In August 2017, I went vegan for three months to see if it would help me with some of my health issues. I wrote about my entire experience in this blog post.
One of you asked me if it’s possible to lose weight while on the vegan diet. During the three months that I went vegan, I didn’t lose any weight. That was fine for me because weight loss wasn’t my goal.
Even though I didn’t lose weight, that doesn’t mean it is impossible for other people. To best answer this question, I’ve done some research on losing weight while vegan.
CAN YOU LOSE WEIGHT ON THE VEGAN DIET?
Yes, you definitely can lose weight as a vegan.
Researchers are still deciding how being a vegan can help with weight loss. Vegans don’t eat any animal products, including meat, dairy, or eggs. Some scientists think that avoiding these foods, which are often high in calories, leads to eating fewer calories in general.
When people replace high-calorie foods with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, they end up eating a lot of fiber and a lot more nutrients. Foods high in fiber make you feel fuller for longer, so you don’t need to eat as much.
Vegans also tend to eat less saturated fats. Saturated fats can play a big role in causing heart problems and even weight gain. Meat (especially red meat, like beef) and dairy contain a large number of these fats.
Eliminating meat and dairy can help your heart and help you lose weight!
IS THE VEGAN DIET HEALTHY ?
Not all vegans eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Being vegan doesn’t mean you’re healthy. It just means you don’t eat animals products. Sugar is still vegan, so you can eat a very high sugar diet and still be vegan. Also, many people replace typical “junk” foods like pizza and hot dogs with vegan versions, which isn’t necessarily healthy.
If you want to be healthy as a vegan, you need to make sure you’re eating fruit and vegetables! They contain the micronutrients that you need.
Eating micronutrients does matter when it comes to weight loss. Not having enough vitamins and minerals can make you more prone to injury and sickness, and it can make your body feel slow and sluggish.
Getting the right micronutrients isn’t the only benefit of a vegan, plant-based diet. I wrote more about the pros and the cons of the vegan diet in this blog post.
WHAT TO EAT DURING THE VEGAN DIET IF YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT AND EAT HEALTHY
FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
As you can see, fruit and vegetables matter a lot. When you first start the vegan diet, you might notice that you are hungrier than usual or are feeling bloated. This could be because your body isn’t used to the change of diet and increased fiber.
Try making sure that the foods you snack on are mostly fruits and vegetables.
Whole grains include brown rice, rolled oats, farro, quinoa, brown rice pasta, and barley.
Eating lots of whole grains might be difficult if you are also gluten-free, but it isn’t impossible. Stick to grains like brown rice instead of wheat products!
BEANS AND LEGUMES
Beans and legumes are a common food that people eat when they’re vegan. Some people love them, but others find that beans and legumes can cause a lot of bloating and other digestive issues.
If your stomach doesn’t handle beans and legumes well, you can try soaking them overnight. This helps your stomach break them down easier.
NUTS AND SEEDS
Nuts and seeds are a good way for vegans to get some healthy fats and a little bit of protein too.
But you should be careful with these if you don’t want to gain weight. Lots of beginners on the vegan diet end up eating too many nuts and seeds. They contain a lot of calories and it’s easy to get carried away. Moderation is important with all types of food.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE VEGAN RECIPES
- This delicious vegetable bake
- These smoothie bowls (just be sure to replace any dairy milk with your favorite nut milk!)
- These choc-peanut protein bars (they’re great as a dessert or a snack!)
FOODS TO AVOID WHILE EATING VEGAN
When you’re vegan, it can be tempting to replace meat and other animal products with unhealthy, processed ingredients. Junk food can still be vegan!
To lose weight and stay healthy, it is best to eat whole foods instead.
I suggest trying to avoid food with:
- Lots of fat
GETTING ENOUGH PROTEIN AND B-12 AS A VEGAN
One of the problems some people have with the vegan diet is that it can be harder to get enough protein and the B-12 vitamin without meat or animal products. Make sure that you’re getting enough of each of these.
Eating enough protein is very important. Your body uses proteins to build and repair tissue.
I’ve already written about how to get protein as a vegan. Some of the high-protein, plant-based foods I love include chia seeds, peanut butter, and vegan protein powders.
THE B-12 VITAMIN
Getting the B-12 vitamin can be challenging for vegans to do naturally. Adults should have 2.4 micrograms every day. Vegans can get B-12 through:
- Fortified cereals
- Nutritional yeast
If you want to become vegan or you are already a vegan, I suggest talking to your doctor. Having a B-12 deficiency can cause serious health problems, so it is best to make sure you are getting enough!
READ THE LABELS ON YOUR FOOD
Again, just because you are eating vegan doesn’t mean you’re eating healthy. If you’re eating something that comes packaged, double check the food labels. Lots of packaged foods have sugar, sodium, fat, and lots of calories.
Knowing what you’re eating and why is the first step to making sure you don’t see the scale increasing. Read your food labels to make sure it is as healthy as it is claiming to be.
MAKE SURE YOU’RE EATING ENOUGH
When you switch to a new diet, it can be hard to see how your body is responding at first. You might feel extra hungry, but you also might not feel hungry at all. I suggest counting calories during the diet, especially at first.
I don’t say this because I think you should be really strict about your calories. I just think that it is a good way to make sure you aren’t eating too much OR too little.
Everybody has different calorie needs depending on their weight, height, and activity level. Read this blog to learn how to calculate how many calories you should be eating every day.
Counting macronutrients is another good idea, especially because it can be hard for some people to eat enough protein during the vegan diet. I’ve explained how to count macros for your body type in this blog post.
Yes, you can lose weight during a vegan diet! But you have to make sure you’re eating healthy, just like you would with any other diet. Stick to whole foods and avoid lots of fat, sugar, or preservatives.
I’m proud of you lovelies for wanting to eat well! Keep up the good work!
3 STEPS TO LEAN LEGS NOW ALSO HAS A VEGAN MEAL PLAN
I should mention something really exciting!
My 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program now also has a VEGAN MEAL PLAN :)
I’ve created 80 original vegan recipes, easy to follow directions and a nutrition index or each recipe that will show you how many calories, carbs, fat and protein each meal has!
I really hope you guys are going to like it :)
Love Rachael xx