The vegan diet is entirely plant-based. This means you cannot have any type of meat, dairy products, or eggs. You’ll also have to pay close attention to the labels on prepackaged food since many contain ingredients derived from animals. Because many types of animal or dairy based foods are high in calories and fat, people who are desperate to lose weight often wonder if you can get lean on a vegan diet. The truth is, you can. But even some vegan meals can be loaded with fat. So, let’s learn how you can lose weight on a vegan diet and take a look at some great tips that can help you to shed those unwanted pounds in no time.
Can you get lean on a vegan diet? You can! For many people, this can be a very limiting diet and one that will totally change the way you normally eat. On the vegan diet, you cannot eat animal or dairy-based foods. Which also means there are several types of prepackaged foods you’ll have to avoid. But just like any other type of diet, you can still gain weight even on the vegan diet, if you don’t make healthy food choices. This means steering clear of processed vegan friendly foods and sticking with whole, fresh foods instead.
Continue reading to learn how you can lose weight on the vegan diet and take a look at my included meal plan samples that can give you a better idea of how to throw together a fast, healthy meal that’s vegan approved.
Getting Lean Eating Vegan
The vegan diet consists of plant based foods, which is why many people believe that it’s the perfect diet for weight loss. In fact, some studies have shown that a vegan diet can, in fact, promote weight loss.
A study conducted back in 2016 showed that people lost an average of four pounds a month when they switched from a traditional carnivore diet to a vegan diet.
Planning out a vegan diet can seem overwhelming to some, which is why many people switch back to a more traditional diet in just a matter of a few weeks. There is no doubt that going vegan can mean a very limiting diet. Because so many prepackaged foods contain animal by-products, most vegans are forced to eat whole, fresh foods instead. While this can be great for your health, for some, it’s not very convenient.
People following this type of diet can be at risk of a vitamin deficiency if done incorrectly. Because of this, it’s important that you take a multivitamin and ensure that you get enough vitamin B12, which is mostly found in dairy and meat products.
A More Complete Vegan Diet
The following foods can promote weight loss while helping to prevent vitamin deficiencies and can even leave you feeling full and satisfied with this new way of eating.
- Protein: Soy, quinoa, tempeh
- Vitamin D: Almond and soy milk
- Omega 3 fatty acid: Seeds and nuts
Losing Weight on a Vegan Diet
Just like with any diet, the key to weight loss on the vegan diet involves consuming fewer calories than you burn. In order to ensure good health and maximize weight loss results you can try the following:
- Pay attention to how much seasoning and oil you use. Extra virgin olive oil is a great choice.
- Don’t rely on processed foods. Meat and cheese substitutes are processed foods and they’re usually loaded with sodium. Stick to fresh whole foods instead.
- Choose healthy vegan foods such as avocados. While they’re high in calories and fat, they can help you to feel full longer and can even reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Eat smaller meals throughout the day. Cutting your portions in half and eating five or six times a day can help to boost your metabolism.
Can You Gain Weight on a Vegan Diet?
Any type of diet can cause you to gain weight if you don’t pay attention to how many calories you consume. Even people who follow a vegan diet can still gain weight if they’re mainly depending on prepackaged, processed foods. Many vegans also tend to rely too heavily on vegan pasta and bread or homemade vegan burgers.
As going vegan becomes more popular, manufacturers are continuing to produce vegan friendly junk food including pastries, cakes, cookies, candy, and ice cream. While it’s totally okay to treat yourself sometimes, don’t make it a habit. A couple of treats a week is perfectly fine, but don’t make it a daily occurrence.
Thirty Day Vegan Meal Plan for Weight Loss
If you have a goal of shedding serious weight on the vegan diet, then a thirty-day meal plan that incorporates the following foods can help you on your path to weight loss. However, there are some types of vegan foods that you should avoid if gaining weight isn’t a goal. This includes any type of prepackaged processed foods including meat and cheese substitutes, frozen dinners, and vegan-friendly bread, candy, pastries, and other types of desserts.
Most people who make the switch to the vegan diet for weight loss usually find themselves using a variety of processed foods to fill that meatless void. Fortunately, this diet is much more than packaged food that’s animal product-free. These following tips will clue you in on how to use this way of eating for weight loss and what mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
With the vegan pyramid, obviously, the foundation is veggies, followed by fruit, and whole grains.
If you want to lose weight fast on this diet, focus more on greens including:
- Swiss chard
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
These foods are perfect for weight loss because they’re more nutrient dense, high in fiber, and low in calories. The high fiber content in these veggies will help to promote bowel regularity while leaving you feeling full between meals. Other types of high fiber food choices include raw tree nuts, and certain fruits. However, you must be careful with some fruits, such as grapes, which are loaded with sugar.
