It's funny, whenever I tell people I am plant-based they immediately say "I can't do that". Then, they start telling me all that they believe plant-based to be: vegetarian, vegan and worried they won't get enough protein or energy levels will drop. But I am here to dispel the myths! I've been plant-based for years now (I can't even recall how many) and I have never felt better. In fact, when something disrupts my routine, my body can tell.
I've chosen to be plant-based 3-4 days a week and then I eat meat or fish the other days. This has been a lifestyle choice for me. It doesn't have to be like this for you. Plant-based simply means that plants are the focus of your lifestyle. If you think of a typical plate of food, a plant-based person may have a small amount of meat or fish with a lot of vegetables or no meat at all. Meat simply plays a supporting role in meals versus being the leading actor!
One big caveat when thinking about going plant-based is to start slow and incorporate at least 60% organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, meat, fish and legumes to your routine. Organic foods, those that bear the USDA symbol or Non-GMO verified symbol, will supply more nutrients and energy to your body. When we eat non-organic products, we tend to get hungrier quicker because the foods have been changed in such a way that the nutrient content is poor. Now, let me help you dispel the myths of plant-based eating.
Here are the most common myths I hear when I tell people about plant-based eating.
MYTH: "I am worried I won't get enough protein so I would have to take supplements or powders or bars to make up for it."
FACT: Vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds all contain protein. In fact, did you know Quinoa is considered a complete protein since it contains all 9 essential amino acids your body needs? Below is a chart with protein content of some of the most common foods. Still worried you won't get enough protein if you cut back on meat?
MYTH: "I won't be able to enjoy eating out at restaurants or family/friends gatherings."
FACT: It is becoming easier to have a plant-based meal at a restaurant. More are becoming accommodating to offering a vegetarian option for dinner or even allowing for vegetable substitutions for a meal. Plus, an easy trick to eating less meat or fish at a restaurant is to cut it in half and take half of the meat home. This way you eat all of the vegetables and have left-overs the next day.
If you are going to a family or friend gathering, one way to ensure you have a plant-based option is to bring one yourself. This can be as easy as a fresh vegetable plate with hummus or something more exotic like homemade lentil potato cakes. After all, you never know if someone in your tribe is thinking about becoming plant-based and you can open their eyes to how easy it is. Click here for a really Simple DIY Hummus Platter from Bless this Mess.
MYTH: "My energy levels will be low if I am not eating meat."
FACT: Just the opposite will happen! As your body becomes used to eating organic food that is mostly plant-based, you will start to notice an increase in energy. Think about it this way - every 28 days your body has a natural rhythm to heal itself. That means, no matter what damage we throw at it - salty snacks, ice cream, beer, wine, chocolate, fatty red meat - it wants to heal itself.
If you are giving your body the food it desires, organic and plant-based, you are helping to support the healing process. The result of this is increased energy. Your body has the right nutrients at the right time to give you energy.
MYTH: "I'll be deficient in vitamins and minerals if I reduce or stop eating meat."
FACT: You are deficient right now if you eat a meat-based diet. Unless, of course, you are eating organic meat. Organic meat has definite benefits over non-organic meat. It has a much higher Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio, which helps support your cardiovascular system.
In the American diet, we eat way too many omega-6's and need to balance that with foods that supply Omega-3. Just because you are eating organic meat doesn't mean you won't benefit from reducing the amount of meat you are eating and increasing the amount of plants. Incorporating a wide variety of organic plants and grains will help give you the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs. Variety is the spice of life!
MYTH: "I will get bored eating plant-based."
FACT: There are so many more vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes in the world to eat that you will not get bored. Think about all of the experimenting you can do! If you love to cook, the amount of plant-based recipe ideas are plentiful on Pinterest. If you don't like to cook, there are a lot of healthy food delivery services or organic foods available in local grocery stores that are simply heat and eat. When I think about when I was eating meat all the time, I stuck to a monotonous routine that I would consider boring now.
There you have it, the most common myths I encounter when I tell people I am plant-based. I think starting the process is the hardest part of it all. So start slowly. Maybe you have a meat-less dinner night. Maybe you make 3 plant-based lunches for the week. Maybe you reduce the meat portions at dinner time and increase the vegetables and grain portions. It only takes 21 days to create a habit.
If you decide to try a plant-based meal or to reduce meat consumption, let me know how it goes. If you'd like to receive more healthy living tips and recipes for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.