Dealing with stomach pain: Elimination method, FODMAP & tips to cope

Many people in todays society deal with stomach pain and discomfort, to certain degrees. Some people just get a little pain from time to time after overeating or maybe eating certain foods, while others can barely live a normal life due to their stomach issues.

In the past, I was the latter. I struggled with a lot of stomach issues and pain.

In this post I am giving you some tips on what you can do to figure out what causes your stomach issues via an elimination method. Though I do advise you to seek help from both a doctor and dietitian so that you don’t end up restricting your intake far too much and far too long so that you end up unhealthy or with nutrient deficiencies.

I have written a post about FODMAP and IBS, which you can read here.

Also a post about dealing with bloating HERE

As well as a post about eating a high fiber diet, which can often lead to cramps and digestive issues, HERE

When you are dealing with stomach pain or digestive issues it can easily lead to a very restrictive diet, either because you don’t want to eat something that triggers the pain, but you don’t know what causes the pain and therefore restrict everything you think might cause pain. Or you infact become scared of certain food because you don’t want the stomach pain and therefore cut it out and get scared to eat those foods.

FODMAP

When someone has IBS they are often recommended to try doing FODMAP with the help of a professional. FODMAP is not a longterm diet or way of eating, it is a way of eating for a (short) period of time to help figure out which foods that cause flareups and stomach issues and which foods you can tolerate.

What is FODMAP?

FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols”

Common FODMAPs include:

  • Fructose: A simple sugar found in many fruits and vegetables that also makes up the structure of table sugar and most added sugars.
  • Lactose: A carbohydrate found in dairy products like milk.
  • Fructans: Found in many foods, including grains like wheat, spelt, rye and barley.
  • Galactans: Found in large amounts in legumes.
  • Polyols: Sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol and mannitol. They are found in some fruits and vegetables and often used as sweeteners.

These carbohydrates/fibers don’t fully digest and some become nutrition for gut bacteria while others don’t digest at all and can therefore cause bloating, gas, cramps.

In some individuals, FODMAPs are poorly digested, so they end up reaching the colon. They draw water into the intestine and get fermented by hydrogen-producing gut bacteria.” (Healthline.com)

A low FODMAP diet means you eat very little or no foods which contain those carbohydrates/fibers. I.e limiting the amount of foods which can cause symptoms.

When following the FODMAP diet for a period of time you are very restricted in what you can eat, and even more so if you are vegan. (I had to try the FODMAP diet for 3 days during one of my university courses and I didn’t eat much those three days as I was so restricted in food choices.) But overtime you begin to reintroduce foods and eventually have a much more varied diet and will hopefully have figured out which foods you can tolerate and you may even figure out which foods you tolerate in smaller doses and which you can consume in larger doses. However along with FODMAP you also have to look over your lifestyle and the way you eat.

Sometimes the problem may not actually be the food, but it may be that you are very stressed, that you are anxious around food, that you don’t actually sit down to eat or you eat your food within 5 minutes while standing or on the go. All of these can cause stomach issues, but also foods such as gum, carbonated drinks, alcohol, certain sweeteners and caffeine can lead to gas, stomach issues and caffeine can heighten anxiety which can lead to stomach discomfort or pain.

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HOW YOU EAT:

So along with looking at what you eat, you also have to look at how you eat. Changing how you eat and even where you eat can make a big impact on your stomach issues. If you are eating in very stressful environments or you don’t have time to eat, then you can easily feel anxious and stressed or you don’t really enjoy or chew your food and all of that can lead to stomach discomfort. So making time to eat while resting and preferably sitting and in quiet environments can make a big difference.

As mentioned above, a FODMAP diet should be done with the help of a professional, otherwise it is easy that your diet becomes far too restrictive and that you don’t actually begin implementing certain foods again, instead you just stick to the “green” foods. It is also important to note, that everyone is different. Some people with IBS may be able to consume foods that are listed as red, while they get stomach pain while consuming certain foods that are green. So you do have to try

different foods and see what works for you.

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WRITE A FOOD DIARY

If you don’t have IBS, just stomach issues, the first thing you can do is to write a food diary for 2-3 weeks.

Write down what you eat, what time you eat, the environment/situation when you ate and even how you felt before/during/after, along with any symptoms you felt during or after the meal.

