People think that choosing a vegan lifestyle will help you lose weight, but depending solely on vegan foods and avoiding animal foods like eggs, fish or chicken might lead to some micro nutrients deficiencies. For eg., Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Heme (iron), protein, etc. Also, to lose weight in a healthy way or just to be healthier, only a well balanced diet works.
The following points should be kept in mind before shifting to a vegan diet:
1. Avoid Vegan Junk Foods Vegan junks like French fries, biscuits, ice-cream crackers, etc are high in fats, calories and sugar. They are all considered empty calorie foods.
2. Avoid processed foods Processed foods high in phosphorus and sodium increase acidity in blood which indirectly triggers the release of stress hormones. These stress hormones increase insulin secretion in the body. Increased level of sugar in the blood gets converted to fat and this gets stored in the adipose tissues throughout the body.
3. Avoid refined plant foods Firstly, always choose to consume 100% whole wheat foods or preparations, as they are higher in fiber and contain complex carbohydrates. For eg., if you want to consume rice, then opt for steamed brown rice; and in case of pasta choose whole wheat pasta.
4. Moderate the intake of nuts Though nuts are considered high in protein and are a source of good fats, they are high in calories too. A handful of nuts works as an ideal mid-meal snack or pre workout snack. Even peanut butter or almond butter with fruits of whole wheat bread makes a great snack. But, always make sure you maintain good portion control when eating nuts, to control calorie intake.
5. Eating-out Ordering a vegan meal in restaurants doesn’t always mean that it will be healthy. Restaurant foods are overloaded with salt, sugar and oil. If you're trying to lose weight, be diligent about ordering healthy, oil-free fare such as steamed vegetables and rice or a salad with fresh lemon juice (instead of dressing).
6. Check your portion size Controlling your meal portion size is key to weight control. Always be a smart selector while filling up your plate. Eat in small plates, chew slowly and stop eating once you feel full. Fill your plate with healthy options and select from the five essential food group. For e.g., make sure half the plate is filled with fresh fruits and veggies. If you feel like eating some rice, stick to half a cup instead of one cup.