How I Gained Weight as a Vegan – Don’t Let It Happen to You

Going to school with a bunch of down-to-earth| sewed-their-own-clothes environmentalists| it was impossible not to hop on the vegan train. While this humane lifestyle can help you lose weight| after eight years on this diet (and boatloads of vegan treats)| I ended up gaining 40 pounds and realized it’s because I did it all wrong. Here’s how to avoid ballooning up on a vegan diet.

Pasta and Bread Were My Staples

On campus| it was easy to grab bagels with Tofutti cream cheese for breakfast| pizza with dairy-free cheese for lunch| and a huge bowl of pasta for dinner| but I was eating enough carbs to run a marathon| and I was barely exercising| unless walking to the dining hall counts.

What to do instead: Overloading on carbs is one way to pile on the pounds| so while complex carbs should be included in a vegan diet| they shouldn’t be the star of every single meal. Head to a bookstore or the Internet and experiment with vegan recipes to help open up a whole new world of entr¨¦es like tofu scramble| pasta-free zucchini noodles| and homemade veggie burgers.

I Never Ate Beans

Having gas was the last thing a college girl would wish for| so I stayed away from beans and hardly ate any protein at all aside from soy ice cream. Without enough protein| hunger pangs drove me to eat more| which basically meant unhealthy comfort food like vegan mac ‘n’ cheese and cupcakes.

What to do instead: Be sure to stock your kitchen with vegan sources of protein such as dry or canned beans| different varieties of tofu| tempeh| seitan| soy yogurt| and soymilk. For quick meals| packaged soy burgers| hot dogs| frozen dinners| and vegan deli meats are great to have on hand. If you’re not used to these foods| introduce them gradually to prevent digestive issues.

Sweet Potato Fries Were My Vegetable

My mom wasn’t there to tell me to “eat my veggies|” so guess what? I didn’t unless french fries or vegan carrot cake count. Without veggies and protein| I never felt full| which meant eating all day long.

What to do instead: Make a point to consume veggies and protein at every meal and snack| as it will offer fiber to fill you up and the protein needed to satiate hunger. Here’s a sample eating schedule:

Breakfast: Add a big bunch of spinach to this vegan| high-protein smoothieMorning snack: Whole wheat pancakes made with sweet potato with a dollop of soy yogurtLunch: A huge salad with a side of split pea soup or this mexican tempeh quinoa saladAfternoon snack: Cucumber tofu rollsDinner: Polenta and beansI Was a Junk-Food Vegan

French fries| soy ice cream| dairy-free chocolate| vegan cookies I was so psyched they were made without meat| milk| or eggs. I devoured them and didn’t realize that they still contained calories.

What to do instead: Just as nonvegans need to enjoy treats in moderation| so do you. It’s OK to indulge| but remember to mostly eat a healthy| balanced diet.I Ate Peanut Butter by the Spoonful

My motto was| “If it’s good for me| why not?” Unfortunately| healthy foods can also be high in calories| so downing bags of popcorn and sipping back fruity soy smoothies was one reason I didn’t fit into my clothes.

What to do instead: While they’re nutritious| be sure to measure out portions of nuts| seeds| and the butters made from them; avocado; fresh-squeezed juices; whole grains like brown rice; granola; oil; and sweet potatoes.

Source: Jenny Sugar