It is a common misconception that people who eat Vegan don’t have weight issues. Eating Vegan has to be carried out properly in order to maintain a healthy weight or to lose weight effectively. Simply avoiding animal products isn’t enough – to lose weight with a Vegan diet you must maintain your protein sources as well as consume enough fiber, vitamins and minerals from plant-based foods. Here are 10 tips on how to go Vegan to lose weight.
How to Lose Weight on a Vegan Diet
To lose weight, we must burn off more calories than we consume. Second, we must burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of body fat (true for any lifestyle, Vegan or otherwise). Switching to a plant-based vegan diet helps, in that animal products such as meats and dairy, which contain a lot of fat and calories are eliminated. However, if you don’t consume enough protein while you’re trying to lose weight, your body will burn lean muscle tissue for fuel as a consequence. Eating a balanced diet is vitally important if you are going Vegan to lose weight effectively.
1) Getting Enough Protein
With meat being off the Vegan menu, you will need alternative sources of protein. Here are a few suggestions:
- Whole grains, Oats, Brown or Wild Rice, no white rice, no white, bleached or processed flour
- Beans: Black beans, Red beans, Pinto beans cooked plain, never refried or processed
- Nuts: Dry roasted or raw Almonds, Sunflower kernels, Pistachios, unsalted & unsweetened
- Legumes: Lentils, Lima beans, Peas, Peanuts, unsalted and unsweetened, Miso, Tofu, Bean curd
- Seeds: Chia seed, Pumpkin seeds, Hemp seed, Flax seed, Sesame seeds
- Vegetables: Broccoli, Peppers, Cucumber, Celery, Zucchini, Beets, Olives and more
2) Amino Acids
Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein, and with the above list of foods, your daily recommended amounts will be met. This will enable you to keep building lean muscle without consuming any animal-based foods. Still unsure? Ask your doctor or pharmacist about an Amino Acid supplement.
Iron is found in some surprising places, with zero animal products. Dark and leafy greens, for example: Romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, arugula, collard greens, water cress and beet greens all contain more iron than red meat! Make leafy greens a priority when you go Vegan to lose weight or when you adopt a vegetarian diet to lose weight.
4) Beware the Carbs
If you just cut out animal products and don’t pay attention to the rest of your diet, going Vegan could leave you eating a lot of pasta and rice. While whole grain flour-made pasta and brown or wild rice are healthy, they can't serve as your main source of calories. This is problem #1 for Vegans with weight issues. Eat more fruits and colorful veggies with limited servings of rice or pasta.
On a weight loss program, you want to consume as little sugar as possible. This is hard for many people: as packaged, bottled or canned foods almost always contain added sugar. When you make the switch to a Vegan lifestyle, eat your foods as close to their natural (raw) state as possible. Buy and eat foods that are organic, fresh and natural. Absolutely zero white sugar!
6) Natural Plant-Based Sweeteners
- Agave Nectar
- Maple syrup
- Brown rice syrup
- Lo han guo AKA Lo Han Sweet Jarrow
Our bodies need water – we all know that. Did you know that juicing fruit and vegetables also counts as hydration? They naturally contain quite a bit of water. Green tea's also full of nutrients and antioxidants, and is 95% water. Drink as much green tea as you like; it counts. Drink a minimum of eight 8 ounce servings of water daily.
8) Blood Glucose Levels
Maintaining a steady blood sugar level's tricky. You want to supplement your body on long runs, and also before and after strenuous workouts. However, in a Vegan diet this sugar must come from an animal-free source. Gu now has Vegan-friendly gel formulas that contain no animal-derived amino acids, and are perfect for runners, cyclists, or anyone trying to lose weight Vegan-style.
9) Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is Vegan friendly! It’s surprisingly low in sugar and rich in natural antioxidants; in small amounts it’s very healthy. Save some organic dark chocolate for treats a few times per week.
10) Getting Active
Part of the Vegan lifestyle is being earth-conscious and green. Consider walking or riding a bike to get from place to place rather than driving. You will burn more calories (essential for weight loss) and do something good for the earth as well.
Adopting a Vegan diet as a means to lose weight is a smart and healthy idea. Once you experience eating and living green, you may decide to become Vegan permanently. The Vegan lifestyle is not only good for us as individuals, but it’s for the greater good as well.