Oh dear! There appears to be so much confusion about what a ‘standard’ healthy vegan weight loss day should look like. But you need to remember, we are all unique with different nutrition and energy needs. Therefore this post will give you *GENERAL* suggestions only. This means you may have to change the servings to suit your needs.
For instance, if you have a lot of weight to lose [more than 20kg], you are tall or are very active….you’ may need more food than the recommended amounts below.
If you only have a small amount of weight to lose, are a mature aged woman, rather short and not active at all…then you may have to eat less than the suggested serves in this document.
Look at your current plan. Is yours bringing you the results you seek? Are you feeling well, energised and happy on your weight loss journey? ….If not, then you need to make adjustments to experience a better outcome.
NOTE: Do NOT eat the same foods every day. Variety is the key. Every food offers a different set of nutrients and health benefits.
Kale does not replace broccoli.
A Brazil nut does not replace an almond.
Each whole food contains its own special components. So it’s best to include a big variety each day instead of falling into a rut eating the same things over and over again.
Sadly, there isn’t a single eating plan that works for all of us. It would be great if there was. And I agree: many of you do brilliantly well following healthy high starch plans, eating generous bowls of porridge, pasta, potatoes and mountains of brown rice.
However, many do NOT do well with that approach. Starchy, high carb foods cause some of you a hormonal roller coaster that can end in cravings, loss of energy and weight gain. And it is for ‘you’ that this general plan is written.
Just mentioning: these suggestions below are for females only. Men have different energy and nutritional needs.
Although vegans can meet their basic protein requirements, when you are one a weight loss plan, we may need to think outside the box.
I suggest you consider buying a high quality vegan protein powder without any fancy fillers and gums. One that gives you around 20g of protein per serve with less than 5g carbs. Why do I wish for you to invest in a protein powder?
Protein not only maintains muscles, bones, blood, and body organs plus boosts immunity…….protein also offers us superior hunger control plus a beneficial ‘thermic’ effect. This means it increases your metabolic rate for about an hour or more after consuming it. Way more than eating fat or carbs.
During a vegan weight loss diet, those who are ‘carb sensitive’ cannot simply lower carbs by eating a piece of fish with a light salad. We have to work around this issue so we can obtain the weight loss benefits that protein offers. A good quality vegan powder gives you that big protein hit with minimal calories.
Therefore, protein powders are a girl’s best friend when she is losing weight on a plant based diet or maintaining weight
To bring about fat loss through caloric deficit, we moderate serving sizes of higher calorie foods. But not to the detriment of losing out on protein and therefore being hungry and possibly lowering your metabolic rate. And the good thing is: protein powders can be added to low sugar smoothies, to breakfast cereals, to soups or can be enjoyed as a snack.
Ok…so let us see what you can eat.
Upon waking 1 glass warm water with ginger and lemon to ‘wash out’ your tummy and support your liver and get digestion started.
1/2 cup of fruit, preferably berries
1/3 to max 1/2 cup of rolled oats or muesli, either raw or made into porridge. Muesli has nuts and seeds that contain protein for hunger control. You can add a heaped teaspoon of your favourite protein powder to prevent mid morning hunger. You can sprinkle on some cinnamon [Ceylon produces the most potent type….] It can assist to lower sugar spikes. Have you tried peanut butter powder? It is defatted and is a good source of protein and fibre. And tastes delicious mixed into cereals.
Or enjoy a chia pudding or vegan yogurt with fruit. Or a savoury chickpea flour omelette. [High protein content]
Have a green tea, black tea or a cup of coffee with unsweetened plant milk. So now you are set for the day. It’s best to leave 30 minutes after a vegan meal before consuming coffee or tea, because tannin hinders iron absorption of plant based foods.
Apple, 6 almonds [Green apples are slightly more beneficial for weight loss, due to a special fibre they contain]. Or vegetable sticks with 2 TBS hummus.
Gluten free or standard wrap with heaps of colourful salads, hummus and chickpeas, a couple of celery and red bell pepper sticks.
Or a puréed oil free vegetable soup with a couple of small wholemeal crackers and a small side salad. Add half a cup of red kidney beans or chickpeas for hunger control and protein.
Or a large mixed salad with half a cup of beans or chickpeas with an oil free dressing
You can add half a cup cooked grains or quinoa to a salad or a mixed Buddha bowl …but always add half a cup of cooked beans, chickpeas, lentils or tofu!
Many veggie sticks with sun dried tomato hummus.
Use cut up cucumber, celery, carrot, courgettes and cherry tomatoes
Or vegan yogurt with either 2 dried apricots, some berries or a Kiwi fruit
OR have a protein shake with a few seeds on top.
