Constant hunger

Kvitravn

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Hi,

I ve been a vegan for about 4 years now but now I came across a struggle witch kinda forced me to switch back to vegetarian diet and Im trying to figure out whether its just something I did wrong and can be fixed via vegan diet or whether its something I cant really influence... The thing is I suffered from depression for most of my life, so I lived very unhealthily and was overweight. I wasnt active at all, laying in bed half a day, sitting in school the rest. But then my life changed drastically and I actually came to a realization that I like to be active a lot. I really like hard manual labor and stuff like climbing and sports in general. I also am studying artistic carpentery right now and am planning to stick to this after school. The thing is that my level of activity is rising a lot and this summer it got to its peak. I think Ive never been this active my whole life, I have basically 4 jobs and except for last week I havent been doing much else than working. Its not the hardest labor there could be, I certainly do much less than athletes and thats why Im so confused as to why I started to feel hungry all the time.

I ate a lot. A Lot. I was always stuffed as much as I could but still felt hungry. The last year or so I ate legumes at least 2 times a day, for breakfast I had oatmeal with seeds (mostly flax and sometimes hemp too) sometimes with peanut butter also. Otherwise I would feel hungry. I also was able to eat about 1-2 tofu blocks (200-300 grams) on top of that - well I guess you ve got the picture by now... But lately I realized I didnt even like the taste anymore due to how much and how frequently I ate soy, lentils and other stuff. I tried to just overcome it, but then the hunger came and it carried on for about 2 weeks, so at the end of it I was practically starved and felt very bad even mentally because of that, because I was always physically full to the max, yet still hungry all day everyday.

So I started to eat barn eggs and cheese (from smaller farms that looked ethically ok to me, meaning good animal welfare). The first time I almost cried how good it felt to eat it. I had to eat about 6 eggs a day (now its like 3 and its been about 10-14 days since I switched) plus some cheese and it got better within like 4 days? I still have the same mindset as before though, so if there is something I could do to avoid eating animal products, I will very gladly do so. Have anything like this ever happened to you? Or have you heard about this? I feel kinda sad Im not vegan anymore... Also Id like to add for context, that I tried eating protein powder, but it made me feel sick (mentally too sometimes). And I didnt supplement B12 consistently. I went to my doctor a year ago and told her. She checked my blood and everything was ok (I just lacked iron a bit, but I was on my period during that time and didnt tell her, because I had to leave the country later I think and I wouldnt make it). So thats about all I think. What do you think?
 

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First off, I have questions.
You say you are hungry all the time, and how much you are eating but you don't mention your weight. Well, if you don't want to say, that's ok. Are you gaining or losing weight.
If you are losing weight: Eat more.
If you are gaining weight....
well, one of things I've learned over the years is that almost all of our cravings are not to be trusted. Even hunger is not always real.
We can get more into that if that IS the case.

It also seems like you need to vary your diet a lot more. Legumes are great but you might be over doing it. And there are so many different good sources of protein without resorting to protein powder.

Here at the Vegan Forum a lot of us rely on Dr. Gregar's Daily Dozen to make sure we get a variety of food. You might check that our.
 
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Kvitravn

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Thank you for your reply. I dont know if I was loosing or gaining weight, because I have body issues and almost got carried away by ED? I dont want to specify, because fortunately I managed it in time, but it means I dont have it confirmed from my psychologist. The thing is I sometimes had temptation to starve myself under the delusion, that my hunger isnt real (even though it actually was, because it remained after the meal and I just managed to somehow distract myself and get used to that feeling along with lots of exercise.) That was many months ago though and wasnt long enough to cause any health problems, so I dont think this should have any influence on this matter other than that I can distinct my hunger cues pretty well by now and I dont weight myself, because it triggers me. I might have gained though, because of muscle gain for witch eating less would make everything 10 times worse... And as I mentioned I couldnt eat more even though I wanted to. It wasnt physically possible. Id never imagine something like this could ever be possible if I didnt go through it (it went on for about 2 weeks and got worse every day). That is why I tried eating eggs and other stuff, because vegan diet is a bit more volumes, and it helped really fast, but maybe I could do something different and it was an unnecesary mistake. Ill check out that doctor you recommended.
 

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The thing is I sometimes had temptation to starve myself under the delusion, that my hunger isnt real (even though it actually was, because it remained after the meal and I just managed to somehow distract myself and get used to that feeling along with lots of exercise.)
um.... if your hunger persisted even after your meal - not sure how you think that is evidence that it is real. If your perceived hunger because you needed food - wouldn't the perception of hunger stop after you ate?

Like I said early, cravings, even hunger, are not particularly trustworthy. Best bet is to figure out what you need to eat and then eat that.

