Going Vegan and Gluten Free?

Are you thinking of going vegan and gluten free? I have soooo much to tell you!

Have you missed me? I have taken a long break from the blog over the past few months to focus on our family. You might not see me quite so much on the internet, but don’t worry, I’m still here, and I have some exciting news! And a looong post to welcome you into the new year.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I have been struggling with my personal health issues for several years. It’s true that I have also wanted to lose weight, and I’ve even blogged about that before as well, but last year I made some very big changes to my lifestyle and they made a huge impact to my overall health. This post is for those of you who may have made a similar New Year’s resolution and are also considering going vegan and gluten free (or maybe just one or the other).

When I shared on my Facebook page that I had been successful not only losing a significant amount of weight, but also reducing the neurological symptoms I’d been suffering for the past few years, several of you asked me to do a post about the changes I made. When I wrote my post What I Learned From Posting My Weight on The Internet, I weight over 180 pounds. It says 180 in that post, but if I remember correctly I was actually 183. As of this morning, those last two numbers were inverted and I was about 138. That’s 45 pounds gone! My ultimate goal was 135 and to get back into my wedding dress. I have not hit my goal quite yet (close enough), but I DID get back in my dress!

Since you asked, hold on to your hats, this is a long one, but here we go.

Why are we here?

I want to start by saying this post is not about weight loss advice. I believe that choice is very personal and every person needs to make that decision for themselves when they are ready. I’m not a doctor or a trainer, and I am not here to talk to you about your own health. But you asked me to share what I have been doing, so here goes.

What did you do?

In 2017 I became an insufferable vegan, gluten free millennial. Yup. And it worked!

Prior to making that change, I’d spent four years on various medications trying to control the symptoms of a benign brain lesion that was getting out of hand and taking over my life, causing me to spend a great deal of time in bed and not being as active as I would have like to be. That was partly the reason I gained a bunch of weight. The other part was that I had two babies, and also I like to eat cake. Now I’m down to just one tiny pill a day and crossing my fingers that I might even be able to get off of that one this year. The thing is, the weight loss for me was sort of a happy accident. It happened because I was trying to get healthy and control my other symptoms and in finding something that worked for me, the weight also started to shed.

I started gradually. I knew I wanted to get healthy and I was finally ready to do that. Legitimately ready, which is a huge part of the process. I have tried a lot of programs in the past, but none of them worked well for me, in large part because I wasn’t fully committed and I didn’t really believe in what I was doing. I do not like the programs where you have to eat boxed, processed food and I find the ones where you have to count points tend to lead to binge eating for me because I horde my points and then find myself sitting in the fast food parking lot at 11 pm with three cheeseburgers spending all those points I banked throughout the week. I know that’s not healthy and I don’t like the person I am while doing it. That’s not who I want to be and it’s not the example I want to set for my daughters especially. I’m glad those programs work well for some people, but they just don’t work for me. However, I did want to get healthy. So in the summer of last year, I hired an online trainer and I did one round of her program. One of her suggestions was to reduce gluten and dairy, and I found that I felt SO much better when I did that, I was sort of amazed. The numbness in my extremities went away immediately, as did my vertigo, and my headaches were reduced significantly. I wasn’t supposed to weigh myself on her program, but I could tell just by the way my body was reacting that something positive was happening.

At the same time, I went to a week-long conference and many of the people there were vegetarian or vegan. We ate cafeteria-style and there were a lot of food options available to accommodate that choice, so I was able to test a few.

I watched a few documentaries and then I read the research about how a plant-based diet is known to have a positive impact on people with autoimmune issues, and I figured it couldn’t hurt anything to try it out. What did I have to lose? So I told myself I was going to go vegan and gluten free for 100 days, just to see what kind of a difference it could make. That was six months ago. I’m still doing it, I feel awesome, and I have no plans to go back.

Ok, that’s nice and everything. But what do you eat?

Surprisingly, a lot of stuff. A ridiculous amount of burrito bowls, for one thing. I just don’t put meat or cheese on them anymore. I still go out to eat, often to restaurants like Moe’s or Chipotle, and I’ll get a bowl full of rice and beans and literally every vegetable option they have. This week I made a big pot of vegetarian chili at the beginning of the week and ate that for several meals. Sometimes I eat it over a rice or a baked potato or baked sweet potato fries, sometimes I just eat it by itself. I eat salads, but not as often as you’d probably think. I eat soup or black bean burgers, or gluten free pasta with tomato sauce. I eat smoothies, or gluten free oatmeal, or nuts. I eat a lot of vegetables and a lot of fruit. There is a ton of inspiration on Pinterest, so I go there and make things I find that look yummy. There is also an app called Happy Cow you can put on your phone that will tell you where vegan and vegetarian restaurants are. I’m fortunate enough that I do not have any actual food allergies, so for me this is only a preference, which enables me to eat at restaurants without much worry and not have to be as diligent about things like cross-contamination.

I swear to you, it’s not bad. If it was, I wouldn’t do it. I still get to eat nachos, I just have to remember to order them sin carne and without cheese. (I thought I’d really miss cheese. I don’t.) Ben and Jerry’s even makes dairy free ice cream now, so this transition has been relatively painless. Here are a few things I’ve eaten over the past few months:

This lunch was a black bean burger on a corn tortilla with tomato and spinach. I had some strawberries and sweet potato chips on the side.

We had some leftover vegetables and rice from dinner, so the next day I threw them in a pan together and made myself a vegetable fried rice for lunch.

Here’s the chili I told you about. (Before I cooked the liquid out)

Sometimes I just throw whatever we have on a plate. This is black beans, avocado, and pineapple salsa.

I eat a lot of spinach. In salads and in smoothies.

This smoothie is frozen berries, coconut water, a handful of raw spinach, and protein. You can buy vegan brands of protein powder, like Vega.

This is just a bowl of oatmeal with fruit and nuts.

I have leanred that I am pretty awful at making my own pizza crusts, but I don’t mind homemade cheeseless pizzas with BBQ sauce and a bunch of veggies on top of them. (I usually buy gluten free crusts at the store now, though. There are several local delivery places that also do GF crusts, so sometimes we order pizza and I’ll get one without cheese and topped with veggies. Unfortunately, I have found that pizza is just one thing that is not the same when it’s not in it’s original form, however.)

I didn’t even have to give up chai lattes. I just make them myself at home now with dairy free milk. They are cheaper that way anyway.

Um, that is a ton of beans. Do you have a lot of gas now?

Haha. You’d think so, right? But actually, no. I am much more, ahem, regular than I ever have been before, but I was surprised to find that after the first two weeks or so I felt much less bloated.

How do you do this with an entire family?

My family was not interested in giving up meat. Eddie and my mom both eat less meat than they did before, but I am the only one in our family who is eating a fully plant-based diet. Sometimes that means I make something like that big pot of chili I told you about or a pot of soup, and I’ll eat that as an alternative if the rest of my family is having something I don’t eat. Other times it means we have a lot of options and I can eat most of them. For example, if we have steak, potatoes, spinach, and salad on the table, then I can eat everything but the steak. I might make myself a black bean burger or something instead. It helps to have things like that prepared in advance so you can just take them out of the freezer and heat them up. On taco nights I fill a bowl with rice and beans while everyone else fills their taco with meat and cheese, then we all share the same toppings (corn, salsa, avocado, etc). We still have spaghetti night, I just switched out the box and buy gluten free pasta now.

Is it expensive?

If you buy all of the specialty gluten free items in the health food aisle, a lot of pre-packaged food, or organic everything, then yes. It’s going to add up really quickly. But it doesn’t have to be expensive at all. If you think about it, the most expensive things in your grocery budget right now are probably the meat, milk, and cheese. For example, it’s now cheaper for me to make the vegetarian version of that chili using beans than it was when I used to make it with meat. It’s about 1/3 of the cost to make chickpea salad instead of chicken salad. And it’s cheaper to just have spaghetti with marinara without the meatballs. You get the idea.

Have there been any other changes you’ve noticed?

The one negative thing I can say I’ve noticed is that I have a lot more breakouts around my chin area now. I’ve read that this happens sometimes. For most people it goes away, but for me it’s still happening. However, overall, my skin is much improved. You can see in the before and after photos that it’s remarkably different. There is noticeably less redness and I think I look younger now than I did four years ago. My nails and hair are also stronger. I am also less irritable, overall, I think. Eddie says I seem like an entirely different person.

Why are you cutting out gluten too?

The reasearch I read was mostly about going plant-based when you had auto-immune issues, and I have noticed after a lot of experimenting that my neurological symptoms seemed to be triggered mostly by dairy. I can’t speak for anyone else. The few times I’ve “cheated” either on purposed or by accident and something had milk or eggs listed as an ingredient, those days did not end well for me. I decided to cut out gluten at first because I thought it would be a good way for me to cut back on the sweets and breads that were a big stumbling block for me in my weight loss journey. (And that is true, it has been! I eat WAY fewer desserts now.) I’m not nearly as careful about gluten as I am about being vegan. Sometimes I shrug and splurge a little bit on something that has wheat in it. But do notice that when I decide to splurge on those gluten treats, my tummy lets me know for the rest of the day it has strong feelings about that!

This seems so overwhelming, how did you even start?