This will help you get a better overview of what and how you eat as well as tracking symptoms.

After 2-3 weeks it will give you better understanding and overview, compared to just a few days or one week of tracking. The important thing is to eat just as normal… don’t begin cutting out food or changing your diet. Write down everything, even the handful of nuts, the latte on the go or the piece of chocolate you eat standing in the kitchen waiting for dinner to cook.

The diary may just be for you to analyse and get a better understanding of how/what you eat, but may even be useful if you do go to a doctor or dietitian for help.

Once you have written the food diary, begin to look over it. Are there certain meals with certain ingredients that cause symptoms or flareups? Are there certain situations that cause pain and discomfort… such as the rushed lunch during school/work, or maybe the dinner straight after training or the lunch you ate while super stressed?

Once you have found out which meals or situations cause the most flare ups it can be easier to make adjustments.

However, now is when the long process begins. The important thing is to not cut out everything at once…. Instead, you do it one by one. If you think that maybe garlic, onion, chickpeas and gluten cause stomach pain… then begin by just omitting garlic from your meals and diet for a week… see what happens and how you feel. Then the next week omit onion and add in garlic (depending on how you felt the previous week i.e symptoms or no symptoms). It is a long process of finding out what works.

You could of course group certain foods together such as all beans, all sweeteners, all foods with gluten, onion and garlic, all dairy products etc and then one week remove all the foods in one certain group, and slowly reintroduce them one by one. Because it may be that you are sensitive to chickpeas but not to blackbeans, or it may be that you can’t tolerate aspartame but you are fine with stevia.

I would also recommend that you do infact limit your caffeine intake (coffee, black tea, energy drinks) as well as not chewing gum or sugar free pastilles, as they can all cause stomach discomfort.

I do also want to note that many believe they are gluten intolerant and cut out all products with gluten, however many products that include gluten also include certain fibers that are hard to break down. So it may not be the gluten you are sensitive too, but the fibers.

Which is an important thing to note, fibers can cause stomach discomfort and pain. There are certain fibers that are hard to break down and cause gas and bloating. So limiting fiber intake and drinking plenty of water can be one step if you don’t want to do the whole elimination process. Though then you won’t be able to tell which foods cause pain or symptoms if you eliminate them all at once.

I also recommend that you keep your meals very simple, just 2-4 different ingredients. The more ingredients and foods you eat in a meal the harder it can be to digest as well as figure out what causes your pain or discomfort.

FOODS THAT CAN CAUSE STOMACH PAIN

There are certain foods that are more likely to give stomach discomfort and they are:

Beans and peas – this is due to their fiber content and that the fibers are hard to break down

Sweeteners – Many sweeteners aren’t broken down or absorbed in the body and therefore lead to gas and bloating

Carbonated beverages, sugarfree pastilles, gum – the bubbles in carbonated drinsk along with both caffeine and sweeteners, basically a triple whammy. With gum, when you chew you are swallowing air which can lead to gas and bloating, as well as gum usually having sweeteners (even if it’s only very small doses)

High fat meals – including creamy and/or, oily dishes. Typically fast food, dairy full fat (specifically cream) or certain takeout meals such as Chinese. Fat leads to feeling full quicker and is also harder to break down compared to carbohydrates. It can also often lead to heartburn. Many find that eating fat sources from avocado, nuts, nut butters and seeds don’t cause the same stomach issues.

Food with lactose or gluten – many cut out lactose and gluten thinking they are intolerant to them. Some may be, but as already mentioned. Many foods with gluten also include hard to break down fibers which may be the issue and not the gluten. With lactose, many can’t handle a lot of lactose or they don’t have enough lactase enzyme which breaks down the dairy. Though this isn’t so strange considering that dairy is actually for baby cows, and not for humans… or well, not in the huge amounts that many consume dairy products now a days.

Too much fruit – Fruit has a lot of fiber but also fruit sugar which can cause certain individuals discomfort if they eat too much of it. And by that I mean eating maybe 4-6 fruits in one go.

Note, just because i mention these foods doesn’t mean that YOU are sensitive to them. Everyone is individual and everyone reacts differently to different foods. You may be able to digest those in small amounts, ,aybe not at all or maybe they don’t trigger you at all.

