A New Plate

I did some research the other day, because I was feeling tired and laggy. Adam didn’t have those symptoms when he switched over to a plant based whole food diet, so I wondered if I was doing something wrong.

I think I was doing everything ok. Honestly, I think I was fighting the flu, a mild version, and pms, and detox from what I was eating. I realized looking back at my prior diet that I ate a lot more dairy than I realized, and meat too. If a serving size was 3 oz of meat, I ate a lot more. I had dairy about four times a day. Even tho I didn’t drink milk, I had it in forms of ice cream, yogurt, and the like.

So I learned some things in my research. One, there is a new plate. A new food group chart, and there are more than four. In fact, double that! Here is the new food group list I go by:

  • Non-Starchy Vegetables. Things like kale, broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower….fill up on these. Unlimited servings but definitely at least one serving of leafy green vegetables a day.
  • Starchy Vegetables. Looking at potatoes, yams, corn, etc. I need 2-4 servings a day.
  • Fruits. Again, 2-4 servings.
  • Beans, Peas, Lentils, or Meat Alternatives. This is any kind of bean, edamame, black eyed peas, tofu. It warned using processed protein patties (boca burgers) rarely. I need 2-5 servings. I’ll probably get these most from beans. I’m surprised how much I’m liking beans! Especially chickpeas!
  • Nuts and Seeds.  This includes nut butter, which I do have daily on a bagel before bed. I find this holds me over well and I’m not waking up at 3 am ready to devour the house anymore.
  • Whole Grains. I’m finding there is a lot more than whole wheat! Bulgur, quinoa, oats, brown rice, barley…I need 5-8 servings.
  • Fats and Oils. Sparingly, 0-2 servings. I’m trying to be better at this.
  • Dairy Alternatives. Almond, Soy, or Rice Milks and Cheeses. Since a vegan diet is extremely low in vitamin B12, I need to look for brands that are fortified in this vitamin. I was happy to find that my cereal and almond milk fulfill my daily requirement of this needed vitamin. 🙂 Again, I only need 0-2 servings.

I even learned some ways to fill my plate. I can fill half of it with a non starchy vegetable, 1/4 of a healthy grain or starchy vegetable, 1/4 of it with a plant based protein, and a fruit, salad, or nuts. I learned that breakfast doesn’t have to be cereal and almond milk, but I can make oatmeal or quinoa with fruit, or a smoothie. I’m going to try oatmeal next week. I had always thought I didn’t like it because of the texture, but, maybe, like the chickpeas, I’ll surprise myself.

I also learned that I need to up my protein. Adults need 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight a day. Multiply your weight by 0.36 and you will know how many grams a day you need to have. By that, I need to have 40.32 grams a day of protein. So that may be another reason why I was so tired last week. I wasn’t really tracking my protein before, but I’m sure it was low.

I’ve also menu-planned better. For my carnivore children, I try to make dishes that I can easily add meat to. Saturday we are having burritos, so they’ll have tacos while Adam and I eat bean burritos. Friday we’ll have vegetarian chili. They won’t even miss the meat there, with all the beans. On other days, if I make a soup, I can fry up some chicken and add some to their bowls. Simple things like that, so I’m not making two of every meal. I find that if I plan my week’s menu in advance, I’m not spending so much at the store, and things are much more relaxed at home around dinner time.

So there is just a few of the things I’m learning as I’m doing this challenge. Keep posted and see if  I stick with it. 🙂

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