More often than I thought I would, I hear friends tell me that they tried to go vegan for a little while, but they found that they were just hungry all the time. Constantly hungry? That sounds pretty painful and definitely not like something anyone should endure. It also pains me to here that some people experience this feeling when going plant-based because it’s not representative of how you can and will feel if your diet is done right. I definitely don’t want anyone to quit the plant-based journey because of an empty stomach. The following are three solutions to maintaining your vegan diet without feeling like you’re constantly running on empty.
1. Eat more food (yes, you heard us correctly!).
Ever heard of any diet that tells you to eat more food? That’s exactly the principle behind a balanced plant-based diet–the idea is to only consume whole foods that are minimally processed. Once you do that, you can eat as much of them as you want. Keep in mind that whole plant based foods are dense in nutrients but less dense in calories than most foods that make up the traditional Westen diet. I generally don’t recommend to anyone actually track their calories in too much detail, but if you feel hungry all the time, go ahead and track them for a couple days. Most of us should consume between 2,000 and 2,500 calories a day. If you are far from that goal, then go ahead and add an extra serving of rice or a smoothie in your diet.
2. Eat enough starchy vegetables.
I know that carbs have a bad reputation in the US, and I write about this a lot because it’s so essential. Forget everything you heard about carbohydrates being your biggest enemy and unsubscribe to all paleo blogs, and then listen to this: carbs are what keeps you full and gives you energy. Of course, I’m not talking about white bread, white pasta, or candy–that’s just refined sugar. I’m talking about complex carbohydrates, found mainly in starchy veggies such as sweet potatoes (your new best friend!) and root veggies. Whole grains are another healthy carb. These types of carbs need a loooong time to be digested and broken down by your body. That means that you will be satiated for a loooong time, too, and your body can source from this energy for hours and hours.
3. Reduce stress.
A lot of us are stress eaters. That means that if we get stressed, or when work becomes overwhelming, we suddenly feel a big emptiness in our stomach. We often mistake this feeling for hunger and quickly devour something while sitting in front of our computer or being on an agitated phone call while walking to work. The truth is, this feeling of hunger is actually stress and we try to compensate this impulse with eating. Even if you eat a vegan diet, you might still feel incredibly stressed at times, so instead of changing what you eat, change how you eat. Turn off all distractions, sit down at a real table, and most importantly, chew and enjoy your food. This can reduce your stress attacks considerably and with them, the impression of being hungry.
Have you tried going on a vegan diet only to find that you were constantly hungry? Do you plan to give it another go?
Also by Isabelle: Why It’s Time To Ditch The High-Protein & High-Carb Diets, For Real
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