When you are dealing with stomach pain, it is easy to get scared of food because oyu don’t want to deal with the stomach pain. But you can not completely restrict yourself, the best is to get proffessional care, but if you can’t because of reasons- Then remember to not completely cut out food and if you do cut out food youshould try to reintroduce it. Otherwise your diet can become very restrictive. Also be reintroducing it into your diet after not eating the food(s) for a while you can better understand what is causing stomach pain.

Also remember, if you do think you are sensitive to gluten and want to get it checked. Youahve to eat gluten to do the tests… so don’t cut out gluten and then get checked because the results won’t show any intolerance/allergies then.

Stomach issues and pain is complex. Many get the diagnosis IBS because doctors can’t find any other diagnosis that causes the pain. But IBS is about more than just food, as previously mentioned. Stomach issues aren’t always due to food, but due to other factors which also makes it hard to treat. It often requires changes in diet, lifestyle and way of eating.

It is incredibly debilitating to live with stomach pain, I did for several years. Many plans that were cancelled, many evenings I lay curled in a ball on my bed with extreme pain, many tears due to the discomfort and a lot of constant bloating. What helped me was to go vegan and start eating plantbased, but of course that also meant letting my body adapt to a higher fiber diet. I can still get stomach pain from certain foods, but I have learnt to figure out which foods cause me pain and also know that too much of certain food will give me discomfort… and then it is up to me to make the decision whether I want to eat the food and deal with the discomfort afterwards or to just skip the food or choose something else.

For stomach pain and nausea ginger or peppermint tea can help, as well as having something warm on your stomach.

If you are dealing with a lot of stomach pain, I highly recommend you go to both a doctor and a dietitian. Be persistent with your doctor so that you get all tests done, just to rule out any serious conditions. However, I do also recommend that you keep a food diary for 2-3 weeks, get an overview of your symptoms, how and what you eat and see if your symptoms may just be due to anxiety and stress and certain foods such as caffeine, sweeteners and high fiber.

(From personal experience I can also add that when I am very stressed and anxious, then I can get stomach pain and bloating even if I am eating the same as usual. So it is important to look at your stress and anxiety levels).

Letting go of food anxiety and control when travelling | Advice

A post about travelling… there are many different directions i can take this post.

How to be vegan when travelling.

How to be healthy/keep up with routines when travelling.

And also… how to be ok with letting go of routines and control and enjoy your holiday.

I want to write about all three, because they are all relevant to different people. For some people, they do need tips on how to maybe stay active during holiday, what to think about with food so as to not go all in all day with the food.

But for others… that is not the type of advice they need. Instead, they need advice on how to be ok with letting go of routines. How to be ok with not exercising for a week. How to be ok with not having planned or structured meals. Eating out several times a day. How to enjoy your holiday, GUILT and ANXIETY free.

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Of course is there a magical answer on how to do this… not really, the first time or first holiday may not be the easiest. But i can say, the only way to find that balance, to be able to enjoy a holiday without letting food or exercise control it or give you anxiety, is to face those fears.

If your holiday is just a week, then realise that it is one week out of 52 weeks. It is 7 days out of 365 days, what does it matter if you eat more than usual? What does it matter if you don’t exercise.

If anything… it will just do you good, because the honest truth is that if you need this reminder that it is ok to not exercise and it is ok to just rest, then you are more than likely doing more exercise than necessary to be healthy and resting will just be beneficial for you. Not to mention, eating differently when you are on holiday, enjoying the food and allowing yourself to try new foods and get that spontaneous ice cream, smoothie or glass of wine is just part of it.

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Think like this….. in the future, you will remember the memories. You will remember the experience and you hopefully want to make it a positive one.

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  1. Photographer/credit: Amir Menahem

 

Some useful tips if you do struggle with anxiety around food because you are eating out or not able to exercise is:

Knowing where you are going to eat can be helpful. Just to mentally know where you are going to eat, what type of food is being served. NO… this doesn’t mean you compensate with salad for lunch because you are eating burgers for dinner, or that you skip breakfast because you are eating pasta for lunch. It can just help with the control issues which i am sure many know struggle with an eating disorder, or need this advice, may struggle with. Mentally preparing yourself can be helpful.

