By Daniela Degrassi
I wonder if the common idea of a vegan gal is that she is skinny and pale. I can vouch to you it is not always the case 🙂
When I turned vegan, actually, I gained weight! I was in this guilt-free-carbo-bonanza-spree and before I could step on a scale, there they were, 10 extra pounds all over me.
You can guess, I wasn’t eating healthy salads and tofu (at least not until later), and I enjoyed all sorts of vegan junk food; as a vegan newbie I had to test all that was labeled vegan out there, don’t you think? I had one particular very bad habit (which I confess, occasionally I still turn to), potato chips.
Once I got over blaming my not so young age and consequent slow metabolism, I decided to take back my slim figure. It didn’t take me long to start reshaping my body, taking smaller bites of pasta and focusing more on making fancy colorful salads (I should post a few recipe next!). In the end, my discreet knowledge in nutrition (I took a few classes in my 20s) helped tremendously in the process, along with picking up yoga. Although it’s a mild exercise, it helped my mind and body gain more will power and strength, and it ultimately increased my metabolism rhythm.
Everyone has their own approach with food, some are able to manage weight loss on their own, some need the extra help. So, if you are a bride-to-be looking to loose some pounds before the big day, (but I don’t want to discourage anyone else either!) you are in the right place today!
Let me introduce you to Sara Binde, a Plant-Based Nutritionist and Weight-loss superstar. Sara will guide you through your approach to a plant-based diet. She explains how to go about switching to a plant-based diet, a common struggle and how to cater a plant-based diet to the needs of a busy bride.
Sara, what’s the ideal approach for brides wanting to try a plant based diet to lose weight before their wedding? How far in advance should they start the transition?
A bride’s ideal approach is the same approach that I take to maintain my modeling figure: nutrient density. I know brides want to lose weight before their wedding, but losing weight isn’t everything to looking stunning on your wedding day. To look your best on your big day, you need to feel your best. Your body is going to feel and look its best if it has plenty of nutrition.
This nutrient-density approach is also called nutritarianism. It’s a term coined by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a plant-based doctor. He strives to eat as many nutrients as he can, and I do the same. The most nutrient-dense foods are vegetables. And more specifically, they’re leafy greens. After that, in order, it’s legumes/beans, fruits, nuts/seeds/avocadoes and whole grains/potatoes. The least-nutrient dense plant foods are oils, refined sugars and processed foods (which includes refined grains).
Eating nutritiously isn’t just about giving your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to thrive. Conveniently, the most nutritious foods tend to have the fewest calories. So while you’re packing in the nutrients to give your skin a radiant glow, you’re also cutting calories without even trying.
When I first started eating vegan, I had buzzing headaches for at least a month. I recommend beginning a plant-based diet as soon as possible for health reasons. But for brides who want to do it before their wedding, I recommend initiating the transition 3 months before the wedding. That allows time to withdraw from food addictions (like cheese/dairy) and for their taste buds to adapt to their new lifestyle.
Transitioning from an omnivorous diet to a vegan diet overnight is difficult. Transitioning from an unhealthy, omnivorous diet to a wholesome, plant-based diet is even more challenging. The 3-month timeframe allows brides to slowly transition out of their current habits without feeling stressed.
Brides should avoid crash dieting before their wedding so they don’t run out of steam the final weeks before the wedding.
In your experience, which is the hardest part of transitioning to a vegan diet?
Transitioning into a vegan diet is different for everybody. But one overall arching difficulty to transition to veganism is allowing yourself to be picky.
When I first went vegan, and for a few years afterward, I used to be apologetic about the way I ate. It’s not that I was ashamed of how I ate. I felt bashful and timid about the way I ate because I wasn’t used to being picky. I was afraid of being labeled as “high maintenance”. I didn’t want to have party hosts or chefs at a restaurant change their food because of me.
Even though addiction or cravings to certain foods (like meat or cheese) is common, they wouldn’t be so difficult to overcome if they weren’t so commonplace. If cheese and meat weren’t so prevalent in most of foods found in the grocery store and restaurants, I wouldn’t have had to feel like I was high-maintenance.
Overall, drawing attention to my different standards and way of eating made me self-conscious. I knew it drew attention to me and I didn’t like it. Now that I’m proud of the way I look and I’m knowledgeable about healthy eating, I’m not (as) timid about asking questions and making change requests about menu offerings.
For someone who is already vegan, what would be your suggested regime to be in perfect shape and relaxed at her wedding?
If you’re already vegan, make sure you’re eating nutritiously. Sure, you may already be vegan, but are you a junk food vegan? Are you eating Garden burgers, French fries, pasta and Oreos?
Where are your vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients? Are you drinking enough water?
This brings me back to what I was talking about in the beginning: nutrition. Eating as nutritiously as possible with help you have the mental clarity you want (and need!) to blaze through the wedding planning.
Brides-to-be should also try to avoid stimulants and other drugs. Coffee will give you short-term energy, but the chemicals in coffee will help keep you awake and alter the neuro chemicals in your brain and make it more difficult to sleep. You become dependent on it.
I recommend moderating and/or quitting other forms of caffeine. A few cups of green, white and black tea is fine, but avoid drinking it too late at night so you can still sleep. Avoid all energy drinks and caffeinated sodas (as well as decaf and diet sodas). If you like the taste of coffee, enjoy 1-2 cups of decaf coffee. Herbals teas are fine as they don’t have caffeine.
Other stimulants to avoid include alcohol, nicotine and chocolate.
To end on a positive note, here are a few recommendations I have:
- If you want to avoid coffee altogether to avoid staining your teeth, try Teeccino or Wattleseed
- Dedicate time to relax and be physically active. Not only does physical activity keep you looking toned. Physical activity also has positive side effects on your mood and ability to focus.
Get out in the sunshine for 15 minutes every day. Sunshine is necessary for our bodies to make vitamin D, a nutrient linked to happy moods. If you can’t, consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement.
Thank You Sara, these are terrific tips!
Sara is happy to come to the rescue if you need her assistance or support anywhere in your transition. For those who are new to vegan and/or plant-based diets, she offers a 12-week transition course called the Beauty Body Plan. The plan teaches you to eat healthfully (not just vegan) while transitioning you to a plant-based lifestyle. The Beauty Body Plan includes 12 weeks of information, 12 grocery lists, 12 meal plans and 100+ recipes. For those who are already vegan, she offers a 7-Day Healthy Vegan Meal Plan. The meal plan is full of flavorful, low fat and gluten-free recipes that are easy to prepare. Sara can help with more meal plans, recipes or personalized advice alongside the 7-Day Meal Plan or the Beauty Body Plan. Check out her website for all the details.
A feminist and independent spirit since she could remember (her childhood heroines were Pippi Longstockings and Katharine Hepburn) Daniela Degrassi found her creative outlet as a lifestyle photographer, working mainly in Northern California where she lived for 15 years before moving back to her native Italy to continue to be her autistic sister’s primary caregiver. Vegan since 2014, she found a perfect way to carry her message of compassion while celebrating her love for the wedding industry launching The Kind Bride in February 2018.