It is. Anytime you make a huge change, it is overwhelming. I started by making sure I had a positive mindset about the shift in my lifestyle. I knew it would be easy for me to get discouraged and start to focus on all the things I miss. (And I DO miss things. Man, I want a Chick Fil A original chicken sandwich on some says. And greasy mall pizza. And a cheese steak sub. And a brownie sundae….)But rather than focusing on all the things I can’t have, I made a conscious choice to focus on all the awesome things I can have.

I literally sat down and made a list in alphabetical order of every single food I could still eat that I liked and ideas for recipes I could make with those foods. Then I went to Pinterest and found even more ideas.

You can download a copy of my food list .

There are plenty more options available, these just happen to be the ones I started with and the ones I knew I liked. I also put together a list of a few simple meal ideas to get myself started.

Vegan Meal Ideas

Breakfast:

Smoothies

Oatmeal

Granola

Potato hash

Flourless muffins

Fruit Salad

GF Vegan waffles/pancakes

Lunch/Dinner:

Soups (Corn chowder, black bean, vegetable)

Sandwiches/Wraps (veggies, nut butter & jelly, etc)

Salads

Burrito Bowls/Taco Salads

Black bean burritos

Veggie Burgers

Vegan Pizza/flatbread (GF)

GF Pasta with meatless meatballs

Seasoned Rice

Roasted or grilled vegetables/ stir fry

Stuffed peppers

Snacks:

Popcorn

Chips (potato, corn chips, sweet potato, carrot, etc.)

Celery with peanut butter

Dried fruit

Fruit/Veggies

Nuts

Roasted chick peas

Energy bites

Granola bars

Sunflower seeds

Desserts:

Fruit Crumbles

Chocolate

Dairy free ice cream

Homemade peanut butter cups

Vegan mousse

Vegan fudge

Dessert nachos

I am no expert and I will never claim to be. If you decide you’d like to make a big change like this, I highly recommend you talk to a doctor and consult a trainer and a dietician first. I did all of those things for myself and I do not regret it.

I’d love to hear about it in the comments or over on my Facebook page if you do decide you’d like to make the change. I’m always looking for more recipe ideas!

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I started a 3 week gluten free and vegan diet at the end of June mainly because I wanted a bit of a detox. My discipline had been lacking over the last few months and I found myself introducing a bit more junk into my day, sometimes without realising I was doing it! I felt that by setting myself a structured diet plan I would have focus on the foods I wanted to eat and I’d have a good reason to say no to the ones I didn’t want to eat! I also was interested to see how I would feel reintroducing wheat and gluten after the 3 weeks because I have often thought I may be intolerant to it!

It’s been really interesting and although I have had a few days not following it strictly (either by lack of planning or by lack of willpower) I have felt a lot of health benefits! I instantly lost a bit of weight, I did not feel uncomfortable after meals at all during the 2 weeks I did strictly follow the diet whereas before I would sometimes experience bloating or an uncomfortable heavy feeling after eating. I have also felt more energetic and I have felt happier consistently which sounds like a strange side effect to a change in diet but I feel like my head has been clearer and I really think it may be down to eating whole foods.

When you say “Vegan AND Gluten Free” to people they tend to think you are crazy, and don’t get me wrong it has been restricted especially when your not preparing your own food at home, but I have not gone hungry and I have eaten a wide variety of foods! Being forced to eat natural, whole foods means you are naturally eating low GI like beans and lentils which keep you fuller for longer.

One time I accidentally went off track was at a gig when a friend came back with a round of beers as the bar had no cider, I decided to drink it anyway and interestingly my stomach was very painful almost instantly after finishing it. I felt sluggish and uncomfortable with sharp pains in my gut, this made me even more determined that I may be intolerant to wheat and gluten! I have cut beer out completely (which is probably an all round good decision) and moved onto Cider as my pint of choice if we are at a pub. I’m not quite ready to cut alcohol out completely!! 🙂

Another time was purely me being self indulgent! I bought Scott a lemon tart as a treat whilst I was out with friends however he didn’t eat it. The next day we shared it even though it was very much neither vegan or gluten free! It was delicious but again it didn’t make me feel good afterwards! I think for me this is enough evidence that I should have a proper allergy test to investigate my relationship with wheat and gluten further.

On a more positive note, I have been sharing photos of the meals I have been eating over the past few weeks on my facebook and twitter. The feedback has mainly been “that looks yummy!” which just proves that this diet is full of delicious options.

Some of my favourites have included:

A variety of healthy Breakfasts includingBasil Tofu Scramble with avocado or Apricot and Flax Porridge or my new fave Vanilla French Toast (recipe here)

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and I really thought I would have missed my usual eggs after a few weeks however I haven’t! In fact it’s kind of gone in the opposite direction, the thought of rich scrambled eggs makes me feel a little sick. I’m not saying I will never eat an egg ever again but for now I am really happy having lighter vegan foods.

My Version of a Vegan and Gluten Free “Cooked Breakfast”, perfect for a lazy sunday! Avocado, Grilled Tomatoes, Baked Beans and Basil Tofu Scramble

My Weekday breakfasts have consisted mainly of Gluten Free Buckwheat Porridge made with Almond Milk and topped with Ground Flax and Fresh Apricot.

I couldn’t resist trying out a Vegan French Toast recipe (my first ever try of french toast). I used Gluten Free Fruit Loaf and added blueberries and strawberries for added flavour!

I always try and pack a lunch for work, not only does it save money but it stops me eating rubbish packaged foods when visiting a shop whilst hungry! I love showing off my creative salads and I always feel great after some food! A whole day at a desk is made easier with the knowledge you have some beautiful homemade food to look forward to! Packed lunches for me consist of things like Mexican Chopped Salad, Roasted Vegetables and Quinoa or Gluten Free Pitta breads filled with Roasted Aubergine, Sundried Tomatoes, Avocado and Watercress.

This is one of my new fave lunches, so healthy and really filling. My tortilla chips went soggy because I put salsa on them but still yum!

This was going to be a blog recipe but it really is just roasted veg stirred into quinoa with some balsamic vinegar. So delicious though!

Gluten Free didn’t quite curb my carbs! But I filled my pittas with loads of veggies and served it with a Carrot Salad

And finally I have also had some really nice Dinners over the last few weeks with plenty of varieties of ingredients and lots of different colours on my plate. Evening meals included Jambalaya with Salsa and Green veg, Moroccan Tagine and Green veg and Gluten Free Pasta bake with…….Green veg! I always have something green on my plate in the evening, it makes me feel like I am ending the day on a good note.

Jambalaya! Great served with spicy salsa and greens 🙂

I really enjoyed having a bit of gluten free pasta, I kept my portion size down and tried to fill half my plate with veg at all times!

I really like tagine and it’s something a bit different to have as a midweek supper, really easy to make and you can freeze leftovers!

I found that following this diet naturally lended itself to three proper meals with only one or two snacks. I had such a huge variety of foods at each meal and was aware of keeping everything balanced to make sure I get enough protein etc so I didn’t feel the need for much more food. Snacks I have eaten were mainly nuts and seeds, apples, cherry tomatoes, plain popcorn, the occasional gluten free pitta with some peanut butter and plenty of crudités and salsa.

Because I did find myself falling back into old habits slightly after 2 weeks I gave myself a weekend off completely and then got back on track today. After one day where I ate bread, pasta, cheese, wine and chocolate (I know, I know, I didn’t just fall off the wagon I got run over by the wagon twice!) I felt so depressed and fat and just awful! It reminded me that these changes I am making, and the journey I have been on pretty much since starting this blog, are a lifestyle I am building which will last forever. You have to be realistic and accept that there will be days where you do just eat rubbish but I also want to feel and look amazing most of the time!

Another observation I found (I’m nearly done I promise!) is that eating well these past few weeks has encouraged me to start exercising properly again. When you feel great on the inside you want it to be reflected on the outside! Also by exercising regularly it makes those junk days less of a problem because you can work it off!

So yes, vegan and gluten free….it’s something I have enjoyed very much and I will take the ethos forward with me in my diet. I don’t feel the need to label myself as vegan and gluten free quite yet but I definitely have realised that wheat, gluten and animal products are really not necessary for an enjoyable and balanced diet! 🙂

The gluten-free transition is not always an easy one. Before I took the time to educate myself about gluten (which is a string of proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye) and its effects on the human body, I casually shrugged off the term “gluten-free.” I was vegan and eating healthily, I thought, but something was still off with my digestion and energy levels. After doing some of my own research, I finally realized years of struggling with depression, anxiety, hormonal imbalances, joint pain, constipation, and mental fog were due to my serious gluten intolerance.

Should you go gluten-free and vegan?

Dr. Kaslow explains that to those intolerant to the protein, gluten destroys the inner lining, or the finger like villa, of the intestine that takes in nourishment from food. In Western society we are over-eating, yet undernourished, and thus not getting the nutrients from food that help us get the juice out of life to feel happy.

So you throw out those organic wheat crackers, pour the soy sauce down the drain, and think now what?

How to start:

The best way is cold turkey. I am talking AA style, friend intervention cold turkey. You cannot be a little bit gluten intolerant just like you cannot be a little bit allergic to peanuts. Once that light bulb went off for me, I realized going gluten-free was more of a spiritual and empowering health journey than an uphill battle with inner demons. My biggest mistake the first month was removing gluten products from my diet, but sneaking a sip of my favorite beer. The next morning I could barely sit up in bed, my throat was itchy, my stomach returned to its old bloated self.

