Vegan Food Is Not Diet Food

While I won’t get into too many lengthy and personal details about my years-long, up-and-down journey with weight loss, I will say that recently, the steady (albeit not monstrous) weight gain I’ve experienced over the past 6 years was starting to bum me out.

The thing is, I’m fine with how I look (for the most part), but I’m concerned about my long-term health.  If I continued to gain weight at the rate I’ve been going, I’d be 100 lbs. heavier than I am now by age 50.Not Diet Food 009I took the photo of this incredible sunset in Roxbury last summer.  #nofilter

Last week I decided it was time to get serious.  There was one other time in my life where I experienced a significant weight loss, and I managed it by tracking my calories (not in a crazy/obsessive way, but in a way that puts things in black and white so that I can remind myself why an extra glass of wine is probably not necessary).

So for the past 10 days I’ve been using My Fitness Pal (both the site and the iPhone app) to track my calories and exercise.  I’ve lost 6.4 lbs. in two weeks and I’m pumped!

Still, it’s pretty annoying to me that it’s so hard for me to keep weight off.  I feel like people judge me when they find out I’m vegan but see that I’m not very thin.

The fact is that vegan food is not diet food.  It is just food.  It can be low or high in calories and fat.  It can be whole and natural, or processed and sodium-laden.  And eating too much of it can cause weight gain.

Chili 001Did you know that all of these Girl Scout cookie varieties (with the exception of the Samoas Caramel deLites) are vegan?  Vegan, yes.  Diet-friendly, no.

For the past 10 days, I’ve been eating just enough, and it’s paying off (so far!).  I’ve still got a ways to go but already I feel more empowered, like I’m doing something positive for myself in both the long- and short-term.Not Diet Food 013Buffalo Jackfruit (recipe from Spabettie) snack: 89 calories [Source: acookinthemaking on Instagram–follow me por favor!]

However, tonight will present something of a test for me because I am going to a five-course vegan “Pre-Valentine’s Day” dinner hosted by the Boston Vegetarian Society at Veggie Galaxy.  Check out this menu:

BEVERAGE: Pink Bellini Cocktail
Made with sparkling wine (or a non-alcoholic version of sparkling “wine”) and a mix of fresh peach and strawberry puree.

Stuffed Beets (fresh beets stuffed with an agave-sweetened vegan yogurt, apple & walnut melange)

COURSE TWO – Choose One
Maple Parsnip Soup
Peanut Apple Salad (apples, celery, raisins, peanuts, coconut, peanut butter)

Passion Fruit Sorbet

COURSE FOUR – Choose One
Vegetable-Tofu Kabobs over Italian Cous Cous with Sesame Ginger Glaze
Seitan Curry over Basmati Rice

COURSE FIVE – Choose One
The dessert course is still to be announced but we’ll choose between one chocolate and one non-chocolate dessert.

How good does that sound??  And how calorific?!  Ahhh!

Technically I will only have 589 calories left in the bank by dinner time tonight.  This is usually more than enough for dinner but for dining out it’s pretty paltry.  However, I have firmly decided not to worry too much about what I eat.  Instead, I will simply stop eating once full, and take whatever is leftover to go to enjoy another day.  Sounds like a solid plan, right?  We shall see…

Wish me luck!