Weight Loss as a Vegan? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 05-23-2006, 03:12 PM
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Hi all,

I've been a vegetarian (lacto-ovo) for a while now (back on it after 10 years of being a carnivore) and I feel like I'm relying too much on dairy and eggs for protein which is affecting my health. I think I'm ready to move on to a more vegan way of life. I'm also trying to lose a little weight (about 9 pounds) to get in gear for the summer.



I've been dieting (low fat, low calorie, low carb, you name it ) for most of my life and frankly, I'm tired of it. I've been doing nothing but be on the diet/binge cycle for 20 years and I know that's not going to get me anywhere in the long run, healthwise or weightwise. So ideally, I'd like to eat a healthy vegan diet without necessarily restricting anything to the point where I feel deprived. There are some things I don't have a problem with - for example, I'm not a big grain eater and restricting myself to, say, 2-3 servings a day (such as 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal and 1/2 cup cooked couscous) wouldn't bother me. I'm not a big believer in super low-fat, though, so I wouldn't do well restricting fats too much, though I could live on a few tablespoons of olive oil for cooking throughout the day and maybe an ounce or two of nuts only. I'd much rather focus on veggies, fruits (again, not a big fan of them, so I wouldn't overdo), legume (which I love) and protein sources (mainly tofu, since I can't seem to get anything like TVP or seitan in West Texas and I'd rather stay away from the packaged soy products like veggie burgers and veggie sausages).



Anyway, I'm wondering if I do move to a vegan diet and focus on the good stuff while eating what I feel comfortable with of grains and fats, would I be able to lose the 9 pounds anyway without being on a "diet"? I've read on this board that people have said when they switched from being vegetarian to vegan they did manage to lose weight without necessarily setting out to do that.



I should mention that I do exercise pretty regularly - about 45 minutes of moderate (pilates/resistance bands workout) exercise 6 days a week.



If anyone has had experience switching to a vegan lifestyle and managed to lose weight too I'd love to hear about it.



Thanks,

Tam
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#2 Old 05-23-2006, 03:20 PM
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If you focus on eating whole, natural foods, I think you'll be okay as long as you don't go overboard with nuts, seeds, and oils.



I'm doing the plan found in the book "Eat to Live" by Dr. Joel Furhman -- if you're up for a challenge, I highly recommend it. In fact, I recommend reading the book for the nutritional information even if you're not going to do his six-week plan.
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#3 Old 05-23-2006, 03:25 PM
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I cut my egg and dairy intake by about 90% and so far I've lost 6 pounds in 2 months, without a change in exercise level. YMMV, of course.
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#4 Old 05-23-2006, 05:46 PM
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Thanks for the replies. Junia, I stumbled upon ETL through my online research but the thing that really bothers me about that plan is the severe restrictions on fats (from what I understand, only 1 oz of nuts or 2 oz avocado per day and that's it) and the no-oils ban. I refuse to cut my fat that severely, since I know from experience that that's just a recipe for disaster for me. I did an online calculation of what a vegan menu might look like for me with the guildelines I set for myself and the fat percentage was at 40%, which I think is low-moderate and that's totally fine by me.



Tam
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#5 Old 05-23-2006, 06:27 PM
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FYI, the severe restrictions are just for the first six weeks -- it kind of helps you lose your taste for those things, so when you add oils back, you don't desire as much. For the long-term, fats are fine, especially things like olive oil or nuts.



For your purposes, I think you can get good results with moderate changes. Keep us posted, eh? Good luck!
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#6 Old 05-24-2006, 06:00 AM
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Hi Tammay!

I can't help much with weight loss, going vegan hasn't changed my weight, but you don't have to buy seitan. You can make it yourself and it's quite easy. It's easier if you have vital wheat gluten but you can make it with regular flour with a little bit of elbow grease. Seitan is my new favorite food. If you have vital wheat gluten (health food stores sell it) it's 1/2 cup VWG and 1/2 cup water. Mix it together until it forms a ball and then knead it for 5 minutes. Then you just mix together a broth of spices and water and boil it for about 60 minutes. If you want, drop me a PM and I'll give you some recipes that were hits with my family.

Mary
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#7 Old 05-24-2006, 08:39 AM
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I think by cutting out milk, butter, cheese and eggs, and by doing 30 to 60 minutes of exersise per day, you would not need to change or restrict any other part of your diet. Getting the 1,500 or so cals you need to thrive on a vegan diet will mean eating a lot. The majority of calories you take in, if you take in the required amount goes to basic bodily functions, so restricting your calories too much will put you into a starvation mode. The Vegitarian Resource group has an article called "weight control the vegan way" which might help you. http://www.vrg.org/index.htm
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#8 Old 05-24-2006, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gita View Post

I think by cutting out milk, butter, cheese and eggs, and by doing 30 to 60 minutes of exersise per day, you would not need to change or restrict any other part of your diet. Getting the 1,500 or so cals you need to thrive on a vegan diet will mean eating a lot. The majority of calories you take in, if you take in the required amount goes to basic bodily functions, so restricting your calories too much will put you into a starvation mode. The Vegitarian Resource group has an article called "weight control the vegan way" which might help you. http://www.vrg.org/index.htm



Hmm, I looked for that article but couldn't find it...
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#9 Old 05-24-2006, 11:50 AM
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Thank you all for being so helpful. I'm making my lists and gathering recipes so I'll be switching over on Friday (need a few days to get rid of all the dairy).



Mary, thank you for the seitan recipe. I'm actually familiar with vital wheat gluten from my days as a lowcarber. In fact, had a bag in my fridge when I was living in San Francisco and never figured out what to do with it. Unfortunately, I tossed it when I moved to Texas but I'll order some again. Right now, I think I'm trying to figure out how to get enough protein in. I know according to most statistics, women need about 60 grams a day which isn't much, but I'm coming from a lowcarb background so I got used to eating a lot or protein. I'll just have to get creative!



I love these boards - they've been such a great help!



Tam
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#10 Old 05-25-2006, 09:59 AM
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Protein - beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts/seeds and a lot of veggies, surprisingly enough. Tofu and soymilk too if you eat those things (some do, some don't - it depends on the individual completely).



Nutritiondata.com is a lovely place to search veg sources of protein. It's also a great tracker, if you want to see how you're managing or if you're too high/too low on certain things.
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#11 Old 05-25-2006, 10:00 AM
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Hi the article "Weight Control the Vegan Way" is un the upper center box (veg*n journal online) with a link in purple, it is the first article in the set of links. They have a few more intereresting articles. I have this one book marked.



~Gita
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#12 Old 05-25-2006, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tammay View Post

I did an online calculation of what a vegan menu might look like for me with the guildelines I set for myself and the fat percentage was at 40%, which I think is low-moderate and that's totally fine by me.



Tam



40% is sounds like it's on the high side. I was under the impression that people should aim for aprox. 30% or less, keeping saturated fat to under 10%.



But I do think that avoiding animal products and focusing on whole foods helps weight loss. I actually lost about 20 over a year and a half without dieting. I just made that same kind of lifestyle change.

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#13 Old 05-25-2006, 11:48 AM
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Thanks, Gita! I don't know how I missed it!
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#14 Old 05-25-2006, 01:05 PM
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Weight loss happens when you go vegan. A reduction in milk fat I'm sure helps very much. I know when I went vegan I ate more veggies per meal. I also found I had less of a taste for sweets. Which I'm sure aids in weight loss. Plus vegan sweets I'm sure has to be lowerer in fats and calories than non-vegan sweets.
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