Teagan Goes Vegan Week 1: Eating Well, Making Decisions

I made it through the first week of Teagan Goes Vegan. I thought you may be interested in how things are going.  

So far, I haven’t had many food cravings, probably because I’ve been eating full meals and being sure to snack. During the first two days, I was really hungry, but I think I’ve rectified it by having bigger, more calorie-dense breakfasts than I’m accustomed to eating. I have been carrying around little packs of almonds, Larabars, and baby carrots just in case hunger strikes. Something tells me that if you look in any vegan’s backpack, you’ll find those same foods.

 

I’ve been tracking my food intake to be sure that I’m keeping a balanced diet and that I’m meeting my calorie needs. According to the USDA and DHHS Dietary Guidelines for adults:

  • 45% to 65% of calories eaten should come from carbohydrates.
  • 20% to 35% of calories eaten should come from fat.
  • 10% to 35% of calories eaten should come from protein

I’ve been aiming for staying in the middle of these percentages—50% from carbohydrates, 30% from fat, 20% from protein. So far, I’m doing pretty well hitting those goals. Here are two screen shots of my nutrition profile from Thursday, May 8.

vegan_calories_wk1 vegan_nutrition_wk1

I’ve also been taking a B vitamin supplement, since B12 is the one vitamin that cannot be found in plants, only in animal products. The other major supplements that vegans often take are calcium/vitamin D, iodine (usually through iodized salt), and iron. I’m not planning to supplement those at this point, though I'm following my intake closely and if I find I'm low on more days than not, I may start.

 

Grocery shopping has been an adventure. I started at Whole Foods, because I knew I could get lots of vegan products there. Though I’ve been a label reader for years now, I realized how closely I have to read them now. This meant I had to make some decisions about what I was going to avoid.

 

I chose to:

  • I am avoiding foods that may contain milk or eggs, even if there is no discernible milk or eggs in the ingredients list, but not avoid foods that have been processed in a facility that processes dairy or eggs.
  • I am not avoiding some of the additives that can be animal-derived, such as lecithins and monoglycerides.
  • I am not buying convenience foods just because they’re vegan. I didn’t eat chicken patties, frozen pizza, or breakfast sandwiches before I started this experiment, so I shouldn’t start now. I did buy some vegan soups in case of emergencies.
  • I will still consume non-vegan alcohol. For example, many brewers use isinglass, derived from fish swim bladders, to clarify beers. As my friends know, Nathan and I keep a well-stocked bar in our house, and a girl can only make so many changes in one month.
  • I will also consume processed sugar, even though some refined sugar is processed with bone char, though in general I try pretty hard not to eat too much added sugar.

 

This week has gone well. I’m eager to see how Week 2 shakes out. Want to know more? Ask me questions in the comments and I’ll be happy to share my experiences.