||[Oct. 22nd, 2011|10:07 am]
cheap vegan eats
I just started eating vegan, and I feel like while I've been doing really well (the cheese craving is fading slooooowly) but I feel like I've been going a little overboard on things like pasta, bread, rice, etc. |
I'm pretty broke, but thankfully I'm a cook at a really nice private club - so I get to eat way above my means at work. (Though with having to hide eating vegan so I don't get laughed out of the kitchen, and being surrounded by so much meat and cheese, sometimes I think it's less a bonus and more of a burden to eating right...)
So - is my concern about eating too much pasta/bread/rice a legit concern, or is it just that stupid "omg carbs are bad" infecting my thinking? Any suggestions for good substitutes? It's not that I don't eat lots of veggies and fruits - it's that if I don't eat some sort of bread, I end up feeling really hungry and I don't always have time to eat again, and the hungrier I get the worse the craving for cheese seems to get.
i usually mix things like rice and beans or lentils, nut butter and whole grain bread, etc. whole grains are best because they digest so much slower than white or processed carbs. *shrugs*
- an easy quick yummy meal for me -- cook brown rice with lentils, while hot add minced garlic and whatever herbs i'm in the mood for, some soy sauce and chopped tomatoes (can add zucchini, green beans etc.) --it can be eaten hot or cold so i make a bunch and put it in containers for my husband's lunches. -
mixing a variety of whole grains and beans ensures you get a variety of amino acids -- keeps you from having blood sugar highs and lows that you normally get from the white/processed carbs.
I think it probably depends on your own individual body. I think in general carbs are good, but in general all things should be in moderation. I personally feel at my best when I'm eating a really high-carb diet, but I also have some friends that feel cruddy eating the same things.
If you have a choice, get whole grain pasta/bread, and brown rice. Also maybe try mixing it up with things like quinoa occasionally.
I also think that, especially when making diet transitions, it can be okay to do things "not perfectly." Like... for example, a lot of people have an easier time switching to being vegan if they eat a lot of vegan junk food or meat subs or whatever. That doesn't mean that their whole vegan life they'll be eating crap, but if it helps in the transitional period, then I don't really see a problem with is! Similarly, if eating a lot of bread helps you avoid cheese cravings and stuff, you could definitely plan to cut back at some point if you decide that is best, but for now just let yourself go with it.
I know this isn't foolproof, but in general my feeling about foods is that if you feel good, stick with it. If you feel cruddy, try changing things up. :-)
That's a good way of looking at it - when I first started trying this a few weeks ago, I started out pretty extreme - trying to eat only raw veggies, drink veggie juice and water, and that was about it - from a previous (horrible) diet of greasy meat and lots of cheese. So naturally I crashed and burned pretty much the first day.
So instead of thinking of this as eating unhealthy forever, I'll think of it as a transition...
Do you have any substitute products you can recommend? The only thing I've tried so far was some sort of vegan hot dog (can't remember the brand) and they tasted like...well, plastic, so I chucked them and stayed away from meat subs since.
I totally agree with this comment! I am transitioning from vegetarian to vegan right now and milk/cheese has been the hardest habit to kick so I'm relying on processed 'replacements' for now. I know this isn't the best (or cheapest) option but I think it's just temporary until I master more vegan recipes.
i am doing the exact same ting but I'm finding it really hard because I'm a student and on a budget. any suggestions?
When I went vegan I also was eating very-carb heavy because I was always hungry. I think it's really important to get enough protein in your diet, just because protein is more filling and will keep you feeling full longer. Make sure you're getting enough beans/lentils/tofu/whatever and you won't feel nearly as hungry. :)
Why hide your diet? Who cares what other people think? A job is a job, you can't always work somewhere that fits in with your morals.
You can definitely overeat grains, especially if you're eating white rice/bread/pasta. That stuff, if overeaten, will spike your triglycerides (bad new bears). Also, if you're eating white, as opposed to whole grain, you're not getting much nutritional value out of it. Part of the reason you might be craving cheese is because it is a slow-digesting protein. Getting enough protein is super important, especially if you're active, which doesn't just mean working out a lot. It also could just be having a standing or physically strenuous job. If you add some protein to your carbs, and you'll stay full longer. For instance, I often eat granola in the mornings before work (because I'm not cooking anything at 3am lol), and I'll add a spoonful of peanut butter or a handful of nuts to it, plus put way more soy milk than is necessary (or sometimes regular milk, because I'm not actually entirely vegan, and I live in upstate NY, so I can buy local, more ethically produced dairy farms). Or if you're having rice or pasta for lunch/dinner, add some legumes or tofu.
