How can i eat super healthily as a vegan?

Rory17

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Hi,
My name is Victoria Salter. I’m known as Rory (childhood nickname!) I’m a 23-year old female who is on the Autistic Spectrum. I went vegetarian at 13 and (nearly) vegan at about 20.
Generally, my diet is pretty healthy, other than the fact that I do have a tendency to pig out on chocolate and sweets in the evenings. I am hoping to stop this and only have one treat a day, except on special occasions.
Here are some of the things that I normally eat:
1. Fruits, such as apples, small oranges, blueberries, mango and strawberries.
2. Vegetables, e.g frozen veg, fresh veg, veg in ready meals.
3. Wholemeal or seeded bread jam, peanut butter and jelly and Violife and pickle sandwiches.
4. Crisps.
5. Ready meals.
6. Home-cooked meals.
7. Meals out.
8. Chocolates, cakes, ice cream, sweets and sweet pies .
I am on Olanzapine and Pregablin for anxiety, which can cause excessive eating in between meals and weight gain.
Please offer kind advice when you can.
Thank you to the moon and back for this and for all the good you do, will do and have ever done for animals and everyone else.
Have the best day and night ever!
 
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Lou

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Hi Rory,
Welcome aboard.
Not sure we needed to know that you are autistic and on mood-altering drugs. But kudos to you for not being embarrassed by it.

Just from what you have said it seems like you have a very good diet. So you probably don't need to make any really big changes.

CronOmeter
I recommend CronOmeter so often I probably should be on their payroll. but it really is a great tool for evaluating a diet. A lot of people Think they get enough calories, or protein, or fibre. Often they don't. or maybe its something else. Anyway, it does have a bit of a learning curve but after a few days, it only takes about 5 minutes a day. And you don't have to do it for the rest of your life. Once you have done it a dozen times it probably doesn't reveal anything new. but if you change your diet it's good to check back.

The app costs money but the website is free. Try the website for while and make sure you like it. If you do the app is a pretty good idea. Plus the app gives you access to some extra features on the website.

Evening Snacks
This used to be my biggest challenge. First off I like to eat dinner sort of early. The more hours I can put between dinner and bedtime the better I sleep. (I have GERDS. And it acts up while I sleep). So that means before bedtime I get hungry.
At one time I was reading about GERDS and the author recommended an apple every evening -instead of a snack. For some reason, a whole apple doesn't appeal to me. but I found that I can "force" myself to eat a small one. And it does satisfy the emotional/mental aspect of snacking.

Another strategy that I like is a cup of tea. Especially one that is sort of sweet tasting. Good Earth makes an apple cinnamon one I like. I have a turmeric/ginger that is my new favourite. Recently I've started experimenting with adding cardamon pods to SleepyTime Tea. Not sure if its the filling-ness of the water, the soothing effects of having something warm in your hands, or just keeping your hand busy - but it seems to help a lot.

And of course, there is always popcorn. Making it without oil or butter, its less than 100 calories for 3 cups. lots of alternative low salt toppings too. I'm not sure if its good for you but it's not bad for you either.

Final resort. A few cookies and a glass of soy milk is not a bad snack.

Between Meal snacks
This is sort of debatable. Some think that a between-meal snack helps you by keeping your blood sugar on an even keel. Others think that you should try to avoid them. If you feel they are more beneficial than a problem than maybe the best thing to do is put them in your "meal plan" and go shopping for them. Fruit has got to be your first choice. Adding a piece of fruit as an AM snack and a PM snack has got to be one of the healthiest habits to get into. Also, you are supposed to have a handful of nuts every day. If you haven't had your daily dose of nuts, including one as a snack is a good idea.

If you are on the go a lot then packing a smoothie is a good idea. Filling and nutritious. And you can drink it while driving to work or after work or on the way to the gym.

Final Thoughts
One of the best ways to eliminate the cravings for crisps and "Chocolates, cakes, ice cream, sweets and sweet pies," is to be too full. Eating a lot of vegetables at lunch and dinner and typically you are too full for dessert.
 
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Kudos to you for taking the vegan plunge! I personally went vegetarian at 14, but didn't become vegan for many years after that. Sometimes it takes us awhile to make those final connections, but well done for doing so.

It sounds like, for the most part, your diet is pretty healthy. You may do well to reduce your sugar intake, though. Processed sugar (table sugar, syrup, fruit juice, jam, and the like) can be highly addictive and sometimes, it's actually easier to cut it out completely than to try to reduce one's intake (that's been my experience, anyway).

In general, a whole foods, plant based diet is the healthiest way to go. Fruit, vegetables (including seaweed), legumes, whole grain, nuts, and seeds are all beneficial.

In general, eat salt (and salty foods like shoyu, mustard, olives, kimchi), oil, processed sugar (including fruit juice, cooked fruit, and zero calorie sweeteners), and refined starch (white bread, flour, and rice) in minimal amounts or avoid them altogether.

I would also supplement with B12, vegan D3, and vegan omega 3's. And drink plenty of water!

If you want to learn more about nutrition, check out nutritionfacts.org. It's an amazing resource.
 
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TofuRobot

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Hi there & welcome! You've received some good advice already... Maybe try substituting frozen fruit like bananas, mangoes, cherries, berries, etc, & dates for the sweets. Keep a healthy stock of that in the freezer for when you feel you need a snack (fruits tend to be sweeter when frozen). Also watch the calories you drink like juice, water, alcohol, and coffee/tea with added sugar and 'creamers.' I also have to second nutritionfacts.org it's a great resource for learning about the best options on a plant-based diet.

Honestly, if I were you, I would take #8 on your list and cut those things out for a solid 30 days and see how you feel. You might just find that after you've gotten past the withdrawal stage from all of the refined sugar, you won't even want to put that into your body anymore and won't view them as "treats" at all (it's not). It's all about changing your perception. I used to have a huge sweet tooth as a kid. I'm pretty sure I consumed several pounds of refined sugar every year. I am actually mildly repulsed by the sight of conventional sweets now. People bring donuts into the office where I work, and I just think "yuck." Absolutely zero desire or taste for it. I would seriously rather eat a LaraBar (those are *really* good, if you've never had one!).

The second thing I'd work to cut way back on is #7. Restaurants use *a lot* of oil and salt that we really do not need.

But other than those things, you've got a really good start and the short answer to your question is a resounding YES - a whole food diet IMO it's the healthiest choice you can make.
 
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