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.
What information have you learned since becoming vegan that you wish you’d known from the beginning?
Image courtesy of Flickr’s The Commons.