Vegan challenge update 2: I’m not feeling so good.

Also, why are there #$%^& eggs in everything?

Eggs are in crackers, chips, noodles, wafers. Basically anything carby and delicious – yup, eggs were used in their production. Avoiding eggs completely has been my biggest struggle so far.

 

I ‘cheated’ twice already:

The very first day of the challenge, I accidentally ordered vegetarian ramen made with egg noodles. Then, over this past weekend, I went into a noodle shop with two vegetarian options, both of which had some form of egg.

I’m not sure if I’m counting those as my cheat meals. I kind of envisioned my cheat meals to be more grandiose and dramatic, like “oh I MUST have this seared aburi sushi or I shall just die of sadness” rather than “I guess I’ll have this egg dish because it’s $2 cheaper than the other vegetarian option.

 

What am I eating?

Eating at home has been easy, cereal/oatmeal/sweet potatoes/broccoli/rice noodles comprise my heavy hitters calorically. (I sometimes just eat steamed broccoli as a meal, it’s filling and I’m lazy.)

For snacks, dried seaweed, in season fruits, seeds and nuts are easy go-tos. Potato chips are also vegan, they’re not healthy … but hey I can eat them.

 

Have you tried vegan cooking?

This past weekend I tried a “vegan spinach and artichoke dip” that cost about $15 in ingredients to make and tasted like plastic.

I also have made “vegan gluten free brownies” which are AMAZING. I love beans, so I love the taste of these nutritious brownies. It’s easy to make if you have a blender, and the only not so good ingredient is sugar.

Marten bought a blender last week, so we have been trying various smoothies. They’re delicious and easy to make as long as you pre-buy the fruit. I tried a cauliflower/carrot/banana/strawberry/flaxmeal/sunflower seed smoothie. Look at all the good stuff in there! Plus it tasted great.

 

How about weight loss?

I’m down about 3 pounds since the post-holiday bloat. As of this morning I was about 110.8lbs. It’s interesting that I’ve lost weight because I feel like I’m constantly snacking on things, but they are mostly vegetables/fruits/nuts.

It’s hard to eat sweets as most baked goods are made with milk products. The best way to not miss sweets, is to make your own! My vegan brownies are an AMAZING substitute and I think they taste better than most store bought sweets. I would love to try a mung bean/matcha powder version sometime. (Green tea brownie?)

 

Are you having any issues?

Sadly, I’m experiencing some negative health symptoms which I suspect may be diet related.

I’ll start with the good news, and that is my digestive tract remains very efficient. Food is processed quickly, and as long as my meal isn’t too starch heavy, I feel full of energy.

As for the bad news:

Dizzyness:

I’ve been experiencing dizzy spells this past week. Last Wednesday when I went to the gym I had a terrible case of vertigo while bench pressing. (Probably the worst possible time to black out.) I also feel dizzy when I sit or stand up too quickly, and sometimes for no reason at all.

Not sure if this is attributed to my diet, but google suggests that it could be an Iron deficiency.

As an adult woman, I need 18mg* of iron each day.

(*Vegetarians need twice the daily recommended amount of iron compared with non-vegetarians as iron (non-heme iron) from plant based foods is not absorbed as well by our bodies.) Source.

I have no idea how I’m supposed to get 36mg of iron each day from non-animal sources. Considering that the highest single serving of iron food is 3/4 cup oatmeal (approx. 5mg), I estimate I get maybe 10mg each day if I’m lucky.

Right now I’m planning on adding sunflower seeds as a daily snack – they are high in iron.

 

Cold Hands and Feet:

I’m also really, really cold. I’ve always had cold hands and feet, but these past two weeks in particular I have had trouble with icy cold extremities. It’s bad to the point that people who touch my hands comment on how freezing they are.

This could also be a symptom of iron deficiency. Or, as suggested by google, this could be a symptom of Vitamin B12 deficiency.  Vitamin B12 is largely found in animal products and by-products.

The best way for vegans to get Vitamin B12 is apparently by supplement or from fortified breakfast cereals. I’ll look for some of this cereal and add to my daily regimen. I’m also considering taking a B12 supplement because I don’t want to eat cereal every single morning. (Plus, I need to eat oatmeal for iron …)

 

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, do you find you have any nutritional deficiencies associated with not eating meat? Do you take supplements?

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Vegan challenge update 2: I’m not feeling so good.

  1. “I sometimes just eat steamed broccoli as a meal, it’s filling and I’m lazy.” – May have something to do with your dizzy spells!!! While broccoli is high in iron and protein, it is not high in carbohydrates. My #1 piece of advice for a successful vegetarian/vegan diet is to carb up! Your body needs sugars found in carbs to sustain your energy levels. Make sure you have rice/pasta with your broccoli and maybe add in some tofu or other protein source as well to balance things out. Complex carbohydrates are even better as they release energy more slowly and gradually (so wholewheat pasta/rice, black beans, squash, etc.)

    As for supplements, I supplement B12, iron and calcium daily. It’s easier to do that than worry about getting enough through what you’re eating, imo. 🙂

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    1. Thanks for reading.

      I have to confess – that even before this challenge I often had one vegetable dinners. (Cauliflower/Broccoli/Brussel Sprouts) Marten has a diff meal schedule than I do, so I often eat by myself. Usually at night I just cook something very simple as (1) I’m not super hungry and (2) I’m too lazy to cook something more complicated than that.

      I’ll take your suggestion into consideration! Maybe not eating meat during the day means I need something more substantial for dinner. I’ll try adding some quinoa to my veggies, or maybe just eat more vegan brownies! 🙂 

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  2. Carb up! Help your body produce those sugars that you are now missing and try a Vegan Iron+ B12 supplement to help those areas that you now are lacking such as https://www.paleoethics.com/products/ultimate-vegan/ for iron/ protein since you are so active!

    Don’t skip out on hearty meals for dinner/ lunch your body and brain still need to be fed! This week for me its a Buddha bowel for lunch/dinner, big batch of brown rice for the week with roasted and fresh veggies and chicken, in your cause sub for tofu or more meaty veggies, think sweet potatoes, squash, portobello mushrooms! Personally since I am not vegan, I however used to work with two lovely ladies whom are and one a nutritionist as well! http://www.synergynutrition.ca, her raw+ vegan recipes are easy and taste amazing!

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