Please note a vegan diet is healthy for people both young and old. However, young people should not be using a diet to control their weight without specialist medical advice.
A vegan diet, by it’s very nature uses no animals or animal products. It therefore follows that one can follow a vegan diet to lose weight. In particular by knowing what to eat on a vegan diet to lose weight helps us lose weight not only in a healthy manner, but it is certainly possible to use a vegan diet to lose weight fast! Indeed very fast!
I think most of us know the amount of unhealthy fat (and other things), contained in, or added to, animal products. The human body stores many of these animal fats, not only in the obvious places, but around vital organs and in blood vessels etc. In this blog I am going to look at three main, essential food groups that a vegan should incorporate into their diet to lose weight. I will include some very broad meal suggestions, but these are simply an outline. I will follow up on this blog at some point, with great delicious recipes that will hopefully mean you never miss meat and animal products again.
However, with this process, as many others, there are many ways to lose weight on a vegan diet. In what follows, sections 1) – 3) I look at the main food groups, particularly if you want a vegan diet to lose weight fast. I mostly eat from these groups and find with the right recipes, correctly seasoned, they can be delicious and I could not wish for much more.
For example many curries taste just as good to me with chickpeas, beans, lentils and vegetables as they ever used to when eating them with meat. Mexican fajitas taste great with the same seasoning and more vegetables in, as they ever did with chicken. Taste just as good, but without the guilt of how these animals have been treated throughout their short lives then killed only to be on my plate. Incidentally, not only is the vegan option more healthy it is also generally much cheaper that the meat alternative and has much less impact on the environment.
In Section 4) I provide some general dieting tips that are true for virtually any diet, but apply just as much to a vegan diet to lose weight.
In Section 5) I provide some different advice from the vegan diet to lose weight fast option. This is predominantly for those that do not need or want to lose the weight fast, but are happy losing it more slowly while still sticking with a vegan diet to lose weight. It will also be of use to those transitioning to a vegan diet from a vegetarian or meat based “traditional diet.” On a personal note I would like to say that those of you in this category, or even just trying to get to a more plant-based diet are most welcome on this site. I have produced a blog for beginners and intend to keep helping those that are “still on the journey,” not just those of us that have reached the vegan lifestyle.
1) Whole grains and legumes
Whole grains and legumes really are excellent staples for a vegan diet to lose weight. As well as having other health benefits. They are rich in fibre, protein and complex carbohydrates. Not only do these make you feel full and satisfied for longer but they also provide stable blood sugar and long lasting energy. I am sure you will be very familiar with some of these if not all.
Examples of whole grains include quinoa, brown rice, oats, and whole wheat products. Legumes include lentils, chickpeas, (one of my personal favourites and has a completely different texture using dried to tinned) and black beans. We also include tofu and tempeh in this list which is traditionally made from soya beans. When people hear of tofu they generally think bland, but again with the correct seasoning and cooking it can be anything but!
I am a little reluctant to add examples of meals here, as there are such a huge variety of vegan recipes out there now and I can honestly say I have never enjoyed my food so much as I do now. I am about the lightest I have been since my marathon running days too despite my continued weight training, cycling and treadmill work. I do intend to share some of my favourite recipes on future blogs. However, I feel it would be negligent here to talk about food groups without at least some examples.
Examples of meals include:
Quinoa and vegetable stir-fry with tofu
Lentil curry with brown rice
Chickpea salad with mixed greens and a lemon and tahini dressing
Sweet and sour crispy tofu with brown rice.
2) Fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are fundamental components of any healthy diet, including a vegan weight loss diet. They are low in calories, high in fibre and packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These are best incorporated into your diet in a wide variety of colours. This ensures not only a wide variety of nutrients but also adds flavour and visual appeal to your meals.
Examples of meals include:
Colourful vegetable stir-fry with tofu or tempeh
Fresh fruit salad with a sprinkle of chai seeds
Roasted vegetable medley with quinoa or couscous
Vegetable soup with the freshest seasonal ingredients
3) Healthy fats
Whilst it may seem counterintuitive, it is essential to incorporate healthy fats into your vegan weight loss diet. Healthy fats support a healthy brain, provide energy and help us to absorb fat soluble vitamins. It is important to focus on consuming unsaturated fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil. These fats can make you feel more satisfied and prevent you from feeling hungry for longer. Please do not get these confused with the fat you see on animal products.
Examples of meals include:
Avocado toast with whole grain bread and a sprinkling of chai seeds.
Mixed green salad with walnuts dried cranberries and a drizzle of lemon and olive oil.
