Vegan Experiment – Day Three: Taking It to the Office

This was the first day that I was following my vegan diet at work. This added just a little more of a challenge since I had to prepare my lunch and snacks in the morning. I also forgot to photograph my meals while at work, even though I did remember to bring my camera.

Breakfast: Same as previous two days and I’m getting bored with it – Kashi Cinnamon Harvest cereal with almond milk, coffee with almond milk and splenda.

Post-workout Snack: Smoothie with banana, pineapple, and ice/water.

Lunch: Peanut butter and banana sandwich on a sandwich thin.

Snack: Snack: Roasted spicy chickpeas.

Snack: Vegetables from veggie tray (grape tomatoes, baby carrots, snap peas, broccoli).

Dinner: Huge salad with romaine lettuce, broccoli, celery, carrots, mushrooms, snap peas, grape tomatoes, avocado, raisins, roasted chickpeas, sliced almonds, and balsamic vinegar served with triscuits.

A beautiful vegan salad

A beautiful vegan salad

Overall, I have been feeling fine; but I was a little low on energy on this afternoon. I came home and found myself wishing I didn’t have a meal to prepare for dinner, especially a salad – so much chopping! I also am still ridiculously gassy! I ran this morning and was happy to find that I am still properly fueled to enjoy my morning workouts.

My biggest struggle so far has been my ability to meet what I’ve deemed my nutrient goals for some nutrients.

Nutrition information: 1430 calories, 249 grams carbohydrates, 48 grams fiber, 37 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 0 trans fat, 0 cholesterol, 51 grams protein, and 670 milligrams sodium. For the daily values, my numbers were 67% calcium, 65 iron, 33% vitamin D, 12% zinc, and 0 vitamin B12.

Overall, the quality of my diet is good in many ways following a vegan diet; but there are some concerns. I am concerned with my low protein intake (I am for about 55 grams/day minimum) and I haven’t been able to find soy protein in the conventional grocery stores. I went to a supplement store and purchased a plant protein powder. It was expensive and I’m realizing that it may not be possible to easily stick with non-specialty foods and get enough protein as a vegan. Today I was closest to my minimum protein goal (4 grams under). While it sounds weird to say, I think I may not be getting enough sodium either (ranging from 670-890 mg/day); but from what I can find there is no set minimum requirement. The previous two days, it has been difficult to get enough calories; but today I was right where I like to be on workout days!

I’m learning how to better work with this type of diet and my goals.

This has gotten me thinking… My goal was to do this without any specialty products; but perhaps vegans do need to use the specialty products (protein powder, aminos, TVP, etc.) to meet their body’s needs. At least, it would make it much easier to meet the body’s needs. While my food costs for this week were low (before the protein powder purchase); I think if I followed this as a permanent lifestyle, my food budget might increase to account for these products.

As a final thought, I want to hit on one of the miconceptions about veganism. I’m a talker; I talk to anyone and everyone. I stopped by the dollar store to pick up more spices and pretzels and was chatting with the cashier and mentioned that I was doing this vegan challenge. People have such misguided notions about food and nutrition… he asked me how my immunity was, since I wasn’t eating meat, wasn’t I more likely to get sick? Ummm, no. I have learned not to go to deep into nutrition unless people ask, so I just told him I was feeling fine. 🙂 And in case you are wondering, no, a vegan diet does not make anyone who is generally healthy already more likely to get sick.

5 thoughts on “Vegan Experiment – Day Three: Taking It to the Office

  1. We don’t necessarily need specialty ingredients as vegans. It just takes a little bit of practice learning what to eat and how. Dark leafy greens have loads of protein, for instance (I eat lots of spinach), as do many whole grain breads. And of course, at least one meal a day usually has some protein rich source like beans or lentils, and I often eat nuts, as well. Sprinkle nutritional yeast on foods (which I don’t consider ‘specialty’ – it’s just another type of food that) and eat apples dipped in almond butter – yum! Plus, you know, many people (including doctors and nutritionists) believe the recommendations for protein are a bit high.

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    • I completely agree that there is a learning curve with figuring out what to eat. I can see that as my days progressed I got better at hitting my nutrition targets. I also love apples and peanut butter; but haven’t tried them with almond butter (which I like).

      I did write a post a while ago on protein (https://alexialewisrd.com/2012/11/30/the-beef-on-protein/) and set my target at the low end of the range. I managed to hit my targets after the first couple of days! I’m one of the dietitian/nutritionists that agrees that most Americans (I don’t know about other countries since I work in the US) eat too much protein – and an excess of protein doesn’t do anything beneficial for our bodies. I think there’s some new research coming out about the protein recommendations and I’m going to a conference in July – I’ll share what I learn!

      Thanks for the feedback and suggestions! 🙂

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