Fat Burning Vegetarian Diet
I frequently get asked by clients and readers how to maintain a fat burning vegetarian diet. Since much of the advice in my book is centred on eating lean proteins like fresh fish, grilled chicken, eggs, and tinned fish, alongside a variety of green vegetables and fruit, this poses a challenge to people who want to eat an exclusively plant-based diet.
Many vegetarians have diets that are heavily carb-based, because too often the alternative to eating meat in a restaurant or at a dinner party is to have a salad and fill up on bread or a big plate of pasta. This is a problem because when we eat protein, we burn fat and when we eat carbs we store fat, as carbs are by nature very starchy and starch turns to sugar very quickly. This raises our insulin levels and one of the roles of insulin is to store fat, not helping with weight loss.
Fat Burning Vegetarian Diet Tips
The goal of my eating programme and advice is to make your body a super efficient fat burning machine. It is amazing that more people don’t know that if you isolate carbs, even just after lunch, you will effectively burn fat without having to count calories at all. While it definitely is harder to do a fat burning vegetarian diet, it is possible. Here are my suggestions for vegetarians:
- Avoid wheat products such as bread, pasta, noodles, pastry etc and other starchy foods like potatoes. You can eat Orgran and Del Ugo pasta as its made from okra or chick peas. In addition, quinoa is a good substitute for pasta as it is a seed (protein) and not a grain (carb). Sweet potatoes are also a much better carb to eat than regular potatoes.
- Soya products like tofu and endamame (soya peas) and Quorn are a great protein for vegetarians.
- You can eat goat and sheep products (like cheese and yogurt) as they have much less sugar than dairy from cows milk
- Focus heavily on eating nuts and seed based products, either raw or as a nut butter (just make sure there’s no added sugar). You can eat more of these than serving sizes suggest as you are not eating any other protein.
- Eggs are a perfect food to eat (though obviously not if you’re vegan). They provide you with all the vitamins and nutrients you need and are a very versatile food. Starting your day with an omelette rather than toast or cereal is so much better for fat burning.
- Eat large portions of vegetables in salads and stir frys. Add seeds and chick peas, lentils, or soya peas to make your salads more filling. Use lemon juice and olive oil as dressing instead of sugary salad dressings.
- Making your own hummus (with chick peas or soya peas) as well as your own tahini or guacamole is also a great way to integrate more high protein vegetarian foods into your daily diet.
- Amaranth is like a seed and makes a good alternative to breakfast cereal. Oats are a good breakfast option as well, just make sure you add a protein like nuts (see below) and make them with water, not milk.
- Don’t double carb. You can slow down carbs by always adding a protein to them. For instance, if you’re having baked sweet potato, don’t add baked beans or cheese. Instead add an egg or some lentils (dahl is a yummy choice). If you’re having toast always put on tahini or peanut butter not jam.
- For snacking, eat avocados or nut butter sliced on apples. Try also snacking on olives and edamame or berries.
Read our previous blog on motivation for exercise here.