4) Mindful eating and portion control, (general dieting rules)
In addition to selecting the right foods, practicing mindful eating and portion control is vital for success on a vegan diet to lose weight, as with any other diet. Pay attention to hunger and and fullness cues. Eat slowly and savour each bite. Consider using smaller plates and bowls to control portion size if you really want to lose weight quickly. Additionally, consider limiting your intake of processed vegan foods as they tend to be higher in calories and lower in nutrients. However, see point 5) below.
Tips for mindful eating and portion control:
Eat in a calm environment, free from distractions like television and smartphones to allow you to actually concentrate on the food!
Chew your food thoroughly and focus on the taste, texture and aroma.
Serve yourself appropriate portion sizes and avoid going back for seconds.
Consider keeping a food journal to track your intake and identify any patterns or triggers for overeating.
One final point here I would like to make is that while exercise is a very useful addition to dieting and should be encouraged for all those that are able, exercise alone is no substitute for a diet to lose weight, unless you are on an Olympic or marathon training schedule that is. Running another mile will not work off that chocolate bar for example, but it will help to burn up a small amount of your normal intake.
5) What if I do not want to lose weight as quickly as possible, and want to enjoy my vegan diet?
First of all, the points made above are still valid and the essential food groups remain just that. However, the vegan diet does not come easily for everyone. As I have said above, many vegan meals taste every bit as good as their meat counterparts (as far as I can remember anyway,) and I have never enjoyed my food so much as now, while still keeping my weight down. This is no mean feat for the previous yoyo dieter that is currently writing this blog. That is apart from my days of marathon running!
Indeed by switching from a meat or vegetarian diet to vegan one will often lose weight, as we are not consuming the unhealthy fatty, often processed animal products. Though it will probably be slow. If you are happy with that or indeed if you are struggling to stay on a vegan diet, you might like to consider meat and dairy alternatives.
There are a huge amount of these about now and more coming out everyday. So rather than going back to that bacon sandwich you might be yearning for, try some “fake” bacon. Instead of the burger and cheese, go with a plant based burger and plant based cheese. There are very many about and they might not be all to your taste but give them a try and see what you like.
If you still enjoy cereals for breakfast (as I do) you can still do that but with oat, soy or (my favourite,) almond milk, to name just a few. Missing out on your yogurt, just find a vegan type you like. Indeed If you just fancy a sausage or tuna sandwich there are plant based alternatives out there. If you are craving ice cream you can have a choice of either going for a sorbet, or one of the many plant based alternatives, which in my opinion taste just as good as those made with milk.
In any case vegans should consider vitamin supplements, in particular B12. B12 is necessary for brain and central nervous system wellbeing. It is naturally found on plants growing in the soil outside along with some seaweeds. As animals are often intensively reared now they are mostly given B12 supplements, so non vegans get it from there.
In conclusion I would like to think I have given you some good ideas on what to eat on a vegan diet to lose weight. I hope I have also shown you that there is more than one way to do this. There is the more strict “vegan diet to lose weight quickly” option, and also the more user friendly option. Though I would repeat here that many of these “more processed” “fake” meat options have less nutrients than the less processed alternatives. However, If that is what you need to stay on the vegan diet or is only a weekly reward for achieving your goal, then please enjoy it.
One final thought, have you tried losing weight before, even perhaps with a vegan diet and think you need a little more help? There is a new natural product on the market that is designed to get your body into alignment with your hormones where they should be, while attacking those fat stores, and particularly stores around the belly. For most people the weight loss is rapid and does not mean starving yourself, or calorie counting, just stick with the ideas here, but get a little extra help! I must admit I have not tried this product, but have heard good things. Probably best of all, there is a full 60 day money back guarantee. So if you do not get the results you want in 60 days it will not cost you anything! Worth a try? Please click the link here and remember if it fails it will cost you nothing, but what if it works and you lose pounds and inches without a radical change of diet and no strenuous workouts, if you don’t want to!
Another think you might like to consider is a vegan shake to start your day. The one that is recommended to me is based on a purple fruit! It has helped lose up-to 57lb It also reduced the hunger pains and keeps you satisfied for a long period of the day. This is especially useful for people who don’t have time or the appetite for a breakfast before rushing off. Please click the link here for more details.
If you have any questions about a vegan diet to lose weight please let me know in the comments section below, I have a lot of experience in this now and would be more than happy to help you out. That is whether you are a vegan already or trying to progress towards it however slowly.
And just one last point, as I have mentioned before but is definitely worth stressing, no diet including this one is healthy if you do not drink enough liquid to allow the nutrients to get around your body and your body to work efficiently enough to remove the unwanted items through you liver, gut and kidneys. To that end I recommend you keep yourself hydrated with a large cup or bottle.