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Vegan Health & Nutrition Discussion Forum

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Hi all! So I have found that in approaching this subject that many vegans get offended by my contraints and reasons why I am happy being an omnivore, a well educated omnivore with two degrees: one in Environmental Studies and the other in Environmental Sciences and Sustainability and working towards a master's in forestry. So if you have no kind input please do not respond. THank you. I have a few vegan friends and have asked them the same advice I am asking you and they really didn't have an answer because they don't have dietary restrictions for health reasons, nor do they have time restrictions. Mind you nothing in my life is going to change in terms of time restrictions and financial restrictions. It's just how my life is at the moment and will be likely for the next 4 years. That being said, please just provide me adivce based on my contraints because those will not change. I'm sorry to sound 'uppity' but I've gotten a lot of mean responses saying i need to change my life and schedule, which is obviously not going to happen. I'm merely seeking a way to save money on food a few days a week, and maintain my macros which make me feel best and most energetic and happy. I have heard that veganism is very cost effective. That being said, can I go vegan for 3 days a week maintaining the following macros based on the following dietary constraints:

I am allergic to soy, dairy, gluten, and highly sensitive to starches, grains, any and all processed foods.
I eat raw veggies, fruits, fish, eggs, chicken, beef (all lean), seeds, nuts.

THe macros I maintain are: ~80-120 grams of protein a day sometimes more, I am moderate to very active in my lifestyle; 150 or less carbs but most of my carbs are from veggies--too much fruit and sugar in general makes my sleep and anxiety so bad. I'm very sensitive to sugar.

I eat ~35-40 grams fiber any more I bloat, any less than 25 grams I feel 'backed up';

low sodium (sensitive to sodium I retain water like you wouldn't believe even drinking over a gallon a day); I drink approx. a gallon of water a day, give or take, depends on how active I am (I listen to my body);

I eat mod. healthy fat like coconut oil (raw), avocado oil (raw), etc.;

no grains and no starch unless is tiny amounts maybe once or twice a week and even then I bloat and get gasey so in general I stay away since I want to feel great, not like [censored]ze.
I eat all organic and local foods from local farmers I can literally walk up and meet and spend a day on their farm.

I eat paleo basically. I have done raw vegan, vegan, and vegetarian for several years each and could not do so sustainably which I believe to be due to my constraints. Hence my seeking advice. Note I want to maintain these macros I feel best on and have been living on for years. I have no problem maintaing a lean toned figure and if I'm aiming to lose weight I can. Currently I am happy wiht my 144lb 6ft ~18% body fat figure but ideally want to lose some fat on my legs so I may cut my fat back a bit and carbs as well and adjust my workout regime. I do PIIT pilates, hike, vinyasa yoga and light jog. I f'in' hate running so I do high intensity pilates and vinyasa yoga in a heated roomed instead if I'm not feeling jogging is 'cutting it' lol. On average I am active 4 hours a day, some days I do all day field work hiking and collecting samples. Depends. Some days I sit on my butt. So I adjust my calories based on how hungry i feel. I eat between 1700-3k calories a day. Never a prob. maintain my weight and measurements so I'll assume listening to my body is working since calorie intake is always changing for every person based on lifestyle, muscle mass, etc. as I'm sure all of you know.

Lifestyle constraints:
I have 2 hours a week to cook (I work 80 hour a week, run a household and have a partner. No I cannot manifest more time--I prep my protein and/or pop a meal of veggies and protein in the oven and shower. That's my life.)
I have 200-300 a month to spend on food.

Ideally I would like to cut about $50 off my food bill a month which I think (and again based on what I heard from my vegan friends with no constraints, that would be easy to do). However considering most protein sources for vegans are soy, gluten based, higher in carbs, may have starches or be grains, I'm not sure what I can eat given I don't have much time to cook at all. After grad school I think I'll have more time. I mean I would hope so. But as of now that's just not going to happen and is not up for debate.

Any advice would be nice.


Responses (10)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by ahimsa32fa at 05/20/16 05:38:37

    My choice of a 99% vegan diet is based on concern for my health, concern for the planet and concern for resources. But most of all, it's based on compassion for all animals.

    So we apparently have different priorities. My advice would be to read more vegan authors, especially Jonathan Balcombe, for views on the lives of the other animals and our relationships with them...

    By the way, I don't put a lot of stock into the "paleo diet" thing, because I know that in paleolithic times, humans consumed a wide variety of diets, depending on location and climate.

