I'm all psyched right now after spending about 10 days learning how to use a great free online resource for men and women trying to improve their health through better eating and fitness. It's called SparkPeople and there are "Spark Teams" for Vegans and for Vegetarians.
Here's what I really like so far: unlike The Daily Plate, another good site for tracking nutrition, I find it super easy to navigate and to migrate info. For example, yesterday I tried a "Spark Recipe" called Smoky Refried Beans Soup and was able to migrate my dinner portion right into my daily nutrition tracker with all the nutrients listed. How easy is that? Even better, the recipe was awesome and I really enjoyed it as did my omnivore husband. What is especially attractive to me is the community of people who have welcomed me in as a newcomer. I feel I have another great "place" to hang out. SparkPeople has an incentive system of SparkPoints where you accrue points and earn trophies as you participate, whether you log your food, post on forums, or exercise. In the brief time I've been active on SparkPeople I've lost already 2.2 pounds in the week I've been logging in everything I consume. Not a great deal, but progress for me and right in the suggested range for slow but steady and healthy weightloss. In fact The Partnership for Healthy Weight Management, a U.S. Government site, says:
Most overweight people should lose weight gradually. For safe and healthy weight loss, try not to exceed a rate of two pounds per week. Sometimes, people with serious health problems associated with obesity may have legitimate reasons for losing weight rapidly. If so, a physician's supervision is required.
Update on the Protein Powder: earlier this week I returned the Spiru-Tein to Vitamin Shoppe and exchanged it for Nutribiotic Vegan Rice Protein which is quite good but does need to be mixed with juice to taste okay. I have it at home to add when my daily protein intake has been below healthy range. Yes, SparkPeople's nutrition tracker gives you cool pie charts and feedback about that day's intake which is AWESOME! The better find which I'll use for most weekday lunches is Vega Smoothie Infusion which is delicious mixed with juice (I've had Goji-Acai and Acai so far and loved both) or coconut water beverages (they're really good, too).