Even a taste of beer can really hinder the detoxification process and prolong the healing period. If you are gluten intolerant or celiac, even a crumb of gluten is going to cause an immune system reaction and you will experience negative effects within hours.

What to expect:

Your stomach:

The first three days going gluten free, I immediately noticed a difference in bloating. For years I was told stress was behind my IBS like symptoms of constant discomfort after eating. Literally within days of removing gluten, I felt like someone had replaced my stomach for a new one! I became regular (eureka). Expect better digestion, faster metabolism, and that lingering digestive uneasiness to disappear.

Your skin:

Many people experience a complete clearing up of the skin within weeks of going gluten free, even if they have been suffering from serious acne for years. In my case, I developed some cystic acne near my jaw line and cheeks that I had never experienced before. This could happen as your body is working to get rid of some deeper toxins. I also experienced eczema on my arms and legs as my body detoxified in the first few months even though I had never had it before. I read up on blogs and realized other people were going through the same detox symptoms I was, and it made challenging days easier when I understood my experience was a shared one.

Although my skin related issues seemed uncomfortable at the time, not everyone will have the same experience. Months into my new lifestyle, I saw a brighter, happier, and more glowing person in the mirror than I had seen in over a decade.

Your brain:

At first, I focused too much on the physical symptoms of gluten intolerance. Sometimes people will not exhibit the physical signs of gluten intolerance, but rather be inflicted with the mental symptoms such as brain fog, anxiety, and the more serious issues like depression and schizophrenia. Gluten was the reason behind the heavy weight of depression I experienced years ago, but I had immediate mental and emotional relief within the first few days of going gluten free. Not only will brain fog dissipate, you will feel more focused and confident in your decisions.

Your personality:

The biggest surprise when going gluten free is personality change. The body will start absorbing vitamins and minerals and thus you will feel happier and hormones will become balanced. You will finally be able to follow your intuition. Your mind will be clearer and your inner self will shine. Things will start to happen naturally and feel genuinely connected to your bigger life plan. Today I am happy to say that I haven’t experienced a single day of depression for years.

“Gluten-poisoning”:

Accidental encounters with gluten are an issue as you transition into this new lifestyle, whether it is due to cross contamination of gluten containing foods from cutting boards at a restaurant, or not checking all the ingredients on a condiment (ketchup hurts so good). The first year into my detoxification, eczema would reappear to alert me that I had eaten gluten. Now my throat begins to itch, my body begins to ache, my skin suffers a series of small breakouts, and I realize a storm is coming. At that point I run to the store, grab coconut waters, and some simple foods until the gluten passes through. Sometimes you may feel feverish and like you have the flu, other times your intestines will feel as if they are in knots. Some things you can do to speed up the detoxification process is take activated charcoal, drink water with apple cider vinegar, take quality probiotics, eat whole plant based foods, and get plenty of rest! The most important thing is to not be too hard on yourself if you accidentally backtrack. Eventually you will learn the right remedies that will help you heal faster, and become a pro at making sure foods and restaurants suite your gluten free eating habits.

Some really helpful links for your new journey into the gluten-free diet!

hidden sources of gluten:

gluten free alternatives: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2009/04/gluten-free-cheat-sheet-how-to-go-g.html

community: http://www.celiac.com/blogs

sources: http://www.drkaslow.com/html/gluten-brain_connection_.html

Are you gluten-free–or would you ever try it? Please share!

Photo: Kelly Garbato via Flickr

Supplements and Weight Loss: Are There Natural Ways to Lose Weight?

Who does not want to shed some pounds? But, it’s so difficult! It’s not rare to hear the question as to whether “something out there” could help with the weight loss. People want something “natural.” Often this means not using prescription pills or having surgery. Let me share with you the advice I share with those who come to see me.

First, if you are overweight or obese, you will have to make some changes. To lose fat weight, you have to eat fewer calories, or burn more calories, or both. And you have to sustain this over time, which is the hard part. No matter what else you do, you always have to return to this basic rule.

Weight loss can be supported in many ways. Appetite can be suppressed, more calories can be burned by stimulating metabolism, or digestion can be inhibited to decrease how many calories are absorbed by the body. All of these methods also can be combined.

So, what is out there to consider using? Well, there are many claims but much less science to support that any of these really do what they are “advertised” to do. You are your own experiment. Be careful in your choices because you do not want the risks of a supplement to outweigh any benefits. And, watch the cost! These can be expensive and hurt your personal finances.

Here are some of the products you may find in your quest for “natural” weight-loss treatments.

APPETITE SUPPRESSANTS Anti-depressant medications that increase a substance called serotonin in the brain can sometimes cause weight loss. St. John’s Wort and 5-HTP work the same way. 5-HTP decreases carb (sugar and starch) intake, causes early fullness, and helps weight loss in the short term. The same holds true for St. John’s Wort. However, we only have people’s reports of the effectiveness of those two agents. There is no evidence of long-term benefit in managing obesity with those agents.

Hoodia grows in the Kalahari Desert. The San Bushmen eat Hoodia to keep hunger away during long hunts. The precise way that Hoodia works is not known, but like 5-HTP and St. John’s wort, it helps make you feel full sooner. Here’s what I tell my patients: if they walk as much as a San Bushman does when he is hunting, then Hoodia will probably help the weight-loss process!

THERMOGENIC (CALORIE -BURNING ) AGENTS Wouldn’t it be nice if you could increase your metabolism so you could burn more calories without having to be more physically active? That is what thermogenic agents are supposed to do. These are known as “fat-burning” agents. Have you heard of an “adrenaline rush”? This is what you get when you have to fight or run away. Adrenaline is a hormone and it gets your metabolism going. When you have an “adrenaline rush” your heart beats faster, you get shaky, you are more alert, and you release energy from your body stores. An “adrenaline rush” causes a thermogenic effect – it increases your body heat. Adrenaline is also called epinephrine . Norepinephrine , which is like epinephrine, decreases appetite.

Ephedrine is a thermogenic agent. It is often combined with caffeine. Ephedrine decreases the breakdown of norepinephrine at the nerve endings. Neither ephedrine nor caffeine alone does much to help weight loss. However, when combined, ephedrine and caffeine do cause weight loss.

Ephedra , also known as ma huang , was often used in the past to help people with weight loss. The ephedra plant naturally contains ephedrine, pseudoephedrine , and phenylpropanolamine , which are sold as medications. Ephedra is no longer a good option. In 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned ephedra products because they were linked with serious or fatal side effects. Unfortunately, ephedra products are still around in the black market.

With ephedra gone, bitter orange is now popular. Bitter orange contains 1% to 6% synephrine . Synephrine may cause weight loss because it is similar in its effects to ephedra. This means that bitter orange has the same potential for harm as ephedra. In fact, bitter orange supplements have been linked to stroke and heart damage, cardiac arrest, loss of consciousness, chest pain, and death.

Thermogenic products have chemicals that may seriously affect your health. If you have hypertension or known heart disease, stay away from them. Otherwise, make sure you are under the care of a doctor who may monitor your blood pressure and heart health.

One last word on thermogenic agents: caffeine sources include not just coffee, but also guarana , cola nut, maté, and tea extract. Claims that these natural products cause significant weight loss are untrue. The very best way of increasing fat burning (thermogenesis) is to become more physically active on a regular basis.

DIGESTION INHIBITORS Foods that contain fiber stretch the stomach and get digestion started. This causes fullness and may also cause the gut to absorb less of food. Psyllium seeds, barley, and guar gum are some examples of natural products tried for weight loss. High-fiber foods decrease fat being absorbed by binding fats within he gut. Upping fiber intake lowers serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The effects on weight loss, however, vary.

The flip side of digestion inhibitors is that they may keep your prescription medications from being properly absorbed. If you use digestion inhibitors, be sure to take your medications one hour before or two hours after taking the high-fiber product.

OTHER AGENTS THAT MAY AID WEIGHT LOSS There are several other natural products that are marketed for weight loss. These include:

  • Glucomannan , which is extracted from the konjac plant.
  • Guggul , which produces a gummy resin that is used in supplements.
  • Inulin, which is a sugar that comes from chicory.
  • Conjugated linoleic acid, which is found mainly in dairy products and beef.
  • Calcium in foods, because adults and children with low calcium intake are more likely to gain weight, have a higher body mass index (BMI), and be overweight or obese, compared with people with higher calcium intake.
  • 7-keto-DHEA, which comes from the hormone DHEA and may boost basal metabolism and thermogenesis. As opposed to DHEA, 7-keto-DHEA is not converted to sex hormones, so it may be safer in this form.
  • Garcinia fruit and rind extracts, which contain up to 50% hydroxycitric acid.
  • Chromium, which is an element found in nature that people use for high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.
  • Pyruvate , which taken in large amounts (22-44 grams) instead of carbs, may cause weight loss. The problem here is that pyruvate causes significant side effects in the gut, including diarrhea, bloating, and flatulence.
  • “African mango” or “bush mango,” which is a tree from Africa that produces a mango-like fruit. The seeds have high fiber content and function as a bulk-forming laxative.

MAKE IT COUNT! When it comes to supplements, there is a lot of marketing, but little science. Here is the most natural way of losing weight that I know of, and what I tell my patients to do. There is actual science behind these recommendations. Counting is the key and these tips are brought to you courtesy of the numbers “2” and “10.”

