Plant based weight loss shouldn’t be hard, right?
Aren’t plant eaters supposed to be slimmer and healthier than meat eaters? Why, then, are so many vegans overweight and unhealthy? Most likely it is because of:
- Inaccurate knowledge of what constitutes healthy eating, and/or
- Poor eating habits.
A Plant Based Diet Can Help You Lose Weight
It’s true that eliminating or cutting down on animal products in your diet can help you lose weight. Numerous studies have shown that in general, people eating a plant based diet tend to have less body fat than meat eaters.
However, as you may have already discovered, these outcomes are not guaranteed. I personally know of vegans who have died of cancer, have type 2 diabetes, are obese, or suffer from heart problems. That’s why it’s vitally important to learn how to make your plant-based diet lighter and healthier.
Lighten Your Weight by Lightening Your Diet:
- Limit processed foods. Plant based or not, frozen entrees, veggie meats and packaged sweets all tend to be high in sugar, salt, unhealthy fats, and calories. A whole food plant based diet works best. You can still buy convenient items like plain frozen vegetables and fruits.
- Monitor serving sizes. Maybe you thought you could eat more when you gave up meat. Try shrinking your portions and take time to savor each bite. Plan your meals and snacks instead of grazing throughout the day.
- Dine at home. Vegan and vegetarian options can still be fattening. Preparing your own dishes gives you more control over the ingredients.
- Be flexible. On the other hand, avoid becoming too strict. If you try to survive on salad greens and grapefruit alone, you’ll miss out on essential nutrients and start craving sweet potato fries.
- Consider your lifestyle. Remember that your diet is just one part of the picture. Examine your other habits to ensure that you’re exercising regularly, sleeping well, and handling stress constructively.
Make Smart Food Choices:
- Increase your fiber by eating more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These kinds of foods are high in fiber, which helps you feel full while eating less and may even extend your life.
- Watch your calories! Those rich pasta dishes, sugary drinks, bakery treats and sweet desserts are loaded with extra calories. Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s good for you! Stick to naturally filling, plant based wholesome food as much as possible and drink lots of fresh, pure water.
- Restrict fats. Olive oil has many health benefits, but it’s still about 120 calories for just one tablespoon. Use plant fats sparingly.
- Consume more protein. A vegan diet can fulfill your protein needs even if you’re a serious athlete. In fact, lentils have more protein than meat. Other smart choices include beans, peas, and soy. Learn which foods are particularly rich in protein and healthy fats and consume more of them.
- Enjoy healthy treats. Did you switch from ice cream to nondairy frozen desserts? Many brands are still high in sugar and saturated fat. Snack on fruit and air popped corn instead.
- Change your cooking methods. At close to 400 calories, a cup of breaded fried zucchini sticks has almost as many calories as a full meal. If you steam it, it’s only 17 calories. You can also look for recipes that involve broiling, grilling, poaching, and baking.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water makes it easier to control your appetite and stay energized. Many fruits and vegetables have a high water content, so they’ll help you stay hydrated. Keep in mind that the more fiber you eat, the more water you need to avoid gas and bloating.
- Seek balance. Think of your diet as an eating plan you can stick with for life, instead of a temporary solution. You may also want to consult your doctor or a nutritionist to see if you need any supplements.
Nutritious and delicious plant based diets come in many forms. Learn how to lighten up and live life to the fullest.
To Your Health!
Sharon Iezzi, Manager
Oklahoma Academy Country Store