I have embarked on a veggie/vegan style diet. I am doing this for health reasons only. I am not being extreme with this but I am have moderately good so far. I haven’t eaten meat in the past 2 months. However I am still rather tired all the time. I am thinking that I should eat at least some eggs or fish just to help me because of my super uncontrolled Type 2 status. I just got a new job in which I will get on insurance after 30 days. Till that time…What is the court of diabetic opinion feel about vegan or vegetarian diet.
Well, I’ve always been in the camp that macro and micro nutrients matter more than where those nutrients come from. If you can hit your calorie and nutrient goals reasonably without feeling hungry or having uncontrollable BG, then vegan or vegetarian is great if it makes you happy.
I don’t eat vegetarian for two simple reasons: I like meat; and I find it difficult to hit my protein target while eating low to moderate carb on a vegetarian diet. I was vegetarian for many years, and it just didn’t work well for me.
There is one thing I’d like to point out: there isn’t any scientific reason (so far as we know) that a vegetarian diet is inherently more healthy than an omnivorous diet. In fact, as a biologist, I’d suggest that a mixed diet is what fits best with our dentition, our digestive system, and our microbiome. Primates come in two varieties: large-body vegetarian (gorillas, orangutans, etc.); gracile omnivores (chimpanzees, bonobos, humans). I figure, why fight nature? I find it easiest to “eat healthy” with a balanced diet including low carb, high fat, meat, and plenty of vegetable matter (which is high in fiber). How do I determine “healthy?” Because I have low cholesterol, plenty of energy, “normal range” blood sugars, my weight is currently stable, and I can maintain or gain strength with hard work. Works for me.
I’ve been a vegetarian for years and years. Not for health reasons, but for ethical reasons. I grew up on a farm and could never stomach slaughtering my own food or living with the guilt of knowing that I’d taken a life. I figure that if I am not willing to kill it myself, then i probably shouldn’t eat it.
I was vegan for around two years but found it very hard to keep my macros balanced, so instead (now that I live in a city and on the other side of the country from my parent’s farm) I sought out ethically raised eggs (from free range chickens - I go to the farm myself to collect my eggs) and dairy from happy, field grazing cows and goats (I don’t milk them myself, but I do go to where they live to pick up the dairy), which has afforded me the opportunity to learn how to make my own cheeses and yogurts, which is awesome, especially with yogurt, since I can control exactly how much sugar is in it.
As a vegan, it is very easy to eat a lot of carbohydrate, because carbs are from vegan sources. Beans and lentils, tempeh, even faux-meats and some faux-cheeses, are carbohydrate heavy. You’ll have to learn how to cook using plain tofu, seitan, nuts, and seeds, and when you do use other sources of vegetarian protein, it is best to make sure that the rest of the calories in your meal come from lower carbohydrate vegetables, rather than adding a carbohydrate on the side (so your plate might be 3/4 veg). Also, be careful with vegan milk, as most have added sugars, so you’ll want to seek out “no sugar added” variants. Also, most vegan milks are fairly low in protein, so they really don’t help much with balancing your macros. Furthermore, look into getting some nutritional yeast to make sure that you are getting your B12s. Marmite or vegemite is also a tasty choice (maybe, you’ll love it or you’ll hate it) for B vitamins. And remember than, while mushrooms are awesome for adding meaty texture, they don’t provide much protein, so you will want to make sure a protein source is still present in the meal.
You have to be careful with fat too, because you’ll probably have to make a conscious effort to get enough (unless you are eating lots of nuts, seeds and avocados - in which case it is easy to over do it on the fat). You’ll want to make sure that you are getting varried sources of vegetarian fats to balance your micros (before going vegan I used only olive oil, but I got fat from animal products as well). Flax is a great source of omega-3s, and can be used to replace an egg in recipes. Coconut oil can often be used in place of butter (and is delish on air popped pop corn).
