The New Way of Eating Vegan (And Why It's Pissing People Off)

Nope, there’s no typo in “veggan.” As you undoubtedly know, vegans (one g) are people who don’t eat any animal products at all: No meat, fish, dairy, eggs—even honey is off limits.

But veggans? They are vegans who eat eggs.

This movement within a movement appears to be gaining steam. A search for #veggan on Instagram yields more than 5,000 posts. Many are recipes, though some, as you might’ve guessed, are vegans ranting against veggans, usually in ALL CAPS.

RELATED: 12 Things You Need to Know Before Going Vegan

So what’s the story with veggans?

“As people become more interested and aware of how food affects both their health as well as the environment, plant-based diets, including veganism, are becoming more and more popular and mainstream,” Alissa Rumsey, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told Yahoo Health. “Veganism may be appealing to people, but many find that it is too restrictive.”

So if you’re worried about getting enough protein, the veggan diet could be a better choice for you. Food writer Vicky Anne Hadley had been eating veggan for two years before she realized it was a thing. When the Daily Mail quoted her in a story about the veggan trend, she explained to her Instagram followers, “I like the vegan diet but I work out a lot and want to get enough protein in my diet so I also sometimes eat eggs as I enjoy them.”

RELATED: 14 Best Vegan and Vegetarian Protein Sources 

Of course, vegans argue that there are plenty of ways to eat protein without eating animal products—from chickpeas to quinoa to nut butters. But no matter how you get the essential nutrient, it’s fun to speculate about the next trendy group: #seagans?


4 Weight-Loss Tricks That Can Totally Backfire

From tube feeding to tape worms, I’ve seen people take some pretty drastic measures to lose weight. But even clients who try more common strategies (like calorie counting) often find that their efforts backfire. Many go-to diet tricks can leave you feeling hungry, moody, irritable, or downright miserable—things I never want my clients to feel. What’s worse, after you finish a quick-fix weight-loss tactic, you’ll often gain back all of the pounds you lost (or more!). In reality, the only way to shed pounds, keep them off, and stay sane in the process is by adopting habits you can actually stick to long-term. Below, four common weight-loss tricks that don’t fit that criteria—and in my opinion aren’t worth your time or effort.

RELATED: 7 Crazy Weight-Loss Methods You Should Never Try

Cutting out ALL sugar

Sugar is currently the top nutritional villain, and I can’t say I disagree. I am a fan of cutting back on sugar. After all, most Americans eat nearly four times the recommended daily max. However, I’ve seen many of my clients get too strict about sugar, which typically leads to binge-eating forbidden sweets, or abandoning healthy eating altogether.

Another issue with this tactic: many people also ditch fruit to slash sugar. Not only does this deprive your body of key nutrients, it’s counterproductive: Research shows eating fruit helps you shed pounds (even more so than veggies!). This could be because fruit is loaded with antioxidants (which have been tied to leanness in research), or simply because fruit tends to replace sweet, processed snacks.

As for added sugar, even the strictest guidelines from the American Heart Association allow up to six teaspoons worth per day for women. This means there’s still room for healthy indulgences, like nutrient-rich dark chocolate, which has been shown to help curb cravings for both sweet and salty foods (score!). The fact is, cutting out all sugar simply isn’t realistic for most people. So stick with the fruit (without overdoing it) and pre-plan can’t-live-without treats. It tends to be a much more manageable and maintainable approach.

RELATED: 10 Easy Ways to Slash Sugar from Your Diet

Obsessively counting calories

Most of my clients are shocked when I advise them to stop counting calories. But trust me, it’s for the best. First of all, when it comes to calories, quality is often more important that quantity. I’ve had clients actually start losing weight after upping their calorie intake, because they swapped processed fare for fresh, whole foods. In fact, research confirms that not all calories are created equal—some foods like pulses, almonds, and avocado trigger caloric burn, feelings of satiety, or delayed hunger.

Just the stress of counting calories can also do a number on your waistline. One study found that women who simply monitored their caloric intake (without restricting it) experienced spikes in cortisol, a stress hormone tied to increased belly fat. A more effective alternative to calorie counting is focusing on healthy portions. For example, you can slash 125 calories by simply pairing a half cup of brown rice with one cup of greens, instead of one cup of brown rice with a half cup of greens.

RELATED: Top 10 Calorie Searches of 2105

Extreme portion control

Serving yourself healthy portion sizes is generally a great diet strategy. However, there are a number of methods that take portion control too far, like eating only with chopsticks, or stopping after a few measly bites of your meal. Again, while this may result in weight loss, who could keep this up forever? Plus, eating too little can result in a number of counterproductive side effects, like feeling too tired to exercise, losing calorie-burning muscle, weakening your immune system, and constant crankiness. Not to mention, there are plenty of foods you can eat in large portions and still lose weight. For example, these veggies pack less than 30 calories per cup: kale, mushrooms, red bell pepper, zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, asparagus, and many others. So stop trying to nibble your way through the day. And instead, strategically chose the foods that make up the bulk of your meals and snacks.

RELATED: 14 Ways to Cut Portions Without Feeling Hungry

Eating one single food

Whether it’s bananas or potatoes—there are plenty of diets that involve literally eating one food. While this restrictive approach may indeed lead to weight loss, it’s typically temporary. A healthier method is picking a single balanced meal (a combo of lean protein, healthy fat, and nutrient-rich carbs) and repeating it on a short term basis. Check out this guide for ideas. I’ve found that narrowing your meal repetoire can be a great kickstart for breaking an unhealthy pattern and making way for a better one.  But the key is that it has to be a transitional strategy. So before you even start, be sure you have a plan to sustain these healthier habits for the future. After a month of clean eating, you’ll feel so happy and energized, you’ll never look back.

What’s your take on this topic? Chat with us on Twitter by mentioning @goodhealth and @CynthiaSass.

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Yankees, previously consulted for three other professional sports teams, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Sass is a three-time New York Times best-selling author, and her brand new book is Slim Down Now: Shed Pounds and Inches with Real Food, Real Fast. Connect with her on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.