 

And just like i said in my most recent YouTube video about how to stop counting calories, (Youtube, IzzyM), is that when you go out to eat… ORDER THE FOOD YOU WANT. I know it may be tough, especially when you may be doing it 3 or more times in one day. But do it. I promise you, if you order a food you want, like or want to try, you will enjoy it so much more.

 

Hopefully you will be travelling with friends or family who don’t have any food rules or are very restrictive with their diet. Hopefully you are surrounded by people who can enjoy food, both vegetables and ice cream, and that can help you feel more comfortable and want to do the same thing.

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  1. Photographer/credit: Amir Menahem

Of course, if you are travelling with others who maybe are on a diet, make alot of food comments or are very restrictive in their way of eating it can be very triggering, and maybe make you feel uncomfortable with ordering and eating the amount or type of food you want. But then you have to ask yourself…. what type of life do i want to live? How do i want to remember this trip? Do i want to remember it filled with anxiety and restricitve behaviour… wanting to try a food but not allowing yourself? Or do you want to remember it with delicious food, seeing new places and a good time?

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Photographer/credit: Amir Menahem

It can be helpful to maybe spend a weekend away to start off with, where you don’t actively workout and allow yourself to eat the foods you want when you go out to eat. It can be a good way to start facing your fears.

Have coping skills and ways to cope with your anxiety planned. What works best for you… being alone or being with others? Does it help to just sit and breathe or do you maybe want some time to journal or maybe talk with others to help with the anxiety?

Also remember that the anxiety WILL pass after a meal. I know there may be anxiety before a meal and after, but it will pass… and the only way to make the anxiety lessen, is to face it. Unless you step outside of your comfort zone to face the anxiety, it will continue to control you.

Lastly a reminder… that even if you don’t have the courage to try a whole dish or a certain food all by yourself… if you are travelling with others, suggest you share. Because that can be the start of you facing your fears and fear foods. So if you don’t feel like you can handle finishing an ice cream by yourself, but you still want one…. suggest you share one. Of course… if you truly want th ewhole ice cream – then go for it, because you deserve it!

And remember, even if you don’t go to the gym or go for a run, you are most likely active in other ways…. exploring a new city and walking around. Walking to the beach, moving from place to place. And even if you don’t do that, and all you do is lie on the beach for a whole week… that is ok as well. Remember that it is just a short period of your life.

I know this post isn’t for everyone…. but for many, they may need these reminders.

In the past i could never travel or be away from home. Just the thought of having to eat out more than once in a week or not being able to workout while still having to eat several times a day would have sent me into panic mode. But the only way to get over those fears was to face them…. to travel, to allow myself to eat and enjoy food, to allow myself rest and know that my routines and habits will be there again when i am home. But allowing myself to truly enjoy myself, enjoy food and enjoy the company while i am travelling is so much more important than the amount of calories i eat or the amount of time i spent exercising.

 

When travelling, there can be a lot of anxiety… just because of all the changes… so just be aware and be prepared. Find out what works for you… what helps you cope with your anxiety. Be kind to your self and know that the only way to get better is to step outside of your comfort zone and do the things that scare you, and in that case it means facing fear foods and allowing yourself to rest. It may be easier said than done for some, but you can’t reach that place if you don’t even try or try to face your fears.

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If you have any other post suggestions you want me to make, just let me know!

The importance of regular meal times

Many people like to focus on the small details of nutrition and food, but maybe forget the larger picture.  Often times people focus on amount of protein they eat, or how gmany rams of carbohydrates they eat, or how much salt is in their food…. But maybe forget about the bigger picture such as, eating enough fruit and vegetables each day, eating balanced meals and also eating regular meal times.

Before focusing on the smaller details of food and nutrition, you should look at your intake in total.

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And one of the best nutrition and health tips I can give is…. Eating regular meal times.

There are many benefits to this which I will mention down below.

Some people skip meals to “save” calories.

Others skip meals just because they aren’t hungry or don’t have time.

 

But skipping meals can lead to:

  •  Sweet cravings in the evenings.
  • Ending up snacking lots in the evenings or in the following days to “make up” for the lost energy.
  • Not having energy, concentration or focus because you have skipped a meal.
  • Feeling hangry, i.e hungry and angry… and that may just cause you to lash out or get angry or irritated at those around you.