If your tired all of time, you might not be getting enough iron. Good vegan sources of iron include: beans and lentils, tofu, almonds, tahini, quinoa (also has protein!), bulgar, millet, sunflower seeds, green leafy vegetables (spinach, bok choy, swiss chard, turnip greens, kale or broccoli).
i had a heart attack caused by longterm type 1 diabetes. My cardiologist advised me that the only proven way to reverse heart disease was to embark on a plant-based diet. I started off challenging myself to eat more vegetables daily and this evolved to a full blown vegan for 3 years now. I have never felt better! Meat and diary is terrible for our health and we live in very fortunate times to become vegan because there are so many meat and diary alternatives available not to mention i feel like every time i turn around there is another delicious vegan restaurant opening up near me!!! please do your research and dont eat meat because you feel “tired”-you can get ALL YOUR PROTEIN from plants. It’s better to get your nutrients directly by eating them yourself, and instead of indirectly -a.k.a. by getting them via what the animal ate. Plus who wants to eat and support torture and terror.
Anyway good luck!!! I believe with all the compelling reasons to go vegan these days-our health, the environment, and the way the animals themselves are treated-it is the wave of the future. I wish I had made these changes 10-20 years sooner-my only dietary regret. I probably would have been able to avoid both my heart attacks.
a one-pill-a-day multi-vitamin/mineral supplement with iron might also boost your energy. i have been taking a one tablet per day vitamin from health food stores for about 10 years now. i notice a difference after a few days if I miss taking my multi-vitamin
I have been vegetarian since I was 16 and type one for forty years.
Good for you, my friend. I am one of those “almosts”…Down to 2-3 ounces of meat a day in the form of fish or chicken. And my main stumbling block to vegan is cheese—not milk–I haven’t drunk actual milk in years. But, damn, I love cheese. I would miss eggs as a quickie Protein Bomb if I got the shakies, but I might find a substitute for that—oh—my “shakies” are not diabetic lows—they are fibromyalgia-caused—reactive hypoglycemia as I understand it, which may be out of date. Suffice it to say, when I get really bad shakies and the accompanying fibrofog, my blood sugar will probably read 85-90…
I’ve been looking at “fake” cheeses made from various nuts and looking for recommendations. It needs to melt well. Cheese melting on my broccoli is a fave!
Wishing you well, as ever…Judith
@Judith_in_Portland Daiya cheese, to my palette, is the most “real”. It is best melted, and melts very similarly to real cheese. And unlike most vegan cheeses that melt well, it does not contain milk protein. I would however steer clear of the blocks, but the shreds and slices are good in warm food (like on broccoli). The cream cheese and cheesecakes are also descent (although a much healthier cheesecake can be made from cashews). They even sell premade pizzas from it (“pepperoni” and various vegetable flavours under the “Daiya” brand, and “meat” flavours under the “tofurky” brand). One of my favourite pizza chains even stocks it. Daiya is delicious. It doesn’t have soy, which is nice since I tend to eat a lot of soy in other things (edamame beans, tofu, tempeh, etc.). However, it doesn’t pack the protein punch of dairy cheese, and isn’t the best if you just want to eat a piece of cheese (the shreds and cream cheese are okay cold, the rest is really only yummy if melted).
You could try this recipe on your broccoli 5 Minute Vegan Cheeze Sauce | Daiya Foods, Deliciously Dairy-Free
On a lot of things though, if you are just looking for the cheese flavour, nutritional yeast works great. I just sprinkle it on tops of what ever I think needs cheese, like pasta, tofu scramble and what not. Sometimes even on top of lentil loaf.
If you are looking for diabetic friendly vegan ice-cream, I can’t recommend this one enough: No Sugar Added Vanilla Bean Coconutmilk Frozen Dessert | So Delicious Dairy Free
It is only 100 calories per serving - it is 18 grams of carb, but 10 of those grams are fibre (so only 8 net carbs). The mint chip is also pretty good for a treat
Fake cheeses made from nuts? Where??! I do not eat meat, haven´t for a while now but I still eat cheese on a daily basis. I just love cheese and cant think of veggies (yes, specially broccoli) without cheese
while not directed at me, cashew cheese is pretty easy to make. I use this recipe:
Go-to Cashew Cheese Recipe | The Full Helping , with the addition of 1/2 tsp tumeric (because cheese should be yellow or white to me, not light brown)
WHat is the taste like? That recipe looks quite interesting, and I may try it (when I can afford the carbs). It looks closer to hummus than any kind of cheese I can think of, though. Is it described as “cashew cheese” because it is close to the consistency of cream cheese, or because of the flavor?
Why thank you, Vika. That’s the kind of thing I’ve wanted to experiment with!
