Happy Herbivore Blog

July 28, 2012

This Week's Q&A (Eating Enough to Feel Full & Vegan as A Diabetic)

You've got questions and we've got answers!

Q: Can you talk about pearl barley? I thought it was a whole grain, but I see now that it's somewhat processed...but it's got a low-glycemic index. So...is it OK or no?

A: I don't really classify foods as "okay" or "not okay" -- but in terms of food X is healthier than food Y. For example, I wouldn't say white rice is unhealthy or "bad" but obviously it's not as healthy and as good a choice as brown rice. You can read about barley here.

Q: I've stuck to a plant-based diet for five full days now but I'm having trouble staying full. I get full after eating but then get hungry pretty quickly afterwards. Any tips?

A: I’m not a doctor or nutritionist, but here are my experiences: First, make sure you’re getting enough calories. When most people switch to a plant-based diet, they continue to eat the same volume as before, except that plant foods tend have less calories, so you actually need to eat more volume. Calculate your daily needs, then count up your food choices to make sure you're meeting your needs.

Second, include a good bit of whole grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes and other healthy starches or carbohydrates. I love a big salad. A really big salad, but if I only put vegetables in it, I’m stuffed for an hour and ready to eat again because my salad was more like a “snack” in terms of calories. If I add grains or rice to it, however, I stay full. My body doesn’t zip through a potato as fast as it zips through lettuce.

Finally, eat more. If you’re hungry, eat. Don’t allow yourself to go hungry. Anytime someone writes me asking this question, I have them send me their daily diet and 90% of the time, they weren’t getting enough calories or incorporating enough grains and once they eat more, the problem is gone :)

Q: Hi! Is it possible to use the mori-nu firm lite silken tofu for the Tofu Scramble???

A: I wouldn’t. Mori-Nu tofu has a soft, silken consistency. It’s very pudding like and falls apart easily. It wouldn’t give the right “eggs” texture for a scrambled tofu.

Q: I am on the low side of diabetes. I do not take meds or insulin. Is this the right way for me to eat?

A: If you have Type 2 Diabetes, I can’t recommend Prevent and Reverse Diabetes by Dr. Neal Barnard enough. I’ve known several people who reversed their T2 diabetes following this approach such as Candy and Natala . Another good book is The Starch Solution.

Q: Do you have a whole-wheat bread recipe?

A: Try HH’s beer bread . It’s whole-wheat and so easy to make!

Q: My personal trainer told me that i should get an iron supplement since i am on a vegan diet, and a female. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on this or brands to suggest?

Unless your personal trainer is also your physician, don't take this advice. Iron is a dangerous supplement, you can die from taking too much iron, which is very easy to do. One pill could be an overdose. No one should supplement with iron unless specified by a doctor after blood work. A vegan diet is not deficient in iron. Most people eating a vegan diet get more iron than meat eaters. Talk to your doctor and get blood work done. I say this as a personal trainer myself.

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