Newbie-Question Vegan supplements

dvarga

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Hi forum Newbie here.

I tried being a vegan on and off several times from 1990 - 2005. Could barely do it in 1990. Then in the early 2000's after about a week into the diet I would lose up to a pound of weight a day, my energy was low and there was a pervasive bad feeling in my body. I did legume-whole grain protein combining ala Frances Moore Lappe, etc.... And the last attempt I not only protein combined, but kind of over-did it in case that this method would work but I was not eating enough vegan protein, so I over ate even more legumes and grains. But.... that did not work for me. I was taking Vit-B12 and iron supplements. Being a vegan was not compatible with my body seemed to be the message I received from all of my efforts. But maybe the missing ingredient is available through supplements?

Question. Can people share with me the lists of supplements that they use to maintain themselves on a vegan diet? And please share how long you have successfully been a vegan while using these supplements.

Thank you !

Dave
 
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Emma JC

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I am sure that others will chime in here .... the main reason that people fail is because they don't eat enough calories. I do not track my intake very often and when I do I use Cronometer.com it is free and gives you a good overall sense of what you may be missing.

I supplement D3/K2 daily, B12 once a week, Vit C a couple of time per week in my oatmeal and occasionally a B mix gel cap. I try to get most of my "supplements" from food/spices... turmeric, ground flax, hemp hearts, garlic, onion, whole foods, lots of starches in the form of pasta, rice, bread, potatoes and lots of fruits and vegetables plus beans, pulses, a few nuts and soy curls, grains (oatmeal, couscous).

Coming up on 6 years vegan.

Emma JC
Find your vegan soulmate or just a friend. www.spiritualmatchmaking.com
 

David3

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Likely not enough calories. 1 cup (post-boiling amount) of beans or grains is only about 200 calories. Non-starchy vegetables only have 5 to 40 calories per cup. Depending on your height, gender, and physical activity level, you might need anywhere from 1500 - 2500 calories per day. Athletes need even more.

An easy way to boost calorie intake is to include nuts, nut butters, and seeds in your eating. One cup of nuts has anywhere from 650 - 1000 calories. A tablespoon of peanut butter has about 100 calories

40 years ago, Frances Moore Lappe made a correction to her protein-combining emphasis: Protein combining - Wikipedia . There is no need to combine legumes and grains at the same meal.

You may find it useful to plan your vegan diet with the help of a Registered Dietitian (RD). In the United States, you can find a local RD through the website of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the world's largest association of Registered Dietitians): Find a Nutrition Expert.
 
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Lou

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Chime!
@Emma is absolutely correct. The problems newbie vegans have is more often a lack of calories than a lack of protein or micronutrients.

You should already know this - losing a pound a week is indicative of a calorie deficit - about 2- 300 calories a day. Good News: it's pretty easy to make up 2- 300 calories a day. I'll come back to that in a minute.

Diet For A Small Planet is a great book. However the protein combining thing is all wrong. Lappe admitted it years later. And I believe the second edition of the book leaves out the whole protein combining thing. I'll include a link at the bottom to one of my favorite Vegetarian/Protein articles. Its not that long and you should really read that right away.

The rule of thumb is that if you eat a varied diet and get enough calories - you get enough protein. BTW, almost everyone overestimates their protein requirements.

And not to worry about amino acids. Again, if you eat enough calories, you automatically get enough of all the AAs.

Emma also recommended Cronometer. I second the motion. There is a little bit of a learning curve with it but in less than a week you should be able to maintain your Food Dairy in less than 5 minutes a day. I like the website for ease of use. but the app is more popular. But you can use both - once you've created a profile they are interconnected.

Also once you've set up your profile just let it do all the calculations. It does allow you to create your own targets but unless you really know what you are doing its best to start off with theirs. Since everyone is a little bit different its cool that they let you fine tune it.

After I inputted my last meal of the day, I would review the results. If I was low on calories and protein I would just have a PB smoothie for dessert. Here is just one recipe.

Oh. and you don't need to use Cronometer for the rest of your life. Just until you get a handle on your personal nutrition. Although I recommend at least once a year to use it for a week. Our diets do gradually change over time.

If you have any CronOmeter questions. just shoot me a PM.

Keep in mind that just because your intake of vitamins and minerals is adequate - you are not necessarily absorbing 100%. So every year ask your doctor to run a blood test for things like vitamin D, B12, and Iron. Even non-vegans are sometimes deficient in those.

Another recommendation I have is to download Dr. Gregar's Daily Dozen app. Or you can use this link to download and print the PDF. I have laminated mine and hung it on the frig with a dry erase marker. The Daily Dozen pretty much takes all the guess work out of what one should eat in a day. And just like CronOmeter, you don't have to use it for the rest of your life. In a while it just sort of becomes second nature.

Oh. And to answer your question I take a DHA/EPA supplement every other day. A B12 supplement once a week, and D every day. Everything else I seem to be able to get with whole and fortified foods. I can give you specific recommendations if you are interested.

Based on Cronometer and blood tests, not to mention learning and changing, I'm regularly changing up my supplements and meal plans. This particular regime I've only been doing for a few days. Based on my blood tests I cut my B12 in half because it was way over the minimum. and I added more D because it was a little low. Based on Cronometer I thought I was not getting enough Magnesium and Potassium. but my blood tests were fine so I stopped taking my Magnesium supplement. I never did add a Potassium supplement. Potassium can be toxic.

I've been on this vegan path for 23 years.

---------
 

silva

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Another vote for calorie deficit.
You would not feel any ill affects from nutritional shortcomings in a week, or even 6 weeks.
I went vegetarian in the 70's/80's based on the whole protein combining, and while I feel it helped me keep a balanced diet,it is not neccesary to do for every meal, you just need to have a variety of the different aminos in your typical diet.

About @Lou suggestion for B12 test--a blood test is not a good predictor of B12 level, a MMA test is more reliable--however, just supplement!

What is likely to have been happening is your gut biome adjusting to the diet change. Particularly if you weren't already used to beans and grains you would have a very different variety of flora going on in your digestive system, which would make digesting the new foods uncomfortable. It takes time for your gut to adjust

 
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Lou

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Chime!

Yes, @silva brought up a very good point.
Many newbies have issues with the increase in fiber in a vegan diet.
Many American eat less than 15 g of fiber a day. But 25g is the recommended amount. and vegans typically eat over 30, maybe even over 40. This can cause intestinal distress for a while, until your body gets used to it.
 
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dvarga

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Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts and supplement information. Again I have tried several times to be a vegan. To be clear, after 5 days or so on the vegan diet I was losing a pound A DAY. So two weeks after the initial 5 day starting period I lost 14 lbs. Yeah I know that makes no sense. The last attempt as I mentioned, I over ate grains and legumes (and peanut butter) just in case I the issue was I was not getting enough protein (plus I had vegetables and carbs) . OK so eating more vegan protein was not the solution.

(Yes a few years ago I found out that the Frances Moore Lappe approach was debunked, however there was/is no vegan disadvantage to following it)

What I did not mention is that in a prior attempt the year before I did the protein combining method but this time really over ate a lot of carbs too. That did not solve the problem. Lost a pound a day.

Hence my interest in hearing from you all on the supplements that you take.

So what kind of diet have I been following for the past decade? I eat a lot of vegetables, at least half raw. A very goodly amount of cruciferous, onion, garlic, parsley arugula , red cabbage, dark leafies, sweet potato, etc. And organic nuts. I am a meat eater and the amount is 1/8 of what the USDA says what the avrge american adult eats. That amount plus what industry claims average fish consumption is in total about 280 lbs per year. This is INSANE from my point of view. I have dialed my consumption down to one and a half cubic inches of flesh per day, which ends up being 1/8 of that the typical american eats. And I have an egg a week and some yogurt and some cheese. I have DIALED DOWN to this point and can maintain my energy, weight and feeling fine.

So thank you Lou, Silva, David3 and Emma JC for sharing your thoughts and information and resources with me, the next time I make a Vegan 'go of it' I will use what you have sent me.
 
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VeganRachel

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Hi forum Newbie here.

I tried being a vegan on and off several times from 1990 - 2005. Could barely do it in 1990. Then in the early 2000's after about a week into the diet I would lose up to a pound of weight a day, my energy was low and there was a pervasive bad feeling in my body. I did legume-whole grain protein combining ala Frances Moore Lappe, etc.... And the last attempt I not only protein combined, but kind of over-did it in case that this method would work but I was not eating enough vegan protein, so I over ate even more legumes and grains. But.... that did not work for me. I was taking Vit-B12 and iron supplements. Being a vegan was not compatible with my body seemed to be the message I received from all of my efforts. But maybe the missing ingredient is available through supplements?

Question. Can people share with me the lists of supplements that they use to maintain themselves on a vegan diet? And please share how long you have successfully been a vegan while using these supplements.

Thank you !

Dave
Eating enough calories is important for sure. However because of eating more fiber you may be losing a lot of impacted stuff in your
colon and intestines. You can get a comprehensive nutritional blood test to see where you are right now. As you start a better
diet with a clinical nutritionist/dietician, wait a few months and get another blood test to see your progress. For me, a 20+ year
whole food vegan, I believe nutrition should come first from whole foods. However, I believe in supplementing D3, B12, zinc, iodine
(if you do not consume some seaweed), quercetin, NAC and even B6--but that is my regimen. Its' not what you eat but what you
are absorbing--that is important to remember, and many humans have digestive problems. cheers on your journey.
 

Grinning Hippos

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Hi forum Newbie here.

I tried being a vegan on and off several times from 1990 - 2005. Could barely do it in 1990. Then in the early 2000's after about a week into the diet I would lose up to a pound of weight a day, my energy was low and there was a pervasive bad feeling in my body. I did legume-whole grain protein combining ala Frances Moore Lappe, etc.... And the last attempt I not only protein combined, but kind of over-did it in case that this method would work but I was not eating enough vegan protein, so I over ate even more legumes and grains. But.... that did not work for me. I was taking Vit-B12 and iron supplements. Being a vegan was not compatible with my body seemed to be the message I received from all of my efforts. But maybe the missing ingredient is available through supplements?

Question. Can people share with me the lists of supplements that they use to maintain themselves on a vegan diet? And please share how long you have successfully been a vegan while using these supplements.

Thank you !

Dave
Hi Dave,

I only take Vitamin D and B12 on and off, I get the rest of supplements from food.
I researched a bit, mostly on Youtube. You can look for recipes in channels such as Picking limes, BOSH, Chef Ani. A lot of great ones out there that do not focus on just burgers. I also started a channel recently, called Grinning Hippos :) but only 2 recipes for now :)