Increasing Your Protein Intake
When you’re on a vegan diet, it can be difficult to get the amount of protein you need daily if you’re very active or you’re into weight training. But the consumption of foods that are rich in protein will not only help to build muscle tissue, they can also leave you feeling full between meals. While it may not seem like it to the new vegan, there are several protein sources to choose from. There are many types of plant-based protein options including:
- Protein powders
These protein sources can easily be incorporated into a meal such as a salad, casserole, or burrito.
In the beginning, it can be difficult to get the hang of a vegan diet, especially now that you know that the processed vegan foods aren’t exactly healthy. Below you’ll find some meal plan ideas that you can try during your first week on the vegan diet.
Breakfast: Pinto beans, soy cheese, corn tortillas, topped with sautéed kale and onions, side of fruit
Lunch: Fresh salad topped with balsamic vinegar, half a baked sweet potato topped with vegan butter.
Dinner: Zucchini casserole with cherry tomatoes on the side drizzled with olive oil and peppers
Breakfast: Two pieces of whole grain bread, topped with vegan butter or sugar-free preserves, half a grapefruit
Lunch: Sautéed tempeh and peppers with steamed spinach
Dinner: Baked potato topped with fresh salsa, grilled veggies, side salad with balsamic vinegar
Breakfast: Bowl of oatmeal topped with cinnamon, side of fruit
Lunch: Veggie sandwich, side of carrot and celery sticks
Dinner: Black bean casserole with soy cheese and peppers
It’s perfectly fine to use prepackaged vegan food if you need a fast meal, but try to limit this type of food to only a few times a week. As you get used to reading labels and cooking food that’s dairy and meat-free, you’ll find yourself getting creative in the kitchen and learning how to cook well-balanced meals that ensure you have all the vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and healthy fats you need.
Vegan Weight Loss One Month
So, how much weight can you lose on the vegan diet, especially during the first month? If you’ve followed a traditional carnivore diet that consisted mainly of processed foods, dairy, steaks on the weekend, and deep-fried food then you’ll definitely shed some serious pounds the first month. Some people have reported losing as much as twenty pounds when switching to a healthy vegan diet the first month. Of course, the second month you can also expect your weight loss to slow down. On average, you can expect to lose five to ten pounds your first month on this diet. How much weight you lose will depend on such factors as whether or not you’re also working out regularly, your starting weight, daily caloric intake, and your food choices.
Why am I Gaining Weight on the Vegan Diet?
Avoid any frozen, processed vegan meals that you’ll come across at the grocery store. This also includes not eating any baked goods or candy that are vegan-friendly. These desserts may not contain butter or eggs but they’re most likely loaded with sugar. If you want to lose weight on the vegan diet then you’ll need to commit to making your own food that consists of whole grains, veggies, fruit, healthy protein sources, and limit your sugar intake.
Are There Protein Powders that are Vegan Approved?
Yes. There are many pea protein or almond protein powders that you can choose from instead of the traditional whey protein powders. If you’re looking for great tasting vegan-friendly protein powder then I recommend checking out a company called Organifi. To learn more about this company and their line of healthy products, click here to read my Organifi review.
How Soon is it Obvious to Other People that I’ve Lost Weight?
Most people will start to show major changes in their bodies after working out for a few weeks. On average, people have reported that they have noticed changes in their face even after losing only five to ten pounds. However, each person is unique and we all lose weight differently. To learn more about weight loss and how the process affects the body from week to week, click here to read my article on Where weight loss shows first.
Just because you’re abstaining from eating meat and dairy doesn’t mean the vegan diet is the magic solution that can finally help you to lose weight fast. Not every vegan is thin. There are vegan-friendly foods out there that are loaded with fat and sugar, which can obviously derail your weight loss efforts if you don’t make a conscious effort to eat healthily.
Can you get lean on a vegan diet? Yes, you can! But only if you avoid any vegan friendly processed foods. These usually come in the form of frozen soy-based products that are used as meat substitutes. Of course, the market has also recently been flooded with candy, cake, and cookies that are also vegan approved. But just because a food is vegan-friendly doesn’t mean it’s not fattening. You can still enjoy these foods, in moderation. If you’re serious about getting lean on a vegan diet, then focus on eating only whole, unprocessed foods such as oatmeal, whole grain bread, fresh fruits, and veggies, and protein sources such as tempeh. If you normally eat a diet that’s full of fried foods, sugar, and processed foods, then you will notice a drastic drop in weight the first month, especially if you prepare your own meals and stick with whole, fresh foods.