21-Day Vegan Kickstart

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Forums: April 2012 Kickstart Forum: Trying to be strong.....struggling a bit!
Created on: 04/09/12 04:18 PM Views: 1295 Replies: 6
Trying to be strong.....struggling a bit!
Posted Monday, April 9, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Hello

I have done pretty well so far this week. I have not eaten meat or dairy, and have tried to make a variety of foods. But now I am finding myself starting to struggle. I tend to eat out a lot for lunch for a variety of reasons. I think there are a lot of options veggie wise, but veggie and LF wise, not so much. It seems like a lot of the tips just focus on finding a good veggie place to eat, such as middle eastern or Chinese, vs. trying to cut back on fat. So I feel like I eat too much.

The other struggle I have is with some people I know. They think that I need to have SOME animal-based protein, such as fish, beef, or eggs, at least a few times a week for various health reasons - iron, good for my brain, etc. I also get chided that I eat too much "starch" such as bread or pasta or rice, and I will gain weight and it is better that I eat more of a low-carb diet. I have read literature on both low-carb/high protein, and going plant-based, and the research supporting plant-based is much more solid.

So my quandary is trying to stick this out. I am determined for three weeks to do this, but I really am in it for the long haul, as I have about 140 lbs to lose. Is this realistic to do for that long, and never eat animal products again? Any suggestions for eating out regularly, or is it best to avoid this and try to brown bag more often?

Thanks!!!

Robin

RE: Trying to be strong.....struggling a bit!
Posted Monday, April 9, 2012 at 4:23 PM

I've been struggling with the lack of sugar also!
I understand what you are going through. What has worked for me is to bring my own lunch to work (there's so many options--whole wheat bread, hummus, fresh veggies I can microwave).

I would say (as fellow, struggling, humble participant) take it one day at a time. See how you feel after a few days. Then a few weeks. See if you lose weight. Then decide what you will do for the rest of your life. It's a bit overwhelming to decide all that at once, I think. Smile

RE: Trying to be strong.....struggling a bit!
Posted Monday, April 9, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Hang in - believe me, it will be sooooo worth it. I have been vegan for over a year now and never felt or looked better. It was very hard at first b/c it's a major change. I grew up on a farm and most of my life lived off animal products. So of course it will be a bit difficult to change. It helped me to stock up on Amy's frozen meals (dairy free) for the days I did not have time to cook or simply did not know what to prepare.

Here are some of my favorite books:
Colleen Patrick Goudreau ("30 Day Vegan Challenge", "Vegan Table" and many more great cookbooks). "Oh She Glows" has a blog with free recipes and healthful info. Robin Robertson ("Quick Fix Vegetarian", "1000 Vegan Recipes" ). "Peas and Thank you" (blog and cookbook).

RE: Trying to be strong.....struggling a bit!
Posted Monday, April 9, 2012 at 4:39 PM

catluvr wrote:

Hello

I have done pretty well so far this week. I have not eaten meat or dairy, and have tried to make a variety of foods. But now I am finding myself starting to struggle. I tend to eat out a lot for lunch for a variety of reasons. I think there are a lot of options veggie wise, but veggie and LF wise, not so much. It seems like a lot of the tips just focus on finding a good veggie place to eat, such as middle eastern or Chinese, vs. trying to cut back on fat. So I feel like I eat too much.

The other struggle I have is with some people I know. They think that I need to have SOME animal-based protein, such as fish, beef, or eggs, at least a few times a week for various health reasons - iron, good for my brain, etc. I also get chided that I eat too much "starch" such as bread or pasta or rice, and I will gain weight and it is better that I eat more of a low-carb diet. I have read literature on both low-carb/high protein, and going plant-based, and the research supporting plant-based is much more solid.

So my quandary is trying to stick this out. I am determined for three weeks to do this, but I really am in it for the long haul, as I have about 140 lbs to lose. Is this realistic to do for that long, and never eat animal products again? Any suggestions for eating out regularly, or is it best to avoid this and try to brown bag more often?

Thanks!!!

Robin

With the occasional "slip up", yes it is realistic to do this long term, cause we are! Even 13 yr old son is mostly vegan, though he does like a bit of cheese now and again. Brown bagging not only gives you control over the food but it's WAY less expensive as well. Not only are you not paying for the food, but unless you are walking to your lunch place, it costs for transportation as well. And, it takes more time from your lunch hour (and adds stress "why is this line SO long? where is the waitress with my food? I've only got 20 minutes to eat now by the time I get here, order, and get my food, to leave time to get back to work!")

If you're mainly sticking to the kickstart, you're getting WHOLE grains, which includes protein BTW, not just "starches" stripped of any nutrients.

