Vegans, Say Goodbye to Bloating | Q+A

Vegans, Say Goodbye to Bloating | Q+A

Question:

I am a vegan and was just wondering if you could give me some tips on my diet. I have been eating lots of beans, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables but I’ve noticed that I feel bloated. How many servings of proteins such as bean or lentils do you recommend daily? Are there any other sources of protein you recommend?

– Alyssa S

Answer:

Many plant foods contain fermentable components that cause gas and bloating. These compounds are known as FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) and certain sources have more than others. Since the list of foods high in FODMAPs is quite extensive, I’ve referenced it here. Following a diet low in FODMAPs is usually to treat gastrointestinal disorders and is best done under the supervision of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist or gastroenterologist familiar with a low FODMAPs diet.

As you’re probably aware, fruit and fats/oils have negligible protein. Beans, lentils and peas are the best source of vegan protein (by weight) and two half-cup servings are recommended daily. Nearly complete amino acid profiles are found in soybeans and soy products. Since they aren’t high in methionine, you’ll need other legumes and grains to meet your methionine need. These should be eaten nearly every meal. To round out your amino acid profile with grains and beans, you should consume about an equivalent of 2 ounces of nuts daily, such as ¼ cup almonds or ½ C pumpkin seeds.  This will help meet the remainder of your protein requirement.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

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This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Nutritional Advice for PEB Tests | Q+A

Nutritional Advice for PEB Tests | Q+A

Question:

I’m a heavy guy and I need to pass my Physical Efficiency Battery (PEB) test next month. I can run 1.5 miles in 15 minutes and 53 seconds. I’m nervous because I can only do very short bursts, for a short period of time. I need a better diet and workout plan. I need to lose body fat. I don’t eat sweets or drink soda. If I do have a soda, it’s Pepsi, caffeine-free, or diet, aspartame-free. I eat a lot of chicken breast, rice, eggs, fish, oatmeal, nuts, peanut butter, rice cakes, and protein.

– Justin D.

Answer:

Physical performance tests for public safety personnel such as your PEB test are tough to say the least! To increase your endurance and lose body fat, you’ll need to add a bit of vegetables, watch portions, and perhaps add a little fruit or dairy. Here’s a sample 2100 calorie day (32% fat, 43% carbohydrate, 25% protein) with your base diet in mind:

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Breakfast:    

1 C. cooked plain oatmeal, 2 Tbsp. nuts, 2 eggs in 1 tsp oil

Snack #1:    

8 rice cakes, 1 Tbsp. peanut butter, ½ banana

 

Lunch:  

6 oz. chicken, ½ potato w/ 1 tsp margarine, 1 C. summer squash

Snack #2:    

6 oz. plain Greek yogurt, 1 C. berries

 

Dinner:      

Fish fillet in 1 tsp oil, 1 C. rice, 1 C. green beans

Post-workout:  

30 gm protein powder

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This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Nutritional Advice For Low-Energy Vegans | Q+A

Nutritional Advice For Low-Energy Vegans | Q+A

Question:

Just went vegan about a month ago and I have been feeling tired with low energy. I sleep 8 hours a day or more. I eat oatmeal with hemp and chia seeds and peanut butter for breakfast with almond milk. Lunch is brown rice or quinoa with veggies and beans. Dinner is similar to lunch. I drink 1/2 a gallon to a gallon of water a day. Thanks for reviewing this.

– Adrian

Answer:

Thanks for reaching out, Adrian. At first glance, your described diet seems to be lacking in nuts and greens which provide calcium, zinc, and omega-3 fats. Variety is essential to getting adequate nutrition. Perhaps switch up your peanut butter by including some walnuts during the week. If your calories are still up on your new vegan diet, then I’d consider micronutrient lows since you are feeling tired.

Although a month is a short amount of time, it’s possible you may be slightly anemic.

Iron and Vitamin B-12 are key micronutrients needed to keep red blood cells carrying oxygen. Vegetarian Resource Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics indicates that for Vitamin B-12, “Non-animal sources include cereals, soymilk, rice milk, and meat analogs that have been fortified with vitamin B12. Also, around two teaspoons of Red Star nutritional yeast T6635, often labeled as Vegetarian Support Formula, supplies the adult Recommended Dietary Allowance.”  Iron is a mineral found in dried beans (such as lentils, kidney beans, and black-eyed peas) and dark green leafy vegetables (such as Swiss chard, bok choy, and kale), as well as blackstrap molasses, tempeh, tahini, bulgur, millet, watermelon and raisins. To increase the absorption of iron from plant foods, consume sources of Vitamin C at the same time. For instance, add a tomato salsa to a bean burrito.

Source: http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/VeganDietsinaNutshellPoster.pdf

– Debbie J., MS, RD

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This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Healthy Snacks | Q+A

Healthy Snacks | Q+A

Question:

I have just joined LA Fitness and discussed nutrition with my trainer but I would like to get some insight from you. I am single, 60 years old, and I hate cooking so I go for the prepared meals more often than I should. Could you tell me what snacks I should put together for someone who usually only eat one time per day. They must be easy to put together and prefer something I can eat at my desk without being messy.

– Joyce C.

Answer:

Don’t want peanut butter on your work papers? Normally I’d suggest hummus or yogurt, but there are plenty of neater options you can put together – or buy ready to eat. Here are some options to explore:

Individual wrapped string cheese or peeled hard cooked eggs are proteins you’ll need to keep cold. They pair well with a small banana, pretzels or baby carrots. You could try one of the newer snack packs with nuts, cheese cubes and dried fruit (found in grocery’s refrigerator case).

Traditional trail mix now has an alternative – energy bites or clusters that are easy to pop into your mouth. Most are made of grains, nuts and dried fruit, and sometimes soy or egg protein.

Think outside the box. Who says a snack can’t be breakfast food, appetizer or a liquid? Mini quiches and egg rolls could be quickly heated in the microwave for a warmer snack. A can of  low-sodium vegetable juice is super easy and nutritious.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

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This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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How Long Should You Wait to Work Out After Eating? | Q+A

How Long Should You Wait to Work Out After Eating? | Q+A

Question:

How long should I wait to work out after I eat? I usually eat about 2 hours before working out.

– Bryan D.

Answer:

Your time frame is fine for GI comfort after a medium balanced meal. Most solid food would be working its way from your stomach to your intestines by then. Your peak fuel supply comes when digestion, absorption and transport to muscles are complete. Then you can burn molecules for ATP formation and muscle energy. Assuming your goal is to maximize muscle activity, you could wait another hour after a larger meal, or for a shorter gap, pare down the meal to a snack. With the latter choice, be sure to have a sports drink on hand and your recovery nutrition ready for afterward.

See our article Fuel Your Workouts to Maximize Your Results for pre-workout nutrition.

Timing also depends on what you eat and when you ate the previous meal. Starches and simple carbohydrates are a bit easier to breakdown than proteins and fats. For example, a breakfast of cereal and fruit will process faster than one of bacon and eggs. A dinner of pasta marinara will digest faster than one of chili. If you had a light dinner the night before and wanted to hit the gym first thing in the morning, a shake on the go would be fine. A gut-busting buffet lunch followed by a regular dinner 5 hours later may mean you should wait even longer to work out. Good thing most LA Fitness Sports Clubs are open until 10 or 11 pm!

– Debbie J., MS, RD

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This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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