Health & Fitness

How to go vegan for a month without compromising your fitness goals

Susy WulfMarch 16, 20226 mins read

People usually start a nutrition challenge at the beginning of a new calendar year. #30DaysOfPaleo and Dry Jan. are two popular ones. Veganuary is another one that has gained popularity.

Veganuary is a challenge that sees carnivores go vegan for a month. It promises many benefits, including increased energy, clearer skin and improved digestion.

Is going vegan for 30 consecutive days a good idea for those who are looking to lose weight or meet fitness goals? This question is being answered by nutritionists.

Can you be vegan while still achieving your fitness goals? ?

Let’s just say that it is possible to eat a vegan diet while still achieving your fitness goals. This is true regardless of whether you are vegan for 30 days, or your entire life.

It will likely take some tracking, regardless of how long it takes.

Esther Avant Wellness Coaching’s ACE-certified personal trainer, Esther Avant Wellness Coaching certified nutrition coach, says that most vegan exercisers would be better off tracking their macronutrients and calories.

aEURoeProtein intake is a key consideration for vegans, particularly if you have fitness goals. aEURoeProtein is essential for many reasons. Not the least, it helps with muscle growth and retention.

aEURoeBecause so many animal products are good sources of lean proteins, removing them often results in a dramatic decrease in total protein. This is not ideal, considering that active people need between 0.5 to 0.9 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

It is possible to eat enough protein even if you are vegan.

She explains that pairing specific foods with complementary amino acids profiles and taking a plant-based supplement can help you get enough to support your health goals. Here are 10 vegan protein sources.

Vegans can lose weight while being vegan

Yes, you can be vegan while still achieving your weight loss goals.

This is vital! Avant says that it is not necessary to go vegan in order to lose weight.

Jaramillo says that any weight loss experienced by vegans is more due to a lower calorie intake and not the elimination of animal products.

aEURoeMany people experience a decrease of weight when they eat vegan. This is because the diet limits saturated and trans fats which can often contain a lot calories.

She does note that vegans can gain weight, as their fat intake is higher than carbs and protein.

You can track your caloric intake over the first two weeks of becoming a vegan to get an idea of how many calories you are consuming from all the plant-based foods.

Please remind me: What are vegans allowed to eat?

Simply put, veganism means eating foods that are not animal-based.

Vegans avoid common ingredients such as eggs, butter and cheese. Yes, they can eat meat.

The following are the main ingredients in most vegan diets:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • bread, rice, pasta
  • Alternatives to dairy
  • Soy products
  • Oils

But, the food that vegans and carnivores alike eat can vary greatly.

Shena Jaramillo MS is a registered dietitian nutritionist and founder of Peace & Nutrition. She explains that what someone eats as a vegan depends on how they approach veganism.

aEURoeSome people simply choose pre-prepared convenience vegan products (like Oreos). She says that these foods are high in sodium and sugar. Others will opt to eat primarily whole foods and limit their intake of processed foods.

You should also know these things before you try Veganuary

Here are some things to remember when you’re embarking on your personal vegan journey.

1. It is important to have a clear reason.

Some people choose to change their diets in an effort to find accountability. Some people do it simply out of curiosity.

Why would someone choose to take on a vegan challenge? Avant says that aEURoeReasons can be used to care about the environment, animals, and cut costs.

aEURoeSometimes people do it because they watched a documentary or listened to a podcast or read an article or spoke to a friend or relative about it.

However, it is important to know your W-H Y before you start working.

Avant says that the more you think about what you want out of your experience, the greater your chances of success.

2. Some side effects may be pleasant

It is impossible to predict how your body will react to eating less of certain food groups and substituting with more. There are many side effects and benefits that can help you achieve your weight loss or happy health goals.

Veganuary, for instance, encourages people to examine food labels to ensure they are eating a vegan diet.

AEURoeThis can also show someone what micro- and macronutrients theyaEUR(tm), which can help them reach the macronutrient-, or calorie-intake goals that are best suited to their weight loss goals.

Veganism also encourages creativity in the kitchen. You have to think of something new, since Meat Lasagna Monday is over and Turkey Taco Tuesday is on hiatus. You’ll need to be creative.

Jaramillo says that veganism can be a good thing. It requires creativity and a lot more meal preparation at home. It turns out that homemade meals are often more nutritious in micronutrients (than restaurant-prepared meals), which can help support overall energy.

3. Nutrient deficiencies are possible

Avant says that vegans often lack a few micronutrients.

  • vitamin B12
  • calcium
  • Iodine
  • iron

aEURoeBeing conscious of possible deficiencies and planning can be extremely helpful because it allows you choose to supplement or choose foods high enough to make up the difference, she said.

If you are already low in these nutrients, consult your healthcare professional before trying Veganuary. Before you try Veganuary, consult your healthcare professional. They may not recommend it.

4. Plan your post-30 days

When going vegan for January or any other 30-day period, one of the most common mistakes is not knowing what theyaEUR(tm), will do February 1.

Avant asks: aEURoeYou’d like to be vegan for one month, but what should you do? AEURoeA month is enough time for your body and mind to adjust to the new way of eating.

Too many foods (eggs and meat, butter, milk, etc.), can lead to GI problems. Uncomfortable GI symptoms can result from introducing too many different foods (eggs, meat, butter, milk etc.) at once.

Her suggestion: Consider January as an elimination diet. She suggests that at the end of the month, you should systematically reintroduce animal product so you can learn as many details as possible about the effects each food has on your body.

Strategic thinking can help you identify foods/categories that don’t agree with your preferences. You may decide to continue avoiding them without having to arbitrarily ban all animal products from your home.

While the reintroduction phase can be slow, it will allow you to get the most out of your little experiment.

Bottom line: Veganuary and any other 30-day vegan window can be challenging. You can still succeed with proper planning, realistic adjustments and proactiveness for when itaEUR ™ is over.

Susy Wulf

Susy Wulf is a journalist, copywriter, editor and journalist. She has a BA degree in English from Monmouth University, and a MA in Global Communications (American University of Paris).


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