  • bl00drose's avatar
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    Posted by bl00drose at 05/21/16 14:56:11

    @ahimas32fa this is exactly why I will never go vegan. I am being honest and upfront about my dietary needs, and what macros make me feel best, and what my current life schedule is like, and my background. I am not ashamed of who I am. I am just seeking answers without emotional outbursts. You are probably the 500th vegan in 3 years, out of the 7 years of me being paleo for both allergen reasons and for how it makes me feel reasons, that has judged me and left a dirty criticism. I am asking advice and answers to my questions based on my constraints, both dietary and related to work and family, not a bashing. As a scientist I do not consult books for health and fitness related information, I consult peer reviewed journals that are up to date on the latest information presented in a valid, well designed study and further my knowledge by cross referencing dozens of sources to weigh the facts. I have had to however during the social sciences and humanities part of my earlier University career in one of my degrees, Environmental Studies, degree had to watch several CAFO documentaries and know the horrible sufferings of these animals. I also learned about how "horrible" we are as a species in general for the copious wastes we produce in general due to our 'cradle-to-grave' approach in industry, and municipally, which is slowly turning into a 'cradle-to-cradle' approach. I'd like to point out, I don't judge people who have to get into cars to go to work because no public transportation exists and they are too poor to donate towards carbon credits, or those who do not recycle because they 'don't care'. I simply accept and lead by example. Further, I do not support torturous killing, I support sustainable development in general, not one aspect of it, feeling amazing every day you wake up because your body is well rested and filled with nutrition, small farmers who don't torture their animals and treat them humanely because you have to remember, they have jobs and livelihoods too. So yes, obviously we have different views. I approach problems from an interdisciplinary approach, not from just an ethical approach. Environmental ethics was also a component of my education. A component. It helps to broaden perspective. So I can see why you are centered on animal compassion, however, there is more to this then animal killing. Far more, than animal killing. If that's the main reason you are vegan, fine, great for you. But I choose to see things as greater than one part of the whole. I see things as a system comprised of many working and interacting parts. But you realize that many people go vegan for literally dozens of reasons, or eat vegan for a few days out of the week for cost reasons, perhaps because their spouse is vegan, etc. Not everyone is like you. And just because they aren't an 'ethical vegan' doesn't mean they don't deserve respect and no emotional outbursts/judgement. If you want to convince more people to see your way, start by being unjudgemental and compassionate; lead by example of how you want people to treat animals in general. Education is about dissemination of information. We do what we want with that information. had I met you on the street and you told me you are vegan I would not have jumped to assumption or lectured you. I have two vegan best friends, they however have no allergies and could not help me in my inquiry, but one thing is certain, they have never lectured me because they are open minded, nonjudgemental, and compassionate. Thank you.

  • bl00drose's avatar
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    Posted by bl00drose at 05/21/16 15:18:59

    Just a shout out to the community. I realize this is a vegan forum, this is also a place where the moderator has given a option for non-vegan to seek advice and identify themselves as such to seek the facts to the questions they ask. Please, try not to be offended by the fact that I eat meat, and just please answer my general question based on my allergies and life and family constraints. For three years I have been searching for a knowledgeable soul who could actually answer my question. I know low carb vegans exist out there, the ones that I have seen can eat gluten, soy, starches, grains, I can't. So I'm hoping there is someone out there who has my dietary and allergen restrictions who can provide this information to me while also bearing in mind my time and financial constraints. Thank you. That's all. This isn't an arguement. This is just a place to disseminate helpful answers (information) to the writers. Not a war zone like the one my husband is fighting in on a literal daily basis. Be kind. Just answer the question, otherwise if you can't, please just move on with your day and don't respond. Thank you oh so very much.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by ahimsa32fa at 05/22/16 04:35:23

    I left a "dirty criticism"?

    I merely tried to answer your comment with a suggestion. You seem very defensive, asking questions but not wanting any answers that offer other viewpoints. I'm not "offended" by the fact that you eat meat, - I ate meat for decades before I chose to eliminate flesh from my diet in 1985.

    I don't see how one can leave emotion out of a discussion that involves the lives of billions of animals.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by veganbysomi at 11/30/16 20:52:22

    Since you're allergic to soy, your best bet would be to eat a lot of beans/legumes on your vegan days to meet your protein needs. You will perhaps have to cut out grains and other starchy carbs on those days so you don't go over your carb macros.

