less than a plant does.

    This message is sponsored in part by Poison Ivy, and the Tree Hugging society of America. Thank you, and have a nice day.


    Are you saying that the sentience of plants is comparable to animals? Seriously? And then going on to suggest that eating plants is comparable to eating people in a vegetative state? =D Fucking hi-larious.

    Come on, nobody can deny some of the disgustingly cruel shit that goes on in slaughterhouses. Or compare the brutal conditions in slaughterhouses to those seen on a rice paddy... no matter how defensive you are towards your eating habits.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Apr 08, 2010 11:53 AM GMT
    KyleAD saidThe kids doing it for his health, so saying he should eat meat isnt really a dick move... and the whole except for fish thing is total bullshit, your either a vegan or not... thats like calling me a vegetarian because my average meal doesnt contain meat.


    A vegetarian that also eats fish is a pesci-vegetarian. I am a lacto-ovo-vegetarian because I eat dairy and eggs. Of course vegan means no meat, dairy, eggs, or meat by-products in your diet. So just using the term "vegetarian" is a little misleading but not completely false.
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    Apr 08, 2010 4:13 PM GMT
    Now, don't mistake my love of plants for a dislike of animals. Some pretty evil things happen to animals in those slaughterhouses, and animal cruelty is animal cruelty, period. However, that doesn't make meat-eating amoral.. just slaughterhouses. Eating a cow that had a happy life on a pasture, killing it in as painless a way as possible at the right time.. that's not really cruel, that's survival.

    And no, plants don't "think" the same way humans do. Hell, some humans don't think the way humans do. Sentience isn't a series of levels, with plants in one bracket, animals in the next, humans in the next, etc.. but still, when you come down to it, what really matters is the ability to react to one's environment. Pain is just the ability to sense that you have been damaged.. thus, someone with no nerves feels less pain than plants do.

    And by the way, I am not advocating that people shouldn't eat anything, because everything understands their pain and death in some manner. Rather, I'm pointing out how fallacious many of the "moral" and "spiritual" reasons for veganism can be.. and the fact is that life is built upon death, and that all things must kill to survive. Even our polite and passive friends the plants are glad to outgrow one another and steal sunlight, killing their neighbors and undergrowth for their own sake.

    Being a pure vegan (that is, one without "slip ups") is a risky thing. You can do it, and be healthy, and even gain muscle weight.. but because it's not QUITE as natural as eating SOME meat (not a lot, but some), it takes more effort and more thought. And.. if you're a vegan doing it for health reasons and not moral ones, the idea of a "slip up" once in a while is probably GOOD for you, so you shouldn't feel ashamed because you're being a "bad vegan".
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 08, 2010 11:55 PM GMT
    the_sin_elf saidNow, don't mistake my love of plants for a dislike of animals. Some pretty evil things happen to animals in those slaughterhouses, and animal cruelty is animal cruelty, period. However, that doesn't make meat-eating amoral.. just slaughterhouses. Eating a cow that had a happy life on a pasture, killing it in as painless a way as possible at the right time.. that's not really cruel, that's survival.

    And no, plants don't "think" the same way humans do. Hell, some humans don't think the way humans do. Sentience isn't a series of levels, with plants in one bracket, animals in the next, humans in the next, etc.. but still, when you come down to it, what really matters is the ability to react to one's environment. Pain is just the ability to sense that you have been damaged.. thus, someone with no nerves feels less pain than plants do.

    And by the way, I am not advocating that people shouldn't eat anything, because everything understands their pain and death in some manner. Rather, I'm pointing out how fallacious many of the "moral" and "spiritual" reasons for veganism can be.. and the fact is that life is built upon death, and that all things must kill to survive. Even our polite and passive friends the plants are glad to outgrow one another and steal sunlight, killing their neighbors and undergrowth for their own sake.

    Being a pure vegan (that is, one without "slip ups") is a risky thing. You can do it, and be healthy, and even gain muscle weight.. but because it's not QUITE as natural as eating SOME meat (not a lot, but some), it takes more effort and more thought. And.. if you're a vegan doing it for health reasons and not moral ones, the idea of a "slip up" once in a while is probably GOOD for you, so you shouldn't feel ashamed because you're being a "bad vegan".


    I agree with the first and last paragraph of this, and some of whats in between... but I still think comparing the sentience of plants to animals is stretching it. What matters isn't the ability to react to one's environment, it's the ability to experience it.
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    Apr 14, 2010 3:06 PM GMT
    Eat the rabbit, not the rabbit's food. icon_wink.gif