Unfortnetly that means both calorie counting and weighing yourself. Those things could trigger an ED so I'm not sure what else to suggest.

Anyone else?
 
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There's a book called "Intuitive Eating" by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole. An interesting and easy read.

Maybe add rice and pasta to your diet for variety. Fruit, nuts, as snacks. There are energy bars you could eat between meals if you feel hungry or low on energy. Variety is key. It keeps things interesting. We need to eat wholesome foods but foods that taste good. Listen to what you are craving. Maybe it isn't hunger you are experiencing after eating so much food. Maybe it's satisfaction with the flavor of the foods.

But try reading this book. It covers weight issues, eating disorders, the root cause of these.
 
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Lou

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There's a book called "Intuitive Eating" by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole. An interesting and easy read. But try reading this book. It covers weight issues, eating disorders, the root cause of these.

Just the title threw me off. I've read so often that cravings are not real and that we can't trust our body's signals.

But I checked out some of the info on the web about it and it seems pretty legit. Seems like a good idea.
 
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Kvitravn

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Thanks again, but I have to insist it was not simple craving for satisfaction. There is plenty of vegan foods that give me satisfaction and I can recognize whether it is just craving or hunger pretty well by now. Its hard to explain to someone else, but since you asked Ill try. The hunger is much deeper than a craving. Most of the times I have it both at once, but hunger leaves after a filling meal (regardless of what it actually tastes like if its not particularly disgusting), but craving lingers mostly in my mouth if I want something sweet or salty... That is why I always fill up with whole foods and afterwards get a little piece of chocolate or something, so Im left with both satisfaction and filled stomach. However, sometimes I eat too fast out of great hunger and then I cant tell if Im actually full already or not. So I wait a little and if I had enough, the feeling in my stomach just goes away and if not it grows stronger again so I eat more...
This time though it never left and I felt it all day long every day for 2 weeks and it was getting worse and worse. At first I thought I cant be this hungry for real, that it isnt possible, because my stomach was stuffed full, but my body still demanded food. I just carried on and tried to distract myself with work and hoped it will go away eventually. But it never left and just grew stronger and stronger up until I ate those first eggs. At this point I didnt even have any craving for a long time, because I just lost them and all that was left was that burning everlasting hunger that was there all the time. It was always present and eating away my contiousness. I dont like the taste of eggs that much, but I almost cried because of the relief when the hunger weakened after eating them and gradually it went all away after 4 days of eating more eggs and cheese.

I like the concept of intuitive eating, so Ill check that book out. And I did eat pasta and so. Not energy bars tho, I dont know any healthy options where I live - theyre just sugar and carbs which I eat a lot of already. I should go to a doctor pretty soon, so maybe she ll know what it was. I also dont think that simply by weighting yourself out you can tell if you should restrict your calories... Its actually really bad if you are gaining muscle mass and thus gaining weight also - in that case you need to eat a lot to gain muscle, not fat. Thats one of the biggest downfalls though, because I weigh now the same I did when I was overweight, but the weight is now also in my muscles - Im not fit yet, but even though I weight the same as before my clothes are now much smaller... Measuring yourself is much more reliable according to my sources. :)
 

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Disclaimer: My post contains non-expert opinions, speculations and is based on very limited personal experience.

Am I right in thinking if your activity level consumes more energy than the energy you get though your diet, then you're losing weight, which can make you feel hungry? So even though I know you said you were eating a lot, is it still possible you simply weren't consuming enough calories to sustain the weight? As you might be aware, vegan foods (or at least the "healthy" ones) are generally less energy-dense than animal foods.

Of course, losing weight can be a good thing, but perhaps if you're losing it too quickly, then you'll feel hunger more acutely?
 
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Kvitravn

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Disclaimer: My post contains non-expert opinions, speculations and is based on very limited personal experience.

Am I right in thinking if your activity level consumes more energy than the energy you get though your diet, then you're losing weight, which can make you feel hungry? So even though I know you said you were eating a lot, is it still possible you simply weren't consuming enough calories to sustain the weight? As you might be aware, vegan foods (or at least the "healthy" ones) are generally less energy-dense than animal foods.

Of course, losing weight can be a good thing, but perhaps if you're losing it too quickly, then you'll feel hunger more acutely?
Yes, that is exactly the problem, the thing is that I wasnt able to eat more, because as you said, vegan food (and especially healthy home cooked) is very volumous and low calorie (plus actually lower in protein in a lot of cases as I counted from the nutrients on the packs - for example 100g of buckwheat has about 9-10g, but then you cook it, so it is actually less per 100g then, but cheese has about 10-20g in 100g of food, which stays the same amount, so you have to eat less to get the same amount of nutrients... In some cases protein is really high in plants too, but there is so few, that I actually could not eat them over and over anymore to make up for all the protein I was lacking - and maybe for other things I dont even know about.) This is my theory anyways. I found just now a page that says that cooked red kidney beans have 17 or smtg grams of protein, which is pretty weird to me, because up until now I used another page that says 9g, which would make more sense to me, because the same is written on canned beans. :D Idk, Im confused.
 

