I follow a plant-based diet - basically Joel Furhman's diet as outlined in his books. No oils, no processed foods. I'm a very active female, 27 years old and working out on average 1-2 hours a day, 5'5", 108 lbs. I have an old left knee injury (dislocation) and had right ACL reconstruction surgery a few months ago.

My problem is that I don't seem to have a sufficient appetite to get enough calories to fuel all my activities following Furhman's diet. I have read his articles on this topic such as "Fueling the Vegan Diet" which provide sample menus but I am not able to eat that quantity of food. I have tried adding hempseed powder to smoothies, using plenty of nuts, avocados, etc, but still can't consume more than about 1200 calories a day without forcing myself to the point of feeling nauseous or ill. The issue seems to have to do with appetite; I've always had a modest appetite and never prone to over-eating. Even when I used to eat junk foods I would feel satiated after, say, one or two cookies, or one scoop of ice cream. I have a very petite frame (waist size about 22") and probably have a small stomach capacity. The only thing that allows me to eat larger quantities of food is cannabis, but I'd prefer not to use that regularly as an appetite stimulant. I also don't want to add animal foods, processed foods, etc, because I am pre-diabetic. If I can I'd prefer to stick to a completely plant based diet. Besides having slightly high A1C levels my bloodwork is all normal, though I do have hypermobility/laxity in my joints which predisposes me to sports injuries. Any ideas?

  • 1
    Voted to close. The only relation to fitness is a vague reference to working out 1-2 hours a day.
    – JohnP
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 14:54
  • You may want to do a bit more research regarding the link to animal foods and diabetes. I was pre-diabetic a number of years ago, and fixed that problem (and quickly!) by switching to a Paleo-style diet. No arguments that processed foods are to be avoided.
    – G__
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 17:00
  • I would agree with Greg that carbs, simple and complex, are more likely to be a prediabetic problem than animal protein. That being said you're more likely to get the nutrition you require, in a smaller volume of food, from a healthy vegan diet than a a healthy omnivourous diet.
    – hortstu
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 19:41

2 Answers 2


Why not juices and smoothies? Juices are probably what you're looking for since juicing will remove a lot of the fiber from a vegetable combo and allow you to get the concentrated nutrition as well as carbs without filling you up.

For smoothies maybe use almond milk home made or store bought as your smoothie base. Then add fruit, like berries, apples, nuts, cherries, raw coconut oil ( a healthy vegan fat,) and any powders or supplements you like.

For juice, I use a slow juicer to reduce oxidation and allow for the extended storage of the juice. This way I can make enough for just a day or a few if I like... Freeze them into single servings...

Celery, apple, ginger, cucumber is a good start. Throw some kale in or other high nutrient green. Adjust to taste. You can get a great deal of food in this way minus the fibre.

There have been many juice and smoothie recipe books written, even for vegans, and many recipes can be found online.

I hope this helps a little


When under-eating is a problem, there's two strategies you can take:

  • Split the calories into more, smaller meals.
  • Incorporate more calorie dense foods.

For example, if you are eating 3 times a day, then split the required food into 5-7 meals a day. You may have to start small, but then ramp up.

Another example would be to incorporate more fats into your diet from olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, etc. The idea is to pack more calories in less volume of food. While processed food is great at doing that, the impact on your health is bad. You can add a tablespoon of coconut oil to brown rice, for example.

These strategies work whether you are vegan or not. You may have to combine both strategies until you get the right balance. As strange as it seems, I know a guy who is in pretty much the same boat as you. While he is not vegan, he does feel sick to his stomach if he eats too much at one sitting. Find out what you can do, and build off of that.

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