A vegan weight loss plan can be very effective in helping you meet your weight loss goals. Because the vegan diet includes no animal products, it is generally low in fat and a healthy choice for weight loss and an overall lifestyle change. Additionally, people on a long-term vegan diet have been shown to have lower rates of heart disease and cancer, as well as maintain a healthy weight over time.
What Does a Vegan Diet Entail?
A vegan diet is one that contains no animal products. This means eating no:
- meat products
Generally, when undertaking a vegan diet for weight loss purposes, most plans allow you to eat the following in abundance:
- whole grains
- beans and legumes
Foods that can be eaten in moderation are:
- refined sugar
- egg-free pasta
Other foods such as flour, refined soy products, oils and avocados should be avoided.
The Vegan Food Pyramid
To make sure you are following a healthy diet, you should consult the Vegan Food Pyramid. An adaption of the USDA food pyramid especially for vegans, the vegan food pyramid helps vegans to meet their nutritional goals. The pyramid divides foods into groups based on their type and nutritional value and provides the recommended servings and sizes that need to be consumed daily to achieve the best health results.
There are five different vegan food groups that should be included in any healthy vegan diet. They are:
- Whole Grains: this includes bread, rice, pasta, cereals, oats, corn and bulgur, among other grains. Whole grains should be consumed at a rate of 6 to 11 servings per day.
- Legumes, Nuts, Soy & Other Protein: this includes peas, beans, lentils, nuts and nut butters, seeds, vegan meat substitutes, hummus, tahini, tofu, and fortified soy milk or cheese. Daily consumption of these should be 5 to 8 servings per day.
- Vegetables: this includes raw or cooked vegetables, vegetable juice, salad greens, fortified tomato juice and pickled vegetables. Vegetables should be consumed at a rate of at least 4 servings per day.
- Fruits: this includes all fresh fruits, canned and frozen fruits, dried fruits and fruit juice. Two or more servings of these are recommended each day.
- Fats/Oils: this includes olive and canola oils, nuts and nut butters, green or black olives, avocados, and flax seeds and flax seed oil. Two servings of fats are recommended daily.
Whether you follow a specific vegan diet, or simply want to change your eating habits for a healthier lifestyle, a vegan diet can be very helpful in your weight loss. As with any diet, eating in moderation and getting a healthy balance of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats is key to improving your health. Be sure to drink plenty of water and plan ahead to ensure that you have healthy snacking options for when hunger hits. Have a plan for what you will eat for meals so that you do not make poor choices when hungry.