Veganism isn't a diet – it's a lifestyle. Still, one of the common effects of this lifestyle is that you lose weight when you cut animal-derived foods out of your diet.
But if you are actually trying to shed some unwanted pounds, it’s what you eat instead of animal-based foods that will make a difference.
If you are a vegan and you haven't lost weight or if you have even gained weight since beginning your new adventure, then you have come to the right place.
Being vegan is about more than not eating animal-based foods, it is about eating the right kinds of plant-based foods to stay healthy. While the foods in this list aren't necessarily bad for you, they certainly are fattening--and you should monitor the amount you consume.
It comes as little surprise that oil – which is essentially fat – will indeed make you fat. Although some vegans choose to be oil-free, this is not necessary if you are trying to lose weight.
However, you should monitor all of your foods to look for hidden oil. Food producers slip oil into everything from bread to non-dairy milk to hot sauce. Avoid foods that have hidden oils to keep your waistline in check.
While your body needs sodium to function properly, excess salt can cause bloating and heart problems. Vegan foods like canned beans, soups, and other factory-made food contain undue amounts of salt.
If you must add salt to flavor cooked food you should add it before eating and not during the cooking process.
While some forms of alcohol use animal products in the fermenting process, most of us can find plenty of vegan-friendly wines, beers, and cocktails.
The occasional adult beverage is fine, but if you drink every day or regularly drink to excess, you will find it very difficult to lose weight.
4. Caloric Beverages
Even if you don't drink much alcohol, there are still bothersome drinks out there. If you drink other high-calorie beverages--like soda and juice--then you will face a similar struggle with weight gain.
Calories you drink will not fill you up like calories that you have to chew first. So stick to low-calorie choices like water and unsweetened tea. Add a slice of zero calorie lemon to give it some flavor.
5. Fried Vegetables
While vegetables are great for you and are crucial for a vegan lifestyle, if your preferred method of cooking is to fry everything, then you will definitely not lose weight.
Foods like sweet potato fries or fried plantains are delicious, but are by no means healthy once extra oil and salt have been added.
6. Dried Fruit
Most fruits are already high in sugar. When fruits are dried, food manufacturers tend to add extra sugar and oil to preserve and enhance the taste.
While dried fruits are a great (albeit indulgent) snack, pay attention to the serving size. A small bag of dried fruit that is easily eaten in one sitting can contain five servings, which adds up to a lot of sugar. Opt for dried fruits that have no sugar added.
7. Vegan Junk Food
Just because you're vegan doesn't mean you will miss out on classic comfort foods like cookies, brownies, ice cream, and the like.
As a vegan, you have similar dessert options as your non-vegan counterparts--and these options can be just as bad for you as the original version. As such, limit your intake of these kinds of foods and your waistline will thank you.
8. High-Fat Plant-Based Foods
There are different kinds of fats, and some are actually good for you in small amounts. The polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in many plant foods are good for your heart, but they can pack on pounds just like saturated or trans fats.
Don't avoid high-fat foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, tofu, coconuts, and olives. Just don't let these foods be staples in your diet.
Find Healthy Inspiration
If you are on the hunt for healthy, weight-loss-inducing foods, keep an eye out for vegan-friendly dishes.
There is an extensive list of healthy, weight loss inspired recipes on the blog for a Denver weight loss clinic. The site has several vegan-friendly ideas.
Of course, you’ll want to keep an eye on the recipes listed here on The Flaming Vegan. Several are perfect for anyone hoping to lose weight.
Also, it’s a good idea to start a board on Pinterest to store all the recipes you find online. Then, when you need healthy ideas and motivation, you have a ready-made list.
Like with any other lifestyle, being vegan is all about balance. The foods in this list can be eaten and enjoyed, but if you are conscious about your weight you should only enjoy them in limited amounts.
What is your food temptation that constantly threatens your weight loss efforts?
Flickr image by SiroGraphy