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Health

Are You Getting Fat On Your Vegan Diet?
By Melissa Brey


So you've decided to go vegan. Good for you. This morally conscious choice makes you feel really good about yourself. You're helping the animals by reducing animal suffering, helping the environment and the planet in the best way you know how. Hooray! Not too mention all that bountiful wholesome food selections such as grains, beans, vegetables and fruit. With all of these wonderful vitamins and minerals flowing through your body, you feel you've made the healthiest decision possible, and in many ways you have! But then the scale starts to creep up on you, often for the first time and you say, "Wait a minute, that wasn't supposed to happen". Before you abandon your Veggie Burger for an In-N-Out Burger, there is hope.

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Becoming a vegan does not guarantee a slender physique. That is a huge misconception. Not paying attention to food choices will make some people gain unwanted fat, regardless of the kind of diet that you follow. A little conscious consumption is what is called for. If you'd like to take off some of those unwanted vegan pounds, let's take a look at what you're eating.

Processed foods: In vegan and non-vegan diets, processed foods are often the culprit of those unwanted pounds. The key is to choose foods in their natural state as often as possible. A tofu dog that is often laden with preservatives, sugars, fillers, etc is not nearly as wholesome as having the actual soybeans. Think of it in terms of a chicken hot dog versus a grilled chicken breast.

It is the same with a vegan diet. Start choosing the foods that are the least processed. This often means spending a little time in the kitchen. It doesn't have to be fancy or complicated. Soak some kidney beans or soy beans the night before, then throw them in some boiling water or a crock-pot for a few hours with one or two vegetable bullion cubes. You can add some fresh salsa, hot sauce, soy sauce and voila! You have a clean, unprocessed food.

Sugar: Just because you're a Vegan does not mean you don't have to watch your sugar intake. Many of the soymilks, energy bars and other foods that we consume are laden with hidden sugar. Just so we're clear, SUGAR is the same as molasses, corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, etc. The one I see a lot on vegetarian products is "Organic Brown Rice Syrup". Marketing directors are just as clever in vegetarian/vegan companies as they are in non-vegan ones, so don't be fooled. They are still trying to disguise the word "sugar".

Start becoming aware of the products in your cupboard that have sugar and get rid of them or at least start consuming less of them. There is a lot of information out there related to sugar and fat loss. Here is a very simplified version. Simple sugars spike your blood sugar which releases too much insulin too quickly which shuts down the fat burning process. Enough said. There are plenty of sugar-free or low sugar soymilks out there, so start reading your labels for the sugar content. Stevia is an all natural sugar replacement that can be substituted in many products.The bottom line is, start reducing your simple sugars.

Eat often: Have you ever watched toddlers eat? Toddlers and children like to graze and snack throughout the day. This is the way our body naturally performs best. It is also one of the most effective fat-burning tools. Throw out the breakfast, lunch, and dinner concept. A very simple way to start eating often is to simply take your lunch and dinner and divide them in half, and then spread those five meals out over the course of the day. Ideally you want to consume a small meal or snack every three hours.This will keep your metabolism revved and burning around the clock and ensure optimum fat loss. Follow these three simple steps and you are well on your way to losing those unwanted pounds. If you are following a weight training or fitness routine, you should highly consider the benefits of allowing an expert to plan out your vegan diet to ensure you are getting enough protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats to assist you with your goals.

Need help?
Make a personal commitment to yourself to change your lifestyle. Find a partner or make an announcement to friends and family. Accountability is very powerful. Need a plan and a community? Sign up for the VegFamily Vegan Weight Loss Club

Melissa Brey is a Certified Personal Trainer with an A.S. in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University. Melissa is a published freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Natural Muscle Magazine and other local newspapers and publications. She has given lectures on Weight Loss, Fat Burning and teaching parents to help their kids eat healthier. In addition to being a Personal Trainer and providing Nutritional Counseling, Melissa is actively involved in causes to help fight Global Warming and actively teaches people to eat in ways to protect the environment. She is currently writing articles on "Environmental Eating" pertaining to how changing the way we eat can have a positive impact on our environment and help stop Global Warming. Visit her website at www.ocfitnesspros.com
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