  • “2”: Every hour on the hour during the waking hours of the day, get up and walk away for a minute. Then walk right back to what you were doing. These two minute walks add up to a 30-minute walk at the end of the day. When you are home at night, turn the TV on. At the beginning of every commercial break get up, and go up and down two flights of stairs. If you have the TV on two hours every night, then every night you will climb a 40-story tall building!
  • “10”: Aim for 10 servings of fresh fruits or vegetables every day. One serving is the size of a measuring cup. Eat two servings with breakfast, lunch, and supper. And eat one serving mid-morning, mid-afternoon and in the evening. You choose when to have the last serving. Increasing the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in the meal plan does indeed help you lose weight! Just make sure these are fruits that have high fiber such as berries, apples, or cantaloupe, and if you have diabetes or prediabetes, check with your doctor to see what fruits and vegetables to avoid.

These recommendations help establish the building blocks to good health, which are healthy eating and physical activity.

Dr. J. Michael González-Campoy is an endocrinologist in private practice in Eagan, MN. He is a bariatric endocrinologist, and created this term to help the medical community understand that obesity is an endocrine disease. Dr. González-Campoy is a member of the American College of Endocrinology Board of Trustees.

The Weight Loss Trap: Why Your Diet Isn’t Working

Like most people, Kevin Hall used to think the reason people get fat is simple.

“Why don’t they just eat less and exercise more?” he remembers thinking. Trained as a physicist, the calories-in-vs.-calories-burned equation for weight loss always made sense to him. But then his own research–and the contestants on a smash reality-TV show–proved him wrong.

Hall, a scientist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), started watching The Biggest Loser a few years ago on the recommendation of a friend. “I saw these folks stepping on scales, and they lost 20 lb. in a week,” he says. On the one hand, it tracked with widespread beliefs about weight loss: the workouts were punishing and the diets restrictive, so it stood to reason the men and women on the show would slim down. Still, 20 lb. in a week was a lot. To understand how they were doing it, he decided to study 14 of the contestants for a scientific paper.

Hall quickly learned that in reality-TV-land, a week doesn’t always translate into a precise seven days, but no matter: the weight being lost was real, speedy and huge. Over the course of the season, the contestants lost an average of 127 lb. each and about 64% of their body fat. If his study could uncover what was happening in their bodies on a physiological level, he thought, maybe he’d be able to help the staggering 71% of American adults who are overweight.

What he didn’t expect to learn was that even when the conditions for weight loss are TV-perfect–with a tough but motivating trainer, telegenic doctors, strict meal plans and killer workouts–the body will, in the long run, fight like hell to get that fat back. Over time, 13 of the 14 contestants Hall studied gained, on average, 66% of the weight they’d lost on the show, and four were heavier than they were before the competition.

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That may be depressing enough to make even the most motivated dieter give up. “There’s this notion of why bother trying,” says Hall. But finding answers to the weight-loss puzzle has never been more critical. The vast majority of American adults are overweight; nearly 40% are clinically obese. And doctors now know that excess body fat dramatically increases the risk of serious health problems, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, respiratory problems, major cancers and even fertility problems. A 2017 study found that obesity now drives more early preventable deaths in the U.S. than smoking. This has fueled a weight-loss industry worth $66.3 billion, selling everything from diet pills to meal plans to fancy gym memberships.

It’s also fueled a rise in research. Last year the NIH provided an estimated $931 million in funding for obesity research, including Hall’s, and that research is giving scientists a new understanding of why dieting is so hard, why keeping the weight off over time is even harder and why the prevailing wisdom about weight loss seems to work only sometimes–for some people.

What scientists are uncovering should bring fresh hope to the 155 million Americans who are overweight, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Leading researchers finally agree, for instance, that exercise, while critical to good health, is not an especially reliable way to keep off body fat over the long term. And the overly simplistic arithmetic of calories in vs. calories out has given way to the more nuanced understanding that it’s the composition of a person’s diet–rather than how much of it they can burn off working out–that sustains weight loss.

They also know that the best diet for you is very likely not the best diet for your next-door neighbor. Individual responses to different diets–from low fat and vegan to low carb and paleo–vary enormously. “Some people on a diet program lose 60 lb. and keep it off for two years, and other people follow the same program religiously, and they gain 5 lb.,” says Frank Sacks, a leading weight-loss researcher and professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “If we can figure out why, the potential to help people will be huge.”

Hall, Sacks and other scientists are showing that the key to weight loss appears to be highly personalized rather than trendy diets. And while weight loss will never be easy for anyone, the evidence is mounting that it’s possible for anyone to reach a healthy weight–people just need to find their best way there.

Dieting has been an American preoccupation since long before the obesity epidemic took off in the 1980s. In the 1830s, Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham touted a vegetarian diet that excluded spices, condiments and alcohol. At the turn of the 20th century, it was fashionable to chew food until liquefied, sometimes up to 722 times before swallowing, thanks to the advice of a popular nutrition expert named Horace Fletcher. Lore has it that at about the same time, President William Howard Taft adopted a fairly contemporary plan–low fat, low calorie, with a daily food log–after he got stuck in a White House bathtub.

The concept of the calorie as a unit of energy had been studied and shared in scientific circles throughout Europe for some time, but it wasn’t until World War I that calorie counting became de rigueur in the U.S. Amid global food shortages, the American government needed a way to encourage people to cut back on their food intake, so it issued its first ever “scientific diet” for Americans, which had calorie counting at its core.

In the following decades, when being rail-thin became ever more desirable, nearly all dieting advice stressed meals that were low calorie. There was the grapefruit diet of the 1930s (in which people ate half a grapefruit with every meal out of a belief that the fruit contained fat-burning enzymes) and the cabbage-soup diet of the 1950s (a flatulence-inducing plan in which people ate cabbage soup every day for a week alongside low-calorie meals).

The 1960s saw the beginning of the massive commercialization of dieting in the U.S. That’s when a New York housewife named Jean Nidetch began hosting friends at her home to talk about their issues with weight and dieting. Nidetch was a self-proclaimed cookie lover who had struggled for years to slim down. Her weekly meetings helped her so much–she lost 72 lb. in about a year–that she ultimately turned those living-room gatherings into a company called Weight Watchers. When it went public in 1968, she and her co-founders became millionaires overnight. Nearly half a century later, Weight Watchers remains one of the most commercially successful diet companies in the world, with 3.6 million active users and $1.2 billion in revenue in 2016.

What most of these diets had in common was an idea that is still popular today: eat fewer calories and you will lose weight. Even the low-fat craze that kicked off in the late 1970s–which was based on the intuitively appealing but incorrect notion that eating fat will make you fat–depended on the calorie-counting model of weight loss. (Since fatty foods are more calorie-dense than, say, plants, logic suggests that if you eat less of them, you will consume fewer calories overall, and then you’ll lose weight.)

That’s not what happened when people went low fat, though. The diet trend coincided with weight gain. In 1990, adults with obesity made up less than 15% of the U.S. population. By 2010, most states were reporting obesity in 25% or more of their populations. Today that has swelled to 40% of the adult population. For kids and teens, it’s 17%.

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Research like Hall’s is beginning to explain why. As demoralizing as his initial findings were, they weren’t altogether surprising: more than 80% of people with obesity who lose weight gain it back. That’s because when you lose weight, your resting metabolism (how much energy your body uses when at rest) slows down–possibly an evolutionary holdover from the days when food scarcity was common.

What Hall discovered, however–and what frankly startled him–was that even when the Biggest Loser contestants gained back some of their weight, their resting metabolism didn’t speed up along with it. Instead, in a cruel twist, it remained low, burning about 700 fewer calories per day than it did before they started losing weight in the first place. “When people see the slowing metabolism numbers,” says Hall, “their eyes bulge like, How is that even possible?”

The contestants lose a massive amount of weight in a relatively short period of time–admittedly not how most doctors recommend you lose weight–but research shows that the same slowing metabolism Hall observed tends to happen to regular Joes too. Most people who lose weight gain back the pounds they lost at a rate of 2 to 4 lb. per year.

For the 2.2 billion people around the world who are overweight, Hall’s findings can seem like a formula for failure–and, at the same time, scientific vindication. They show that it’s indeed biology, not simply a lack of willpower, that makes it so hard to lose weight. The findings also make it seem as if the body itself will sabotage any effort to keep weight off in the long term.

But a slower metabolism is not the full story. Despite the biological odds, there are many people who succeed in losing weight and keeping it off. Hall has seen it happen more times than he can count. The catch is that some people appear to succeed with almost every diet approach–it just varies from person to person.

“You take a bunch of people and randomly assign them to follow a low-carb diet or a low-fat diet,” Hall says. “You follow them for a couple of years, and what you tend to see is that average weight loss is almost no different between the two groups as a whole. But within each group, there are people who are very successful, people who don’t lose any weight and people who gain weight.”

Understanding what it is about a given diet that works for a given person remains the holy grail of weight-loss science. But experts are getting closer.

Grant Cornett for TIME

For the past 23 years, Rena Wing, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, has run the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) as a way to track people who successfully lose weight and keep it off. “When we started it, the perspective was that almost no one succeeded at losing weight and keeping it off,” says James O. Hill, Wing’s collaborator and an obesity researcher at the University of Colorado. “We didn’t believe that was the case, but we didn’t know for sure because we didn’t have the data.”

To qualify for initial inclusion in the registry, a person must have lost at least 30 lb. and maintained that weight loss for a year or longer. Today the registry includes more than 10,000 people from across the 50 states with an average weight loss of 66 lb. per person. On average, people on the current list have kept off their weight for more than five years.

