One of the most common themes in the questions I am asked is how to lose weight on the plant-based diet. I always try to address this topic carefully, as it's a sensitive subject. Having struggled with an eating disorder in my teens and twenties and body image issues most of my life, I understand how important one's mental state is to feeling good physically and emotionally. Changing my diet has had an ongoing impact on my life, including healthy weight loss and the ability to maintain it. Additionally, learning about how food impacts the body helped me feel more grounded and comfortable in my skin, and reduced unhealthy eating habits (like binging and purging).
I've also discovered that there is no such thing as a quick fix or a one-size-fits-all trick, and that keeping the body thriving inside and out is a perpetual process. That's why I love coming across weight loss advice that offers long-term, nutritious tips featuring food and healthy emotional guidance. Here are some of my latest favorites, starting with 10 delicious, body-friendly foods.
Jodi is a very sweet part of the Eco-Vegan Gal team - I love her kind, open spirit and it was so wonderful learning more about her journey in this feature. I think you'll be inspired by Jodi's story about how the vegan lifestyle helped her connect with her family and lose weight:
I’m 23, and currently reside in Menomonie, Wisconsin. I studied Technical Communication and recently graduated in May 2014—woohoo!
I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin with a couple horses, dogs, barn cats, and chickens. Horses are my greatest passion, and I’m fortunate to be able to work at a stable that caters to the dressage, eventing, and hunter/jumper crowds while I’m at school. I have two horses back home, Star, a ten-year-old Breeding Stock Paint, and Swayze, a four-year-old Paint/Arabian sporthorse. My family also has an eight-year-old European Crème Golden Retriever named Ryla who is very dear to me.
I, along with my mother, became vegan nearly four years ago due to the health benefits. My family has a history of health problems, and we wanted to prevent those same problems from happening to us. My mom discovered the vegan diet, and we began the process of eliminating animal products. At first, I began eating vegan because I agreed with my mom’s reasoning, but after doing some of the reading for myself, I started to eat vegan because I wanted to.
The book that fully converted me was The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. (A dense, but informative book.) Since reading The China Study, I’ve read numerous books on veganism and nutrition, in addition to the dozens of cookbooks my mother and I now own. The transformation that has occurred since I went vegan has been unreal—I went from a size 8 to a size 4 in a summer, and the positive shifts in my demeanor have increased drastically. After being vegan for nearly four years, I could never imagine eating the way I used to. ￼
Health has always been a part of my life, but until I went vegan, it had been on the backburner. Now, cooking is one of my favorite pastimes and all my friends know me as the organic-eating, vegan girl. (Which I find rather endearing while they consider it humorous.) A couple other tidbits of information about me: soccer is my favorite sport—I’ve played for sixteen years and love every opportunity to kick a ball around; I love to work out and be active; fashion is more of an addiction than a passion; and books—I love to read and could spend all day in Barnes & Noble.
Jodi's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "My favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video is: “How Recognizing Your Personal Value and Power Contributes to a Better World”. I’ve always been drawn to inspirational quotes, videos, and people. Whitney is one of those inspirational people. This video nearly put me in tears because everything Whitney says in the video is true. Oftentimes, we forget how much power we truly have over our lives and the influence we have over the lives of others, and this clip reminds us of our power and influence.."
Follow Jodi's journey:
Welcome to Eco-Vegan Gal!
What's It All About?
Eco-Vegan Gal is an online empowerment resource for people who, like you, are curious about how to be better to their bodies and the planet. Here you will find inspiration, support and guidance for your journey to becoming as healthy and happy as possible.
Through YouTube videos, written posts, contributing articles and public speaking engagements, Eco-Vegan Gal features recipes, in-depth stories and quick tips on how to discover and easily prepare delicious and nutritious plant-based food, while making eco-friendly lifestyle decisions everyday. Recommendations on the best green and healthy vegan products, restaurants, and experiences through video reviews will provide credible information to help you make informed purchases.
Eating an organic, whole foods plant-based diet can result in vitality, longevity, internal peace and overall wellbeing. Likewise, adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle can culminate in an appreciation for the planet, connection to other people and nature and a sense of contribution that will effect many generations to come. And most importantly, you can have fun while making a difference.
Product review by EvG team member Amanda Shea:
As a vegan committed to living a natural lifestyle, finding a great, non-toxic deodorant can be tricky. I have tried half a dozen over the years, struggling to find one that keeps up with my active lifestyle. Deodorants are unlike antiperspirants, which prevent you from sweating via harsh chemicals like parabens, aluminum, phthalates, and propylene glycol). These chemicals can also be found in deodorant, and I don’t know about you but I don’t want my body absorbing them! That's why I was thrilled at the results of the truly natural line from Schmidt’s.
