Saturday, 9 February 2008

What I eat

Anna requested vegans who have lost weight to tell her what they eat. So here goes:

I would say the bulk of my calories come from whole grains.I try not to repeat the same grain twice in one day--that's just a little thing I do, I have no idea if it is of any nutritional benefit other than variety. For example, if I have wheat toast for breakfast, I will have oats for a snack, quinoa at lunch and brown rice at dinner. Not wheat-wheat-wheat or rice-rice-rice. I also get in perhaps more seeds and nuts than the average person. I have tofu or other soy-based protein three or four times a week, beans some meals, and a few meals a week are just veg and whole grains. I get roughly 50-70g of protein per day, but I don't count them. I have no earthly idea how many calories, but a few half-hearted attempts at tracking it suggests somewhere around the 2000 calorie mark, I think. (Don't quote me!) I don't drink anything but morning coffee and then water for the rest of the day. That doesn't strike me as weird but people do seem to think it's odd. I don't drink fruit juice and count smoothies as food, not drink. I use soy milk in foods but do not drink it by the glass. I really do drink just water. That was a switch that was not hard to do, and now the thought of drinking a Coke just seems disgusting. I can't manage it; it's just too yuck. We also don't drink alcohol. I might have a glass of wine two or three times a year, but that's it. It's expensive, fattening and gives me a headache--who needs that?

Every other day I take a 10mcg B12 supplement. I look for products with B12 and calcium added, such as soy milk and soy yogurt and some fortified cereals. My favorite brand of veggie mince has B12 and omega-3 fatty acids added, that sort of thing. I try to add ground flaxseed to food when I remember it. I'm working on improving that. My cooking oils are primarily olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil and cold-pressed sunflower seed oil. I also use oils for flavour, such as macadamia nut oil, walnut oil and pumpkin seed oil, but not often. I know that there is a theory that nut and seed oils are not meant for human consumption, but I don't subscribe to it. I believe oils in moderation are good.

I don't use any products that are 'fat free.' They are highly processed and full of chemicals. I would rather eat real food.

I have eaten a primarily vegan diet for three years. We do occasionally have a bit of parmesan cheese on things, and a few of our vegetarian products contain albumen (egg white), but that is pretty much my only concession to animal products.

My day's food intake looks something like this:

Breakfast--wholemeal toast (at least 3.5g fibre per slice) with about a teaspoon of almond or cashew nut butter and a teaspoon of no-sugar-added strawberry (or other flavour) jam; black coffee; 1 pint water

Snack--muesli (whole, raw jumbo oats with a variety of dried fruit and nuts) soaked in unsweetened soymilk, sometimes with ground flaxseed and/or hemp protein powder added; 1 pint water

Lunch--chickpeas or some sort of bean or tofu or falafel, a cooked wholegrain such as brown rice or quinoa, or perhaps bulgur or wholemeal couscous, mixed salad leaves (I usually don't add a dressing, but when I do I use an oil and vinegar-based one, no fat free products) and a piece of fruit; 1 pint of water

Snack--fruit smoothie, sometimes with 90% pea protein or hemp protein added OR oatcakes with dried fruit in them OR brown rice cakes with a lentil pate spread OR a punnet of fresh berries with soy yogurt; a pint of water

(After work, I do my workouts. If I do a sculpt workout that has left me particularly shaky, I will have a small bowl of muesli or a smoothie with hemp or pea protein afterward, sometimes. And more water.)

Dinner--slow-cooked kale with caramelized onions and brown rice OR a nut cutlet and some steamed or roasted vegetables OR a vegan pizza on a wholemeal crust OR veggie tofu stirfry with a whole grain; another pint of water if I can manage it. Dinner doesn't always involve a protein. It depends on what I had for lunch.

I have enjoyed good health and my body has reached a normal weight on this diet. Of course, I've been exercising as well.

I use this rule of thumb when filling my plate: 1/2 the plate vegetables, 1/4 plate protein, 1/4 plate starch. It's sort of like the diagram below, only without the milk, and the starch has to be wholegrain.

This is what I shoot for, but in reality, what happens is I often get more starch than veg, despite my efforts. (And then of course there's the chocolate, biscuits and other rubbish I eat at work. Argh!)

Below is a vegan food pyramid. It happens to line up very well with the way my husband and I eat.

However, as I would like to shed a few more pounds, I think we may slowly transition to a different take on the vegan food pyramid, as seen below. If I were more conscientious about always using the foodplate model, my diet would line up better with this alternate food pyramid, which I think would lead to better weight loss success and overall health:

Just click the images to seem them up close.

We'll see how it goes with transitioning from the bulk of our food being grains and complex carbs to vegetables and fruits. I don't want DH to lose any weight. Just me!

May all beings be at ease!


Fat-Free Vegan said...

Carla, thanks so much for posting this! I really do appreciate it very much. Do you make your own falafel? I enjoy them when we're out and about, but the one time I tried to make them at home was a flop.

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