There's never a day where I regret adopting a vegan diet. I no longer have digestive issues, my skin cleared up, and I feel physically and mentally healthier than ever before. It's a lifestyle choice I recommend to everyone who wants to feel and look their best. However, making the transition to veganism was far from easy, and I wish I knew at the start that, if you're not careful, it can quickly become a high-carb diet that isn't necessarily synonymous with weight loss.
Most of the staple foods in the vegan diet, such as beans, rice, legumes, and even fruits, are naturally high in carbs. Although these healthful foods are packed with nutrition your body will thrive on, you shouldn't consume them in excess if you have specific weight-loss goals in mind. For example, a cup of cooked black beans has about 116 grams of carbohydrates and a cup of rice has 45 grams. That may not sound like a lot, but if you're making this kind of food your main attraction for many meals throughout the week, those numbers will add up, and you'll see the difference in your body if you were previously accustomed to eating low-carb foods, like meat and eggs.
I didn't realize that when I first adopted a vegan diet in 2011, so three months into my new vegan lifestyle, I couldn't figure out why I kept putting on weight — and it was incredibly frustrating. I had been told that giving up meat, dairy, and processed foods would slim me down, but I wasn't getting the results I wanted. So I took a closer look at my meals, and I realized that I was consuming way more bread, grains, and legumes than I ever had before. And I wasn't controlling my portions.
I decided to be more thoughtful about each meal. I started eating more protein that was naturally lower in carbs, such as tofu, tempeh, seitan, and lentils. I also became more careful about what I ate at restaurants. Rather than white-bread sandwiches or pasta, I opted in for more salads with extra protein on top, or I ate zucchini noodles rather than spaghetti. Most importantly, I didn't gorge on something just because it was vegan. I only ate when I was hungry and stopped eating when I was full.
These small changes made all the difference. Within a few weeks, I could feel my body adjusting back to my normal size. Soon enough, the weight was peeling off and I was feeling less sluggish throughout the day. Since then, my vegan diet has given me nothing but positive results, and I don't think I could ever go back.