Yes, Eating Plant-Based is Good For You
Maybe you've read that eating a whole-food, plant-based diet is the best thing since sliced bread and are wondering what all the fuss is about because, well, you'd like your health to be top-notch. Eating fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds seems obvious when you think about it because all of these foods come from nature and aren't highly processed or loaded with salt, sugar, and fat.
Then you find out that not only is a plant-based diet good for your health, but it might also help the environment by cutting greenhouse gases. And, it certainly is more humane for animals. What's not to love?
Keep this in mind, “Coronary artery disease is virtually absent in cultures that eat plant-based diets, such as the Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico, the Papua highlanders of New Guinea, and the inhabitants of rural China and central Africa,” according to cardiologist Dr. Cadwell Esselstyn.
Now that's something to think about!
Doubt Sets In
But then, reality sets in, and you start doubting it's possible for you and your family. Those sneaky beliefs and mindsets creep into your consciousness and try to convince you that this whole plant-based diet idea is just not for you. That would be sad, indeed.
That's why I'm going to run down the list of the most common myths about eating a whole-food, plant-based diet so you'll be empowered to feel your best and live the life you deserve without fear of what the future holds.
Let's dispel those darn negative beliefs in your head right now.
STOP AVOIDING ONE OF THE BEST DIETS ON THE PLANET
FREEBIE Let me jump ahead quickly to tell you if you'd like to join my email list, I'll send you 2 freebies. One is a list of 8 mistakes you may be making (and how to avoid them) when you plan plant-based meals. The other is a blank WEEKLY MEAL PLANNER.
9 Myths About Eating a Plant-Based Diet
Don’t let these myths get the best of your good intentions because we don’t have a SECOND to waste eating meals that AREN’T directly linked to optimum health.
Myth #1: There's Not Enough Variety, and the Food Will Be Boring.
Have you seen how many vegetables and fruits are out there? Compare that to the types of meat people eat--chicken, beef, pork, and maybe some fish. Keep in mind that a plain ol' chicken breast is boring if you don't spice it up enough. If you feel vegan recipes are boring, then you haven't taken a look around at the amazing variety of plant-based recipes available to use these days.
You can even find meat and dairy substitutions these days. Vegan cheeses are really getting tasty, although they most likely won't be low in fat, salt, or sugar.
Just take a look at some of these main dish beauties right here on this website. A quick Google search will bring up a plethora of plant-based recipes. Check out their comments and ratings, but be careful because not all sites are low in fat, salt, and sugar. To be safe, look for the Plantricious seal, which means the recipes are certified to be low in these ingredients as many recipes are on this site. Also, look for the words "Whole food, plant-based."
TAKEAWAY: There is plenty of variety when it comes to plant-based recipes and the food will be delicious.
Myth #2: There Are Too Many New and Strange Ingredients.
Yep, there are a few like tempeh, tofu, and seitan, which are great sources of protein. And, there are some flavorings that might be new to you, but you're a fast learner, right? Any new endeavor comes with a learning curve, but it won't take you long before you're a pro. Have faith in yourself, and besides, trying something new is fun! If you're curious, here's my list of uncommon ingredients used in plant-based cooking. And, more good news, you shouldn't have trouble finding these in your local grocery store, but if you do, Amazon is quick and offers good pricing.
TAKEAWAY: Trying new things is fun, and you'll learn fast.
Myth #3: I Won't Get the Right Nutrition.
This is a biggy, and on top of the list is, "I won't get enough protein." Then comes "...not enough calcium, iron, and Vitamin B12." I go into more detail in my article, "Plant-Based Nutrition: Getting it Right," but rest assured you'll get all of the nutrition you need. The only vitamin you'll need is vitamin B12. Getting enough vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids can be an issue for everyone, not just vegans. It's best to be tested for your levels and then follow your doctor's guidelines, and you'll be getting all the nutrients to keep your body happy.
TAKEAWAY: With very little assistance and by following the guidelines, you'll be getting all the nutrients to keep your body happy.
Myth #4: Vegans are Frail and Weak.
