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People ask “aren’t vegans always hungry?” if they remove meat, eggs and dairy from meals?

Aren't vegans always hungry? Learn why this could happen to you!

I’m sure I’ve been asked “aren’t vegans always hungry?” more time than I can count. I’m not going to dismiss this question, saying that it’s a myth. For new vegans, this can be a real struggle, and part of the challenge to maintain their new diet and lifestyle commitment.

There are a few simple reasons why some always feel hungry as a vegan. And fortunately, there are also easy ways to address this problem!

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Aren’t vegans always hungry? Most likely, if they eliminate animal protein without adding a plant-based replacement!

Aren't vegans always hungry? If you eat incomplete meals, it's likely!I see it all the time on vegan Facebook groups. A new vegan complains about always being hungry since they changed their dietary habits. Group members ask them to describe a typical meal, and it often reads like this: lots of veggies (great!), sometimes a little bit of pasta (OK) and… that’s it.

You know what? I’d be starved too if that’s all I was eating.

Rule #1 of going vegan: removing meat, dairy and eggs from your diet is only step 1. Step 2 is learning to integrate plant-based replacements in your meals. Eating vegan is not just about eating veggies!

What are plant-based replacements? They will mostly be plant-based sources of proteins, such as:

  • legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans of all kinds, tofu, tempeh)
  • seitan (check out our homemade seitan recipe to start adding this protein powerfood into your diet!)
  • nuts and seeds
  • quinoa (not the greatest source of protein, but it’ll do every now and then)

Eating healthy vegan meals doesn’t mean simply removing the meat from your plate and eating what’s left. I wish non-vegan restaurants would understand this. If I see another plate of pasta and veggies, or rice and veggies, offered to me as a meal, I’m going to scream!

Aren’t vegans always hungry? For sure, if they don’t eat enough calories!

Aren't vegans always hungry? Use this app to track your nutrient intake and make sure you eat everything you need to eat to feel healthy and full!I invited my best friend and her boyfriend over for dinner a few months ago. I love hosting dinner for them because they are both really curious about trying plant-based foods. My friend’s boyfriend is a tall, solid-build of a man, and he’s also quite active. He talked about some of the vegan food he had recently tried, how he felt good after eating (not heavy), but then asked why he was always hungry after having a vegan meal.

I only asked him on question in return: “are you eating enough”?

Follow me in this little experiment using Google. First, search for “beef nutritional value”. On the right-hand side, you should see a frame that shows the nutrients you can get from 100g of beef. Have a look at the calories: 250 (also note the very high fat content). Now, start a new search, this time for “tofu nutritional value”. How many calories are typically found in 100g of tofu? About 76. Note that this value is variable, depending on the type of tofu you are using (my extra-firm tofu provides 150 calories per 100g), but generally, for an equal weight, plant-based foods will contain less calories.

If you are eating meals with plant-based replacements but still feel hungry, I suggest tracking your calorie intake for a few weeks. The best app I found for this is called CHRON-O-Meter. It allows you to easily track your calorie intake, but also your intake of key nutrients. Many new vegans find it useful and reassuring to use a tracking app at the beginning.

Meals fill you up, but you are still hungry before mealtime? Best to load up on snacks, like these healthy fruit and veggie snacks, or nuts. A dietician once told me that you shouldn’t go more than three hours without eating, so snack away (but don’t go crazy for junk)!

Aren’t vegans always hungry? Most obviously, if they don’t eat balanced meals!

Eating gluten-free is all the rage these days, and some even confuse eating vegan with eating gluten-free. Those two things are very different.

I understand why some, suffering from a very serious condition called celiac, remove grains from their diet. But for the majority of people, eating wheat and other grains is perfectly fine. And grains are part of a healthy, balanced vegan meal.

Now, if your idea of grains is white rice, white pasta, white bread, you were right to question the place of these food items on your plate. A healthy, whole-food plant-based diet includes whole grain, such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, bulgur, millet, and many, many more delicious and filling options.

Grains play an important role in a balanced vegan meal : they slow-down the digestion of protein, allowing you to feel full longer.

As a new vegan, tracking your food intake when you first start will help you stay healthy, and feel full. Using an app like CHRON-O-Meter will make this tracking easy and fun while helping with the transition.

When people ask me “aren’t vegans always hungry”, my answer is always no. Yours can be as well!

Aren’t vegans always hungry, just eating veggies?

One thought on “Aren’t vegans always hungry, just eating veggies?

  • March 5, 2017 at 1:27 pm
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    I’m not a vegan or vegetarian, but my daughter is vegetarian (and has been vegan in the past) and I’ve always struggled to know what to provide in a meal for her. I’ve always felt like I’m letting her down! This is really useful information and has got me thinking about what I can keep handy for when she next visits. Thanks!

    Reply

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