Music is one of the finer things in life - it is rare that I make it through a day without listening to a few songs at home. I love using my iPhone and iPad for this, as they're portable and faster to navigate than my computer. One downside of mobile devices is the low audio levels, which leave a lot to be desired and ruin the mood when you want to bump up the jams. This is why I was thrilled to be introduced to the Bamboo Amplifier from Loudbasstard - this neat looking contraption boosts the sound of any mobile device without electricity or batteries! Sound like something you'd like to play around with? Enter to win one below, along with a chance at a stand for your mobile device! Congrats to the winners of this contest!
On the hunt for gourmet vegan food in Los Angeles? One spot many residents and visits overlook is The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. Perhaps it's because their plant-based offerings are relatively new, or perhaps there's a resistance based on the upscale nature of the hotel brand. However, if you're looking for a fancy dining experience and phenomenal food you must visit one of the hotel's restaurants: Culina, Windows Lounge and Cabana. And if you're not in the LA area or planning a visit in the near future, you can whip up two of the new gluten-free dishes at home!
Practically every vegan across the U.S. knows about The Chicago Diner, a legendary destination as far as plant based restaurants goes! As a ChiTown resident, I get to go there whenever I like - spoiled, I know!!! Since 1983, The Diner has been building it’s reputation as THE Chicago vegan/vegetarian choice to eat at for years. Even back when the city's reputation with meat-and-potatoes was the norm, this little cozy diner was making waves. The Chicago Diner is pretty darn famous here in our city and everyone that stops by for a meal, leaves with a big smile on their face and satisfied belly. It really is a special attraction for both natives and tourists alike.
This green juice has been hitting the spot recently, so I've been making it almost every day. I love the refreshing, tart grapefruit combined with the spice of ginger and the bitterness of dandelion greens. The pear and cucumber balance out the juice with sweet, mellow flavors, and the spinach adds an extra nutritional punch.
Amanda plays a very active role on Eco-Vegan Gal, most notably via her wonderful product reviews. She and I have a lot of things in common, from living in Boston, MA to having a passion for the enviornment, animals, holistic living and organic, gluten-free food! Here's more about Amanda and her mission to take care of all species and the planet:
I went vegan in July 2012 after watching Food, Inc. and Earthlings, and doing my own research about the meat industry. I was a vegetarian for a couple of months and thought I would never go vegan. I was that person who said, “I could never give up cheese”, but learning about the dairy industry and chick culling broke my heart. Choosing a compassionate, cruelty free lifestyle is by far the best choice I have made in my life. The added environmental and health benefits are amazing! I was diagnosed with anemia during my adolescence and since going vegan it has been reversed. Removing gluten from my diet and losing twenty-five pounds has helped curve my PCOS symptoms. Overall, I feel healthier, lighter, and happier since going vegan.
I am a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston with a BA in women’s studies and psychology. Since college I have been involved with social justice campaigns from women’s rights to LGBTQ rights. Going vegan encompasses my commitment towards ending oppression for all living beings. Being part of the EVG team has inspired me to co-launch The Envi Girls, a site dedicated to eco-vegan living. When I am not interning and working on The Envi Girls, I work for Vegan Cuts and an app. In my free time I enjoy trying out vegan & gluten-free recipes, writing, reading, practicing yoga, and volunteering.
Amanda's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "Eco-Vegan Gal plays a role in my life as a vegan committed to eco-friendly living. I find Eco-Vegan Gal to be the most informative, well-rounded site out there for eco-veganism. Whitney’s passion and dedication captures my attention, and I know other viewers feel the same. My favorite EVG video is Feel: How Your Emotions Affect Your Health. I love this video because it speaks to how much our emotions affect our overall well being. I know since going vegan my emotional health has improved and I have become a more positive person. Positivity is an amazing emotion that greatly affects our health versus negativity, which brings our health and others around us down. Optimism and positivity keeps me healthy, happy and productive."
Follow Amanda's journey:
Product review by EvG team member Amanda Shea:
I am always on the look out for new healthy, great tasting bars, though as a gluten-free vegan, it can be difficult finding some that taste great. More often than not bars are full of preservatives and high in sugar. Thus, I was excited to hear learn about Taste of Nature, because all of their bars are vegan, gluten-free, and organic! Could I ask for more? Oh yeah, they're also made without additives, artificial flavors, or preservatives! Here's what I thought of them: