Struggling to Maintain a Vegan Diet

Ever since I started working out regularly, I have been trying to eat more protein while maintaining a vegan diet. I've tried making soy, hemp, and rice protein shakes, eating more tempeh and tofu, and even eating more beans (though I must admit that the time required to cook beans and grains definitely prevents me from eating them as regularly as I would like). I don't know if I have a protein sensitivity or if I'm just not combining foods properly, but every time I increase my protein intake my body seems to reject it and digestion becomes very difficult.

I have thought about how much easier things would be if I could have EAS Myoplex shakes, cottage cheese, yogurt, non-fat chocolate milk, and other foods that I learned how to use to help with keeping protein high and carbohydrates low. Now that I have been maintaining a vegan diet, I feel like I'm starting back at square one; I feel like I don't know anything about diet and fitness because everything changes when you remove all dairy from your diet.

Earlier today I was actually contemplating switching back to a lacto-vegetarian diet, but then I remembered the promise I made to myself several months ago:

I was born a Vegetarian, but I will die a Vegan.

So to push these dangerous thoughts out of my head, that has become my new mantra. If maintaining a vegan diet means I need to spend more time preparing food and learning how to cook complete meals, then so be it. I was thinking, I should probably tattoo the word VEGAN on my body somewhere so I can simply look at it whenever I'm doubting my commitment to a vegan lifestyle.

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  1. You can put beans in a crock pot and let them cook all day or night unattended. Then in the evening (or morning) you will have a nice protein meal (and plenty left over for later). Cooking kidney beans, pinto beans, and other beans for a long time also makes the beans more easily digested. Ask Ravi for details. Also, we have a small crock pot at home you can have (actually, I think your Mother bought it for you a few months back). OM

  2. I definitely need to get some bean recipes from you and Ravi. I have a crock pot that Ravi bought me a few years ago but it hasn’t seen much use.

  3. “I have a crock pot that Ravi bought me a few years ago but it hasn’t seen much use.”

    – Shame, shame!

    if you want to have an easily cooked, healthy and readily available vegan protein nothing beats slow cooked dry beans.

    my favorite recipe was and still is
    simply 2 cups of dried kennebec kidney beans cooked over night, i like to add a cup or so of chichi’s salsa for flavouring and let it cook for another 15-30 minutes, you can add it in the beginning but by waiting it helps you control the consistency of the beans & I like mine thick.

    if you want you can also add 3-10 garlic cloves either chopped or whole, the oil & flavor will cook into the food one way or the other. and a good chunk of well shredded fresh ginger, you want to make sure the ginger is shredded well enough to dissolve in the the beans because it may be unpleasant if you bite into a big piece of it at a time.

    I love the vegan tattoo idea reminds me of the girl at life alive, lisa i think.

    oh yeah, you may consider supplementing w/ my pure WPI just temporarily for like 2 months and then cycle it and try to see if there are any really major differences. because if there is then you should continue to supplement w/ it in cycles until you have reached the LBM weight that you wish to achieve. further supplementation is unnecessary as large amounts of protein are only required when building mass, not maintaining it.

  4. Please note that I assumed you would not be opposed to the idea of temporary supplementation since as far as I know you are not an ethical vegan but a prophylactic vegan. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  5. I’m mostly a prophylactic vegan but I’m also a vegan for ethical and other reasons. Besides, I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person. If I’m going to be vegan, I’m not going to switch back and forth between being vegan and being vegetarian.

    The crock pot you gave me has been sitting on my kitchen counter next to the toaster ever since I moved to the bigger apartment. I even bought kidney beans in anticipation of cooking them, but they’re still sitting in the cabinet. I will definitely try your recipe this week and let you know how it goes. Thanks!

    I’ve read a lot of information about how protein requirements are overstated. It makes me wonder if I really need 170 – 200 grams of protein every day. Perhaps if I have 100g of protein every day and fill the rest of my calories with healthy carbohydrates and fats, I will still be able to gain lean mass.

    I really need to get back into a workout and diet rhythm. Moving to the new apartment really screwed things up.