Is it possible to be vegan without pulses? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 02-27-2015, 12:49 PM
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Is it possible to be vegan without pulses?

Hi guys

Sorry to be asking about my diet AGAIN - I have just decided to go vegan and I'm also very underweight. I have a lot of trouble with meals - I really can't cook and due to an eating dosprder have a lot of trouble psychologically deaing with a plate of food.

So anyway I'm worried about being able to gain any weight at all and being able to meet my nutritional requirements eating vegan, because I really don't like beans/legumes (things like beans, chickpeas, lentils) and I definitely can't cook with them - I have enough trouble with toast! I've tried having ready done dahl, lentil soup, bean casserole etc (e.g. out of tins, or ready meals)but they are so salty and yuck. Tonight I tried doing a chick pea curry and it was awful and went in the bin. I just spend so much time trying to make food and end up with the same old boiled veggies cos that's all I can cope with.

So I don't want to resort to cheese and yoghurt because it's the simplest way to get my nutrients and protein. But as a vegan can I really get everything I need from tofu, nuts, fruit and veg, biscuits and bread? I can't digest soy milk. I can't afford vegan meat substitutes and I think they're so dodgy and over processed anyway.

Or should I forget trying to be a vegan, and eat whatever I can - animal or not - to try to put on weight? (my BMI is about 13 - so really not good)

This is so hard.

Sorry everyone - and thank you xx
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#2 Old 02-28-2015, 01:48 AM
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Hi there!

Do not give up on veganism!

Eat plenty of soya mince, tofu, pasta, rice, bread, plant milks, falafels, protein shakes, vegan multivitamins and you should get enough protein/ calories...

If you could cook the lentils differently maybe they would be ok too?

Good luck with everything! Once you have put some healthy weight on you could exercise a bit to build up strength
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#3 Old 02-28-2015, 02:03 AM
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Have you seek out help for your eating disorder? If not, that's the first thing you need to do. 13 on the BMI scale really is not good.
I am a bit confused by your post. It seems like you want to try to put on weight but at the same time you're scared of doing so?
Since you have a hard time eating much, try to choose to snack on foods that are more caloric. Nuts and seeds, spoonful of peanut butter. Try to eat things like pasta, rice, and potatoes. I can imagine it's difficult, but even if you can't eat an entire plate of pasta, eating half a plate is already a good progress. Sometimes when I don't feel well I'll eat spaghetti simply boiled in water with without any sauces as I feel it's lighter. Maybe you'd be able to eat it that way since it doesn't feel too heavy?
I think smoothies would help you a lot (especially if you add bananas, and nuts to them for calories), since it's just a drink, maybe they'd be easier for you to digest.

"We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form." - William Ralphe Inge

Last edited by jessandreia; 02-28-2015 at 02:06 AM.
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#4 Old 02-28-2015, 05:23 AM
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This first suggestion is just if you don't like chickpeas and lentils as a cooked product.

Salads are very hard to burn :P

I get a tin of chickpeas and a tin of lentils, mix them together with some dice capsicum, quarter to half of a red onion (depending on it's size and how much you like onion :P) and then find a nice dressing to put on top.

RINSE THE CHICKPEAS AND LENTILS FIRST. I found they helps cut down on the amount of farting :P

You don't 'need' the dressing, sometimes it can all taste quite nice without it, but I always find it stops it from being too boring.

This is a pretty 'sweet' tasting dressing-

But this site has a whole range of different dressings, depending on what you like (I prefer more salty flavours)-

If you really do just want to stay away from chickpeas/lentils, you could try making pizzas.

I know,you say you're not good at cooking, but you're going to get better at it. If you can find mini bases at the store, and a tomato sauce (sometimes they come in little tubs). Then fill up those pizzas with pine nuts, capsicum, olives, onion, whatever you like! They don't take long to cook. Be sure to set a timer, if you think you'll forget.

Burritoes are also pretty easy to make and you can fill them with just about anything.

If you feel up to it, tofu can be incredibly easy to cook. I use a firm tofu from the Blue Lotus brand. I gather from some of you other posts that you might be in the U.K? Maybe some of our board members from there can recommend an easy to cook tofu brand. Especially if there's one that's already flavoured.

Now look, I was a TERRIBLE cook when I first went veg. But tofu is pretty simple. You can chop it into smaller portions. Put some oil in a pan and then throw the tofu in. It's up to you as to how much you want to cook it, but my method is to just keep moving it around the pan with a spatula or something like that and I test it with a fork. When it's all the way warm through, it's cooked (sometimes I get a bit trickier with it, but for a beginner, that's all you really need to do)

Once you've done that, you can put it on wraps, with avocado and....whatever else you have around.

If you don't want to have tofu, maybe something like black beans would be nice? I know you've said you don't like beans. But just incase :P

Hope of those suggestions help you out a bit. Don't feel disheartened by a few problems in the kitchen. It's part of learning.

Aside from that, I think it's really important that you speak with someone if you're not already. You know you have a problem, but it's okay to ask for help from a professional.
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#5 Old 02-28-2015, 06:13 AM
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Hi Lima! Please don't apologize for doing what we do on this board! If you haven't noticed already, we DO like to talk about food and give advice, as well as ask!

