Could you go Vegan? Wheat-free?

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Could you go Vegan? Wheat-free?
5
Tue, 04-09-2013 - 2:16am

Lately I've met a few people our age who have become vegans, or mostly vegan. Some of them intended to be lacto-ovo vegetarian then kind of drifted into being vegan, others made a big dietary change for a specific reason, usually health or weight related. Some of them report marked results...one man lost about 40 pounds, others say they feel better physically on a vegan diet. Another couple is just starting, as an anti-arthritis measure, so too soon to know if they will get positive results.

Then, I've been seeing some articles about wheat being bad for us (causing internal inflammation), even whole wheat products--not because of the gluten, because of the sugars.

The other day I was thinking about what it would take to change my diet to become vegan. The short answer is, A LOT! While I rarely eat red meat I do eat fish and chicken; and while many days I don't eat fish or chicken either I do eat a lot of dairy products. I eat a lot of wheat based foods so removing wheat from my diet would also be a big challenge. I was thinking that I could probably manage to make one day a week all vegan. I'm not thinking of it for a specific reason or "cure", but just thinking about healthy eating.

Do you ever think about making a significant change to your eating habits, or the habits in any other area of your life? What would it take to get you to achieve a significant change?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2009
Tue, 04-09-2013 - 8:24am

I could make those changes but it would be very difficult.   DH's co-workers wife is a vegan so I could probably get a lot of recipes from her. I think that going vegetariarian would be a lot easier as I like milk, eggs and cheese.

I work for a family owned business and the owner and at least two of the sons have gone gluten free,   I think that a couple of them have been diagnosed with issues and the third is doing it bacause he had some of the same issues.  I like my bread products so it would also be hard.

I have never made drastic changes but have cut down on my meat in recent years, especially red meat.  More recently I have been trying to cut back on my sugar. 

The meat because of cholesterol issues.  The sugar because a lot of sugar is not good in general and because of the calories sweets can pack,  but my sugar has always been in a healthy range.

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Tue, 04-09-2013 - 10:57am

Our oldest dd was vegetarian for several years-& cooking for her was a challenge. Our oldest ds avoided red meat-but also cut legumes from his diet (a matter of taste)which was a bigger challenge. Fortunately these changes came when they were both in university so their visits were just that-visits.

We are already challenged with our diet-trying to keep Mike from losing weight & trying to add weight to Adam's body. Mike quits eating when he is stressed (we are opposites in this)-Adam's BMR is very high-his heart rate & breathing rate are quite high, though low energy level. Plus there are certain foods he does not want to eat-basics like bread. We add Polycose powder to Adam's foods (empty calories) plus margarine-& he is still losing weight. I cannot imagine taking meat or eggs away from it-because he doesn't like legumes at all.

So short answer-NO, if I had to go vegan or gluten free-it would be very difficult to do. Anything is possible, of course, but it would be difficult!

Nora

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Tue, 04-09-2013 - 11:14am
No, I couldn't become a Vegan or go wheat-free. I have watched my DH's family members go through different diet stages based on their beliefs at the time. My BIL & niece were vegetarians for 30 & 16 yrs respectively & eventually returned to normal eating habits for heath reasons. My SIL is a dr of natural medicine & she has followed strict food habits based on the latest information for yrs. Just found out that she has quit all of that & will eat the odd bit of red meat, have the odd glass of wine & more importantly will drink any type of bottled water these days. Her comment re: changes is that she has learned based on her studies that eating anything in moderation is ok for you. I think back to both my grandmothers who lived to 94. They ate everything but again in moderation. No huge helpings of anything & they walked daily. I believe in common sense. We eat steak once a week & then will have a roast of beef or hamburger once every 2 wks. The rest of the time, we eat pork, chicken & turkey. I'm allergic to all forms of seafood so DH only gets it when he eats out. We eat lots of fruits & veggies plus healthy carbs daily. I have made all these changes in the year since I retired. I have lost 25 lbs & DH has lost 20. He has 2.5 left to go & I have 30 but it's been a slow & healthy loss. Dee
Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Tue, 04-09-2013 - 1:34pm

My cholesterol issue is hereditary (high LDL or triglycerides if not on meds); they had my dad go on a total fat free diet (no red meat, etc.) and he lost weight (which he was already a stick) but his numbers didn't budge.  I'm not that much into red meat either; more chicken or fish or cheese so if someone told me I had to give up red meat, I could pretty easily do it.  Not sure on chicken, fish or cheese, and I like turkey also (white meat).  I don't eat a ton of bread but I do enjoy bread/pasta products so that would be tough.

Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Tue, 04-09-2013 - 3:42pm

Would you or could you?  Okay, this business of eating well is a topic that I find irritatingly confusing.  There are so many proponents of various ways of eating - eating this or that or not eating this or that... I am more the sceptic than I used to be.  I would not choose to be vegan... I did follow the "Fit for Life" vegetarian diet years ago and that didn't last too long.  My kids were young at the time and Ray wasn't going to follow this, so I had to eat in a different manner than the rest of the family.  I managed to do that for a while, but I guess it just was too much of a hassle, and I'm not even sure I felt better with this manner of eating. 

I have sometimes wondered about what is a good way to eat and thought about how as humans we were all hunter-gatherers once before agriculture came into being.  I think that is why the Paleo diet is in fashion now because it is believed this is the way we used to eat and maybe even how we should eat, though I can't recall now what it entails except there is meat and vegetables and fruit but not grain products at all, I think?  That is what I could tell from looking in some Paleo diet cookbooks at Costco, anyway.

I think cutting down on wheat products is not a bad thing - and including more other kinds of whole grains.  I like my meat - wouldn't want to do without that so much. 

I was getting rather irritated (as I said) about the myriad of opinions out there about ways to eat.  I read the book by Michael Pollan titled "In Defence of Food" and liked that attitude of his... As far as I remember, he said that people were getting too stressed about this or that food being healthy, etc. etc. etc. 

I do think cutting out sugar and white flour is a good thing.  Not eating processed food and fast food - or at least eating it only occasionally (not that I want to so much but do on rare occasions). I guess the less you do to food to change it from its natural state, the better, and so that really cuts down on a lot of processed foods sold today.  I am diabetic (or borderline at least!) so I really should cut out sweets to a large degree, and also be moderate in eating carbohydrate foods. I don't know if I could cut out grain foods entirely, or would not really want to anyway.

I just don't like being overly obsessed about food and what I eat.  You've got to enjoy your food and worrying about what you should eat or not eat might not make for enjoyment or good digestion!

Maybe there is something to diet contributing to inflammation in the body - though I haven't looked into it much.  It is interesting to note though, from a book I am reading, that the hunter-gatherer tribal people of New Guinea are without diabetes, heart disease and certain other diseases which are more prevalent in modern societies.  So the question certainly is worth looking into, why do we in our modern civilization have those kind of diseases?  I don't think there is any controversy about how our diet does contribute toward modern civilizations having those diseases.  However, the life of a New Guinea hunter-gatherer is shorter than our modern civilzation due to other dangers that may have them die before their 55th birthday.  (And it's not that they do not do any farming...as I believe they grow sweet potatoes) but they also have a lifestyle that involves lots of movement, hunting and such so they are also very fit and no one is overweight!

I didn't answer your question exactly as you  posed it, Elspeth, but rather gave you my general thoughts on food and eating.  I am willing to make some changes if somehow I am persuaded that doing that would be helpful to my health...but I may not want to jump to quickly to do that, depending on what those changes are.  Anyway I would not go vegan or even be a complete vegetarian, for that matter. 

Shirley