Or home made protein balls: in a processor mash up 1 cup pitted dates, 2 TBS nut butter, 1 scoop of protein powder, 1 TBS raw cacao powder, 1 TBS flax seed meal and 1 TBS chia seeds. Form small balls and roll in coconut shreds.
As a starter: big green juice with minimal fruit, or a pureed veg soup or a mixed green salad
Your basic meal servings, if I were to wash off all the sauces, are ½ cup cooked brown rice, cooked pasta or cooked quinoa, 1/2 cup pulses/legumes for protein and 1.5 cups side vegetables or 2 cups salad. So what does this look like?
How about a stir fry, or sautéed or steamed vegetables, with 1 cup or less of a stew. Or a casserole or Lentil Bolognese?
Or a chickpea curry?
To prevent hunger, fill half your plate with healthy low carb veg such as broccoli, green beans, spinach, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts etc. These have minimal calories and carbs. When using potato or sweet potato, corn and peas, use those in half cup servings.
Fill a quarter of the plate with half cup cooked lentils or beans in a sauce; and the other quarter of the plate is filled with 1/3 or 1/2 a cup of cooked grains like rice, pasta or quinoa.
The star on your plate are low carb vegetables. The dense carbs [beans and grains] are the ‘supporting actors’.
a little frozen banana ‘ice cream’ with almond flakes or 2 dates filled with almond butter…
1.5L to maximum 2 L water. Not more unless you run a marathon or live in a hot climate. Too much water can lead to an imbalance of electrolytes. You can end up with Hyponatremia, which is a life-threatening shortage of sodium in the blood stream. Athletes sometimes end up with this condition if they drink too much water and don’t replace electrolytes.
- Enjoy 2 to 3 cups of green tea a day. I have switched to decaf now…Try it 🙂
- A mixture of 35 g nuts and seeds per day
- Repeating the carb amounts, so you do not forget: per meal, half a cup cooked grains, or half a cup raw oats, or one slice of bread, or a medium potato / sweet potato.
Eat only the equivalent of about 1 to 1.5 cups of cooked whole grains throughout the day. But not in one go because that can cause a sugar spike. After a sugar spike you usually have a sugar ‘crash’ and start getting too hungry. If you’re gluten intolerant, choose gluten free foods.
- Puréed vegetable soups with some bean or tofu content have been proven to control hunger. Prepare a few and keep in your freezer. They are great before a main meal or even as a snack.
- Eat beans, tofu or other vegan proteins at each meal. Half a cup cooked, at least twice a day..
- If gas and wind is a problem, please consult a pharmacy. There are natural preparations available to overcome this frustrating issue.
- Avoid processed oils out of a bottle. They are very high in calories and have some negative health implications that I will leave for another post.
- You can have up to ½ a small avocado per day
- I recommend a vegan Omega 3 preparation. It is made out of micro algae. They contain EPA and DHA. Not ALA which is difficult for the body to convert into the type it likes to use.
- 1 tablespoon flax seed meal or 1 tablespoon chia seeds per day. You can top your cereals or smoothies with these.
- Take a Vit B12 tablet. Dr M.Greger recommends cyanocobalamin rather than methylcobalamin. However, it is not suitable for everyone. The other form, methylcobalamin, a natural form of B12, is easier to absorb, but is less ‘stable’. Please check with your health care practitioner to see which form of B12 is suitable for you. But taking it is a must! If you decide on cyanocobalamin, take about 250mcg per day. I take 500mcg of a mixed B12 product containing both types.
- Take a vegan Vit D3 [cholecalciferol] 2000 IU unless you wish to run around naked in the sunshine for 30 minutes a day. Sunshine assists your body to create its own D3… ….Sunshine? It is difficult to find in the UK.
- Have 3 pieces of fruit a day. Preferably 1 citrus, ½ cup berries and another fruit of your choice. Leave tropical fruits for a treat. Bananas should be small 🙂
As mentioned, invest in a good vegan protein powder. Have that at least 4 times a week as a smoothie instead of a snack or a breakfast. At other times you can add some small amounts to your cereals or chia pots.
For your smoothies, please add 1/2 cup fruit, a handful of green leaves, and flax meal or chia seeds. Avoid high sugar fruit such as grapes, bananas and mangoes. Add also a tablespoon of nut butter to your smoothies for better hunger control.
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Until next time,
Nicki Kelly, The Vegan Weight Loss Mentor.
Disclaimer: The content in this document is for general information only and is not meant as medical advice. Your use of any information in this document is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products or information meet your specific requirements. Please consult your health care provider before starting any weight loss programme.