*disclaimer* I'm not a full-time vegan right now but I was for a couple years, and I now eat probably 1/2 vegan, 1/2 vegetarian. I've got reasons but not going to justify it in a vegan community!
Fats will help you feel full and make everything so tasty too. put a good salad dressing or just nice olive oil on stuff, throw on some hemp seeds or (cheaper) ground up flax seeds, and some of the stuff already mentioned like adding avocado, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, vegan margerine, vegan cheese, etc.
I tracked my food intake for a couple weeks once on livestrong.com (there are plenty of other sites you could use too) and it helped me figure out the balance of protein, carbs, and fats that was best for me (it gives you a pie chart breakdown) and helped me figure out how many calories would maintain my weight. I work best with a lower-carb (but not ultra low carb!) diet, for sure, and eating more fats (especially healthy ones) helped (obviously more protein is also important in a lower carb diet, but I feel like that parts already been covered. canned black beans, lentils and chickpeas are my go-to). Even though fats add a lot of calories, I find they help me take in less in the long run because I feel more satisfied, in a way that carbs just can't do for me. It helps me maintain my weight and I looking trimmer and feel more energetic.
Just some thoughts based on my own experience - like others said, you've gotta find what works for you! Good luck!
Oh! and i'm in love with quinoa lately, if you can find it in bulk/afford it, it's a grain (actually a seed) that has complete protein so it's more filling. It's super easy to make. I like to make a big pot on the weekend and eat it with everything (stir fry, in salad) all week.
Make sure you are getting some protein with every meal, nuts, beans, higher-protein grain like quinoa. That will make sure you stay fuller and don't reach for carbs constantly. Of course you should also have carbs, they are the body's fuel! If you pick the good, wholegrain ones they will fill you up for longer and they are much more nutritious and less likely to make you fat!
i would say you need to track your food to start with. you can do it on paper, but it might be easier to use a free site [like fitday.com or sparkpeople.com] just because basic ingredients are already in there [though you may have to add some specialty ones] and because besides cals, carbs, fats and protein, it's a click of a button to track a whole host of things like vitamins, minerals and fiber.
once you have some data, then you can look at what your body is actually getting and go from there. if you're eating all the bread/pasta/rice and getting in most of the nutrients and other things your body needs [and you know enough to know what things aren't required to be listed on labels, so if one of those is really low, you know why], i'd stay to stick with it, especially if you like how you are eating. i know for me, potatoes and pasta are some of the most filling foods on the planet. and yes, i know that fat and protein are important with regards to satiety, but a baked potato topped with steamed broccoli and a cheesy nooch sauce is one of the most filling meals i ever eat. some bit of those carbs just sate me in a way that other foods don't hit, munching on nuts all day or not. some of us are like that, and it's not a wrong thing [or a right thing], just what works for the individual.
if you can look at what you're eating and you're eating 1600 cals a day and 1400 of them are pasta and bread, well, you need more veggies and other foods. in which case, try and sub lentils or quinoa for some of the rice and pasta. and maybe veggie loaf or vegan dad's lunchmeat for some of the bread.
A lot of the concern for carbs comes from that Atkins (or Kill Yourself Slowly) diet that everyone got obsessed with years ago.
I mean, as long as you try to eat whole wheat as much as you can (white flour and "enriched" stuff is kind of shitty for you), or just stick with rice, you'll be fine. Like anything else, moderation is key. Carbs are the go-to source of energy for your body - so long as you don't eat nothing but bread, I wouldn't worry about it.
I have to disagree with you. I used to think that way, until I got some blood work done and it came back with borderline high triglycerides and LDL, which can (and presumably did) come from overeating complex carbs, considering I have no history of heart/cholesterol problems in my family and had been vegan for 3 or 4 years at the time.
The key word is "overeating" them - I mean, as long as you make sure you balance things out, I don't imagine having carbs period will be harmful to one's health :)