The most revealing detail about the registry: everyone on the list has lost significant amounts of weight–but in different ways. About 45% of them say they lost weight following various diets on their own, for instance, and 55% say they used a structured weight-loss program. And most of them had to try more than one diet before the weight loss stuck.

The researchers have identified some similarities among them: 98% of the people in the study say they modified their diet in some way, with most cutting back on how much they ate in a given day. Another through line: 94% increased their physical activity, and the most popular form of exercise was walking.

“There’s nothing magical about what they do,” says Wing. “Some people emphasize exercise more than others, some follow low-carb diets, and some follow low-fat diets. The one commonality is that they had to make changes in their everyday behaviors.”

When asked how they’ve been able to keep the weight off, the vast majority of people in the study say they eat breakfast every day, weigh themselves at least once a week, watch fewer than 10 hours of television per week and exercise about an hour a day, on average.

The researchers have also looked at their attitudes and behavior. They found that most of them do not consider themselves Type A, dispelling the idea that only obsessive superplanners can stick to a diet. They learned that many successful dieters were self-described morning people. (Other research supports the anecdotal: for some reason, night owls tend to weigh more than larks.) The researchers also noticed that people with long-term weight loss tended to be motivated by something other than a slimmer waist–like a health scare or the desire to live a longer life, to be able to spend more time with loved ones.

The researchers at the NWCR say it’s unlikely that the people they study are somehow genetically endowed or blessed with a personality that makes weight loss easy for them. After all, most people in the study say they had failed several times before when they had tried to lose weight. Instead they were highly motivated, and they kept trying different things until they found something that worked for them.

“Losing weight and keeping it off is hard, and if anyone tells you it’s easy, run the other way,” says Hill. “But it is absolutely possible, and when people do it, their lives are changed for the better.” (Hill came under fire in 2015 for his role as president of an obesity think tank funded by Coca-Cola. During his tenure there, the NWCR published one paper with partial funding from Coca-Cola, but the researchers say their study, which Hill was involved in, was not influenced by the soda giant’s financial support.)

Hill, Wing and their colleagues agree that perhaps the most encouraging lesson to be gleaned from their registry is the simplest: in a group of 10,000 real-life biggest losers, no two people lost the weight in quite the same way.

The Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa is founded on that thinking. When people enroll in its weight-loss program, they all start on the same six-month diet and exercise plan–but they are encouraged to diverge from the program, with the help of a physician, whenever they want, in order to figure out what works best for them. The program takes a whole-person approach to weight loss, which means that behavior, psychology and budget–not just biology–inform each person’s plan.

“We have a plan that involves getting enough calories and protein and so forth, but we are not married to it,” says Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an obesity expert and the medical director of the clinic. “We try to understand where people are struggling, and then we adjust. Everyone here is doing things slightly differently.”

In most cases, people try a few different plans before they get it right. Jody Jeans, 52, an IT project manager in Ottawa, had been overweight since she was a child. When she came to the clinic in 2007, she was 5 ft. 4 in. tall and weighed 240 lb. Though she had lost weight in her 20s doing Weight Watchers, she gained it back after she lost a job and the stress led her to overeat. Jeans would wake up on a Monday and decide she was starting a diet, or never eating dessert again, only to scrap the plan a couple of days, if not hours, later. “Unless you’ve had a lot of weight to lose, you don’t understand what it’s like,” she says. “It’s overwhelming, and people look at you like it’s your fault.”

A March 2017 study found that people who internalize weight stigma have a harder time maintaining weight loss. That’s why most experts argue that pushing people toward health goals rather than a number on the scale can yield better results. “When you solely focus on weight, you may give up on changes in your life that would have positive benefits,” says the NIH’s Hall.

It took Jeans five years to lose 75 lb. while on a program at Freedhoff’s institute, but by paying attention to portion sizes, writing down all her meals and eating more frequent, smaller meals throughout the day, she’s kept the weight off for an additional five years. She credits the slow, steady pace for her success. Though she’s never been especially motivated to exercise, she found it helpful to track her food each day, as well as make sure she ate enough filling protein and fiber–without having to rely on bland diet staples like grilled chicken over greens (hold the dressing). “I’m a foodie,” Jeans says. “If you told me I had to eat the same things every day, it would be torture.”

Natalie Casagrande, 31, was on the same program that Jeans was on, but Freedhoff and his colleagues used a different approach with her. Casagrande’s weight had fluctuated throughout her life, and she had attempted dangerous diets like starving herself and exercising constantly for quick weight loss. One time, she even dropped from a size 14 to a size 0 in just a few months. When she signed up for the program, Casagrande weighed 173 lb. At 4 ft. 11 in., that meant she was clinically obese, which means having a body mass index of 30 or more.

Once she started working with the team at the Bariatric Medical Institute, Casagrande also tracked her food, but unlike Jeans, she never enjoyed the process. What she did love was exercise. She found her workouts easy to fit into her schedule, and she found them motivating. By meeting with the clinic’s psychologist, she also learned that she had generalized anxiety, which helped explain her bouts of emotional eating.

It took Casagrande three tries over three years before she finally lost substantial weight. During one of her relapse periods, she gained 10 lb. She tweaked her plan to focus more on cooking and managing her mental health and then tried again. Today she weighs 116 lb. and has maintained that weight for about a year. “It takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what works,” she says. “Not every day is going to be perfect, but I’m here because I pushed through the bad days.”

Freedhoff says learning what variables are most important for each person–be they psychological, logistical, food-based–matters more to him than identifying one diet that works for everyone. “So long as we continue to pigeonhole people into certain diets without considering the individuals, the more likely we are to run into problems,” he says. That’s why a significant portion of his meetings with patients is spent talking about the person’s daily responsibilities, their socioeconomic status, their mental health, their comfort in the kitchen.

“Unfortunately,” he says, “that’s not the norm. The amount of effort needed to understand your patients is more than many doctors put in.”

In an August op-ed published in the journal the Lancet, Freedhoff and Hall jointly called on the scientific community to spend more time figuring out how doctors can help people sustain healthy lifestyles and less on what diet is best for weight loss. “Crowning a diet king because it delivers a clinically meaningless difference in body weight fuels diet hype, not diet help,” they write. “It’s high time we start helping.”

Exactly why weight loss can vary so much for people on the same diet plan still eludes scientists. “It’s the biggest open question in the field,” says the NIH’s Hall. “I wish I knew the answer.”

Some speculate it’s people’s genetics. Over the past several years, researchers have identified nearly 100 genetic markers that appear to be linked to being obese or being overweight, and there’s no doubt genes play an important role in how some people break down calories and store fat. But experts estimate that obesity-related genes account for just 3% of the differences between people’s sizes–and those same genes that predispose people to weight gain existed 30 years ago, and 100 years ago, suggesting that genes alone cannot explain the rapid rise in obesity.

What’s more, a recent study of 9,000 people found that whether a person carried a gene variation associated with weight gain had no influence on his or her ability to lose weight. “We think this is good news,” says study author John Mathers, a professor of human nutrition at Newcastle University. “Carrying the high-risk form of the gene makes you more likely to be a bit heavier, but it shouldn’t prevent you from losing weight.”

Another area that has some scientists excited is the question of how weight gain is linked to chemicals we are exposed to every day–things like the bisphenol A (BPA) found in linings of canned-food containers and cash-register receipts, the flame retardants in sofas and mattresses, the pesticide residues on our food and the phthalates found in plastics and cosmetics. What these chemicals have in common is their ability to mimic human hormones, and some scientists worry they may be wreaking havoc on the delicate endocrine system, driving fat storage.

“The old paradigm was that poor diet and lack of exercise are underpinning obesity, but now we understand that chemical exposures are an important third factor in the origin of the obesity epidemic,” says Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an associate professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine and population health at New York University’s School of Medicine. “Chemicals can disrupt hormones and metabolism, which can contribute to disease and disability.”

Another frontier scientists are exploring is how the microbiome–the trillions of bacteria that live inside and on the surface of the human body–may be influencing how the body metabolizes certain foods. Dr. Eran Elinav and Eran Segal, researchers for the Personalized Nutrition Project at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, believe the variation in diet success may lie in the way people’s microbiomes react to different foods.

In a 2015 study, Segal and Elinav gave 800 men and women devices that measured their blood-sugar levels every five minutes for a one-week period. They filled out questionnaires about their health, provided blood and stool samples and had their microbiomes sequenced. They also used a mobile app to record their food intake, sleep and exercise.

They found that blood-sugar levels varied widely among people after they ate, even when they ate the exact same meal. This suggests that umbrella recommendations for how to eat could be meaningless. “It was a major surprise to us,” says Segal.

The researchers developed an algorithm for each person in the trial using the data they gathered and found that they could accurately predict a person’s blood-sugar response to a given food on the basis of their microbiome. That’s why Elinav and Segal believe the next frontier in weight-loss science lies in the gut; they believe their algorithm could ultimately help doctors prescribe highly specific diets for people according to how they respond to different foods.

Unsurprisingly, there are enterprising businesses trying to cash in on this idea. Online supplement companies already hawk personalized probiotic pills, with testimonials from customers claiming they lost weight taking them.

So far, research to support the probiotic-pill approach to weight loss is scant. Ditto the genetic tests that claim to be able to tell you whether you’re better off on a low-carb diet or a vegan one.