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Yes, that is exactly the problem, the thing is that I wasnt able to eat more, because as you said, vegan food (and especially healthy home cooked) is very volumous and low calorie
.
Nuts, nut butters, and seeds are high in calories, and are good sources of protein. Have some peanut butter and bread, or snack on some unsalted nuts!

Some guys manage to survive all day on peanuts and beer! (Disclaimer: Don't drink to excess)
.
 

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Yes, that is exactly the problem, the thing is that I wasnt able to eat more, because as you said, vegan food (and especially healthy home cooked) is very volumous and low calorie (plus actually lower in protein in a lot of cases as I counted from the nutrients on the packs - for example 100g of buckwheat has about 9-10g, but then you cook it, so it is actually less per 100g then, but cheese has about 10-20g in 100g of food, which stays the same amount, so you have to eat less to get the same amount of nutrients... In some cases protein is really high in plants too, but there is so few, that I actually could not eat them over and over anymore to make up for all the protein I was lacking - and maybe for other things I dont even know about.) This is my theory anyways. I found just now a page that says that cooked red kidney beans have 17 or smtg grams of protein, which is pretty weird to me, because up until now I used another page that says 9g, which would make more sense to me, because the same is written on canned beans. :D Idk, Im confused.
Have you tried seitan? It packs a good amount of protein, and even better when you add some blended beans,tofu or chickpea flour to the mix
All beans are great protein and other nutrient sources. Keep some edamame for snacks
How about tempeh? 32 grams per cup, 320 calories. If you're not crazy about the taste, put in a food processor with other things and make patties like these:
 
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I guess if weighing yourself regularly and using something like Cronometer are out because they might trigger your ED, than a really good alternative is to use a Doctor Recommended meal plan.

A lot of people have issues with them, mostly because they require a little more time and effort. But if followed religiously they are completely idiot proof. Not only that but they also help form new Good Habits.

The one I like the best is from PCRM. It's called the vegan kickstart.
 
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Kvitravn

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Nuts, nut butters, and seeds are high in calories, and are good sources of protein. Have some peanut butter and bread, or snack on some unsalted nuts!

Some guys manage to survive all day on peanuts and beer! (Disclaimer: Don't drink to excess)
.
I regularly ate tons of bread with peanut butter (if I could afford it).


I also ate seitan and and tempeh (if I could aford it). I had the same problem with these foods I mentioned here before. Im starting to think my only option is to pay some nutritionist to prep me a meal plan, but I dont really have any money for that now either, so Ill have to wait I guess? If the online meal plan wont work I mean...

Thanks for all the replies, tho. <3
 
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Kvitravn

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I guess if weighing yourself regularly and using something like Cronometer are out because they might trigger your ED, than a really good alternative is to use a Doctor Recommended meal plan.

A lot of people have issues with them, mostly because they require a little more time and effort. But if followed religiously they are completely idiot proof. Not only that but they also help form new Good Habits.

The one I like the best is from PCRM. It's called the vegan kickstart.
Thanks, Ill try
 
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I know you haven't gone back to eating eggs and cheese for very long, but those foods are VERY high in cholesterol (at least if the cheese is full-fat, and not made from reduced-fat milk). I stopped eating those foods because of my concern for animals, but even if I weren't a strict vegetarian, I'd still have to limit my consumption of egg, milk, and meat because heart attacks are common in my family. In your first post above, you mentioned you ate 6 eggs in one day few times; even 3 a day would have a lot of unhealthy fat, although I do remember I used to like eating them.
 

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So no meat substitutes? I think they are more filling and satisfying than straight up veggies. Just imo.
Peanuts are great too. My favorite are boiled cajun peanuts.
 

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I'm following this, because I am also recovering from an eating disorder and sometimes I feel so hungry, even after I have eaten. Or within a short space of time, after eating.

What Lou says about not all hunger being real, is a thing. Sometimes we are dehydrated and that mimics hunger in our bodies. I have to make sure I am drinking at least half my body weight (lbs) in oz of water each day.

Also, have you had your hormones tested? If your hormones are out of balance, this can cause problems. I speak from experience here.

I think it's great to look at ways to fix the problem.....but from a more holistic point of view.....you may want to look into what's actually causing the problem.
 

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Just got this in my mail box and thought I would share it with you.
It looks like a pretty easy vegan meal plan

 

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Doing a juice fast has been really helpful to get lots of nutrients and destroy the cravings. Maybe something that could be a reset.
 
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