‘I lost 4 stone in 6 months eating big portions and following a delicious diet’

Today (November 1) is World Vegan Day, a day dedicated to celebrating veganism and spreading awareness about the advantages of a plant-based diet on health and well-being.

Veganism is a lifestyle practice of eating only food not derived from animals – such as meat, eggs and dairy products – as well as typically avoiding the use of other animal products.

There are various reasons why people may decide to practise veganism but Andrew Roberts, a personal trainer, decided to take up a plant-based way of life to benefit his health – and lost four stone in six months.

Andrew told Express.co.uk: “I wasn’t particularly unhealthy before I turned vegan, however I felt like I was lacking some energy.

“For this reason I was open to experimenting with a vegan diet and then never looked back.

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A post shared by Andrew Roberts | Weight Loss Coach For Vegans (@plantpoweredcoach_)

“I certainly believe it is easier to lose weight when you are eating a predominantly whole food vegan diet,” the personal trainer added.

Due to plant-based food’s general fibre content, low-calorie density and lack of processing means a vegan diet may promote weight loss without the need to constantly calorie count.

Andrew continued: “Often when people try to lose weight they adopt an unsustainable approach by eating tiny portions or cutting out carbs.

“Although these techniques may work in the short term they are not sustainable and often lead to the individual regaining all the weight they had lost when they return to their normal way of eating.

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A post shared by Andrew Roberts | Weight Loss Coach For Vegans (@plantpoweredcoach_)

“Contrary to that, on a vegan diet you can eat big, delicious portions which fill you up and satisfy you. Not only does this make it great for losing weight, but keeping it off in the long term as well.”

There is a common misconception that all vegans eat is salad, but that’s not the case. A vegan diet can be incredibly varied – and delicious.

Andrew, himself guilty of believing vegans just ate leaves, realised that: “Turning vegan opens up a whole new world of food, spices and flavours that I would never have found if I hadn’t gone vegan. The food I eat now is way more varied and flavoursome than what I used to eat.”

Another misconception is that vegans “don’t get enough protein”, Andrew continued: “This is probably the biggest myth. There are tons of high protein vegan sources such as soy chunks, tempeh, seitan and tofu, just to name a few.

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A post shared by Andrew Roberts | Weight Loss Coach For Vegans (@plantpoweredcoach_)

“When you incorporate these foods into your diet along with legumes and plants you get more than enough protein.”

Andrew’s advice for budding vegans looking to lose weight would be: “I always say there’s no harm in trying it, approach it with an open mind and forget the stigma that surrounds being vegan as that can subconsciously influence the way you feel.

“To start off with, it can be really helpful to switch some of your typical foods with vegan alternatives which taste very similar, for example switch milk with oat milk.

“You don’t have to go 100 percent vegan out of nowhere and often a gradual approach works well so you should slowly phase out meals with meat and dairy and replace them with plant based meals.

“It’s super important to enjoy the food you are eating so have a look online and find some recipes that really appeal to you.

“Joining some online communities is also another great way to discover recipes, tips that have worked for others and get advice if you ever need it.”

The NHS compiled a helpful list for beginners taking on a healthy vegan diet:

  • eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
  • base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates (choose wholegrain where possible)
  • have some fortified dairy alternatives, such as soya drinks and yoghurts (choose lower-fat and lower-sugar options)
  • eat some beans, pulses and other proteins
  • eat nuts and seeds rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as walnuts) every day
  • choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat in small amounts
  • have fortified foods or supplements containing nutrients that are more difficult to get through a vegan diet, including vitamin D, vitamin B12, iodine, selenium, calcium and iron
  • drink plenty of fluids (the Government recommends six to eight cups or glasses a day)

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