If you are you looking for an easy to follow but effective diet for the New Year then you might want to consider a plant-based diet for weight loss. While more and more people are taking up the challenge of Veganuary following a plant-based diet is a lot easier and is becoming more popular.
During the various lockdowns that have been implemented during the coronavirus pandemic people have comforted themselves by eating whatever they fancy, and it’s been far from healthy food. Consequently, many are now looking to shed the weight they have inevitably put on.
I’ve seen members of some of the online health groups complaining that they have been working out regularly but not seeing any results. It’s a fact that some people take longer than others to lose a couple of pounds or kilograms. That’s because there’s more to losing weight than just sticking to an exercise routine.
Instead of going on one of the many New Year diets that are around which are only effective so long as you stick to them why not try a plant-based diet? Many people follow a diet for a New Year’s resolution, but they usually get fed up with it long before January is over and go back to their previous diet and of course any weight they have lost goes back on.
A good solution that can help you get back on track with your weight loss goals is a plant-based diet. Recent research came to the conclusion that plant-based diets are more effective for long-term weight loss than the ketogenic diet which has become very popluar.
A plant-based diet is full of beneficial fiber which keeps you feeling full and feeds the good bacteria in your gut which play an important part in weight control. It’s also low in calories and rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are needed for good health.
A whole foods plant-based diet for weight loss can aid in the removal of toxic chemicals from your body that interfere with hormones and the loss of weight.
Another benefit of a plant-based diet discovered by British researchers was that people from six countries who ate a high plant-based or pescatarian diet did not have such bad symptoms and recovered more quickly if they got Covid-19 than people who ate a low carb and higher meat diet.
The Relation of Hormone Imbalance To Weight
Typically, hormone imbalances cause weight gain. These hormones that affect our bodies include estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol. For now, I will briefly go over how these hormones cause weight gain in our bodies and give a brief plant-based diet for beginners.
Excess estrogen can cause weight gain and stubborn weight loss. An estrogen imbalance is caused by:
Low levels of progesterone and cortisol
Eating animal-based products
Extra estrogen, known as a xenoestrogen, from the environment, like makeup, cleaning products, plastics, and many other chemicals
Your detox system is failing to get rid of these environmental estrogens.
Related reading: How to Detox Environmental Estrogen to Prevent Estrogen Dominance
Under normal circumstances our bodies produce high cortisol levels in the morning, and it gradually declines during the day. Stress causes a cortisol hormone imbalance.
When you are stressed your adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels can cause cravings for sweet, fatty and salty foods.
As well as this high levels of cortisol cause thinning of arms and legs, weak bones, weak skin, stretch marks, rounding of the face, and weight gain in the belly and upper back.
Under stress, our brain will down-regulate progesterone production to produce more cortisol. Also, low progesterone levels in our bodies lead to higher estrogen in our bodies, and we have seen the side effects of high levels of cortisol and estrogen.
What is a Plant-Based diet for Weight Loss?
A plant-based diet is one that relies mainly on plant food but need not exclude animal products entirely. It centers around plants although meat or fish is sometimes used as a garnish.
It is not the same as a vegan diet where all animal products are excluded for ethical reasons. A proper plant-based diet consists of whole foods so is often referred to as a whole foods plant food diet. Vegans unfortunately do not always eat whole foods nor healthy foods.
A whole food plant-based diet that is high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and polyphenols. Fiber helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied. It also supports the beneficial bacteria in the gut which produce short chain fatty acids. These trigger the release of appetite-reducing hormones which all helps with weight loss.
Related reading: How To Start A Plant Based Diet
Plant-Based Diet and Stubborn Weight Loss
We have seen that those imbalanced hormones like estrogen cause weight gain. So, we will look at how implementing some of these plant-based meals in your diet can help reduce estrogen levels and balance your hormones.
Remember, plants make us eat more and enough for our bodies. Other diets that incorporate animal products, make us feel satisfied. As a result, our body holds on to the weight to feel safe. Going on a plant-based diet for weight loss will improve your metabolism and improve nutrients.
These plants are a good source of carbohydrates. If your body has low levels of carbohydrates, you will stress the adrenal systems, which will make it difficult to maintain or lose weight. How does that happen? The adrenal glands are responsible for our metabolism. Low levels of carbohydrates will reduce the digestive system’s activity.
