Viva La Vegan!


Weight loss and weight management are big things in our society these days. We all want to look our best and we all want to have that self confidence that comes with feeling our best. But we want to do this in a healthy way, to get all of those other benefits that come with losing weight on a healthy diet – like increased clarity of thought and concentration, better energy, better sleep, clear skin and less of those pesky food cravings that can haunt you!

Sometimes there may be a particular reason why you find it hard to lose weight. Instead of simply counting calories addressing these factors might just help you on your way to achieving your goal for a healthy weight.

Low Thyroid Function: A number of people have hypo (low) thyroid function. This doesn’t always show up on blood tests. When it doesn’t show up on a blood test Naturopaths call this sub-clinical hypothyroidism and will have different methods of testing for this. If the thyroid is underactive it can interfere with weight loss. Other symptoms of an underactive thyroid include: cold intolerance, weight gain, constipation, decreased appetite, swollen tongue, fluid retention, fatigue, poor memory, thin and dry hair.

Some tips for healthy thyroid function include:

  • —Eat organic foods. If you can’t buy organic try foods from the local farmers market which tend to be sprayed less and soak vegetables in salty water for 3-5 mins and rinse with water before eating
  • —Stick to a whole-food diet (cut out flour, sugars etc.)
  • —Include iodine-containing foods in the diet (sea veggies, dulse etc.) in SMALL quantities
  • —Include foods rich in selenium – green tea, brazil nuts, garlic
  • —Avoid Splenda (derived from chlorine) and other artificial sweeteners
  • —Drink filtered water

Adrenal Function: The adrenal glands sit at the top of the kidneys. They regulate the “fight or flight” response in the body (the body’s reaction to stressful events). When the adrenal glands do not function optimally there can be fatigue that isn’t relieved by sleep and changes in metabolism can take place that make weight loss hard to achieve.

Signs of adrenal insufficiency: Weight gain and difficulty losing weight (especially around the waist/abdomen region), being extremely tired (especially in the morning, and even after getting enough sleep), craving sweet and salty foods, feeling stressed out or anxious or on edge most of the time and having a general feeling of being rundown or overwhelmed, having trouble recovering from illness or stressful situations, feeling more awake and energetic after 6pm and experiencing mood swings.

General tips to help the adrenal glands:

  • —Include fresh juices or green smoothies daily
  • —Eat lots of foods with vitamin C – oranges, cherries, limes, pineapple etc.
  • —Avoid stimulants such as black tea, coffee, chocolate and even green tea
  • —Stick to a whole food diet and avoid skipping meals
  • —It would be beneficial to take herbal medicines as prescribed by a naturopath
  • —Avoid foods that you are allergic to

The adrenal glands also respond to non-dietary measures such as reducing stress, getting enough sleep each night, and gentle exercise through the day. If there is trouble falling asleep or staying asleep it is generally best to avoid sleeping tablets which can have a range of side-effects. Diet and lifestyle factors may help to overcome troubles with sleep.

Liver Health: A sluggish liver may make it difficult to lose weight. Signs of a sluggish liver include: Excessive weight around the abdominal area, abdominal discomfort, feeling bad after eating oily food, bad breath, body odour, constipation, dark circles under the eyes, drowsiness after eating, haemorrhoids, a sallow or jaundiced complexion (yellowish skin tone).

Tips To Nurture Your Liver

  • Follow a vegan, whole foods diet
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Do a detoxification
  • Drink dandelion tea
  • Use turmeric in your cooking – this helps cleanse liver and stimulates gallbladder for bile production
  • Drink fresh juices that contain things like beetroot, carrot and dark green leafy veggies
  • Avoid foods that you are allergic to

Just remember that a HEALTHY vegan diet can do wonders for weight loss and help with a variety of maladies WITHOUT counting or limiting calories! In fact a new study involving 140,000 people in Sweden has declared that low carbohydrate diets can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease! Getting good nutrition is the foundation to a healthy body with efficient systems that digest and process food properly – without excess fat, sugar and salt to burden things. So set a good foundation for yourself as a basis of any weight loss or weight management.


Eve Nguyen is a degree-qualified Naturopath and CPAP therapist with over 10 years experience in the field of health and Nutrition. This includes managing a women’s gym and encountering many instances of people trying to lose weight in an unhealthy fashion! In addition to teaching nutrition and cooking classes, Eve was chosen to be a Fairfield City Green Champion in 2010. As a vegan with a particular interest in environmental impacts on our health, Eve enjoys delivering presentations to help people realise the link between the state of the environment and their own health.

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