What I WISH I’d Known When Becoming Vegan

The other day I was thinking about what I wish I knew when I decided to become vegan and that led to this post.

The number one piece of information I wished I knew at the time is this…

You can NOT eat an unlimited amount of plant-based fat (Even if it is in the form on WHOLE foods)!!!  

I was initially under the assumption that if it was a whole food and plant-based, then it was healthy. I was adding coconut oil to my green smoothies along with peanut butter AND half an avocado…using olive oil liberally in sautées and stir fries, making nut and seed cheeses, etc.

I was also eating nuts by the handful (ok, actually handful”s”).  Toward the beginning of my vegan journey I discovered nut-based raw cheesecakes and became very successful making them for friends and family (aka a ploy to always have some on hand for myself).  A slice of cheesecake became my after dinner ritual…after all, it was plant-based and therefore healthy, right?

Shortly thereafter I took a raw foods dessert class and was amazed by how wonderful everything tasted. Thus my love affair with raw desserts continued.

While I did not gain a significant amount of weight per se, I did notice my body becoming more soft (for lack of a better description) despite a very active training schedule.

Bottom line, you can not expect to eat a large volume of fat and not have your body increase its body fat percentage.

I decided to check my body fat percentage and was shocked to learn that I gained approximately 5% body fat (yowza!). I always pictured people becoming leaner when transitioning to a plant-based diet, not doughier!!!

I was left scratching my head because I was eating WHOLE foods, not a bunch of processed vegan cinnamon rolls.

I assumed that I could up my plant-based fat because I was no longer consuming saturated fat in the form of animal-based meats and cheeses. Boy was I wrong.

Since making the connection I have been consciously eating a limited amount of whole food plant-based fats.

I could have saved myself a lot of time had I known this information from the start, which is why I am sharing it with you.

Since limiting my plant-based fats I am as lean as I used to be.

Lesson learned.

What information have you learned since becoming vegan that you wish you’d known from the beginning?

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Image courtesy of Flickr’s The Commons.

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9 Comments

Filed under Education, Fat, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues

9 responses to “What I WISH I’d Known When Becoming Vegan

  1. SkinnyonVegan

    True. A lot of people don’t even consider oils whole foods! I know I would rather eat nuts than oil any day!

  2. Angie

    I agree from my own similar experience as well! I believe that a limited amount of healthy fat in the diet is essential, but it is easy to go way overboard with nuts and nut butters and see not so desirable side effects as a result. What have you found to be easy snacks? I fall into the hummus and veggie or apple rut and often crave something more substantial so I grab handfuls of nuts when I’m hungry and on the run. Because I try to not eat any processed foods or sugar, I find myself out of ideas! Any tips? Thank you!

    • Hi Angie! I actually keep my between-meal snacks as simple as possible…fruit and cut-up veggies most of the time. I find that if that is what I grab on the way out the door, then that is what I HAVE to eat (since I don’t have any other options at the time).

      I also always have sweet potatoes in my fridge and will grab one on the go if I need something more substantial (I am making a batch of 6 sweet potatoes right now). My favorite way to prepare them is the way I learned from my father-in-law…they turn out SO creamy:

      * Steam the cleaned, uncut sweet potatoes for 30 minutes
      * Place the steamed sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes

      The end result is so good. My kids love them for an after-school snack.

      I have also been snacking on my Pumpkin Pie Dessert hummus lately…I have been eating it straight-up and haven’t even been dipping anything in it. I find that the chickpeas really fill me up and since it is a fat-free dip, no worries there.

  3. Angie

    The sweet potatoes sound delicious! I will definitely be trying that. And I was planning to try the dessert hummus – I love pumpkin too! Thanks for the tips:)

  4. Cindy

    Yep! Did the same thing! Ate way too much fat from healthy sources. I realized it pretty quick but still slip into it again intermittently. Ahhhh. Thanks why I’m always searching for good recipes. Thanks for the reminder!!

  5. Lea

    I have to share this post with a friend of mine! I can’t convince her that it’s the oils she is always eating that keep the weight on. And even though I know this as well, it is so easy to get into bad habits again. Thanks for the post!

  6. Pingback: Gretchen Tseng publisher of the vegan blogs Chic Vegan and Veggie Grettie

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