Starving for Protein

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linuxvegan
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Starving for Protein

#1 Postby linuxvegan » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:24 pm

I am a 5-ft. tall, 110-lb. female. I started the Stronglifts5x5 program (3 days per week) about 2.5 months ago, and I cycle on 3 off days and take one day of complete rest from exercise. No known medical problems besides hypoglycemia, which I've controlled for years by eating every 3-4 hours.

Within the last couple of weeks, I've begun to have intense hunger pangs in the afternoon, as if I hadn't eaten for a day or two. I would eat and eat and eat until I was stuffed, including high-calorie junk food, but the hunger pangs would return within a couple of hours or less. I found that eating Clif Bars was the only thing that eliminated the hunger, so I assume that I'm not getting enough protein. My regular diet is high-carb vegan (mostly raw oat bran, potatoes, and brown rice).

I've tried adding legumes to my diet, but it's not working. Protein bars are the only thing that satisfy me. I'm having 15 g Livfit protein powder with breakfast, but I still begin to get hunger pangs at lunchtime.

I'd rather avoid processed foods (protein powder and bars), but I don't know what else to do at this point. I feel like I'm starving to death 2–3 times per day. What other high-protein vegan foods can I try? I'm also trying to lose fat, so I don't want anything fatty.

Stronglifts does not seem like a heavy-duty lifting program, and I'm only cycling for half an hour, so I don't understand why I seem to need so much protein.

Thanks for your help.

TheRawg
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Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:45 pm

Re: Starving for Protein

#2 Postby TheRawg » Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:16 am

If you are looking to build some lean mass with the strong lifts program, then you should be shooting for .7g-1g of protein per pound of body weight. So, if you were on the high end, you should be shooting for 110g of protein per day. You can always adjust the number if you are not putting on mass, or if you start to put on excess weight. If you are just looking to maintain your current weight and muscle mass, then consume closer to the opposite end.

If you are looking to avoid bars and powders, I would look into seitan, tofu, and tempeh. Other than legumes, those will be some of your better options for protein intake. Nuts and seeds are also a good source. Pumpkin seeds and dry roasted edamame especially.

As far as the hunger, if I had to guess it would be the abundance of carbs and not enough protein. Some carbs are kinda like Chinese food. You feel stuffed for 15 minutes, and then you could eat the same thing again. Haha. It may also be that you may not be consuming enough calories. Something to check into as well.

linuxvegan
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Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:00 pm

Re: Starving for Protein

#3 Postby linuxvegan » Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:55 am

Thank you for your response. Since I posted my question, I've eliminated the hunger problem by cutting out squats, which was always the most difficult exercise for me. My thighs were more sore than they should have been, and I think my body desperately trying to repair itself may have caused the hunger pangs. Who knows, maybe I increased my squat weight too quickly.

I'm loathe to give up my high-carb diet (especially for fatty tofu, nuts, seeds, and seitan, a wheat product), and my goal is to get lean/lose fat, not put on a lot of muscle. I hope that cardio and benching, overhead press, deadlifts, rows, and maybe 1-2 sets of squats is enough. I realized that I was gaining muscle without losing fat, so getting bulky was another reason to scale back the squats.

lcurry917
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Re: Starving for Protein

#4 Postby lcurry917 » Thu Apr 28, 2016 1:46 pm

I also feel I am not getting enough protein on a vegan diet. I have been vegan for six years and really struggle to gain muscle mass and any muscle I build seems to fade quickly. I did experiment with some wild salmon for a few weeks to see if it would make any difference. It absolutely did and now I am trying to figure out why I am not utilizing the vegan protein in my diet. I am gluten intolerant so I can't do wheat but I do eat: tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, protein powder (daily), quinoa, chia, etc. The one thing I think I could do more of is tofu and tempeh. Any suggestions is appreciated. I hate the idea of going back to animal flesh and will do whatever it takes to avoid that path. Help!

TheRawg
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Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:45 pm

Re: Starving for Protein

#5 Postby TheRawg » Sat Apr 30, 2016 6:20 am

If you feel like you are losing muscle mass, then the issue could also be that you are not eating enough total calories. If you are eating in deficit, and your protein intake is low as well, your body could start burning muscle mass for energy. Your protein options look good. You could also check into some vegan protein powders. I know Plant Head is gluten free, and I'm pretty sure Sun Warrior is as well.

If you are struggling with calories, make sure to add in stuff like beans, nut butters, etc.

You can make vegan mass builder shakes with 1-2c almond milk, protein powder, 1-2 bananas, 1/2-1c oats, 2tbsp peanut butter, optional fruit. Super tasty and almost a thousand calories.

Hope that helps some.

lcurry917
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Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: Starving for Protein

#6 Postby lcurry917 » Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:16 pm

super helpful - thanks! I am doing plant protein powder already but will try the other suggestions as well.


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