And, too, make sure that you're getting plenty of the veggies and such and not eating solely grains with just little bits of veggies. I know that we sometimes get in 'busy default' mode where we'll have several days with pasta, rice, etc (whole grain the lot) and beans/legumes but not a lot of greens and other colorful foods. And, I generally feel it and make a point of fixing a salad, making sure we've got veggies to add to meals, etc. It's possible to be vegan and eat an unhealthy amount of processed foods (white flour, white sugar, added fat, etc).

If you want to eat out occasionally, go for it. Plan that it will be a smaller meal for your day and have a hearty breakfast and plan a good dinner. Then just find someplace that has a big colorful salad (order it without the chicken since some of the best salads often have meat tossed on top because people expect it) and ask for the oil and vinegar cruets - most restaurants can do that easily - then just ignore the oil! It can be harder to find lower fat meals at restaurants BUT if you plan for it (gee I'm saying "Plan" a lot here LOL) and make the rest of your day lower fat, it'll balance out. Again, though, it's hard to find whole food meals in restaurants - most places use white rice, white flour, iceberg lettuce (if that's all you can get okay, but aim for darker leafy greens like romaine at least - order a caesar salad minus the dressing and you usually get dark green leafies instead of the house salad's usual iceberg) added fats of all sorts.

--Deb R

RE: Trying to be strong.....struggling a bit!
Posted Monday, April 9, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Sounds like you are doing really well, so congratulations. When I first started (I've been vegan for about 2 1/2 years now), I just couldn't figure out what to do at restaurants. So I avoided them for the first month or two till I figured things out better. Now I feel like I can eat almost anywhere, but give yourself some time.

When I first tried, I decided that I would give it 30 days...and here I am 2 1/2 years later. Definitely good advice to take it one day at a time. The rest of our lives seems like a very, very long time to "give something up". It takes some adjusting. At first, I would look at vegan cookbooks and literally want to cry. Now they look great to me and I am inspired with new ideas. It's about moving from a mindset of giving things up to opening yourself up to a world of wonderful foods and ideas you may have never realized were there before. For me it was such an awakening.

And my last bit of advice is to give yourself permission to mess up. It's OK if every meal is not perfect, we all mess up. I just keep trying to improve every day and that's really what it's all about.

Best wishes to you!

RE: Trying to be strong.....struggling a bit!
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Lots of good advice, but I have to pitch some more on the pile. I cook for a busy, quick service restaurant, and when I first started 6 mos. ago, it was a struggle. Well, it always was a struggle, to find the time to set aside for myself to eat. The first change I made, there was no more skipping breakfast, breakfast became huge. It's back to normal size now as I will make myself something at work and eat it a couple of times in different versions. I have to bring in my own legumes though. I supplement with fruits and veggies throughout the day. Lots of places do not serve tofu or legumes (and, if they do, they have lots of added fat). The Chinese restaurants in my town, for example, only know how to boil tofu, or deep fry it to extinction. I think maybe keeping a couple decent, small, cans of beans in the car could be helpful, and most places at least have some sort of halfway decent bread for a grain. Then use the salad formula from today, and you have a couple different ways to order off of your own menu. I think that has sufficient variety to eat everyday for lunch. One of the criticisms my mom has of the Kickstart plan is that it's a little hard to plan out the shopping list and cooking time for all of the menus. It's pretty good, I told her, there is lots of leftovers used in creative ways, but it's not perfect for everybody. She brought up the words of Mrs. Esselstyn, who said somewhere to keep things simple for breakfast and lunch, and focus on dinner where you have time to prepare something healthful and delicious. I think that's really good advice. I think she even went so far as to say eat the same breakfast every day. I really like Rip's Big Bowl from Engine 2 Diet book, I end up taking things away from his recipe and it's still good.

One thing I did cheat with early on, before I set aside time to cook something for myself, was on was pesto pizza, hold the cheese, light on the pesto, it's not vegan, of course, but with a pile of veggies it's pretty close, and not utterly tasteless. It's was the best way to get something quick without having to have peanut butter and jelly.

Do you like mushrooms? I say max out on cooked mushrooms, cooked tomatoes, and any other umami-rich foods and seasonings, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, etc. Also, spice it up!

RE: Trying to be strong.....struggling a bit!
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Brittlecap wrote:

I think she even went so far as to say eat the same breakfast every day.

that's what i do - that way i don't have to think when i've barely got one eye open Laughing on weekends - days when i can wake up a bit and prepare something, i might do something different, but pften not.

when we were just starting, we looked at new foods as an adventure, like a vacation, not something we were committed to 'forever' but something 'for fun'. we discovered that we really liked some things, not as fond of others. the kickstart was great for learning how to prepare new things - and then we went off and used them however we wanted.

--Deb R


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