Plant Based Diets for Weight Loss: A Healthier Way
Plant based diets for weight loss may just be the healthier way to lose weight. Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-cancer compounds, fiber, and other phytochemicals that are great for your health and well-being. With all this healthy goodness wrapped up in a low calorie package, you can’t go wrong by adding more vegetables into your meals. This article, written by vegan blogger, Emma, for Pink Ribbon Runner, may just inspire you to lose weight by eating more plant-based meals.
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Emma is a fellow blogger passionate about following a plant-based lifestyle. She became a vegan, not only for ethical reasons, but also to improve her physical and mental health. She has put a lot of time and energy into learning about a plant-based lifestyle. She started her blog Vegan Calm to help others learn about adding vegetables into their life too.
Whether or not you follow a vegan lifestyle, you can improve your mental and physical health by eating more vegetables. And you can, indeed, lose weight simply by eating more plant-based meals. Let’s read what Emma has to tell us about plant based diets for weight loss.
Losing Weight with Plant-Based Meals
An ever-growing number of athletes are switching to plant-based diets. A plant based diet is one that consists entirely (or at least, mostly) of non-meat foods. Plant-based diets are attributed to improved cardiovascular health and are often promoted as a healthy way to lose weight.
In today’s post, I’ll explain how you can lose weight on a plant based diet and show you some of the healthiest plant-based foods that you can eat to support your weight loss journey.
Whether you’re going plant-based for life or you just want to give it a try, you’ll find some helpful tips on how to manage your diet below!
Can I Lose Weight On A Plant-Based Diet?
A recent study that surveyed over 10,000 participants (both plant-based eaters and meat-eaters) revealed that plant-based eaters typically had a lower caloric intake than meat-eaters.
No matter what type of diet you’re on, your daily caloric intake is the main determinant of how quickly you’ll lose weight.
To lose weight, you need to put your body in a caloric deficit. This is when you’re consuming fewer calories per day than your body needs to maintain your current weight. This number is known as your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure).
To figure out how many calories your body needs to lose weight every day, you can use this calculator, which is based on the famous Mifflin-St. Jeor equation. Once you have your number, you just need to eat less than that to lose weight.
So, how can a plant-based diet help with this?
Most plant-based foods are very high in fiber. Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate that helps your body feel “full” for longer periods of time.
Additionally, many of these high-fiber plant based foods are also relatively low in calories.
When you combine these two factors, it means you’ll primarily be consuming low-calorie foods that keep your body feeling full and satisfied. This means it’s easier to maintain a caloric deficit on a plant-based diet than on a traditional diet.
Fiber also helps regulate your digestive system and prevents intestinal build-up. This can rid your body of excess waste, resulting in quicker weight loss and less bloating.
The 5 Best Plant Based Foods For Weight Loss
Not all plant-based foods are created equal. If you take a trip to your local grocery store, you’ll find lots of seemingly healthy plant-based foods that are packed full of artificial preservatives, vegetable oils, sodium, and excessive calories.
If you want to lose weight on a plant-based diet, I recommend avoiding processed foods and sticking to all-natural whole foods. These foods are healthier, have fewer calories, and are far more nutrient-dense. Here are some of the best plant-based foods that you can eat to support weight loss.
1. Beans & Legumes
Beans and legumes are an excellent source of plant-based protein. A single cup of cooked black beans contains:
- 227 calories
- 25.8 grams of net carbs
- 15 grams of fiber
- 15.2 grams of protein
- Less than 1 gram of fat
A cup of beans will keep you feeling full and satisfied longer than a single chicken breast, which contains a similar amount of calories. Additionally, beans and legumes contain over 10,000 antioxidants and are full of healthy vitamins and minerals that your body needs to feel its best.
Some people experience gassiness or bloating after consuming beans. This is because beans contain several non-digestible sugars.
To prevent flatulence and bloating after consuming beans, try the following tips:
- Soak you beans for at least 8 – 12 hours before cooking them
- Take a digestive enzyme like BeanO before you eat beans
- Take a spoonful of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar before eating beans
- Slowly increase the amount of beans you eat to acclimate your body
2. Plant-Based “Meat”
Plant-based meat is typically made from plant-based protein powder, starch, plant-based oils, and natural seasonings. It’s a great way to enjoy the taste of a burger or some tacos on your plant-based diet.
Some brands tend to be preservative-heavy, though, so make sure that you invest in the best plant-based burgers and meat crumble if you’re going to indulge yourself.
3. Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens are not only full of essential vitamins but they’re also very high in fiber. Spinach and kale are both notable high-fiber veggies and can be prepared a bunch of different ways. Some of my favorite ways to include dark leafy greens in my diet are:
- Smoothies (add pineapple juice to make it taste sweeter)
4. Plant-Based Protein Powder
Another great way to support weight loss on your plant-based diet is to add meal replacement shakes to your daily routine. Plant-based protein powders, such as pea protein, soy protein, and chickpea protein are all excellent sources of protein and natural amino acids.
One of my favorite plant-based meal replacement smoothies is made using:
- 1 scoop of plant-based protein powder
- 1 cup of almond milk
- 5 ice cubes
- 1/3 cup of pineapple juice
- 1 cup of spinach
- 1/2 avocado
When I consume this shake in the morning, I’m good to go till lunch!
A recent study showed that participants felt just as full after consuming a serving of mushrooms as they did after consuming a serving of meat. A single serving of mushrooms contains an average of:
- 15 calories
- 2.3 grams of net carbs
- 0.7 grams of fiber
- 2.2 grams of protein
If you don’t like the taste of raw mushrooms, you can sautee them up in a frying pan with some olive oil and your favorite seasonings. They taste great mixed in with leafy greens or beans.
The Raw Vegan Diet & Weight Loss
If you really want to challenge yourself, then you could try losing weight with the raw vegan diet. This diet only allows you to eat raw, uncooked plants and legumes, which means you won’t be eating any carbs or other sources of empty carbs that are common on plant-based diets.
Raw plants are very healthy for you, as they contain more nutrients than cooked plants. However, this diet is challenging and not for the faint of heart!
Can Going Plant-Based Help Me Lose Belly Fat?
Plant based meals are generally higher in fiber and contain fewer calories than meat-based meals. A plant-based diet is often just as fulfilling and is packed full of vital nutrients that can support a healthy metabolism.
Whether you stick with it for the long-term or you just want to challenge yourself, I definitely recommend giving it a try to see how it works for you!
If you want to learn more about a vegan lifestyle, be sure to check out Emma’s blog, Vegan Calm.
Good info! I have been thinking of going more plant based but struggle with it haha thanks for this post!
Super good information! Plant based can be very healthy for certain people. Thanks for sharing
Great post. I found the information both helpful and informative. I especially thought the tip about soaking beans and taking apple cider vinegar to help digest was great. I also love mushrooms and like the tip to sauté for a filling dish.
Thank you for breaking this down! I’m wanting to shift my diet to more plant based so this is great info for me.
Awesome post! Very informative with lots of helpful info. Thanks for sharing!
This is very informative and some of my own questions have been answered. Thanks for sharing!
I’m trying to balance my diet since with my allergy to legumes plant-based diet is a bad idea, but my friends who have no health issues changed diet to be more plant-based and the result is visible