Vegan needing guidance on nutrition plan

  • Today is day 30 for me on the BFL.  I am 40 yrs old, a vegan and I think I'm having trouble with the nutrition program because I'm not seeing any big changes in my body fat content.  I was 127 lbs at 5' 5" when I started and don't care what my weight is per se, but I do want to lose the fat around my waist (some love handles and fat on my lower abs).

    I don't see myself "leaning up" like I thought I would with all of the weight training and stories I see all over the site. I was previously exercising on average 5 days a week generally by hiking 1 - 1 1/2 hours a day with big hikes on weekends at 1 1/2 - 2 hours (strenuous/uphill hiking).  No weights and probably very few level 10's on my hikes, more like a lot of level 7's.

    I have a couple of things I am looking for help with:

    1. How do I think about my meals/proportions as it relates to the BFL proportions when I mostly eat vegetables (I don't like pasta or breads and generally only have a small amount of grains each day)?  I've been eating nuts and taking a soy protein shake that has next to no carbs - mostly protein - to get my protein (in addition to green leafy veggies).

    2.  What do you recommend for "leaning" up and losing that stubborn fat around my mid section?

    I just took my 30 day photos and they pretty much look like day 1.  I'd love the input so my next photos look totally transformed.

    Thank you for your input!

  • Let me first ask if being vegan is an ethical thing for you?  I'm not judging, just asking.  In other words, are you flexible on that?  

    There is

    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!

  • Are you comfortable posting your pics? Sometimes we don't see the changes in ourselves that are obvious to others.

    Want it. Plan it. Do it.

  • Hi Jessica,

    Not eating meat is both ethical and for the health of it for me - good question.  So, I would say I'm not flexible on going back to eating meat.   I have Robert Cheeke's book, but still have a little trouble translating his meal plans into a plan for a woman who doesn't want to look like a body builder.  It's the fat around my mid section that I need guidance to release.  Any thoughts on what causes that to "stick around"?

  • Hi SaraLynn,

    It may take me a couple days, but I could get them off my camera.  I see some slight changes, but I can tell that fat on my tummy is definitely still the same...let me see what I can do this weekend.  Thanks for your support!

  • Hi Polly,

    For ethical reasons I understand.  You must follow your conscience.  It doesn't actually make sense for health.  Are you open to eggs or whey protein (from milk)?  That would be a game changer, if it were vegetarian and not vegan.  

    The mid section is typically insulin related and a vegan diet, being much higher in carbs, would do that.  I would be more selective with your carbs.  For instance, quinoa is an excellent pick and has protein.  

    Let me see if I can dig up female vegan plans.  

    What's your main sources of protein?  

    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!

  • 30 days down and 54 to go. Alot of people do not see changes until 8 weeks into the challenge. It sounds like you are an idea weight per your height and it is hard to lose that stubborn fat in the area you mentioned, especially when you are a herbivore. Beans, spinach, and like Max said quinoa are a good source of protein.

    “"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out..." - Robert J. Collier”

  • Hi Jessica,

    Was confused by your comment about going vegan wasn't a health choice...have you read the China Study?  They don't say 100% vegan in that study, but plant based is definitely a healthier route from all the info I've read.  I love the energy I have without eating meat and my skin and hair look better than when I used to eat meat, so I feel good overall about my choice.

    Thanks for the input about mid section weight being attributed to insulin.  I wasn't aware of that. I'll look further into that.  When you said a vegan diet is higher in carbs do you mean because of all the veggies being considered a carb?

    I like quinoa and it's a part of my meals indeed.  I also include brown rice and sometimes wheat tortillas for raw food wraps (we try to do 30 - 50% raw food).  I eat sprouted (no flour) english muffins w/1 tbps of peanut butter as an example of protein/carb mix sometimes for breakfast.  But our primary breakfast is a kale salad w/shredded yams, pumpkin seeds and cranberries.

    My main sources of protein are from green leafy veggies (I know BFL doesn't consider kale a protein but I look at it that way), nuts, and soy protein shakes.

