Originally Posted by CheeryGoatKid
I'm still interested in going veg/mushroom-based, though! I've been reading some stuff on here, but I wanted to ask a couple more questions:
1. How do you manage eating enough/balancing a vegetarian diet if you're super athletic? I know it's very important to get enough calories, but are there any foods you find especially helpful? How do you avoid losing weight?
2. Unfortunately, I really like the taste of meat, especially beef. Do you know of any good substitutes? Is there anything that can be used to mimic the flavor of beef without actually consuming cattle?
3, Where can I find advice on gaining weight on a vegetarian diet? I'm currently underweight and hoping to get a bit more meat on my bones without eating anyone else's.
4. I've had issues with anemia in the past. Besides kale/leafy greens, what vegetarian-friendly foods and dishes would you recommend?
Two things that could make this easier - I'm an avid mushroom hunter, and I get fresh eggs from my friend's pet chickens and ducks. And yeah, I've heard arguments against eating eggs ever, but if we leave them, the eggs attract weasels, ravens, and raccoons. We lost a rooster that way.
Welcome to the forum! I've tried to address each of your questions below:
1. When starting on a new diet, it is advisable to do some planning. In order to get enough calories, you can use an online calorie-needs calculator (such as this one: http://www.active.com/fitness/calculators/calories
) to estimate your daily calorie requirement. If you are very athletic, you may need more calories than the calculator says you do.
Once you know your calorie needs, you can remember this calorie rule-of-thumb:
One cup of cooked beans / lentils contains about 230 calories
One cup of cooked grains / pasta contains about 180 calories
One cup of fresh fruit contains 40-100 calories
One cup of non-starchy vegetables contains 5-40 calories
One cup of nuts or seeds contains 650-1000 calories
You can also use an online calorie website, like http://www.calorieking.com
, to see the calorie content of different foods.
As you can see, beans and grains are the calorie-foundation of a vegan diet. Nuts and seeds are an easy way to boost calories.
2. There are some very good vegan beef substitutes out there. Unfortunately, there are also some not-so-tasty ones. Boca and Gardein are good brands. Even regular supermarkets often carry vegan meat substitutes. More "specialty" meat substitutes can be found at health food stores, Vietnamese markets, and Buddhist food shops.
3. You can gain weight by eating more calorie-rich foods, like nuts, seeds, avocados, and other oily foods.
4. Iron-rich plant foods include beans, certain dark leafy green vegetables, and iron-fortified breakfast cereals. You can increase your body's iron absorption by eating vitamin C rich foods along with your meals. Veganhealth.org has an (exhaustively) informative webpage about iron: http://veganhealth.org/articles/iron
Lastly, here is a nicely-done Vegetarian Starter Guide: http://www.mercyforanimals.org/files/VSG.pdf
. Page 13 explains vegan nutrition. Because your calorie needs are higher than those of the average person, you will perhaps need a higher ratio of calorie-rich foods.