    You can also add nuts and seeds since they're lower in carbohydrates, but have a decent amount of protein in them.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Robinwomb at 12/01/16 02:10:00

    I don't understand why you are coming to a vegan forum and asking how to eat vegan a few times a week within your budget and with your constraints if you are perfectly happy living the way you do already.

    I would suggest reading the book Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by Brendan Brazier.

    That would come close to your requirements as he promotes lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, very little to no soy, and very little to no grains. I believe the author shares he eats about 3000 calories a day on average also, on his lighter days. His fat intake tends to be a little higher than some vegans promote, so less calories from carbs and less fiber.

    I am personally in the midst of cutting out all soy and gluten from my diet (I have been vegan for almost six years) due to constant thyroid problems despite medication adjustments. Cutting out the soy part has been easy, but the gluten part is a little more challenging for me. I do rely on beans a LOT for sustenance and they are very cheap, high protein, low fat and versatile to work with. I'm not big on potatoes but I love sweet potatoes and rutabagas and they are relatively cheap, and lower in carbs than potatoes. I probably eat way more fruit than you are comfortable with. One of my favorite breakfasts is chickpea flour omelets. I add leafy greens and vegetables like celery, onion, peppers, tomatoes in it. Almond flour is a low carb food that can be used for binding and baking, or making vegan sauces. Sunflower seeds ground into a flour works beautifully also and is a bit cheaper than almonds. I would imagine it would be hard to get over 100 grams of protein per day though eating this way as a vegan. I struggle to make it to 50 grams per day, usually fall into the 45 gram range, eating soy and gluten free and low fat. I am 5'5.5" and 112 lbs on average, moderately active, 44 years old and in surgical menopause with hypothyrodiism. I carry fat easily, hence keeping my fat intake low to stay a little leaner. I had an easier time with higher protein intakes when I included soy in my diet, but it seems to block my thyroid meds from working properly and my TSH keeps shooting way up. Very frustrating. And since gluten is a protein, eliminating that also has meant a little less protein in my diet. I've been supplementing here and there with vegan protein powders. I like hemp protein, and pea protein powders (both are fairly low carb). I do find that I need some carbs to do the kind of exercise I do every day. Way more than you seem to need.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by GregCharbonneau at 03/03/17 18:17:20

    Thirty years after reading Diet for a New America, I went for a simple blood test. The nurse said they have to do it again, "because you have the cholesterol levels of a 6 year old child"
    When I told her I'm vegan, she said "that'll explain it" and cancelled the redo!

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by happycowgirl at 03/03/17 18:47:33

    Same. Blood test back from a routine physical. I was told I have the cholesterol profile of an elite athlete. I've been told that before! Needless to say, I'm not an elite athlete! Also my blood pressure is amazing and my blood glucose levels are perfect when everyone on both sides of my family has diabetes. I tell everyone I love to go vegan so they can share all the joys of good health.

  • Star the magic vegan's avatar
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    Posted by Star the magic vegan at 03/04/17 22:58:44


    You are a fraud! You are just trolling for a fight.

    You know you are wrong but the meat you eat has poisoned your mind and now you can no longer think clearly. Getting college degrees will not mask this fact.

    Stop chewing meat!

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by janetbotes at 06/14/17 10:29:27

    I'm vegan (about 2 years) and I am gluten intolerant, so can't eat the usual breads, pastas, etc. I don't eat tofu/soy products often. My 'staple' foods consist of buddha bowls (rice & veggies with some seeds & avo oil), gluten-free homemade pizzas (usually topped with tomato paste, mushrooms, garlic and avo), essene bread with peanut butter & jam (breakfast!), chunky soups, lots of fruit and veggies, popcorn as snack, salads and stirfry's. Roasted veggies, chickpea curry and humus are also regular things I prepare.

    I don't enjoy cooking, so I always opt for quick things to make, or something that kinda do its own thing (soup, curry, etc) after I spent a little bit of time chopping things. I'm a fulltime artist who's still in the process of establishing myself and building my career, so my budget doesn't allow any luxuries and superfoods. I only take a B12 supplement. And I grow some herbs, spinach and sorrel in pots.

    I LOVE the way I eat and feel really healthy. BUT it took TIME for me to figure out what works - what combinations and meals makes me feel satisfied, gives me energy, and offers enough variety. It takes time & experimentation to figure out what to do with the limitations as guidance (these limitations being no animal flesh, no diary, no eggs, no honey, no gluten).

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