But as science continues to point toward personalization, there’s potential for new weight-loss products to flood the zone, some with more evidence than others.

When people are asked to envision their perfect size, many cite a dream weight loss up to three times as great as what a doctor might recommend. Given how difficult that can be to pull off, it’s no surprise so many people give up trying to lose weight altogether. It’s telling, if a bit of a downer, that in 2017, when Americans have never been heavier, fewer people than ever say they’re trying to lose weight.

But most people do not need to lose quite so much weight to improve their health. Research shows that with just a 10% loss of weight, people will experience noticeable changes in their blood pressure and blood sugar control, lowering their risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes–two of the costliest diseases in terms of health care dollars and human life.

For Ottawa’s Jody Jeans, recalibrating her expectations is what helped her finally lose weight in a healthy–and sustainable–way. People may look at her and see someone who could still afford to lose a few pounds, she says, but she’s proud of her current weight, and she is well within the range of what a good doctor would call healthy.

“You have to accept that you’re never going to be a willowy model,” she says. “But I am at a very good weight that I can manage.”

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I’ve never liked the idea of taking pills ever since I was little. Whenever I had a headache and my mom tried to give me some Tylenol I told her I didn’t want that. I could get better all on my own.

This attitude carried on through my adult years. It wasn’t until I started to actively watch my health that I realized that I was going to need some help getting the right vitamins and minerals into my body.

Losing weight isn’t simply about exercising and no longer eating Twinkies. It involves getting the right things into your system so that it functions properly. The human body isn’t programmed to get fat. However, many of us re-wire it to add the weight that we don’t want.

These supplements are presented in this post because they help to get your system back on track.

Protein Powder

Protein is a must in the weight loss process. When your body has more protein, it is going to burn calories faster. It metabolizes proteins faster than it does carbs or fats. It’s true that your body uses carbs and fats for energy, but when you aren’t active, your body stores the excess carbs and fats causing you to gain more weight.

Powders help you gain muscle mass and maintain lean muscle. When you can maintain your muscle, you are making it so that your body doesn’t have room for the fat. Building muscle eliminates fat.

The reason protein powder is so popular is because it helps you reach your daily protein needs. A lot of us may not get the daily recommended amount of protein through our regular diet (about 56 grams). Protein powder gives us that extra little bit of protein we may need and possibly a little extra for those that are very active.

Whey protein, in particular, is gaining more and more popularity and will continue to gain popularity because of its weight loss benefits. It has a lot of amino acids that are able to absorb quickly in your body so you can reap the benefits of the powder faster.

Taking this protein should come hand in hand with working out. When whey protein is combined with working out, you will be able to drop weight and shed fat while building lean muscle.

We recommend this whey protein powder for you.

Glutamine

This is an amino acid that plays a crucial role weight loss. Glutamine helps your body build proteins. When it does this, you are able to maintain more muscle mass. It is possible that having a lack of glutamine when you are trying to lose weight, can prevent you from losing weight.

When your body doesn’t have enough glutamine, it starts to break down muscle to get the necessary amino acids it needs. The breaking down of the muscle leads to a loss of muscle mass.

Glutamine is able to contribute to your energy supply while at the same time being able to bypass the body’s insulin-induced fat storage. This means that glutamine isn’t going to add to your fat storage, but your body can still use it for energy.

On top of all this, glutamine also counteracts the storage of dietary fats. Instead of your body trying to store fat from certain sources that you put into your body, the glutamine helps your body get rid of it.

If you’re looking for a glutamine supplement, we have you covered here.

You can also get it in powder form if you aren’t a pill popper.

Matcha Green Tea

Matcha green tea may be the next best green drink to be sweeping the nation. I’ve had it before and personally didn’t like it very much, but that may be because it was mixed with some alcohol. Lesson learned!

Matcha contains an antioxidant, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), that has been known to boost your metabolism and stop the growth of fat cells.

This tea is great because it can act as a great alternative to coffee. Coffee can fluctuate and play with your blood sugar which has an effect on weight gain. Matcha gives you the caffeine you are looking for as well. It is just a flat out, healthier alternative to coffee in almost every way.

The reason you are able to get so many benefits from the matcha is because unlike most teas that are in bags or leaves, matcha comes in powder form. You get everything the matcha has to offer. There is nothing in the tea that gets filtered out from the process of it being made.

While matcha green tea does speed up your metabolism and aids in fat loss, you aren’t going to lose the weight you want by just drinking it. You have to add in some sort of physical fitness to allow your body to absorb and benefit from everything the tea has to offer.

If you’re feeling adventurous enough to try this powder, look into ordering this kind.

Fish Oil

Be ready for some Omega-3 fatty acids. It doesn’t sound like this will be able to help you in weight loss, but it has great benefits. These fatty acids found in fish oil aid in weight loss, cholesterol balance, and heart health. As you can see, there are multiple benefits to having fish oil in your life.

With your weight loss, the Omega-3’s help start the sequence in cells that allow them to burn fat. Your cells with start attacking the fat on your body. Because of this, unlike matcha green tea, you may be able to get away with not working out.

Fish oil has been known to help decrease your appetite and minimize fat storage. It helps you have that satiated feeling for a longer time. When this happens, you aren’t going to want to eat as much as you usually do. Not saying that you will feel like you want to skip your next meal, but you are definitely going to eat a smaller portion.

Your insulin sensitivity will increase with fish oil. Not all of the fat you eat will be stored as fat in your body. This keeps your weight around the same without having to do much at all.

There aren’t a lot of foods out there that are rich in fish oil and omega3’s so it is recommended that you take fish oil supplements if you are really looking to boost your intake of it.

Vitamin D

A body that is low in vitamin D will start to convert sugar to fat instead of energy right away so that it can be stored and used as energy later on.

You can get your daily dosage of vitamin D by just standing out in the sun for a little bit, but sometimes that isn’t enough for people. That is why people need to take vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is associated with obesity and about 40% of Americans are vitamin D deficient. This doesn’t mean they don’t go outside enough, but they just don’t get enough of the vitamin in their regular diets.

Having enough vitamin D in your system also helps your body absorb calcium. Calcium plays a role in weight loss as well.

Although you may not need to take vitamin D supplements to help you with your weight loss goal, they definitely help. If you choose not to take these supplements, you need to make sure you have the right foods that are rich in vitamin D so you don’t have to worry about your body converting sugars into fat.

The sun not giving you enough of the vitamin D you want? Here is a recommended supplement.

Calcium

We all remember our parents telling us to drink milk so that we can grow up and have strong bones. Well, this is because of the calcium that milk has.

As adults, calcium can play a role that’s just as important to our bodies as it was when we were children. Although the calcium isn’t going to have much effect on our bones after we are fully developed, it will play a role in weight loss.

A diet rich in calcium can lead to your body burning more calories in a typical day that it normally would. When combined with the necessary proteins, you could burn up to about 350 more calories a day.

Calcium combined with a lower calorie diet will help you lead to more weight loss. Your body will burn about 1750 calories on a regular day without any exercise. So, if you are the type that can’t fit in a workout all the time, have a diet rich in calcium and you won’t have to worry about your weight as much.

If you still need to get that extra bit of calcium, check these out.

Probiotics

For those of you that don’t know, probiotics are live microorganisms that provide health benefits when eaten. They are mostly found in supplements. You can easily buy them.

You already have a bunch of microorganisms living inside your stomach. Most of them are friendly and help produce other vital nutrients that your body needs.

When you compare the microorganisms in normal-weight people and obese people, you will see a difference. In our stomachs, we have two main types of microorganisms that play a role when it comes to our weight, bacteroidetes and firmicutes.

Normal weight people have more bacteroidetes and obese people have more firmicutes. There have been studies done with animals that placed more firmicutes in the ones that are lean. Over a short period of time, these same animals became obese.

It is clear to see the association between firmicutes and more weight.

Taking probiotics will help most people when it comes to trying to get back to a normal weight. For those of you that are already at a normal weight, you will be able to maintain this weight much easier.

Don’t hesitate. Get these probiotics in you as fast as possible.

Carnitine

Carnitine is an amino acid that gets synthesized from lysine and methionine.

This amino acid transfers fats in your body to cells so that they can be converted into energy. During this process, carnitine can also suppress some of your appetite. So, while your body is starting to burn fat, you aren’t getting any hungrier.

If your body is lacking carnitine, it will start storing fat instead of burning it. This is the exact opposite of what you want to happen. Taking this sort of supplement is a must in your weight loss journey.

Make sure that you have the proper amount of carnitine in your system. This supplement will help make sure you have it.

Olive Leaf Extract

Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. The olive leaf is something that helps give the olive all of its health benefits.

Olive leaf extract has been known to treat the common cold, the flu, and infections of the respiratory system. For purposes of this article, we’ll just talk about how it helps you when it comes to weight loss.

The extract stimulates a compound in your thyroid that helps you shed weight and fat much faster. It can be mixed with teas to get the benefits of both.

Olive leaf extract may sound like it may be some kind of oil, but you can find it in pill form as well.

Apple Cider Vinegar

This is great in helping your body absorb minerals and helping with your digestive system.

One of the main reasons as to why apple cider vinegar is so great when it comes to weight loss is because it may block some of your body’s digestion of starch. This means that it’s just going to pass straight through your body. You won’t be absorbing anything the starch has to offer, which in most cases will just be fat to your body.