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The best thing is to have a routine with your eating in general, even if somedays may vary from that routine. If you aren’t a huge breakfast person, that is ok…. You can eat brunch or a later breakfast instead. Or if you are someone who prefers an earlier dinner… or maybe someone who prefers a later dinner, that is ok as well. Just that you have some form of routine and regular meal times.

The best of course is to eat between 3-6 meals a day, just to keep yourself energized all day and avoid going far too long without food which can make you feel tired, rely on caffeine or lose concentration.

But some people prefer 3 bigger meals, and that is ok a well… just as long as it doesn’t go 10-12 hours between your meals each time.

Eating every 3-4 hours is recommended for the general population, even if there are some benefits to fasting for some people as well. It is not recommended for everyone. And what I can say is that it is better to just eat all your meals between example 6am and 9pm each day, and not constantly be eating from 6am to 12pm each day.

So why eat regular meal times?

  • It will give you energy throughout the day
  • It can minimize cravings because you will energize and fuel your body with your main meals and snacks
  • Typically your main meals and snacks will be composed of healthy foods, which also helps you get all your vitamins and minerals you need. Whereas spontaneous snacks chosen out of hanger or extreme hunger due to skipping meals are most often not the most nutritious…. Unless you are someone who naturally grabs a fruit or some nuts in those panic-hunger moments.
  • Better concentration and focus throughout the day. Also with a regular routine with your meal times your body will adapt to this and you will feel hungry at those times.
  • Your body feels “safer”/more balanced if you eat at similar times each day, compared to one day eating 3 meals, another day eating 6 meals. One day eating your first meal at 10 am the next day eating your first meal at 6am

If possible, mealprepping or packing snacks with you is a good idea. Then you will always have nutritious food with you for when you feel hungry and need some more energy.

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Often times, as mentioned above, people can skip meals to save calories or because of fear of weight gain… if this is how you think, then now is a good time to combat those fears and thoughts. Because regular meal times is actually one way to help maintain a healthy weight. Often those who skip meals end up overeating or binging, or snacking on less nutritious foods due to extreme hunger and that can lead to weightgain. Or lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and a binge-restrict cycle.

So for overall health, mental and physical, regular meal times is recommended.

As mentioned, when you eat regular meal times you are also more likely to plan your meals and have them prepared and therefore also eat more nutritious meals which is beneficial for overall health.

So… if you are someone who eats irregular meal times or has no routine with eating or mealtimes… then it may be time to structure up your eating and mealtimes and find your routine.

No, you don’t have to eat breakfast at 7am, no you don’t have to eat 6 meals a day. …. Maybe you are someone who wants to eat your first meal at 10am and only eats breakfast, lunch and dinner. That is ok… just try to stick to that routine everyday. (Of course… if you are on holiday or away from your regular routines, there may be a difference in how, what and how much you eat… that is ok. As mentioned in the beginning, focusing on the bigger picture and what you do the majority of times matters more than what you do/eat/how you eat from time to time!)

Of course, eating breakfast does set you up for the day and gives you the right fuel when you need it the most. But I will save that for another post, talking all about the pro’s of eating breakfast!

If you like this type of nutrition post, let me know in the comments down below or let me know if there are any other nutrition related posts you want me to write about or talk about on my Youtube Channel (follow me there ;))

 

 

 

 

Antiweightloss and anti-dieting?

Something I have noticed a lot of online recently is antiweightloss posts. I have even been asked myself where I am against dieting or weightloss… as I often write about balance, learning to love yourself, gaining weight, intuitive eating… and that doesn’t always go along with dieting.

 

However I am not against weightloss…. Infact weightloss is necessary for some people and is something which is needed to be healthy. While for others weightloss is very unhealthy and not recommended, and weight gain could be the healthiest thing for thing.

However I think it is important to ask yourself how and why you want to lose weight. There is a lot of societal pressure to be thin, specially for females. And many females can feel the need to diet and lose weight even if they don’t need to. Maybe all they need to work on is healthier habits, more self love, balance and a different mindset to food, exercise and their body image. And that losing weight wouldn’t be healthy or necessary for them and wouldn’t necessarily make them happier.

