Thursday, August 9, 2007


So trying to live more greenly, I have been trying to cook more vegetarian dishes. (well, that and trying to buy organic meat is expensive!) Taste-wise, I love eating veggie stuff--I love tofu and beans just fine, and have a few handy recipes that Dyami likes too.
So what's the problem? I am such a carnivore that when I don't eat meat I'm hungry all the time. Even when I eat so many beans I'm stuffed.
Last week I went a little overboard with the veggie dishes and had a few days of veggie lunches and dinners. It doesn't help that since I'm avoiding nuts and soy, I didn't have a lot of quick snacks to get protein. After those days, I had some pork, and I just about broke open the bones to get at the marrow. Gosh, I was starving.
I've had other periods of my life where I ate less meat, and I don't remember getting this ravenous. It kind of worried me, actually, because I don't want to lose weight while nursing. Actually, I think the problem is the nursing--it consumes a lot of calories, so I think I'm more of a protein hog than I usually am (which is quite an accomplishment).
So those of you with more practice eating veggie, can you tell me if this is:
a) a normal transition to a vegetarian diet? I'd imagine you'd want meat a lot (like doing without sugar) but being hungry all the time, even when you're eating a ton?
b) a sign of a deficiency? I usually take a multivitamin, which I assume has B12, but I haven't checked. Would just a few days of beans do it?
c) just nursing making my body burn more calories than I could take in with legumes?
That week made me a little wary of my veggie dishes. I think I'll cut down on beef, eat chicken instead, rather than trying the vegan lifestyle, and call it a day.


Melissa said...

Goodness, I feel like that was a lot of questions. I'm sure to miss at least one. Someone else can fill in the gaps.

a) I have no idea; I never wanted meat, even when I ate it. That said, you're going to get less calories and less fat from nonmeat meals, and you're going to digest them more quickly. So even if you feel full after a meal, you're going to be hungry again much sooner than you're used to. You just have to eat more food overall, and eat more frequently, if you're not eating animal products.

b) No, you don't have a B12 deficiency, but do make sure your multi has it. If your body is really sensitive to how much B12 you get in a day, go ahead and take a separate sublingual supplement (I have some here if you want to try it and see if it makes a difference). You're much more likely to be low on iron, especially given that you're breastfeeding. Try a supplement and see if it helps.

c) Well, I've been breastfeeding or pregnant AND breastfeeding for seven years straight now, all while much more vegetarian than you're doing now, so I'd say there's no reason you can't get enough calories meatlessly. And all the nutrition books would agree with me. But, see point (a). You will have to eat more often. You may have to make an effort to include higher-calorie foods in your diet. (Take any recipe and double the olive oil! Okay, maybe not.)

Now: Go forth and eat fearlessly!

writermeeg said...

I've been veggie (except fish) for nine years, so I don't remember the transition! But I do hear that your body seems to be telling you that you need more, and I would say to trust it! (I'm fine with veggie and b-feeding, but my body is way more used to it.)

I think it's good you're going to the allergist, because all the avoiding you're doing could be both uneccesary and counterproductive. (I only know because I did the same guessing/avoidance game! My first ped thought it was soy, which now we know for sure it wasn't, so for me giving that up was not good for my system!) All the allergy books I'm now reading say nutritional deficiencies can result from all this, so maybe your body is rebelling? Saying "feed me"! Esp since you're feeding someone else. May not be the best time to cut out more (i.e., meat); you could always try again later.

I know how frustrating it is; I'm sorry you're dealing with it. Hang in there, and eat what makes you feel nourished! Hugs.

Brighter Schemata said...

hi heather, i've been a vegetarian since i was 8 years old. a great book about combining proteins, etc. is "diet for a small planet", which you should be able to get on paperbackswap. for recipes, i love any of the moosewood inn cookbooks. my favorite is "sundays at the moosewood inn".

something to try-the fake meats from morningstar farms and bocca burger. trader joe's has some really good fake meatballs made with soy.

nursing burns about 600 calories extra per day so it won't make a huge difference or that is to say, being vegetarian won't affect nursing unless by vegetarian, you skip out on getting protein altogether and don't replace it with eggs/cheese/soy.

if you want to get extra calories, you can buy some protein powder at trader joe's and throw it in to smoothies. also add more oil, flaxseed or olive oil, to things.

if you ever want recipes, let me know. :)