I think it would be most helpful if you talked about the foods you liked as an omni, mostly how they were prepard.
For me, going vegan was really more different than I first thought. With cheese, and not worrying about eggs being in food, vegetarian was just like how I'd eat as an omni. Vegan forced me to learn so much more about food. I admit I kinda choked on a lot of dishes in the beginning that I've since learned to do WELL and now eat regularly.

What kinds of foods do you like to eat? (as an omni)
Do you like spices? what kinds of cultural tastes?
Casseroles, soups sandwiches?

There is a vegan counterpart to everything, even though not a sub!
Like switching chickpeas for chicken, I like to lightly mash them so not rolling off my fork. One dish I like and can be varied, is to simmer the chickpeas with broccolli and lots of garlic in a veggie broth (Better than Boullion no chicken is a staple), or seasoned miso. I'll use either cut up raw brocolli or thawed frozen. I'll mix cornstarch and water to add when it's softened to thicken the sauce and serve over noodles (or rice, or other grain)
Just an example to get you thinking of ways to make food
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#6 Old 02-28-2015, 06:26 AM
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Thank you everybody for your brilliant advice!

This morning I thought I would have to go back to eating dairy and eggs. But since reading your posts I have to reconsider.

(by the way, look at this: )

Regarding the eating disorder - I've had it for 15 years, I've had LOADS of therapy, interventions, treatment, blah blah and none of it works so I'm trying to go my own way now.

My problem is not vegan food - it's eating enough food - any food. I guess I'm just worried that too much of the vegan diet is low fat or really bulky, so I'm making life harder for myself (it's harder to eat lots of bulky stuff - for example, you'd need to eat 200g beans to get the same amount of protein as in 50g cheese. when you're already full and stuffed, it's much easier to eat the cheese than the beans)

I already do eat a lot of nuts and nut butters. I need more variety!

I just had a pitta with houmous and fried muchrooms. It was really yummy. Ah I LOVE houmous :-)
thank you!
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#7 Old 02-28-2015, 06:36 AM
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Keep working with your health professionals, and remember to put yourself first during this challenging time. Don't feel bad about eating lacto-ovo veg while you recover, if that would be helpful. You can always go back to eating vegan when your health is where it needs to be.

As far as your initial question, legumes have great nutrition and flavor, so I would say keep trying. You can try using canned or fully cooked refrigerated or frozen beans and lentils if you are having a hard time cooking them. Rinsing them before use reduces some of the saltiness. If you are finding them too salty, you can also leave out the salt in recipes and just taste and add more salt at the end if needed.

Here is an easy Chana Masala recipe (you could make a half recipe if you are cooking just for you):

In the meantime, tofu is great and actually contains plenty of soy protein. Nutritionally, tofu counts as servings of legumes.

But, again, I would trust your local health professionals who know you personally more than us strangers over the internet.
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#8 Old 02-28-2015, 06:42 AM
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Oh, hah. Looks like I posted almost the same time as your last post. Glad to hear you are feeling a bit better about it. If you like hummus, that totally counts as servings of legumes. Always keep some on hand. Nut and nut butters are another nice source of protein and energy.

Do you like smoothies? I know some people do smoothies with tofu and/or nut butters and fruit, and smoothies are a good way to get additional food in without feeling too full.

It's true that vegan food does tend to be low fat and high fiber. You can cut down on the fiber a little bit by incorporating some white/refined grains. Also, adding a good drizzle of olive oil when cooking veggies. You can try your steamed veggies with a bit of olive oil, for example.
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#9 Old 02-28-2015, 06:53 AM
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Sister Lima,

Your post is very worrying. A BMI of 13 is literally off the low-end of the chart. Assuming that you are about 5'5" tall, you probably only weigh 80 pounds.

Your first priority should be to get medical attention. Check into an inpatient anorexia program, because such a low BMI is literally a threat to your life. Everything else is secondary, at this point.

Last edited by David3; 02-28-2015 at 06:58 AM.
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#10 Old 02-28-2015, 07:37 AM
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HI Lima,

Please make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian. They can help you to plan a vegan diet that supplies you with plenty of calories, protein, calcium, and all other essential nutrients. At this point, you need to bring in external guidance, because your low weight is a threat to your health. You need to gain 20 pounds, as soon as possible. Seeking external guidance is not giving up control over your life - even the President has advisors and counselors.

In the United States, you can find a local Registered Dietitian through this website: . Just click on the "Find an Expert" button, located in the upper-right-hand portion of the webpage.

In the U.K., you can find a local Registered Dietitian on the Freelance Dietitians website:

In New Zealand, you can find a local Registered Dietitian through the Dietitians New Zealand website:

In Canada, you can find a local Registered Dietitian at the Dietitians of Canada website: .
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#11 Old 02-28-2015, 07:42 AM
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Do you like peanuts or peanut butter, and/or other nut butters? They would be excellent for you as they are very dense foods which is what you need to gain weight. Also add coconut to food and use olive oil for drizzling. Hummus has already been mentioned but it also very good. Eat lots of avacados too. Beans can be blended into delicious soups if you don't like the texture.

I agree with those who say that sorting out your eating disorder should be your first priority. It is wonderful you want to stay vegan but your health has to be your first concern. Seek advice from someone who can be supportive of your choice of diet but also ensure you eat enough. A sick vegan is no good to anyone, especially not yourself. Take care.
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