It tastes a bit like garlic cream cheese, with a texture similar to ricotta but tastes more like cream cheese or cheddar. I highly recommend that you add the turmeric to improve the appearance. You can also add 1/2 tsp of onion powder, which makes it a bit more savoury. I like to add some gren onion to mine and spread it on low carb toast or dip cucumber and celery in it. I have (before type 1) also watered it down (without green onions) and poured it over cooked macaroni, and then topped with more nutritional yeast and bread crumbs, and baked for 10 minutes to make vegan macaroni and cheese. It will NOT melt like dairy cheese or Daiya would, but is okay as a spread or dip, or stuffed into other things (like cabbage leaves).
I’ll have to play around with using grounds nuts this way. I avoid cashews largely because of how many carbs they have by weight (compared to most tree nuts) and how little dietary fiber. I will sometimes fit them in (in bulk mixes or when cooking “Asian” recipes), but I’m wondering if I can make an “almond cheese” or “pecan cheese” in a similar manner
I haven’t had pecan cheese, but almond cheese works out okay (and doesn’t need the turmeric - it is already white). You’ll want to make sure that your almonds are blanched but not roasted. The texture tends to be a bit dryer than ricotta with almonds - maybe like a cross between ricotta and feta. Good for crumbling onto salads or slicing onto a tomato slice or flax cracker, not so good for cheesecake
One of the reasons why I’m unlikely to go truly vegan: I can make a hell of a cheesecake with an almond-meal crust (sweetened with erythritol) that people can’t distinguish from the real deal. I’m pretty sure I can’t do it without cream cheese. Also having grown up on a farm (with generally happy critters), I tend to “settle” for sustainably-sourced animal products from farmers I know to use best practices (in terms of both ethical, safety, and environmental factors).
Doing just a thirty day challenge is a great idea as well for vegan diets. it can teach you a lot about neing vegan and teach you a lot without many of the stressors of a complete lifestyle change. It will also show you areas to improve the next time you do it again but perhaps slightly longer.
Vika—that is incredibly helpful. Thank you. I will capture the links to my recipe files…
Care to share your cheesecake recipe David? I need to spend a bit more time dialing in the amount of erythritol to sub for sugar. I put way too much in the last creme brûlée I made and have shied away since.
Sorry for the thread derailment.
No worries! I try trial and error, and what has worked so far for me is this: Typical New York Cheesecake with an Almond Meal crust. (Nothing healthy about this, other than being low-carb!)
1 cup almond meal (I prefer course, not blanched almond flour for this purpose)
0.25 cup salted butter (I like the salt, unsalted would work fine)
2 tbsp Erythritol (or Swerve)
1/8 tsp Xanthan Gum
Mix room temperature butter, Xanthan gum, almond meal, and Erythritol with a fork until well-mixed. Press into the bottom of a glass pie dish and bake at 325 F for about 15 minutes (should turn just slightly golden). Take out of the oven to cool while you mix the filling.
0.25 cup Sour Cream
24 fl oz. Cream Cheese
3 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
0.25 cup heavy whipping cream (36%)
1 tbsp Erythritol
Beat together cream cheese, whipping cream, vanilla extract, and Erythritol in a large bowl (I use a stand mixer on low speed). Drop in one egg at a time while mixing on low until just combined (no eggy bits around the edges). Pour over your just golden crust, bake in the oven at 325F for about an hour to hour and a quarter (until center is set, but not hard). If your crust comes all the way up the edge, you might need to cover with some foil. When the center of your cheesecake is set, take out of the oven, mix the sour cream with 1 tbsp of Erythritol, and spread on top of the cheesecake. Put back in the oven for 10 minutes.
Cool the cake completely on a countertop (if you care about cracks, which I don’t), and then put in the fridge overnight. Voila! Damn fine low-carb cheesecake that tasted like my grandmother’s. The crust is a bit lighter than a graham cracker crust, and I haven’t quite figured that part out yet (a lot of people mix half and half with walnuts or pecan pieces, which might work). But it tastes like real cheesecake.
Nutritional info for my version (I leave out Erythritol, since it is pretty close to calorie free and doesn’t affect my BG at all after extensive testing):
7g of carbs per hefty (500 kcal!) slice ain’t bad