I know what you're probably thinking. A vegan diet is as healthy as it gets, right? But vegans can definitely pig out too! When cutting out meat, eggs, and dairy, we end up replacing a majority of our entrees with high-fat solutions with tons of excess carbohydrates!
Find yourself eating more vegan cupcakes than fresh vegetables? Here are seven ways to get your vegan diet back on track:
1. Eat out of your fridge. Resist the urge to order take-out at your favorite vegan restaurant all of the time. Try to cook with as many fresh ingredients as possible, limiting your pre-packaged frozen foods, which are loaded with sodium and preservatives.
2. Say goodbye to simple carbs! White bread, white rice, and white pasta may be easy go-to ingredients on a vegan diet, but they all also have an extremely high glycemic index. Not only do high GI foods spike your blood sugar, but they make you hungrier much faster than their whole grain alternatives.
3. Swap out your sugar. Sugar is an empty ingredient that has little to no benefits for the body. Try subbing it out for evaporated cane juice, agave nectar, or maple syrup-sweetened desserts. If you have a sweet tooth that's impossible to work around, limit your sugary desserts to once or twice a week, or better yet, try out a healthier fruit-based dessert recipe!
4. Eat your veggies. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends filling a little more than one quarter of your plate with vegetables, and it recommends adults eat between two to three cups of veggies per day depending on age and gender. Saute some collards, try out a kale salad, or find creative ways to work iron-rich spinach into your favorite dinner recipes!
5. Go raw! (Sort of.) Let's face it. Going raw is really hard, and a majority of people don't care for it. Instead, do yourself a favor, and at least focus on eating about 50% raw. It will give your body the serious boost of nutrition it needs!
6. Move, move, move. The average person should be doing some sort of aerobic activity for about 20 to 30 minutes a week. Go for a walk with friends, sign up for a dance class, or actually use that gym membership you treated yourself with for Christmas.
7. Detox your body. An occasional week-long or month-long cleanse is a great way to get yourself back on track when you've fallen off the wagon. Does a week of nothing but juice and smoothies sound a little too extreme for you? Don't sweat it. Whole and raw food cleanses are just as beneficial and much more doable.