If you’re wondering whether these vegan diet plan things really work for shedding a few pounds, the answer is a resounding yes.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, vegans and vegetarians in the United States over 20 years of age have an obesity rate of less than 10% compared to 65% of meat eating adults. That’s a pretty compelling fact.
Research has also shown that switching to a vegan diet results with no change to exercise or portion size results in weight loss in the vast majority of cases.
This is mostly the result plant-based fuel being way more efficient: calories burn faster after vegan meals because there is no fat to store.
The Right Way and The Wrong Way
However, as with anything, there is a right and a wrong way to go about a plant-based diet.
I’ve created this simple summary to help clear things up with my top 5 book picks for beginning your vegan weight loss journey.
Some of the links below for the books will be affiliate links for which we get a small commission and make no difference to the price should you buy, but we’ve also put a DIY weight loss plan section that combines the best practices from all these books too.
Let’s get started!
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Things You Should Know Before Starting a Vegan Diet
Whether you’re already living a vegan lifestyle or getting ready to make the switch, eating vegan brings many health benefits. In addition to weight loss, it can protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
According to a number of studies, vegan diet may improve kidney function, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce arthritis pain.
Once you understand the advantages, it may be tempting to choose a plan and jump right in. Before you do, there are some things you should know.
The following information will make the transition easier and improve your chance of success.
Vegan Diet Plans Aren’t Always Healthy
Just because a food is vegan doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you.
Processed vegan food is usually loaded with sodium, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. Processing removes many of the natural nutrients, and the human body may have a hard time digesting it.
Some commercial foods create reward sensations that lead to over-consumption and can even cause addiction.
Try to avoid any vegan weight loss program that encourages you to incorporate processed foods into your daily routine. Although an occasional treat won’t hurt, the best plans focus on fresh, natural ingredients.
Following a Vegan Meal Plan Can be Expensive
Some vegan diet plans start with a large up-front cost while others require a monthly membership fee. When you add this to the cost of the necessary ingredients, the plan can may end up being more expensive than you thought.
Another concern is that most vegan diet plans don’t consider fruit and vegetable growing seasons.
Buying produce out of season costs more and can increase your carbon footprint. Locally grown produce often tastes better, has higher nutrient levels, and may have less chemical and pesticide exposure. See the benefits here for buying in season.
Choose the Right Plan for Your Personality and Lifestyle
Not all plans are the same, and it may take some time for you to find the one that works best for you. For example, some plans suggest that you eat nothing but fruit for breakfast.
Others may require you to eat only raw foods or to fast for certain periods of time each day. You’ll need to consider your personal preferences while looking for a plan you can stick with.
Flexibility is Important
If you’re overly strict with yourself, you will find it difficult to stick with the plan. It’s important to be flexible and give yourself some room to make the occasional mistake.
You must also be willing to make substitutions when necessary. If your plan calls for an ingredient that’s not available, change it out for something that is.
As with any meal plan, there are bound to be some foods you don’t enjoy eating. Instead of forcing yourself, simply try cooking that food a different way or with different sauces.
For example, I was never a huge fan of broccoli when I was younger, but that’s because I had always had it steamed and soft. As soon as I discovered how crispy they get when roasted with salt and paprika it was a whole new world.
You can also replace the foods you don’t like for the next closest thing, then revisit that food later on.
It’s surprising how after changing your diet in other areas when you come back to a food you previously did not like you start to warm to it. It can happen.
For a vegan diet plan weight loss to stick, it must become a way of life. So keep trying and experiment, all the while doing your best to make it a fun and enjoyable experience.
Going Vegan Isn’t Easy
There is a difference between plant-based dieting and the vegan lifestyle. If you are going vegan for more than just the weight loss – such as health concerns, moreal convictions, or something else – you will likely find that the switch is harder than you expected..
Your family and friends may not support your decisions. Almost everyone will question whether you are getting enough protein and nutrients. Social situations that involve food like parties, sporting events, and date night, will be more difficult to navigate.
Every significant lifestyle change requires effort and may result in some push-back from others. When things get tough, take the time to remember reasons why you chose this lifestyle in the first place.
Also don’t forget you can fight back too with the facts as to your nutrition and the most common questions. This article we wrote on plant-based complete proteins is a good place to start.
Exercise Will Help Your Weight Loss Goals
Although diet has a major impact on your ability to maintain a healthy weight, you must not ignore the importance of exercise.
Whether you thrive on intense workouts or prefer something gentler like yoga or walking, try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of activity into your daily routine.
Benefits of regular exercise include increased energy, improved mood, and better sleep. It can even bring a little spark back into your bedroom!
The Top 5 Vegan Weight Loss Plans
A new diet plan is a big commitment, and a large financial outlay isn’t always the best way to get started. For this reason, I’ve chosen plans with a low up-front cost and no ongoing fees. If you feel like you need more in-person support, you may want to explore other options.
In the meantime, these five plans are an excellent introduction to weight loss – the vegan way!
The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet
This 28-day guide, based on the popular documentary “Forks over Knives” gives you everything you need for a complete meal makeover.
It provides over 100 recipes and tips for stocking up on supplies, meal planning, dealing with cravings, and eating on the go.
Simple and easy to follow, this plan is backed by success stories of real people who have changed their lives using a vegan diet plan.
- Following this plan eliminates the need for portion control or calorie counting
- The book is full of science-backed research and testimonials
- It’s an excellent guide for new vegans
- The plan itself isn’t as structured as it could be
- Some recipes include sugar, processed foods, and soy
- Nutritional information is not included in the recipes
Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook: Crazy Delicious Recipes That Are Good To The Earth
It has been over 5 years since the original Skinny Bitch hit the shelves in 2007, with its irreverent tone and sharp tongued wit.
