Whether this decision stems from the desire to cut out acidity and chemicals from your diet, spiritual/energetic reasons, or a compassion for animals, there are a few guidelines to follow to ensure your new vegan nutrition program is optimizing your health and supporting you at a healthy body weight.
I’ve worked with many people who come to me a couple months into their vegan lifestyle and they are experiencing weight gain and fatigue.
The reason for weight gain and fatigue simply put is the improper combination of food and poor food choices.
All food plans should be composed of whole foods and not processed foods.
Eat plenty of fresh uncooked fruits and vegetables. It’s the water-rich foods, the fresh fruits, vegetables and sprouts that cleanse the blood and lymph.
Eat grains such as steel cut oats and quinoa instead of processed pastas. Everything that is unhealthy for us including processed foods creates acidity within the body which is a primary physical cause of many chronic diseases.
One common mistake is to purchase the vegan versions of meat, eggs and pizza.
These products are full of un-natural ingredients, high in sugar, and composed of soy which will contribute to weight gain.
Junk food is junk food whether it’s vegan or not. Potato chips and candy bars are no bueno! Choose dates, fresh fruit or home-made kale chips instead.
Find a protein that’s right for you.
Proteins (amino acids) make up our physical body and protein is needed for growth, maintenance and repair of all body tissues. Animal foods supply all of the essential amino acids that “match” the needs of your body tissues.
Plant sources, though easier to digest, are missing one or more of the essential amino acids so we must combine foods. Combining any vegetable and leafy green with nuts/seeds or legumes makes a complimentary protein.
Goji berries are the exception. They are the only plant based food that is a complete protein. There are several companies that produce raw vegan protein powders including Sunwarrior and Garden of Life. Proteins powders are not essential but it’s a super way to have a nutrient rich and delicious meal such as a breakfast smoothie.
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
This means that in order to be successful with your nutrition program it’s important to prepare and pack your meals for the day in advance. This way, you won’t be tempted to grab a quick fix that is low in nutrients and high in unhealthy fats and carbs.
This is an example of how a healthy vegan’s grocery kart could look:
- Sunwarrior protein
- An assortment of lentils including chick peas and black beans
- Veggies (eat raw with hummus, steamed or make a soup)
- Greens: kale/spinach/ chard
- Chia/Hemp seeds
- Nuts: cashews/walnuts/almonds
- Fresh fruit
- Raw cacao nibs
- Goji berries
- Almond/hemp/coconut milk
- Coconut water
- Frozen berries (smoothies)
- Almond butter/Cashew Butter
- Kelp Noodles
- Lemons and Limes
- Sea salt
Follow these guidelines and you will experience progression on your path to overall well being. You’ll look great and feel even better!