    I've been thinking instead of not getting enough protein I may not be getting enough fat for a woman.  My main sources of fat are olive oil as a salad dressing and avocados (and nuts).

    I look forward to hearing from you with vegan meal plans - that would be awesome!

    Thanks again

  • Polly,

    Most studies indicate that vegan really isn't healthier and has some serious drawbacks.  Part of the argument for vegan is when it's compared to what's "normal" and normal isn't very healthy.  Eating good quality meat protein sources maintains more muscle, which has a drastic impact on overall health.  Also, vegan protein sources aren't all that good and a vegan is not able to get the proper form of Omega 3, which can only be found in fish oil.  The nutrients you can get from eggs, for instance, really aren't easily found in plant based foods.  

    I didn't mean because of vegetables, but because it's nearly impossible for a vegan to get enough protein so the rest of the diet is primarily made up of carbs.  

    Peanut butter is a fat, not a protein.  That wouldn't give you nearly enough protein.  Your primary breakfast doesn't have any protein at all.  The seeds are a fat and all else a carb.  The proportions are way out of whack to consider seeds and nuts a protein or green leafy veggies for that matter.  

    I'm a believer in healthy fat, but it seems you're getting too much of it.  


    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!

  • Natural Peanut Butter Nutrition:

    1 Tablespoon =

    5 grams of protein

    8 grams of fat

    100 calories

    Most women have 25 grams of protein per meal.  Even if you only do 20 grams then the nutrition would work out to be:

    4 Tablespoons =

    20 grams of protein

    33 grams of fat

    400 calories

    Each BFL meal should be about 250-300 calories (approximately).  With the peanut butter alone it's gone way beyond that.  That's also the total fat the average woman should be having for the day in one sitting.  

    Certainly I respect your commitment to being vegan.  Let's come up with other options that better support your goals.  

    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!

  • BFL counts peanut butter as a fat because if we eat enough to get a full serving of protein, we consume way too much fat along with it. But it is a source of protein as well as fat. Powdered peanut butter removes almost all of the fat during processing so you might consider using that either by mixing with water or adding to a shake.

    You mentioned soy shakes. Do you also eat tofu?

    I am going to post a site I found that addresses protein sources for vegans. I have to put in a disclaimer first, because some of the information presented there is not in line with BFL principles. However, there is a chart at the bottom with vegan foods that may be helpful to you in increasing your protein intake.

    Want it. Plan it. Do it.

  • Hi PollyM,

    I agree that you should check your fat intake to make sure you are getting enough daily. My daughter consulted with a nutritionist because she wanted to lose body fat before an Ironman race. The nutritionist told my daughter the mistake she see most with women is they do not get enough calories and fat when trying to lose body fat. She adjusted my daughter's fat intake only because her calorie level was good, and she lost 7% body fat while in training.

    At 48 years old I had the same concerns, the belly fat wasn't coming off. I did a check on my calories and fat intake, and I was low on both. I made adjustment two months ago, and I am seeing progress in my body fat, including around my abs. Not to mention my energy level is incredible so I am able to work out harder. The nutritionist recommended  20-22% fat for women trying to lose body fat.

    Best wishes,


  • Hi Kim,

    Thanks for your feedback I am definitely hearing what you're saying.  I will look into this more closely.  Much appreciated!

  • Jessica - thanks for all of your input.  I agree peanut butter isn't serving me like I thought it may be.

    Your feedback set me on a journey to look more into raw food.  I found some interesting videos ( about proteins vs enzymes.  I think I'm going to look more closely into raw food and the best fats to support my goals (thanks for the input Kim!).

    I appreciate all of the ideas and sharing everyone here on BFL have offered.

    I think for me I need more raw food (not more protein) the more I study what enzymes contribute to the body and how the body uses cooked food.

    This conversation has been very helpful to me and I'm learning more every day.

  • Please let us know what you've learned!  It's great to know new things.  

    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!