30 Bananas a Day!

Hello fellow vegans!

This will be my first post, but I do tend to come here and read your lovely and helpful posts here and there. : ) I am hoping that I could possibly receive some advice about transitioning, since I seem to be in a bit of a tough situation.

I am currently studying abroad in Japan and have slowly become more and more vegan until fully giving up dairy a month ago. I have been vegetarian for over five years now, so the transition isn't too overwhelming for me. I have also, of course, cut out added salts and fats from my dishes.

What I am struggling with is that I cannot afford to eat mostly raw here since fruits and vegetables are expensive (¥400 [$3.85~] for three medium apples, ¥120 [$1.15~] for four bananas, ¥98 [$88] for one single-wrapped stick of celery, etcetera). However, I can eat low-fat vegan pretty easily, but it will be super processed low-fat vegan. Pasta and noodles are quite cheap and so are canned vegetables. Right now I am having most dinners be soba noodles and canned chopped tomatoes on a bed of lettuce. I make pasta to take to school for lunch which is penne, tomatoes and peas and broccoli. Breakfast is usually four to six bananas.

This would be fine but I seem to be gaining quite a bit of weight from this transition and have started craving sweets badly everyday. I have been going for wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets which are low in fat) and eating the ones made from rice, sugar, and anko paste.

I am also feeling low in energy. I start yawning an hour after I wake up in the morning and don't stop until I go to bed again. I exercise at least forty minutes a day biking to and from school as well as taking long bike rides on the weekends.

I'm bloating and gaining weight and am having digestion problems. I feel like I'm doing something very wrong here despite my efforts. :(

Blerg!!

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Oh my God,

I was in Japan last weekend. Unfortunately, I cannot give you much advice on your situation. I found it very hard to continue eating fruit, as it is really very expensive. I also found that only after two days, my digestion did slow down dramatically. The friends I visited tried to find me vegan food and did really the best they could, but still the lack of fresh produce was depressing.

Maybe a small tipp: I am doing finde on soba and vegan sushi, and some bloating goes away with drinking warm/hot water and/or herbal tea. Maybe try to find a farm around where you live and source your produce directly?

Wish you the best of luck for your situation!

Last weekend?! Golly! Haha! I hope you enjoyed yourself!!

Thanks for the tip on the warm/hot tea. I will try that out and see if it makes a difference. : )
Maybe if I make my own sushi rolls that could work out. I have been trying to eat mono meals because my digestion is so poor. Perhaps if the warm water thing works out I will venture into more complex foods.

Thank you for your advice!

If you're going to be in Japan a while, you should find out if they have community gardens and grow your own greens (and maybe some melons and berries).  Do you speak japanese?  Could you possibly get work helping produce farmers in your region (and taking produce as partial/full wages)?  Perhaps if you were assisting a local grower, they could give you a little plot of land to grow food on.  If you have any small outdoor/patio space, you can do raised container gardening, check out growingyourgreens on youtube for ideas.

If none of this will work, then you will have to be a cooked carb vegan and just eat the small amount of produce you can afford.

You could also take barley green or green magma whichever is cheapest in your area (dehydrated green barley powder with water), it has live enzymes.  Everyone can also grow indoors sprouts for eating and wheat grass for juicing (and yes, it's gluten free with the most supercharged nutrition you can get in a glass, a little shot glass is sufficient for beginners as it's sickly sweet and damn potent).

Thanks for the detailed replies. I do speak Japanese, but I am unsure if I could break the foreigner boundary here and work on a produce lot. I have been here about a year now and will be going home in three months so maybe I just have to deal with having a less than optimal diet for a while.

The digestion issues are frustrating but I really dislike gaining weight like this. The weight doesn't seem to budge even after watching closely what I eat and exercising which is weird.

I'll look into the barley green and see if it's a good option with the time I have left. Any greens are better than none at all! Thanks again for your input! : )

I would have thought all food  would have been expensive in Japan... I believe the Japanese spend much more of their income on food than Americans or Brits... Even rice is more expensive than in the US or UK!

Soba is likely to be just noodles really.. Most of it nowadays is made majorly of wheat flour with minimal amounts of buckwheat ( soba means buckwheat).

In terms of resorting to " cooked food ", well obesity and degenerative disease has risen in Japan over the past decades, but the intake of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy have all increased. The only thing to decrease has been of staple starches, and the carbohydrate intake has dropped from over 400 grams to around 250g.

If anything, we need to look at the whole picture... Carbohydrates are Human fuel that should make up the majority of the diet. Don't get lost in pointless distinctions when you are in such a confused state. 

Simple... Just eat boiled cereals/tubers if you "can't get fruit", and this will prevent you doing nonsense like having maniranara, pestos or whatever. 

You can eat quite cheaply in Japan, actually. If you eat fish, eggs, bread, and pasta as your main foods you will be set! It's when you deviate from the norm that things get a little more difficult (but then that's Japan!).

I was under the impression that the soba I was buying was made from only soba, but I'm reading the package now and it definitely says 小麦粉 (wheat flour) as the first ingredient. The second is soba flour, but then I guess that doesn't really matter. Sigh.

The reason I was making distinctions is because I know that some people have gluten-intolerance. I was thinking that maybe I might also since I have some other symptoms. If I have been eating a lot more wheat than I thought (which seems to be the case!), then those aren't pointless distinctions, right? ;)

I do only have some months left before I can go home and will know where to get cheap and plentiful fresh produce, but the whole picture for me right now is that I feel sick and tired when I already have much on my metaphorical plate. I'll try getting my carbs from tubers and see if that helps!

finish you dinner by 5pm or as early as possible to end your bloat 

digestion needs time to rest  

Thank you for the suggestion! I usually finish my dinners before six thirty, but maybe I should really be giving my tummy much more time? I'll try it and see if it helps!!

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