Vegan Weight Gain
Q I am a diabetic and originally became vegan for health and moral reasons for myself and now I do it for the animals. However, ever since I became vegan, I have gained 20 pounds and my glucose numbers have gone from 130 to 480. My doctor keeps blaming vegan diet because of all the carbs. I refuse to eat animal foods, but that is the only source of complete protein, not carbs.
A It is possible to follow a vegan diet and get the protein you need. It may require monitoring your diet more closely than you have before, and making sure that you include plenty of exercise, especially since you now need to lose those 20 extra pounds.
My best recommendation is to choose vegan proteins such as tofu, tempeh, seitan and beans most often, avoiding processed soy and other processed food. Not knowing what you eat, it’s difficult to give exact recommendations but generally eating a high percentage of vegetables will help the weight come off while keeping your blood sugar numbers lower. Foods that contain soluble fiber such as barley, beans, apples and flax help stabilize blood sugar. The work of James Anderson, M.D., of the Univeristy of Kentucy has shown that using beans as a protein source works well over time. The issue is likely to be how much you eat of the beans at one time. Also, staying away from refined carbohydrates of all kinds, including bread, crackers, chips, and all white foods – rice, pasta, might help. So just to show that your doctor is wrong, you might try this for a month or two and see how it goes.
I encourage you to use the fattier vegan foods such as nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocadoes and olives to help balance out your vegan diet.
Editor’s note: Our sister site VegDieters may be just the thing you need to help you eat well as a vegan and lose weight!