Look ma, no meat!
I did it again… but this time instead of eliminating animal products I prioritized fruits and vegetables. What does it mean to eat vegan or vegetarian? Privilege. I can find, purchase, prepare, and consume hearty vegetables and supplement my diet with vitamins. I didn’t eat rice and beans for a week. I spent my time, effort, and money to micromanage my diet for 6 days – two of which were vegan days.
I did not plan to eat ‘vegan’ per se, because my partner wanted to try out the ‘fruit diet’ for a week. Fruits happen to be vegan! I decided that I wanted to balance my diet and prioritize vegetables instead of fruit. Because veggies! Because why not! Because macros and balance!
Here are a few of my takeaways from this round of vegan/vegetarian eating (see my previous challenge here: http://rachelbarnardvegan.blogspot.com/)
- Planning became essential
- Going out and picking the fruits and vegetables was essential
- Food prep took quite a bit of time measuring, chopping, etc. Weighing foods takes so much time!
- I created a spreadsheet with all the veggies, nuts, and fruit I bought with 1oz serving sizes and then puzzled out how to attain a good balance of fat, sugar, carb, and protein from there
- Basic google research told me that I should be eating around 1,367 calories per day of which 40% would be protein (137g), 30% would be carbohydrates (103g), and 30% would be fats (46g). No mention of sugar… hm. I attempted to cap my sugar intake at 25g (hahaha that didn’t happen. Did you know that fruits have quite a bit of sugar? Did you know that vegetables have carbs?
- Fresh foods take up a lot of space in the fridge (yeah, I know canned and frozen foods exist, but again privilege)
- You can stock certain products to add balance and protein to your diet.
- Hemp seeds/hearts are high in protein and fat and very low in sugar
- Chia seeds have no sugar
- Chlorella is gross and will overpower your smoothie but it is pure protein
- Flax milk seems to be the highest of the non-dairy milks in protein with very little carbs and no sugar that I could find at our local Safeway. I don’t recommend drinking it plain but it makes a great addition to smoothies and coffee. It even tastes creamy
- Nutritional yeast is a great protein additive for topping salads, mixing into smoothies, and hiding in a stir fry but it will also start to overpower the flavor of your food and to me it doesn’t taste at all like cheese
- Coconut milk is a great fat and delicious for making chia pudding
- You can eat a great volume of vegetables without consuming that many calories (not true for all vegetables). Sometimes my salads were too big for my appetite and they were less than 400 calories.
- You don’t need to eat as many nuts as you think… if you eat them intentionally they will satisfy you and I quite like the taste of all the nuts I got (the order of my favorites that I ate would be cashews, walnuts, almonds, pecans)
- When I cut out processed foods and sugars I didn’t experience my daily crazy hungry/bored eating/food fascination that seems to occur daily between 2pm-5pm
- I felt more satisfied and full from my snacks/meals even though I was consuming less calories overall
- My bowel movements changed, becoming less frequent (only once daily) and more dense and very green! The same green as if I’d consumed that black cherry Icee at the movies
- After two days I came to the conclusion that a vegetarian is simply a vegan who eats cheese. Cheese is delicious.
- Did I miss meat? No, I was too busy enjoying delicious fruits and veggies.
Here is my calorie consumption chart for the week (I didn’t weigh my food for Saturday)
Pictured below are a few meals I ate:
Left: Portabello mushroom with cheese and egg on a bed of spinach surrounded by strawberries
Middle: Watermelon salad with feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lemon next to lemon sauteed asparagus (can you still call it a saute if you saute in water?)
Right: a picnic we brought to the park -to eat in our car- apples, watermelon, plums, Oreo, feta, mixed nuts, dried and salted beans
More detailed breakdown of consumption for days 1-5:
|Snacks (1 fruit and nuts)||369||4.4||7.38||1.62||14.75|
|Snacks (1 fruit and nuts)||320||6.2||43.2||28.3||15.02|
|Breakfast: watermelon and feta||100.5||3.4||14.6||14.6||3|
|Snack: watermelon rind salad||320||2.35||28.25||2||17|
|Snack: 1/2 plum||15||.25||4||3.5||.1|
|Snack: Candied watermelon||100||0.8||24.8||24.8||0|
|Snack: candied watermelon||200||1.6||49.6||49.6||0|
|Lunch watermelon salad||133||5.68||14.65||11.87||6.16|
|Snack: 1/2 apple||78||.4||21||15||.3|