VB6 (vegan before 6) is a strategy for losing weight or maintaining it while developing healthier eating habits supported by eating vegan style until your evening meal. It’s ideal for the flexitarian who doesn’t want or feel the need to give up their meat, dairy and eggs. With this plan, you don’t need to. You just have to hold out until 6 (or so).
Eating a healthy vegan diet starts like any other healthy eating plan. You want to limit or eliminate fried foods, sugar, and processed foods. With a vegan diet you take it further by eliminating all animal products too. This means you are going to be filling your plate with lots of plant foods.
As with any eating plan, the key is a good mix and variety of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. You want to maintain an even blood sugar level. Even blood sugar means no roller coaster energy levels, but rather an even and sustained energy that will keep you going throughout your day.
Healthy fats on a vegan diet include avocado, coconut, extra virgin olive oil, and fats from nuts and seeds. These sources will provide the healthy saturated fats our bodies thrive on along with monounsaturated fats and the essential fatty acids omega 3 and 6. Walnuts and flax seeds are particularly high in the anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats.
Steer clear of any highly processed and refined oils like corn, canola, and cotton seed for example. These oils are most likely made from genetically modified organisms GMO’s and are also disproportionately high in the pro-inflammatory fats omegas 6s.
Good whole grain food sources provide sustained energy in the form of carbohydrates, protein, some fat, and fiber. Properly prepared whole grains like sprouted grains and soaked grains are even better. Sprouting and soaking neutralizes the phytic acid found in ALL grains in varying degrees. Phytic acid is known to block mineral absorption. However, proper preparation eliminates the acid and allows for maximum absorption of nutrients and eases digestion.
Adding in high quality whole grains can include a variety of options such as steel cut oats, Farro wheat, brown rice, quinoa, and amaranth to name a few. Many grain options are available. Grains are a great way to start experimenting with foods to see what you (and your body) likes. They will not only fill you up, but provide you with an abundance of nutrients to fuel your body, along with the fiber to keep your energy steady.
Beans and legumes are a good source of protein and fiber for a vegan diet. They are available in many forms, flavors, textures, and tastes. Found across cultures and cuisines, beans and legumes can be found in soups, fermented pastes (like soy for Miso), side dish pilaf’s you name it. Experiment to see what agrees with your palette and system.
Now here’s the most important thing to include in a healthy vegan diet or any diet – fruits and vegetables. Fruits and especially vegetables will provide your body with lots and lots of micro-nutrients. These are the building blocks for repair and regeneration. Everything we eat becomes our body. From our skin to our organs, our cells and our energy, we are what we eat. Keep your food choices helping and your body will thank you.
A typical day following a VB6 strategy might look something like this:
Breakfast might have a variety or combination like:
Oatmeal Ideally steel cut, because it’s not processed and it still contains its whole grain goodness for longer sustained energy. In a perfect world the oats would be soaked overnight in warm water along with a tablespoon or so of lemon juice or whey (the liquid in yogurt) to neutralize the phytic acid. The soaking allows for maximum release and digestion of the nutrients.
Get creative with the toppings.
• Berries, honey, nuts and nut butters, cinnamon and spice, quality non-dairy milks are all nice. It’s recommended to have fats with every meal. Without fat your body cannot utilize fat soluble vitamins A, D, K, and E. A good fat would be coconut oil and don’t be shy (or if you must cheat a bit with butter or cream go for it)
Toast Ideally sprouted whole grain for maximum nutrients and nutrient absorption. Top it off with what you like.
• A few slices of avocado
• Spread with nut butter
• As a base for your favorite Hummus
• Topped with roasted vegetables marinated in a vinaigrette
Soup may sound odd for breakfast, but it’s really quite nice.
• Mixed Vegetable
• French onion (perhaps a sprinkling of cheese?)
Fresh Fruit Salad Mix up your favorite varieties and enjoy.
Smoothies green or otherwise.
Get the idea? Have more fruits and vegetables along with enough good fats, proteins, and grains. Mix it up and get creative. If you must cheat a bit, then go for it. As long as you are using common sense. Think a teaspoon or tablespoon of milk with your coffee versus giving in to a large breakfast sandwich from a fast food joint. Ultimately, if you are adding in more good foods to your diet while avoiding the processed variety (yes even soy products), you are doing it right.
Lunch might look something like this:
Salad with mixed greens is a good option. Just hold any processed salad dressing and opt for oil and vinegar or a homemade variety using good fats and oils.
Soups made with vegetables and healthy broths are ideal (a good cheat here would be opting for a bone broth).
Sautéed greens and vegetables with flavorful spice combinations make a hearty main dish on their own or combined with beans, legumes, or grains.
Veggie burgers (not processed or soy versions) can be made from mushrooms and lentils or other combinations of beans, grains, and seasonings.
Casseroles like lasagna can be prepared with a zucchini or eggplant ‘noodle’ replacement for the pasta. This switch really ups the nutrient value and lowers the refined carb load (maybe a little parmesan cheat could be squeezed in).
Beans and rice can combine for a favorite ethnic flavor combination.
Visit a restaurant that serves vegan and experiment.
Here’s the real idea with the VB6 strategy. You are adding in more fruits and vegetables along with healthy options from the plant kingdom. During this process you are crowding out not only the amount of time you would have to eat the unhealthy refined and processed options, but also the quantity by default. It’s a no-brainer.
If you can find the will to succeed every day until 6 pm you are doing well. Of course, all of this is within reason. It doesn’t need to be rigid, but real. Sustainability is the key to succeed. That means cheats can be built in and tailored to suit each person’s needs and desires. Think an egg on that toast or a piece of fish with that salad. These are not big cheats and by allowing them, it can make the difference you need to make this strategy work for you.
Dinner after 6 eat what you like as long as it’s made by hands and not a machine. Really, you’ve earned it. There’s no point in not satisfying cravings. Food should be enjoyed and life should be lived. Just to be clear though, a dinner out would be at a restaurant that cooks food and doesn’t reheat or serve the processed variety. Dinner at home would be cooking from scratch and not a frozen processed entrée. If it’s handmade, its real food.
If you embark on a strategy for healthier eating, in-time you will develop an understanding of better food choices and make them. Again, it’s a common sense thing and it doesn’t need to happen overnight. For some, the learning process will be longer than others, but it’s always a case where small changes yield big results.
If you find yourself in a conundrum over what to eat then consider calling support. There’s plenty of information available to us and it’s free, but sometimes it’s pays to call in an expert who can make sense of it all. Bridging the gap between information and application can make the difference between achieving your goals and falling short. Find the will and the way to succeed.
Show up for yourself…
“It’s your life and your health, own it and thrive!”