For many the marketing was a little too much of style over substance (“Soda is liquid Satan” was one of the tag lines). The no-nonsense style was appreciated by enough though for follow up titles including ‘Vegan Swaps’ and diet plans while pregnant – or having a ‘Bun In The Oven,’ as they put it on their cover.
While there have been lots of different cook books under the Skinny Bitch titles, the most recent Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook is my personal favorite.
The writer has matured in her outlook over the 5 years as she has become a wife and mom, focusing on seasonal ingredients and vegetables over fake-meat with recipes that cover every occasion for families and kids.
- A number of titles under the Skinny Bitch umbrella to suit your situation (even includes Skinny Bastard for men!)
- Easy to read and very accessible nutritional information for beginners
- Strong motivational writing by someone who has been through the diet plan process
- A real focus on understanding healthy living, GMOs, toxins in the kitchen and ingredients – not just dieting
- The tone and language is not for everyone
- Very strong line on animal rights in the early books, which may sound preachy to some
- The early books occasionally take a while to get to the point
Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition
Eat to Live, written by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, is a scientifically-backed six-week plan to improve your health by changing the way you eat. This plan is a bit different from the others because it addresses the topic of toxic hunger, food addiction, and its impact on weight loss.
Based on the concept of nutrient density, the premise of the plan is that by consuming large portions of nutrient-dense foods, you can train your body to give up its cravings for low-nutrient foods.
This reduces food addiction and leads to better health and weight loss.
- This plan eliminates the need for calorie counting
- The common-sense approach makes it easy to follow
- If you follow the plan, weight loss is almost inevitable
- This plan can be too restrictive for some
- Some may find the scientific language and terminology to be boring
The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds
Former professional athlete and fireman Rip Esselstyn originally designed this plan to address the health concerns of his co-workers in their Austin, TX firehouse.
The plan worked, resulting in weight loss, lowered cholesterol, and overall improvement in health for everyone who participated. He’s now shared the plan in this awe-inspiring book.
Acting as both a motivator and coach, Rip gives you everything you need to change your life in four weeks.
- The plan is easy to follow, and the author approaches it with a friendly style
- The book includes a wide variety of mouth-watering recipes
- In addition to recipes, you’ll find plenty of exercise and lifestyle tips
- Some recipes contain soy-based and processed foods
- The many background stories about Rip’s life can be a turn-off for some
The Reboot with Joe Juice Diet: Lose Weight, Get Healthy and Feel Amazing
In the 2010 documentary “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” Joe Cross traveled the country promoting juicing as a way of life. He managed to use his juicing diet to lose one hundred pounds and was able to discontinue all of his medications.
In this book, he shares the story of his pre-diet life and gives you everything you need to begin your own journey.
- This book is based on the author’s real-life experience
- Following this juicing plan can leave you feeling vibrant and energetic
- You may lose weight quickly
- The plan is based on juicing only, there are no other recipes
- Some may find that the plan doesn’t include enough protein
How to Create Your Own Vegan Meal Plan for Weight Loss
Following a meal plan created by others may not be right for you. If you want to have more control over your diet or would like to dabble with a few recipes at a time, a DIY meal plan may be a better option.
When designing your custom plan, it’s important to be patient with yourself and not to shy away from experimentation.
Here are some simple tips to help you get started.
Try At Least One New Recipe Every Week
There’s a bit of a learning curve involved in vegan cooking, but the recipes you choose don’t have to be complicated. You can start with something as simple as a super-food smoothie or new flavor of overnight oats.
Use weekends or other easy days to tackle more complicated recipes. We have loads of recipes here whether you are planning an easy weekday vegan meal or a cooking up a storm for guests. When you find one you like, keep it in a place where it’s easy to access. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of recipes on hand and feel like a pro in the kitchen.
Just be sure to try something new every week, so you begin to learn which foods you enjoy eating. Experiment, experiment, experiment!
Familiarize Yourself with the Ingredients
When you first start exploring vegan recipes, some of the ingredients may sound foreign to you. Don’t panic. Most can be found at your local high-end grocery or health-food store.
I recommend taking some time to wander around the aisles and familiarize yourself with the many options available.
If you’re looking for something specific and can wait a day or two, it’s easy to order whatever you need from an online grocery retailer. This gives you the option to read reviews and compare products before buying.
Make Sure Your Plan is Nutritionally Sound
It’s important to be conscious of your nutritional needs while following a vegan weight loss plan. It’s actually very easy to get enough protein, but you’ll need to make sure you get enough iron, zinc, and calcium. You’ll also need to take a B-12 supplement as there is no vegan source for this vitamin.
When designing your plan, make sure that each meal contains each of the following:
Variety of vegetables
Fruit (or a colorful vegetable)
If you follow these guidelines and stick to natural, unprocessed foods, you shouldn’t have any nutritional problems. If you’re concerned, a vegan multivitamin will help to fill in anything that’s lacking.
Write Out Your Plan, and Follow Through
You’re more likely to stick to a plan if you write it down. At the beginning of every week, plan out the meals and snacks you’ll eat each day. This will help you to avoid making bad decisions when you’re tired and hungry.
If you follow a plan, you’re also more likely to reduce food waste by incorporating leftovers into future meals.
Prepping as much as possible ahead of time also helps you to stay on track. When you get home from the grocery store, take the time to wash and cut up vegetables. Store them in airtight containers for easy access throughout the week.
You’ll appreciate the added convenience when it’s time to make your meals.
Although every one of these vegan weight loss plans brings something to the table, Eat to Live is the clear winner in my opinion. It addresses the all-too-common problem of food addiction and provides a clear plan for combating the effects of a lifetime of toxic eating.
If you follow the guidelines and accept it as a lifestyle change, it could be the first step towards a lifetime of better health.