As a vegan, do you find that you have an overly carb heavy diet? And since you eat so healthy, have you ever had a weight problem? Have unwanted pounds snuck up on you? What did you do about it? Highs? Lows? What worked for you?
Initially I didn’t want to answer this question because it’s not really my place to give diet advice – I’m not qualified and it’s not what my blog is intended for. Sharing my own personal day to day eats is far different from telling others what they should do in their own lives. However, I am passionate about health and fitness, so I can see where the overlap occurs. Please take what I’m about to write with a
grain bag of salt. Nutrition may be a subject I love, but I have no letters after my name to give me ANY kind of authority on the matter.
To start, I try to avoid breaking down foods by their chemical components – carbs shmarbs. Fruits and veggies should never be counted, controlled, or eaten in moderation, period. I mean, how could anything that grows from the ground be bad for you? (well, I suppose there are a few substances…) Anyways, to answer the question, yes, I have a predominantly carbo-centric diet. But I also think that we (Americans) are lead to believe that carbs are bad (not true). Additionally, for some reason people seem to think that we are supposed to be eating way more protein than we actually need (also, not true). I’m not going to get all preachy on you, or start citing articles/books/etc. because we all know they exist. Instead, I’ll address the weight issue.
For the most part, no matter what type of food you eat (carb, protein, fat), if you overeat, you’ll gain weight. Duh, right? Except, I happen to be of the opinion that apples and hummus are exempt from this. But for the most part, it’s pretty cut and dry, if you eat more calories than you expend, you gain weight. Simple math. So (in theory) if I ate, say, 6 sweet potatoes in a day, as long as I’m burning off those calories, I won’t gain weight. Now, although I’ve never kept track of my caloric intake, I know that my moderately active lifestyle gives me some leeway in the calorie department. I try (key word: TRY) not to think about balancing what I eat with how much I have worked out because that’s a slippery slope that I DON’T want to go down. Sometimes it’s impossible to completely avoid, and yes, unwanted pounds have definitely snuck up on me. At the same time, I know my weight is inevitably going to fluctuate throughout my life, so as long as the highs and lows aren’t too drastic, I’m ok with it. For the record, I don’t own a scale. Hate ‘em. Don’t want to have anything to do with them. That said, I’m sure (based on how my clothes fit) that over the past year alone my weight has wavered solely based on my race schedule. When I’m “training” (running slightly more than normal) I slim down a touch (nothing drastic) and when I return to my average amount of exercising, I gain it back. I’m talking about 1-2 pounds probably, but I can tell there’s a difference. Since I don’t alter how I eat based on how I exercise, it makes sense. Bottom line: I want to live my life, eat how I eat, run how I run, and try to forget about trivial pounds. However, let’s be real. I’m a girl. I’m human. It’s only natural to have insecure moments (and then some),right? Who doesn’thave days when they feel like crap? (Anyone who denies this is lying). I wouldn’t be normal if I said I was 100% happy with my body 100% of the time.
When I first went completely vegan I was chugging soy milk like it was my job, to the point of excess. And I definitely gained a few extra pounds. It wasn’t a big deal (mostly visible in my face), but crept up on me nonetheless. I wasn’t being mindful with the amount of soy I was consuming and once I started educating myself more, I started to balance soy milk with Lactaid and other non-milk alternatives. I don’t mean to hate on the soy (because I’m definitely a fan), I’m just saying there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing,” and if four soy lattes before 10 am isn’t it, then I’m not sure what is. Moderation has never been my strong suit, especially when I discover new foods (hello, sweet potato rut). If awareness was the first step, then continuing my education was the second. The blog world helped with that, opening my eyes to almond milk, rice milk, and how to be vegan without processed soy supplements. Losing weight was never a conscious decision/goal, but it came off naturally and because of that, I know it was meant to be. If anything, for most of my life I have been underweight (according to BMI standards which don’t really account for muscular/athletic builds). God bless my parents for their awesome genetics. Without my fast metabolism, I may be singing a completely different tune.
Now, like I said before, I definitely have days where I feel nast, bloated, and generally crap-tastic. So what works best for me is distraction. Dwelling on how I feel will get me nowhere (said from way too much experience). Usually I whine to Kyle (poor guy), and eventually I get over it. Sometimes I treat myself to cool new running gear or sign up for a race to refocus my energy into a positive outlet, but in the back of my mind I always know that I’m in control of my body. When I get down about skipping a workout and spending an entire day in my PJs, Kyle always tells me that my standards are insanely higher than the normal person’s. And he’s right. It’s a good thing I have him to remind me of such things.
Basically when all is said and done, what you see is what you get. My blog is a reflection of me. Not part of me, not a diluted version of me, and not just a sugar coated side of me. I’ve ranted before about everything from my job woes to going weeks without running, and it’s amazing to have such sweet readers who respond to what I feel with such understanding and compassion. I try to life a healthy balanced life and I hope that comes through.
How tall are you?
I’m 5’4” (and a half)
Do you record everything you eat?
Negative ghost rider. Although I try to get pictures of most of my meals and snacks, it’s nearly impossible to get everything. Tastes, licks, bites, and much much more escape the camera from time to time. When I eat hummus straight out of the tub, it doesn’t really make for that amazing of a picture. Plus, certain foods (read: apples) get boring to photograph. Another reason my eats may not get documented is if I’m dining with unfamiliar company (who doesn’t know about the blog or would consider food photography bizarre). Now that I’ve had my blog for a while, this is less frequently an issue. I’m more comfortable telling others about Hungry Hungry Hippie and most of my family and friends already know the drill when eating with me. The last loop hole that I can think of goes hand-in-hand with the one I just mentioned, and that is when taking pictures isn’t appropriate. Whether I’m dining at a fancy restaurant or out and about enjoying blog-free time, some moments just aren’t meant for photographing. There may be more exceptions I’m overlooking, but I do try and get the stuff worth sharing on camera.