Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm A Vegetarian And I'm Always Hungry!!

You may have noticed that your vegetarian diet may leave you hungrier than you'd like. You ask yourself "I ate a lot of food but I'm still hungry!" I can tell you I definitely feel your pain. I've been a vegetarian since I was 12 and until recently I have battled with my weight and appetite control.

Now I was a fat kid growing up with a face as round as the moon and a belly so big I couldn't see my own toes. In high school I was a wrestler and a cross-country runner and my weight started to come off but I noticed that I was scrawny! I couldn't put on muscle no matter how much I was lifting weights and working out. College came along and guess what happened? I stopped working out as much and ate everything I could eat in sight (while still being vegetarian). I ballooned from a fit trim 174 to 230 at my peak!

At this point I needed to make a change so I got my tubby butt into the gym and just tried to cut back on food. I saw some results but again I was HUNGRY!!! Then I came across a book called 1 week in the zone. Here is the summary:

1) Food is a drug

Carbohydrates = Insulin production

Protein = Glucagon production

Fat = Eicosanoids production

2) If you don't balance the 3 hormones your body will not feel well and will cause you to be hungry, tired, bloated, etc.

3) I wasn't eating enough protein in my diet!

When all three hormones are balanced your body is in the zone and performs optimally. Now as a vegetarian I got enough carbs and fat but protein was the 1 thing that I was lacking at every meal! Fat and Protein help slow the absorption of carbohydrates into your system. Too many carbs in your system too quickly will have a yo-yo effect on your insulin and that will cause several problems such as hunger and tiredness.

By adding enough dense protein (eggs, soy, whey, cheese) in a meal I noticed I was never hungry with what I thought was a small meal. I say dense proteins because your body only releases the hormone glucagon with a dense protein. MOST NUTS AND BEANS DO NOT COUNT AS PROTIEN! Take a look at the nutritional information on the package. You'll notice most beans have more carbs and nuts have more fat than any other nutrient (carbs or protein) so your body treats them as a carb or a fat.


-Eat a dense protein with every meal!

-Dense proteins for vegetarians are soy, tofu, whey, cheese, eggs, and egg whites.


Bina said...

This story sounds very familiar! My weight has gone up and down also and I was a fat kid. I've also been a vegetarian most of my life and it wasn't till recently that I realized I was missing protein as an important part of my diet. I've been drinking whey protein shakes which helped me build a little muscle tone, but it wasn't till I started eating tofu on a more regular basis that I noticed a bigger difference. I still have a long way to go, but eating the right balance of food does seem to be the key to increasing muscle tone and reducing fat.

Ankit Patel - Nashville, TN said...

Bina, do you mix up your protein with eggs? I'm not sure if you eat eggs or not but egg whites are a great source of protein as well!