Why I’m Vegan, Part 4: But Wait, I’m Fat Too!

But Wait, I’m Fat Too!

IMG_6184I’m overweight.  I’ve touched on that somewhat, but probably less than I should have.  The thing is that my decision to go vegan had nothing to do with my health.  My choices with regard to animals and how much a part of my diet they should be has never been about my weight.

Still, it is interesting that I managed to gain so much weight in just under ten years of vegetarianism.  But I wasn’t the model of vegetarian nutrition.  I love mozzarella cheese.  I could eat it as a meal.  I love potato chips, and fast food, and frozen burritos.  I have spent years eating to worst possible things for myself.  I was calorie restricting at times, but still eating junk.  I have failed at being healthy.  To be fair, I wasn’t really trying.

Veganism is a lifestyle dominated by compassion, not a specific diet.  There are many ways to be vegan.  I could, if I chose, consume a diet of only Oreos, Coca-Cola, and potato chips.  I’d be vegan, but I don’t think I’d feel very good about it.  I could also eat nothing but salads three times a day, crunching on apples as a snack as well.  I’d definitely be vegan, but I would not be healthy at all.

IMG_7402The plan I’ve chosen, and that I’ve felt so good on for the past week, is high carb, low fat.  It’s a mainly whole foods plan, and does not include oils.  It feels clean and abundant, as it is very important for vegans to make sure they get enough calories to be satiated.  To do so, I eat a lot more than I used to.  That is the part that I’ve found the most difficult; my vegetarian diet consisted largely of one or two meals with a lot of calories from fats, dairy, and eggs.  Those are not nutrient rich sources of calories, but they are easier.  Now I’m trying to get to at least 2500 calories daily.  I feel energetic.  I’ve got so much extra weight that this energy is hard to use efficiently, but I’m hoping that I drop some weight so I can start exercising vigorously.  I believe that this is the way to do that.  I’ve looked into studies done by reputable institution, watched lectures by doctors who have studies plant-based nutrition, and read testimonials by others enjoying this lifestyle.  The consensus seems to be that eating in this way will encourage the body to work toward its ideal weight.  It isn’t instant; it may not even be fast.  But if I stick with it I should see the results I want.  More importantly, I’d like to solve what seem to be compounding health issues.  I don’t want to be on medications for allergies or blood pressure.  I don’t want worry about headaches, backaches, depression, chronic fatigue, knee pain, heart disease, cancer, or any of the other ailments that seem inevitable in my future.

I’ve been eating 5 meals a day, following a fairly consistent pattern.

Meal 1: (around 6:00am) Early morning.  This is my when I like to have water and fruit.  It wakes me up, but doesn’t seem too harsh.  After this meal, I start a pot of coffee (yep.) and get ready for my day.

Meal 2: (mid morning)  Carbs!  This is a couple cups of oatmeal or rice with coffee.  Maybe a little fruit mixed in.  If I want something like a cake or bread I’d probably have it here.

Meal 3:  (noonish)  A big salad is perfect at this point, but I’m flexible.  I might have more fruit or some cereal or whatever.  If my rice was particularly filling, I might skip this meal.

Meal 4:  (late afternoon)  A can of beans plus a can of stewed tomatoes can be great in the afternoon.  Its filling without being too much.  Some pasta or a sandwich or veggie burrito is also great at this time.  I like vegan meat substitutes and this is where I usually enjoy them.

Meal 5:  (early evening) My final meal of the day is usually potatoes of some sort, maybe with a green salad.  I love potatoes in all forms.