Are you vegan (or newly turned vegan…) and proud?
So how do you ensure that you still get the required minerals, vitamins or the recommended portions?
There are millions of true vegans all over the world right now (some looking to shed some extra fat…) and our professional nutritionist has decided to share some fun nutrition facts and a vegan diet plan for weight loss beginners.
Let’s feed you some yummy food as we keep you both lean and healthy…shall we?
Going fully vegan is considered the healthiest option for obvious reasons. A strict full-time vegan diet will ensure that you never have problems with high cholesterol or blood pressure, no risk of type 2 diabetes, or some types of cancers, or even heart problems caused by clogged arteries.
Planning your snacks or meals is important though; you need to ensure that your diet gives you the right nutrients and that you eat proper portions.
You will also be surprised to find out why some foods labeled as vegan…are not really vegan!
So what should you be eating?
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A True Vegan Basic Diet
I bet you didn’t know honey is off the table for a true vegan right?
Yes, everything remotely related to an animal; eggs, all kinds of meats, dairy products, the rennet they use on cheese, some food colors like the E120 (red food color), and oh yes, Quorn.
The ingredients used to make Quorn have some traces of dairy and they also include eggs. Some desserts also contain gelatin which is a big no-no for true vegans.
What Should Be On Your Shopping List?
If you’re a young vegan, then maybe it’s time you learned how to prepare home-made delicacies using ingredients that are “safely” vegan.
So what are we talking about???
a) Check your pastries or the breads you reach for…some may have a bit of milk or butter.
b) All packaged products are required by law to have a complete list of ingredients and preservatives used. Avoid products that have lactose and casein which are common ingredients in most of our cooking additives like stock cubes or bouillon powder and even some sauces.
c) Stay away from non-vegan beer and wine because sometimes they use animal products to process them.
d) Ever heard of vege-gel? Replace that gelatine from your puddings and desserts with this…or you can use another seaweed product called agar agar.
e) You are also replacing all dairy products or by-products in your desserts with fortified alternatives. Soft tofu is good.
Want a more detailed guide? Well, let’s get right into it then…
For Your Breakfast
A good kick-start to your day determines a lot; what you will eat or crave for later, how your metabolism runs, or your blood sugar among other things like your mood.
Skipping or eating the wrong breakfast can very well lead you to choosing the wrong things to end up on your plate during the day.
This can never be a good thing for people on weight loss programs right?
So how do you ensure that you have a perfect start to your day(s)?
Try some refreshing smoothies like a coconut and creamy mango smoothie, or have mushroom and tomato pancakes.
A blueberry-apple bircher can also work wonders in the morning and still get you going strong before you need to snack or eat.
The main thing to note here is that you need to be careful to take in enough important minerals and vitamins; some of which may not be available in the veggies and fruits you eat.
A vitamin like B12 is mainly found in animal products such as cheese and eggs but you can also get that from soya products, B12 supplements and eating fortified cereals for breakfast.
You need this for normal functioning of nerves or sustaining healthy RBC’s (Red Blood Cells).
We get much of our vitamin D from the sun through the skin…but what happens during winter?
We still need about 10 micrograms of both vitamin B12 and vitamin D in our daily intake; so how do you take care of your vitamin D requirements?
Supplements, soya milk, or some fortified spreads. Please note that the vitamin D supplements should be D2 as D3 has been proven unfit for true vegans.
Dealing With Mid-Morning Snacking
A good breakfast will definitely keep your energy levels well balanced throughout the day and your cravings at bay.
However, if you ever feel the need to replenish your energy or adding on to your day’s nutrition intake, then energy bites made from flaxseeds, raisins, peanut butter, coconut and pecans are a good option.
Yogurt is also another good way to go especially if you can get your hands on cherry soya flavored yogurt.
Just make sure you leave enough space for your lunch…Weight loss is not about skipping meals…it’s simply about eating right and staying active.
What About Your Lunch?
Of course saturated fats are always discouraged on the vegan diet but this also means a short supply of DHA and EPA which are important omega-3 fats found in fish and seafood.
How do you stay on top of this problem?
Easy…oils from rapeseed, walnut, and hemp, eating nuts or better still, supplements made from micro-algae and maybe including sea veggies like kelp in your meals.
The trick to dealing with those nasty munchies during the afternoon is to eat high protein & carb meals for lunch.
Be careful because not all carbs are good for your blood sugar. Therefore, you’re much safer eating pulses, nuts, beans or seeds and avoid white sugary foods at all costs.
Whole-grain and high fiber content should be your primary target. This means you can have herby apricot quinoa, some tortilla croutons and a Mexican salad, sesame dressing on Japanese noodles, or a salad with red onion, cherry tomatoes and cannellini beans.
Snacking in The Mid-Afternoon
Having about a handful of seed and spicy nuts mixture in a vegetable dip should have you well taken care of…You can also include dried fruit if you like sweet things.
Try a healthy seed-apricot protein bar or spike your houmous with harissa.
What’s For Dinner?
How does ratatouille sound? Some leafy greens for iodine; chickpeas, lentils or tofu for proteins, and some yeast extract for vitamin B12 and flavor.
Dress your salads with the safe oils highlighted above (hemp, walnut, flaxseed or rapeseed oil…).
Healthy fats help your body do some very important repair and regeneration work as you sleep and this is good news for your hair and skin.
So you can have a serving of veggie biriyani & carrot salad for your dinner; chickpea curry with spinach and tomato or lasagna made with lentils.
All in all, you need to keep your iron, zinc and vitamin intake as sufficient as possible.
What About the Portions or RI (Reference Intake)…?
Since we all have different body needs and body sizes, it’s very difficult to come up with a specific universal amount of serving for every individual per meal/snack.
However, there are certain standard measurements you can use to help you stay within the recommended daily portions or calorie intake.
1. Two cupped hands of snacks like crisps and popcorn
2. You should have carbs like pasta and rice or cereals the size of your own clenched fist
3. The palm of your hand should be enough animal protein (fish, poultry, or meat,) when necessary.
4. Minimize the amount baked foods like flapjacks or brownies to only two of your fingers.
5. The tip of your finger (thumb) should just be enough spread or butter to supply you with all the nutrition your body requires in a day.
Please also note that you are recommended to have a maximum intake of 2 tablespoons of oil per day when following this vegan diet plan for weight loss beginners.
The following is a breakdown of your recommended calorie and nutritional intake for each single day:
Salt (6 g), protein (50 g), fat (70 g), carbohydrates (260 g), saturates (20 g), fiber (20 g), sugar (90 g) and about 2000 kcal (kilocalories).