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Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Norwegian Vegan - Plus Fish!

It has been 5 weeks since I started the vitamin D and iron supplement regimen.  At 4 weeks in,  my pharmacist informed me that I wasn't taking enough of the health food supplement to make it equivalent to the ferrous sulfate 325mg that my doctor had prescribed.   I have now doubled my intake (to 65mg elemental iron) and no dire side effects have occurred. However, I got off to a little slow start. My hair is still shedding some and I'm not seeing any new growth yet.  My nails are starting to grow and I am beginning to see cuticles again.  I am optimistic.  I've been eating fish three times a week and really enjoying this addition to my 'vegan' diet.  I guess I'm no longer a true vegan, but I call myself a 'vegan plus fish'. I have wild salmon once a week which I wrap up in aluminum foil pouches and bake in the oven.  So delicious!   It is so much easier going out to a restaurant now as there usually is a grilled fish option.  I do still have to watch out for butter sautes and sauces.   Once a week I have my old favorite, tuna salad sandwich.  I use a vegan mayonnaise and don't notice any difference to the 'Best foods' I used to enjoy.  A little Dijon mustard, red onion, and dill pickles on toasted whole wheat or rye and I'm a happy camper. Other than that, I fill in with King Oscar sardines as they are filled with good source of both iron and Vitamin D. I also started to come home for lunch most days and prepare an iron rich meal such as cooked beans and brown rice veggie wraps.   The cafeteria at work only offers me a salad bar so when I do eat there I make sure to include tofu. I hope these changes help.  It feels like a good adjustment for me.  I think everyone's body is different and finding the right balance is key.   

12 comments:

  1. I am vegan+fish too! I live in Florida where if you pass on the seafood, you might as well move to Kansas. It is a health choice, like you mentioned, as well as a way to make eating out more palpable. I also figured that because I am willing to fish as sport and kill my own fish, it is somewhat a different relationship than the commercial agribusiness practices of inhumanity. I make no excuses and I don't flaunt it, because that's just asking people to jump down my throat with questions or accusations! But I know that I'm comfortable with it and I'm glad to see others who are comfortable with making their own choices too! Good luck~

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    1. Thank you for your comment. The V+F is working out great! Glad to hear others are finding it a successful alternative as well. Take care!

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  2. This is great! My wife and I are both V + F as well! Glad to see there is a (small) community out there!

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    1. Thank you for your comment. The V+F is working out great! Glad to hear others are finding it a successful alternative as well. I hope the community is growing! If I can do it at age 53 after being a huge cheese lover all these years, anyone can do it!

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  3. Good luck with your new diet! I have eaten a vegan plus fish diet for several years now and feel great. I love the creativity and taste of good vegan food, but also like the convenience of eating fish, especially when eating out. Overall I find it a fabulous, healthy, creative and reasonably compassionate way of eating. I defy any 'label', but who needs a label...?

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    1. Thank you for your comment. The V+F is working out great! It has been well over a year now and there is no going back. Yes, this diet forces me to be creative and it has been a challenge at times coming up with new and exciting recipes, but I'm getting the hang of it. Just yesterday I roasted tomatillos for the first time then blended them to make a spicy sauce with garlic, jalapeño, avocado, lime, onion, and cilantro.

      I recently bought a VitaMix blender, so that has opened up a whole new world for me..... going Green Smoothies now! It's an adventure.

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  4. I have been Vegan + fish now for 1 week. :)

    Can you provide me with a basic list of deficiencies that I should watch for with this type of diet and what may need supplementation.

    I would appreciate any info. Obviously you're busy with life so whenever you get a chance. No Rush.

    Thank you,
    Dave

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    1. Good for you David and thanks for your comment! I personally feel vegan + fish is the best diet. I'm only having fish 3x a week at most - but it provides me with more choices when going out. PLUS! it reduces the concerns one should have regarding vitamin D and B12 deficiencies.

      Vitamin D and B12 are the two deficiencies vegans need to watch out for the most. B12 is found only in animal products. My B12 levels have been fine so far as I drink fortified almond or soy milk and I add 'Nutritional Yeast' to my savory foods. Having fish now in my diet is a good source too.

      However, I was diagnosed with vitamin D and iron deficiencies about 7 months into the vegan diet (I had not yet included fish at that time). I never checked my levels prior to starting , so don't know how much the deficiencies were due to diet. My levels are in normal range now, but I have been supplementing with 2000 ui a day of D3 per doctor's advice. I think many people are deficient in vitamin D and how would they know unless they have it checked.

      As far as the iron, as long as you eat plenty of protein sources, beans, quinoa, lentils, fortified cereals and a variety of green veggies you should be fine. The fish is also an excellent source of iron and easily absorbed. I'm fairly certain my iron was low prior to going vegan and for other reasons.

      All my other vitamin levels came out great which I believe is evidence that the increase in veggies is paying off!

      I would suggest having blood workup when just starting the diet so you have a baseline, then check it periodically (twice a year) until you are certain you are eating a good variety of healthy foods that provide you with all the essentials.

      Just a side word of warning. I started the vegan diet well over a year now, but have gained 10lbs since. It is such a balancing act. I found myself eating spicy foods and sauces filled with sodium and too many carbs from bread and pasta, yikes! I wasn't trying to lose wait (obviously). My intent was to get my cholesterol down, which was a huge success. So now I need to focus on the portion control as well. It is a never ending adjustment, but I'm not turning back!

      Good Luck!

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  6. Thank you so much for taking the time to write that reply. :) I'll be using the information.

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  7. Thankful for writing this! I am vegan plus fish too. It's nice to know there are more out there! It's easier to get my protein for the day if I am able to eat seafood!

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  8. Last night I was talking to my wife, sort of jokingly, about the best way to quickly describe to people my diet. The best I could do was "vegan (plus fish)"; the "plus fish" part spoken quickly and in a lower tone, like the fine print on a radio commercial. Well, now I am glad to find a place where there are a few other people embracing a similar diet! I have done this for about 2 years now, for health reasons, and I'm never turning back.

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