So I can understand the antiweightloss posts that just promote self love, eating everything and all you want and going against weightloss. But it can’t be forgotten that some people do actually need to lose weight and there is nothing shameful or wrong about it. Infact almost 50% of the population in certain countries are clinically obese and need to loseweight. I do of course think that an important step in losing weight is also changing mindset and habits. Because you could diet on 600kcal a day for 4 months and lose weight, but if you don’t learn to find balance with food and learn to enjoy exercise and do it regularly or learn to love yourself and your body, then the weightloss won’t be sustainable in the longterm. And that is often the problem. It is easy to do a quick diet where you lose a bunch of weight quickly, but if habits and mindset don’t change then the person is very likely to regain the weight or to live a life with very disordered eating and body image. Sustainable weightloss means a lifestyle change.

How and why you want to lose weight?

So how and why you lose weight are important questions before you actually begin a weightloss journey. Are you doing it because you actually need to do for health reasons, i.e clinically overweight or obese, or are you doing it because you think you should… because you have some stomach roles or cellulite? Also how…. Is it a quick fix diet, or are you making lifestyle changes that will give you long term results?

I am not against weightloss, however I am against weightloss for the wrong reasons. But also one of the most important things is change in habits and mindset to more healthy, sustainable changes… not just focus on the number on the scale.

There is a lot of focus on weightloss when weightloss may not be necessary.

For those of you who don’t know I studied health promotion with specialisation nutrition, and so my main  focus is on promoting health and of course nutrition. It is important to look at the individuals needs when it comes to health and promoting health…. Some people may need to lose weight, others may need to gain weight, others may need to just focus more on their mindset and learning to love themselves. But looking over lifestyle, habits, choices and mindset are key to promoting health and creating lifestyle changes towards the more positive and healthy.

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Even if weightloss may be necessary… losing weight doesn’t automatically mean you gain health. You could lose weight in a very unhealthy way and still not exercise, smoke, dirnk and stress and then the weightloss won’t make you healthy. Not to mention it most likely won’t be sustainable.

Which is also why making lasting changes with your diet should be one of the first steps… because if a person just loses weight eating a very small amount or following a trend diet, it will most likely not lead to lasting changes in mindset or weight. So even if weightloss doesn’t have to be bad, the way you do it matters alot.

Anti-dieting?

And with diets… I guess you could say I am anti-trend diets. A diet is basically just the way you eat, but a trend diet is often a quick fix diet which is trendy…. A set of rules of what, when and how much you can eat of certain foods. I don’t believe in those diets as they aren’t sustainable in the long term. Any diet which cuts out too many food groups or leaves you feeling restricted in someway isn’t a diet that will be maintained for a long period of time.

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So I promote intuitive eating and balance, even if I also believe that for some people in certain times of their life they may need more control such as a meal plan or set of rules regarding their eating. But that may just be a short period of their life to get some control and structure to their food and eating, but in the long term a balance diet where you don’t have any rules or regulations regarding how, what and how much you eat. But instead trying to tune in with your body’s signals.

I would love to know your opinion on this!

How to gain weight on a plantbased diet

Gaining weight as a vegan/eating plantbased.

There is alot of talk about a plantbased diet having alot of health benefits and alot of talk about weightloss on a plantbased diet. But not everyone wants to or needs to lose weight….

So how do you gain weight on a plantbased diet? Well…. just like with all weight gain, you need to eat at a calorie surplus. Meaning, more calories in than out.

This can be harder on a plantbased diet as typically vegan food is lower in calories and contains alot of fiber which can leave you feeling full. But it’s not impossible to gain weight while eating plantbased. It just means eating more energy dense foods to help you eat more calories withiut feeling overly full.

Meal one and two are large portions, but not so many calories (aside from maybe the avocado.. but even then.. half an avocado really isn’ät that much energy when you need to gain weight. Then it would be better to eat one full avocado, along with adding some rice/pasta/potatoes or even some dressing to the meals on the toop. ) Whereas the bottom two meals aren’t huge portions but have more energy which can be more beneficial to eat when weightgain is your goal. All four of these meals can be part of a healthy diet whether you just want to main weight, lose weight or gain weight.. it is about the portion size you eat as well as how your diet is in total. So even if one meal may have alot of calories, that doesn’t mean you will gain weight… it is about the total energy intake and expenditure … not  just one meal. These meals were just examples how if you eat alot of low calorie vegetables you get alot of volume but not so much energy, which may be great for some people while not so great for others.

So how to gain weight while eating plantbased?