This used to be a popular notion and could be the case if a vegan eats junk food. Remember being vegan and being whole food, plant-based are two different things. Vegans may eat processed foods, but in 2021, for vegans that are plant-based, being frail or weak is just not so. The 2018 documentary, "The Game Changers," (now seen on Netflix and is very entertaining) dispels this notion, and vegan athletes continue to break records.
TAKEAWAY: Whole-food, plant-based vegans are some of the healthiest on the planet, and plant-based athletes are making this even more evident!
Myth #5: It's Too Expensive.
Organic produce tends to be more expensive than non-organic, and that's a personal choice. I cover this topic in my article, "Does Organic Really Matter." You don't have to eat organic, but overall, a plant-based diet is not expensive. Beans, rice, and whole grains are reasonably priced? Fruits and vegetables are less expensive than meat and dairy. Convenient, pre-packaged vegan meats and cheeses can be more expensive, but it's best to stay away from these saltier, fattier, sugarier substitutes and make your own anyway.
If you're worried, read my article, "Save Money on a Plant-Based Diet," for some great tips.
TAKEAWAY: You can actually save money eating a whole-food, plant-based diet.
Myth #6: I'll Feel Hungry All the Time.
When people first start eating a plant-based diet, they forget that meat and dairy carry a lot of fat and calories, and these both lead to more satiety. Fat just takes longer to digest, and fruits and vegetables are lower in calories. But, lucky for us, we can fill up on large quantities of high-fiber foods, more than you imagine you could eat without putting on weight. And, people don't need to be afraid of carbs--the good kind of carbs, like intact whole grains and legumes. These will keep you full longer.
TAKEAWAY: Remember to include whole grains and legumes in your meals and fill up on lots of fresh produce, and you won't feel hungry.
Myth #7: Soy is Bad for You.
Unprocessed or minimally processed soy, such as fresh (or frozen) soybeans, tofu, tempeh, and soy milk, are considered healthy and non-harmful. In fact, soy eaten this way can be protective against not only breast cancer but other cancers, as well.
Soy protein isolates, such as those found in soy protein powder, store-bought veggie burgers, or protein bars, for example, should be avoided. These aren't recommended on a whole-food, plant-based diet anyway. You'll find more information in my detailed article, "The Safety of Soy."
TAKEAWAY: Minimally processed soy products are a healthy source of protein on a plant-based diet.
Myth #8: My Family Might Not Like Eating Plant-Based.
It's not always the case, but sometimes family members don't take to your new plant-based lifestyle right away. In most cases, it's easy to add a piece of meat or a bowl of grated cheese on the side of your plant-based recipe. The good news is that once you start preparing plant-based meals, most family members are likely to switch over as they see how delicious they really are.
TAKEAWAY: Plant-based meals are delicious, and you can easily add meat as a side to any meal you prepare.
Myth #9: It's Just Too Hard and Time-Consuming.
If you're used to eating out, eating more meals at home can take more time, but there are many ways to keep meal prep simple. For example, you can make a pot of beans and use them in burritos, to top salads, or in a veggie meatloaf. Or, roast a big tray of vegetables to use in veggie bowls or in pasta. Check out my article, "Plant-Based Meal Prep for Busy People," for time-saving tips. And, remember, developing a new habit is always more time-consuming in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be happily eating plant-based with minimal effort.
TAKEAWAY: Once you get the hang of eating plant-based, you'll spend as much time in the kitchen as you always have, or even less if you use meal prep tips.
Free Cheat Sheet
Now that you know some of the plant-based diet myths, I have a FREE cheat sheet to help you with meal planning.
My wish for you is to sidestep any myths about what it takes to eat a whole-food, plant-based diet, and instead learn how to easily create weekly plant-based masterpieces.
I’ve compiled a list of my biggest plant-based meal planning mistakes and how you can avoid them.
CLICK below to get the list of 8 PLANT-BASED MEAL PLANNING MISTAKES (and how to avoid them) plus a WEEKLY MEAL PLANNER.
How important is this new skill?
Isn’t it worth the learning curve to fit plant-based eating into your lifestyle? In the long run, you’ll have less worry and more time to concentrate on the things you love.
Let me know how it’s going for you. Are you ready to eat a plant-based diet?