It's a common myth that veganism = deathly thinness. I read somewhere once that if you want to look 5 pounds thinner, you should just tell people you're vegan. Is there a link between animal consumption and higher weight? The evidence seems to say yes. That being said, it is just as easy to be an unhealthy vegan as it is to be a healthy vegan. A quick glimpse at the popular site I Can't Believe It's Vegan! lists really-terrible-for-anybody products such as Fritos, Fruit by the Foot, Lay's Potato Chips, Ritz Crackers, and Sour Patch Kids (the last of which was responsible for at least ten pounds of my pregnancy weight). Sure, sure, it's another example of how PETA seems to have missed the point, but more than that, it's an indication of how a vegetarian diet can actually include very few vegetables... and a whole lot of fat, salt, sugar, and random chemicals.
I'm the first to admit that the idea of eating a Pillsbury Apple Turnover guilt-free is enough to make me cry with joy, but I've been making a real effort lately to ensure that my core foods are straight from the ground (or from the trees that pop up from the ground!). This means I've been eating lots of greens, fruits, beans, nuts, and whole grains. All in all - my energy's been better, I've been feeling more full on less food, and I think my pants are starting to fit a bit better!
Here's a quick example of a quick and very tasty meal that's chock full of veggies, and pretty much devoid of any processed foods! This delicious Red Lentil and Artichoke Stew comes from The Vegan Table (my favourite cookbook, as I'm sure you've noticed by now), and was really easy to make. I think it has about 5-6 ingredients, all of which get tossed in a pot and simmered for a while. Roger had to search a bit to find the red lentils, but all it took in the end was a trip to Akhavan, our local middle eastern market. The recipe suggests serving it over rice or pasta, but I decided to go with spaghetti squash. Basically, cut it in half, put a tiny bit of oil on the cut sides, roast at 375F, skin up for 35-45 minutes (until tender), and then take a fork to the inside to create yummy and sweet noodle-like shreds!