Increasing portion sizes… and i don’t mean increasing the amount of fruit or vegetables you eat. But increase the amount of potatoes, pasta, rice, bulgur etc you have on your plate. If you don’t eat those foods you may want to implement them in your diet! They are great sources of carbs and nutrition!

If you just increase and add vegetables all you will do is increase your satiety and fullness without contributing the extra energy you need to gain weight.

When i first went vegan i ended up losing a bunch of weight for different reasons, but one of them was that i ended up eating just a bunch of fruit when i went vegan. And didn’t realise i needed to really increase my portion sizes… which is something i have noticed other vegans forget when they first decide to eat plantbased or go vegan. Also.. don’t forget to replace the food you take away. Find alternatives. (Post: Substituting food – but not with the same nutrients? | Vegan )

Below are some of the tips that helped me to gain weight while eating plantbased. But also overall recommendations and guidelines for when you need to gain weight.

If you don’t already eat snacks, it can be a good idea to eat 1-3 snacks a day along with your 3 main meals.

Example of some good snacks. Bread with avocado. Nuts and seeds. Chia seed pudding with nut butter or nuts and seeds. Yoghurt with granola. Smoothie/milkshake with banana,oats, plantbased milk and nut butter. Bread with peanut butter and jam, or peanut butter and banana.  Dates with peanut butter.

Increasing your intake of healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, seeds, nut butter, full fat plantbased dairy products, frying in oil. As a vegan it can be beneficial to increase your intake of rapeseed oil or flaxseed oil as they contain alot of omega 3 which is an essential fatt acid, and can be harder to get on a plantbased diet. However, flaxseed oil shouldn’t be heated so can instead be added to smoothies or part of sauces or dressing. However, choose the oil you like best flavourwise so you enjoy the food you eat as well.

If possible, drink some plantbased milk as part of snacks or along with meals. Not only will it give you some extra energy, if you choose the fortified options it will give you more calcium, iron, b12 and even D vitamin.

Don’t be scared to eat some extra dessert, chocolate, candy or fries. When you are eating at a surplus, you have more room for extra foods. Of course you can still eat those foods even when you just want to maintain your weight, but when gaining weight you can eat more of them.

Try to increase the size of your main meals if possible, and make sure to include protein, carbs and fat for each meal… and some vegetables if you have the space in your stomach for those as well!

Example meals: Fried tofu, quinoa, avocado/hummus and some broccoli.

Bean pasta with lentil bolognese including black beans and carrots as well as avocado on top or maybe some vegan cheese or creme fraiche.

Vegan burgers, from soy meat or beans, potatoes and sauce of choice.

Vegan vegetable lasagne, or lasagne made using soy meat.

Pesto pasta with broccoli.

Those were just some example meals!

Other tips… make creamy dishes. Such as potato salad. Creamy pasta salad. Creamy pasta dishes. Use plantbased cream or margarine in your meals when you can.

If you need to gain weight, just eating fruit or raw salads or raw vegetables isn’t enough.

Gaining weight while eating healthy?

I know many want to gain weight in a healthy manner, and eating oil/margarine/vegan cheese/vegan cream can all be part of a healthy diet and healthy weight gain. It can be very hard to gain weight eating just extra beans, potatoes and avocado… even if it is still possible, it may not be the most fun as you may feel overly full. However, if you snack alot on nuts and seeds as well as nut butter, or make example raw food balls or raw food cakes and add alot of avocado to your meals it can help with the weight gain.

Also, you may feel full or feel like you can’t eat bigger portions or more food… but give your body time to adapt. You may spend 1-3 weeks feeling a little overly full when you are first adjusting to eating more, but eventually your body should adapt. It can also be good to not go overboard on fiber rich foods when you have the goal to gain weight as all the fiber can make your stomach go a little crazy, as well as making you feel full.

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Weight gain does usually take time and doesn’t happen overnight. Enjoy the food you are eating, and try to look forward to eating more frequent meals or bigger portions!

Many people are dieting and trying to lose weight so it can feel tough to have to do the opposite, but see the positives in weightgain. Being able to eat more, eat alot of food, hopefully feel more energetic and stronger, and also the health benefits of weight gain if it is something your body needs!

If you have any questions regarding this topic or other nutrition related posts, don’t forget to comment below and i will do my best to answer!