Go Vegan!

The vegan lifestyle—an extreme form of vegetarianism—used to be a fringe diet with followers few and far between. However, over the past decade, the lifestyle has grown in popularity.
Go Vegan
This may be due in part to an increase in environmental consciousness—large-scale meat production is a major source of greenhouse gases—or perhaps people are simply more educated about the choices they have in choosing a healthy diet. Whatever the reason, veganism has moved from marginal to mainstream. What is Veganism?
Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients, including foods that are processed using animal products, like refined white sugar. Some vegans also avoid animal products such as leather, fur, and wool.

Vegans achieve a healthy diet by incorporating enriched breakfast cereals, fortified soy products, varied legumes, nuts, and seeds as well as whole-grains to replace the vitamins and nutrients found most readily in animal products. Vegans must find alternative sources for B-12 and calcium, as well as vitamin D, protein, iron, zinc, and riboflavin.

Vegan for Weight Loss
Veganism’s sudden surge in popularity coupled with high-profile celebrities singing its praises, put it at risk of becoming a fad diet. Can a vegan diet help you lose weight? Possibly. Is it guaranteed? Not at all.

Eliminating entire food groups may seem like an easy way to cut calories, but just like a low-fat or low-carb approach, it’s not so much about which foods you cut, but with which foods you replace them. Cutting fat doesn’t do you much good if you replace it with sugar. The same philosophy applies here. A vegan diet can help you lose weight as long as it is part of a weight loss program that includes other dietary changes, such as planning and portion control.

PointsPlus® for Vegans
Planning a healthy diet that avoids all animal products and still provides your body with all the nutrients it needs to thrive while losing weight can be challenging. Thankfully, the PointsPlus® system can help.

Use your Plan Manager to search for recipes by dietary preference. You can search by Vegan and then browse plenty of mouth-watering possibilities or search by Vegetarian, and then plan to make your own substitutions for any animal-derived ingredients.

For instance, many vegans rely on soy, almond or rice milk in place of cow’s milk. For recipes calling for cheese, use soy cheese or DAIYA™ cheese. Depending on the dish, eggs can be replaced with apple sauce, tofu, or commercially available egg substitutes. Committing to a vegan lifestyle requires a little creativity!

You can also use the Recipe Search tool and search by ingredient—try using the keywords tofu, tempeh, quinoa, chickpeas, couscous, nuts etc. You may find you have to make a few adjustments, but in most cases it’s a cinch! Collect all your favourite vegan recipes (or vegan with a few substitutions) in your Favorites for quick access later.

For more inspiration, check out the message boards. Try the Vegetarians Get Together board to get ideas from fellow vegan Plan members. The Food Talk board is also a great resource, and don’t forget the blogs!

Go Vegan for a Week
Challenge yourself to go vegan for a week. Consider using the Challenges board to get other plan members to join you. If nothing else, it’s a great way to get out of a recipe rut. Try some new dishes and shake up your meal plan. Also, take note of how you feel. Many new vegans claim to feel a surge in energy and report noticing a change in their skin tone—a coveted “glow.” See how you wear the vegan lifestyle. You might be surprised!

Here are some of our favourite vegan recipes to get you started!