Our general thoughts around diet for our thyroid patients are based on the Paleolithic style of diet, often modified for the individual with food intolerance testing.
We get great results fast with this science based approach!
But I know that we have many vegetarian and vegan patients and followers as well, so today I have our tops tips for weight loss on a vegan diet.
What is a vegan diet?
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the exploitation of animals.
What is a vegetarian diet?
A vegetarian does not eat meat or fish, and sometimes other animal products, usually for moral, religious, or health reasons. They may eat eggs and dairy products by choice.
Losing weight as a vegan
The common ‘rules’ for weight loss are the same whether you are an omnivore or choose not to eat animal products. Make sure you are not overeating, under-eating, eating too many carbs, eating too little carbs, having enough protein, correct timing, correct foods, etc. Easy right?!
There are so many factors when it comes to weight loss and then we combine it with ethical considerations, it can be confusing! Here are my 5 simple tips for helping with weight loss when we are vegan.
- Get the ‘bang for your buck’ with Carbohydrates
Most vegan protein sources come from food which also contain carbohydrates. This can make things tricky when it comes to weight loss. Tricky doesn’t mean impossible – this just means we have to be smart with our food choices and avoid foods high in carbohydrates that DO contain a decent amount of protein. Some examples of high protein to lower carb ratio foods are; quinoa, hemp seeds, and plant based protein powders.
- Hydrate before you caffeinate
Most of us, particularly if we have a sluggish thyroid, want to grab a cup of ‘energy’ first thing. But when we are trying to lose weight this can be detrimental to the cause. Water is needed in every cellular activity of the body. It increases digestive capacity, helps with toxin elimination, helps reduce fluid retention and will regulate the appetite. Caffeine will further dehydrate us, reducing these processes. So, grab a water before that cuppa.
Start the day with 500mL of warm water with a squeeze of lemon or a dash of apple cider vinegar. Wait 20-30 minutes before eating breakfast or having caffeine.
- Eat whole foods
Just because it is vegan, doesn’t mean it is healthy! Example – Did you know Oreos are vegan? Eat whole foods. When we are eating large amounts fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrains, nuts and seeds the body is happy, digestion is happy and we are more likely to get all of our daily nutritional requirements.
Stick to vegetables, fruit, nut, seeds, legumes, and wholegrains.
- Read labels
Start reading your packets – if you cannot pronounce something it is usually not good for you, and it is definitely not a whole food! I do understand, we cannot make everything from scratch. Sometimes we need to buy packaged foods. In these cases, read the labels, become familiar with ingredients that are not good for the body and avoid them. These include but certainly not limited to; added sugars, artificial sugars, artificial colours, artificial flavours, hydrogenated oils, monosodium glutamate, BHA or BHT.
- Calculate your intake
Very often portion sizes and macro balance is all wrong, leading to blood sugar regulation issues, cortisol spikes at the wrong times of the day, and erratic energy patterns.
We assume an inability to lose weight is overeating, but often it is undereating or eating inconsistently.
Keep a food diary and consult with a functional dietician to ensure that you actually are eating enough and in the right ratios for ultimate health.
There are some nutrients we just can’t get on a vegan diet, or they are very much lacking – iodine, B12, EPA/DHA, choline, iron and calcium are the big ones. By seeing a naturopathic practitioner for your supplements, you can ensure you are getting quality products in the correct amounts.
If you have deficiencies for a long time, this leads to possible toxic loading in the tissues. The most common toxins that saturate the body in the face of a deficiency are; aluminum, bromide, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and copper.
Correcting this takes specialised detoxification with the supporting nutrient in a higher dose to facilitate biochemical transfer and rebalance the body.
This is especially important if weight loss is hard on a vegan diet, as arsenic is often higher due to the levels found in rice. Brown rice has even been tested to contain higher levels than white.
if you would like a functional approach to your health, no matter your eating choices, we can help!
Book a call and chat to one of our naturopaths to get started on the road to optimal health!