The best way to take apple cider vinegar is to drink it. Be careful, it is very much an acquired taste. Having it by itself will probably be tough to swallow. Mix it with a cup of water so the acidity of the vinegar will be much easier to handle. No promises the taste will be any better, but it will be easier to handle.

The effect of having this vinegar are more for a long term solution than having immediate results.

Apple cider vinegar can be found in most grocery stores nowadays. If you don’t feel like shopping for it there, look for it here.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in your body’s red blood cell production. Being B12 deficient, you could become anemic (severe blood thinning due to lack of red blood cells).

Having the right amount of B12 is going to keep your blood pressure regulated. Your blood pressure cold be extremely low when you have B12-deficiency. This is what happens when you have thin blood.

B12 itself isn’t going to drop the pounds for you. It just helps the way your body absorbs certain nutrients. Instead of turning these nutrients into fat, vitamin B12 helps turn them into energy for your body to use.

This vitamin can be taken a number of different ways. You can take it in a pill, have it as a regular liquid, or take it through syringe. Since a syringe may be hard to come by, here is B12 in liquid form that you can just drop in your mouth.

Make It a Habit

With over 11 recommended vitamins and supplements that is a lot to take in all at once. Nobody wants to turn into a 120-year old retiree walking around with their pill box.

Thankfully there are ways to combine a lot of these vitamins and supplements together so you aren’t doing them one at a time. One of the best methods is by simply mixing them together in an awesome and delicious smoothie.

Another way is to use an enhanced powerfood cocktail.

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One of the most difficult things for people just starting out on a plant-based vegan diet is knowing what to eat, especially if you’re also gluten-free. We understand and we’re here to help you figure it out. Our daily meal plan will take you from breakfast to dinner, so you can be sure that you’re getting enough protein, fiber and nutrients.

We belong to numerous closed vegan Facebook groups that are made up of long time and brand new vegans. One of the most common complaints that we hear from those who are just starting their vegan journey is that they’re feeling lethargic and sick, and they’re gaining weight. None of these things should happen if you’re eating a whole food plant-based diet, and, you’re consuming enough calories and a wide variety of food.

HOW TO KEEP YOUR ENERGY UP ON A VEGAN DIET

Start your day with a healthy breakfast.

There are numerous studies that prove that eating breakfast is important to ensuring that you are at peak performance, both physically and mentally. However, a bowl of sugary cereal or frozen waffles doused in maple syrup will not contribute to a successful day. Eat that type of breakfast and you’re going to crash and burn and gain weight.

Anything with whole foods that digests slowly and prevent a sugar rush is optimum, and that’s why we love overnight oats. Our Healthy Pineapple Coconut Mango Overnight Oats are not just delicious, they’re packed full of the nutrients that your body needs to begin the day. They’re also great because you can prepare them the night before, so you’ll always have a meal that’s ready to go. Make a weeks worth at a time.

Healthy Pineapple Coconut Mango Overnight Oats

Here are just some of the health benefits that you’ll get from eating a serving of our healthy overnight oats. Click on the names of the ingredients to read all about their nutritional benefits.

Pineapple – An excellent source of vitamin C, manganese (energy production), copper and B vitamins, and antioxidants.

Coconut – Great for the immune system, as coconut is antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and anti-parasitic. It’s a great source of fiber, amino acids and antioxidants and vitamins.

Mango – Not only delicious, it’s a good source of vitamin C and A, and it can help to lower cholesterol. It’s also great for the skin and eyes

Chia seeds– Are a complete protein, which means that they have all of the essential amino acids that your body needs to stay strong and healthy. They’re also high in fiber and phosphorous and magnesium, which help to make your bones strong.

Rolled Oats – Aside from having lots of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber, oats are a good source of protein. They also help to prevent cardiovascular disease, aid in digestion and keep blood sugar in check.

Here are a few more overnight oat recipes for you to try:

Carrot Cake Overnight Oats , Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats , and Gluten-Free Banana Muffins!


Another Aspect of Feeling Great as a Gluten-Free Vegan?

Eat enough calories.

Plant foods digest much quicker than animal products and processed foods, so you need to eat more often to maintain your energy and focus. This is one of the benefits of being vegan. Just remember that you’re going to want to eat WHOLE FOODS. Stay away from packaged foods as they often times are filled with fats and sugars that will contribute to weight gain and sugar crashes.

We suggest eating a healthy snack a few hours after breakfast to keep you energized. Our Raw Apple Cinnamon Energy Bites are perfect for a quick and portable mid-morning snack.

Raw Apple Cinnamon Energy Bites

They’re made with dried apples and cranberries, dates, pepitas, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, and sesame seeds. Eat a few of these with a tall glass of water and you’ll be completely satisfied and alert until lunch time.

Nutrients from our gluten-free vegan cinnamon energy bites:

Dried Apples – A great source of fiber, good for cardiovascular health, and an anti-inflammatory.

Dates – Natural energy booster, prevents and relieves constipation (shouldn’t be a problem if you eat a whole food plant-based diet), lowers cholesterol, good for bone health.

Dried Cranberries – Anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular benefits, antioxidants, digestive tract benefits.

Pepitas – An excellent source of zinc and other minerals, antimicrobial benefits, high in antioxidants.

Raw Hulled Sunflower Seeds – Anti-inflammatory, good for cardiovascular health, helps lower cholesterol, excellent source of important minerals, such as folate, selenium, vitamin E, and more.

Chia Seeds – An excellent source of fiber, good fat, good carbohydrate (ENERGY), lots of protein, important minerals.

Sesame Seeds – These little seeds are the B.O.M.B.! If you only click on one link, this is the one.

  • Great source of protein
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Helps with digestion
  • Good for skin and heart health

Our 3 Favorite Energy Balls

Carrot Cake Energy Balls, Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls, Chocolate Energy Balls


YOU SHOULDN’T GAIN WEIGHT ON A HEALTHY VEGAN DIET

We believe in creating a healthy lifestyle that you can thrive on. Eating whole food plant-based vegan food for every meal is the best option. You’ll get to eat more than you usually do, the food you put in your body will be filled with antioxidants and vitamins, and you won’t have to worry about feeling sluggish and sick.

THREE THINGS TO AVOID IF YOU WANT TO FEEL GOOD AND YOU DON’T WANT TO GAIN WEIGHT

If you’ve suddenly gone vegan and you’re not feeling well and gaining weight, it’s likely because of one of three things.

  1. You’re not eating enough calories. This is usually a problem for those who are eating only WFPB. If this is you, don’t be afraid to eat more, more often. It’s difficult to gain weight eating lots of green vegetables, fruit and some grains and beans.
  2. Avoid sugar. Definitely stay away from refined sugar. It will spike your blood sugar and then drop just as fast, leaving you feel tired and cranky. Limit non-refined sugars, such as maple syrup, coconut sugar and anything that claims to be a natural sweetener.
  3. Avoid processed foods. Try and avoid packaged food as much as possible. The only boxes and cans we open are filled with beans or grains. We never buy frozen prepared meals, cookies, or anything that has a long list of ingredients on the package. Those are the foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients, even if they’re vegan.

The more sweets you eat, the more you’re going to crave. Check this out, and this to learn more.

We chose this Easy Chickpea Salad with Easy Lemon Dressing for lunch because it’s something that we eat often. Like the name says, it’s super easy to make. It’s also delicious and nutritious.

There are chickpeas for protein, hearts of palm, tomatoes, basil and Kalamata olives. This salad is tangy, salty, fresh and yummy. The lemon dressing gives it some zip and vitamin C.

This salad should last you for a couple of days if you’re the only one eating it.

Easy Chickpea Salad with Easy Lemon Dressing.

GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN SNACKS THAT TASTE GOOD, ARE GOOD FOR YOU, AND YOU CAN MAKE AT HOME

As stated before, when you eat a whole food plant-based diet, you need to eat more food. Don’t deny yourself or you will feel tired and sick. This is the perk of eating real food.

For a mid-day snack we usually go for a healthy smoothie or juice. We love our Beet Love Super Juice to wake us up after lunch. The gorgeous color and the lovely flavor will take us through the end of the day, and it’s a great juice to sip on while you’re making dinner.

It’s made with one large beet, 3 small golden delicious apples and a lime (peel and all). This vitamin and antioxidant packed juice is insanely good for you. We all know that beets are one of the healthiest vegetables, and this is a great way to consume them.

Beet Love Super Juice

Dinner time should be easy, especially during the week. Our Roasted Veggie, Black Bean & Quinoa Burritos are ready in under fifty minutes and so healthy and delicious. You can prep the black beans and quinoa earlier in the week and then grill the veggies before serving. Wrap them up in gluten-free tortillas and enjoy!

Roasted Veggie, Black Bean & Quinoa Burritos

Life is short, eat dessert. Just make sure that it’s not full of refined sugar and fat.

Our Cherry Chocolate Chip Nice Cream is the perfect treat to end the day. It’s made with frozen bananas, cherries and Enjoy Life chocolate chips. If you’re feeling really decadent you can melt some chips and drizzle it on top. A small scoop goes a long way, so you should be able to enjoy this nice cream recipe for days. It’s the perfect gluten-free vegan snack!