There is a vast difference between whole grains and processed grains that have been stripped of their nutrients. Whole grains and pseudo grains include oats, millet, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth.
I recommend avoiding wheat and wheat products because modern wheat is so hard to digest. Plus there is the additional problem of the toxic chemical glyphosate that products made from wheat now contain. Ezekiel bread may be a better choice if you must have bread.
Related reading: Should You Detox Your Body From Glyphosate Weedkiller
Nuts, Legumes, or Seeds
We need to find a source of protein since we are getting rid of animal products such as dairy and meat. Seeds and nuts help support the balance of estrogen and progesterone in our bodies. For example, sesame seeds contain magnesium, sunflower seeds have selenium, and pumpkin seeds are good for zinc.
All these nutrients regulate sex enzymes and hormone metabolism. In fact, they prevent the production of aromatase, which converts progesterone to estrogen. Other seeds include chia, flax, hemp, and many more.
Legumes are also a source of proteins, zinc, and iron that help balance hormones. You can also include beans, peas, lentils, and other legumes at least once a day.
Fruits make great desserts or snacks. They make a great alternative to purchasing fruit drinks from the supermarket. Fruits provide many benefits to our bodies in nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Actually, they are our best source of nutrients that balance our hormones. We have already mentioned how nutrients impact our bodies in the legume section. They also digest faster and improve our metabolism.
Avocado is a fruit that can help reduce belly fat. Some recent research showed that overweight women given half an avocado a day in their one meal a day diet had a reduction in visceral fat. This is the dangerous fat that gets deposited around the abdominal organs and is hard to lose. This only worked for women though and not men.
It’s easy to add avocado to your breakfast eggs, salads and smoothies or even eat one as a healthy snack.
You can make fruit into some tasty and healthy green smoothies which ensures you get all the fiber which is important for the complete elimination of the environmental chemicals which interfere with weight control.
Once the liver has processed the chemicals they get incorporated into the bile which is stored in the gall-bladder. When you eat a meal that contains fat the bile is released into the digestive tract and has to be eliminated from the body quickly. Fiber is needed for this to take place.
Vegetables are the star of your meals. They contain many nutrients and minerals that improve your immunity and help with weight loss. Let’s start by talking about broccoli. Broccoli contains sulforaphane, which is more of an activator or catalyst. They support the antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes responsible for getting rid of estrogen.
Kale, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, and a variety of other greens are examples of cruciferous vegetables. These greens contain 3,3′-diindolylmethane (DIM), supporting estrogen detoxification in the liver.
Beets contain betalains which are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. Most importantly they support stage 2 of the liver detoxification so help in estrogen detoxification.
You can choose to add it to your salad by grating it or blending it with other fruits. Have you ever thought about the nutritional value of beets for weight loss?
Many plants have fiber, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Besides, some vegetables contain FOS and inulin fiber like garlic, onions, asparagus, artichokes, and sunchokes. These FOS and inulin fibers promote healthy digestion in our bodies and contain prebiotics that support estrogen detoxification. Estrogen plays many vital roles in the human body including the regulation of fat accumulation in cells.
You should also include fermented products like kombucha, coconut yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and others in your diet. Taking these fermented products will improve your body’s gut microbiome balance through the production of probiotic bacteria. A healthy gut microbiome helps to regulate circulating estrogen levels and consequently weight.
How to Start a Plant-Based Diet For Weight Loss?
You should take care to only gradually include more plant food as eating more fiber than you are used to could upset your digestive system and put you off. Start by making two or three meals a week healthy plant-based instead of eating meat or fish dishes. As you get used to it gradually include more plant based meals.
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Be mindful of a Vitamin B12 deficiency if you choose to avoid animal products. The only vegan foods that contain small amounts of B12 are shiitake mushrooms and nori. Some foods like breakfast cereals and plant milks may have been fortified with the vitamin.
If you’re stuck for ideas for meals then this Forks Over Knives―The Cookbook will help. With over 300 simple and delicious plant-based recipes to help you lose weight and improve your health you can’t go wrong.
These plant-based diets are about more than just detoxification, hormonal balance, and weight loss. These foods also help the body in various other ways, such as improving immunity, reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, and alleviating exhaustion. Begin by incorporating a plant-based diet for weight loss into your meal plan for the first month and observe the dramatic difference.