Cherry Chocolate Chip Nice Cream

We hope you enjoy this daily gluten-free meal plan and it helps you to find success in eating a whole food plant-based vegan diet. We’ll be adding one meal plan per month from now on, as well as a weekly meal plan from time to time. If you haven’t seen our weekly meal plans, go to the menu bar at the top of the page and search Recipes > Recipe Roundups and Meal Plans to find a plan that works for you.

Make this and let us know what you think. We love to hear from you! And, don’t forget to take a picture of your gorgeous creation and tag us @veganosity on Instagram.

5 from 2 votes Vegan Gluten-Free Daily Meal Plan with a Shopping List Prep Time 3 hrs Cook Time 3 hrs Total Time 6 hrs

This daily vegan meal plan will take you from breakfast through lunch. You’ll feel energized without feeling hungry.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Main Course, Snack Cuisine: American Keyword: gluten-free, meal plan, vegan Servings: 4 servings Calories: 903 kcal Author: Linda Meyer Ingredients SHOPPING LIST

  • 1 pineapple
  • 1 mango
  • 4 bananas
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 cup basil
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 medium red beet
  • 3 small golden delicious apples
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 cups Kalamata olives
  • 1 package frozen tart cherries
  • Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats, 32 Ounce”>rolled oats
  • plant-based milk of your choice
  • 1 package vegan Mexican cheese
  • chia seeds
  • shredded unsweetened coconut
  • pure maple syrup
  • dried apples
  • dried cranberries
  • dates
  • pepitas
  • raw hulled sunflower seeds
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground ginger
  • ground cardamom
  • black sesame seeds
  • dried Italian seasoning
  • chili powder
  • smoked paprika
  • cumin
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • white wine vinegar
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 30 oz cooked chickpeas
  • 30 oz cooked black beans
  • quinoa
  • 25 oz hearts of palm
  • 1 package vegan chocolate chips we use Enjoy Life brand
  • 1 package gluten-free tortillas

Recipe Notes

The Nutrition Facts are not accurate as this is a shopping list. Please don’t use these values.

Many of the items on this list are probably already in your kitchen cabinets. Please double check before shopping so you don’t spend more money than you need to.

Nutrition Facts Vegan Gluten-Free Daily Meal Plan with a Shopping List Amount Per Serving Calories 903 Calories from Fat 117 % Daily Value* Fat 13g20% Saturated Fat 2g13% Sodium 1111mg48% Potassium 5449mg156% Carbohydrates 179g60% Fiber 35g146% Sugar 81g90% Protein 31g62% Vitamin A 4320IU86% Vitamin C 218.6mg265% Calcium 251mg25% Iron 10.7mg59% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Let’s connect! Hop on over to our Facebook page and give it a like, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter, and follow us and share this and other Veganosity recipes on Pinterest. We’d be so grateful if you did. If you like this recipe and can’t wait to see what we’re going to share next, subscribe to Veganosity. Just fill in the subscription box in the sidebar of the page. And, Alex and I love hearing from you, please leave a comment and let us know what you think of our recipes.

Whether you’ve been a practicing vegan for a while now or have recently decided to follow a plant-based diet, know that just like any diet, there are healthy as well as unhealthy ways to go about nourishing yourself on a vegan meal plan. Here, we outline everything you need to know about vegan nutrition as well as some healthy vegan meal plans for weight loss or weight management.

What’s the difference between vegan and plant-based?

Before we venture into the plant-astic world of foods to avoid, as well as include, on your vegan meal plan for weight loss, it’s important to understand the distinction between being vegan and eating a plant-based diet. While being vegan does mean consuming plant-based foods, following a plant-based diet doesn’t necessarily mean you’re vegan. Confused? Read on.

Plant-based nutrition isn’t just anchored in wholesome plant foods such as fruits, veggies, legumes, grains and nuts, but is also the elimination of all kinds of animal products and by-products from your diet. Plant-based eating is one of many parts of a vegan lifestyle. Embracing veganism goes beyond just what we eat but also rejects the consumption and use of any goods—clothes, cosmetics, furnishings etc.––originating from or tested on animals.

Vegan meal plan and weight loss

Now we’ve got that all cleared up, let’s tackle the nuts and bolts of following a vegan diet. If you’re reading this, then we can safely assume you’re looking to tweak your eating habits to lose weight or manage your current weight in a satisfying, sustainable way with some vegan menu ideas.

Studies show that cutting down on the consumption of animal products, and introducing more fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains, which are key ingredients in a vegan meal plan, goes a long way to reduce the chances of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

A vegan meal plan can also help support any weight loss efforts. A balanced, nutrient-packed vegan diet is rich in fibrous foods, that will satiate you, keep bad cholesterol in check and have your metabolism humming like a well-oiled engine. When going vegan it’s important to incorporate more plant-based protein into your diet and sometimes supplement your vitamin B12 levels, which have a tendency to be low in an unbalanced vegan meal plan.

Start your transformation todayGet Your Meal Plan

Vegan meal plan grocery list

To maintain optimal health and vitality when on a vegan meal plan, aim to select fresh, seasonal, locally sourced, unprocessed and organic foods if they are available to you.. Here are recommended key ingredients to add to your healthy vegan meal plan grocery list:

Whole grains

Brown rice and oats not only keep you satiated for longer than their processed equivalents but are also a great source of iron. Ezekiel bread is a nutritional all-arounder, made from several types of grains, including sprouted whole grains and is chocked full of fiber. You might also want to give Coach Jenne’s healthy bread recipe a go. Millet, amaranth, barley and farro will keep you full, minimize spikes in blood sugar, as well as add more variety to your nutritional intake.

Vegetables

Butternut squash and sweet potato are rich in calcium, so no need to worry about ditching dairy products. Broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferous family and are cancer-fighting superheroes. Green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, and spinach will boost your iron levels and if you eat them with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, vitamin C will accelerate your iron absorption.

Legumes: Beans, lentils and soy

Legumes are the foundation of any well-rounded vegan meal plan. They deliver enough plant-based protein to keep your metabolism running, your muscles strong and your cravings at bay so you don’t feel the need to grab any processed treats when hunger strikes. Soy products like tofu, tempeh (fermented soy) and soy milk are foods that benefit your weight management efforts the most when consumed in their unprocessed and unsweetened forms.

Healthy fats

Olive oil and avocado both have high levels of vitamin E, which is excellent for your skin health, as well as high levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Walnuts, chia and flaxseed (ground flaxseed is best) are high in plant-based omega-3 oils, an anti-inflammatory that helps your body release excess water or toxins. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which protects the lining of your gut, preventing nutrients from seeping through (leaky gut syndrome) and the development of food sensitivities.

Nuts, nut butters, and milks

Walnuts, peanuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios and hazelnuts,as well as their nut butter variants, aren’t only delicious but are also handy snacks to take on the go. Their high protein and calcium levels will keep you satiated, and you won’t need much else to satisfy hunger pangs. Calcium-fortified plant milk such as soy, almond and rice milk are particularly nourishing. Why not try making your own homemade almond milk or cashew cheese?

Berries, apples and bananas

Berries are free radical fighters, protecting you from inflammation and cancer, as well as helping your skin stay supple and young-looking. Bananas are a key ingredient in a lot of vegan meal plan baking and sweetening. Though high in soluble fiber, it’s best to be mindful how much you eat, as bananas are still high in sugar. Apples contain pectin, which feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut, and a healthy gut leads to a healthy weight.

Note: Though there is a wide range of wonderful fruit to choose from, the ones featured above are our favorites as part of a vegan meal plan for weight loss and are also easily available.

Vegan sources of protein

In the app, 8fit vegan meal plans are tailored to fuel your weight loss and fitness efforts in a sustainable and wholesome way. We achieve this by making sure you get a high-protein vegan meal plan that energizes your body and mind. Here is a list of essential plant-based proteins to include in your vegan meal plan grocery list.

  • Unprocessed soy products

  • Non-dairy alternatives — almond, cashew and oat milks or yogurts

  • Legumes

  • Peas

  • Quinoa

  • Buckwheat

  • Seitan

  • Nori seaweed

  • Nutritional yeast (also packed with energy-boosting B12)

Foods to avoid on a vegan diet

  • Processed faux meats like vegan meats, e.g. sausages, burgers or tofurkey

  • Sweetened dairy alternatives

  • Vegan baked goods or sweets (Note: Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy)

  • Fried foods

  • Sauces like tomato ketchup, salad dressings, vegan mayonnaise, stir-fry flavorings

  • Refined sugars

  • Agave syrup (Agave is commonly used in vegan baking, but is extremely high on the glycemic index and can lead to spikes in blood sugar)

There’s more where that came from! Take a look at our guide to veganism to learn everything you need to know.

Vegan recipes from the 8fit app

Now that you’re up to speed with everything you need to know about vegan nutrition for health, vitality and weight management, we have a few vegan menu ideas to tempt your tastebuds. Add these breakfast, lunch and dinner options to your weekly meal plan in the app.

Cheap and cheerful lunch: Sesame tofu and vegetable bowl

Read more about the health benefits of chickpeas.

7-day vegan meal plan

Looking for a 7-day vegan meal plan to try this week? Use our vegan meal plan infographic as inspiration. Add each meal to your 8fit meal plan for the week ahead and you’ll automatically get a vegan-friendly grocery list in your app.

2-week vegan meal plan

Going vegan for longer? Try our 2-week vegan meal plan by adding each recipe to your 8fit meal plan. Ingredient amounts will automatically adjust to suit your weight loss or weight management goals.

Same for weight loss

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