These Myths About Plant-Based Eating Are Totally Wrong
When someone tells you they have a plant-based diet, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
You might think, "Oh, I could never go plant-based!" While having a plant-based diet isn't suitable for everyone, people often think they couldn't adopt one because of preconceived misconceptions about the lifestyle. There is a lot of misinformation about plant-based diets that come from sources actively against plant-based diets (we're looking at you, dairy industry!) and individuals who are just not well educated on the topic. Plant-based diets are thought to be always healthy or unhealthy due to malnutritions. Do you see how those two myths already contradict each other? Yeah, it's because neither is true, so it's time we bust these myths. Here are five popular myths about plant-based eating and why they're wrong.
It is important to define the different types of plant-based diets. There is veganism, which excludes all animal products and by-products from their diet and lifestyle. Vegetarians avoid all meat from their diet, but they may eat dairy, eggs and honey. Pescetarians are like vegetarians, but they eat fish. Plant-based eaters, or flexitarians, include mostly plant foods in their diet, but they consume animal products and byproducts in small portions. While this article uses plant-based as an umbrella term, some myths are more-so directed at vegetarianism or veganism specifically. However, there is a lot of misinformation about plant-based eating in general, so we thought we should include the different types.
1. 'You don't get enough protein.'
This is one of the most common myths that people still believe about plant-based diets. This may be because we consider meat, dairy, and eggs to be the best protein sources, but we can get protein from plants as well. It may indeed be a little more challenging to consume the right amount of protein, but with a bit of planning, it's easy to make sure you're eating a healthy and balanced diet. There are numerous plant-based protein sources like lentils, tofu, brown rice, seitan, nutritional yeast and hemp seeds. There are also protein supplements like vegan protein shakes and protein powder. If plant-based diets were severely lacking in protein, then plant-based elite athletes like Venus Williams and Cam Newton would not perform as well as they do. If you're looking for ways to make sure you're getting all your nutrients in a plant-based diet, here are five minerals and nutrients you need in a plant-based diet.
2. 'All people who eat plant-based are thin or underweight.'
Plant-based eaters come in all different shapes and sizes. There isn't a "typical" look for a plant-based eater. This misconception comes from another myth: people only eat plant-based to lose weight. While some people may choose to be vegetarian or vegan for health reasons, many people transition to a plant-based diet because they care about the animals and the earth. It is a total lifestyle they adopt; it's not a diet. It's also fatphobic to believe that you have to be thin to have a plant-based diet. People who are larger should not be excluded from the movement because you think they don't fit the image. We welcome everyone in the plant-based movement, and everyone will look different eating a plant-based diet. The plant-based community should be as inclusive and diverse as possible.
3. 'It's tough to eat plant-based because your options are limited.'
This myth is understandable as it used to be challenging to eat a plant-based diet in America. Restaurants did not offer any vegan options and there weren't many plant-based alternatives to popular foods. However, recently the plant-based movement has become more popular than ever. The Beet reports that over 9.7 million Americans are eating plant-based diets. In response to plant-based diets' skyrocketing popularity, restaurants and companies are now including many plant-based options. Almost every restaurant has vegetarian and vegan meals included in their menus, and companies like Beyond Meat and So Delicious are creating fantastic plant-based alternatives to all your favorite foods. You can go to almost any café or grocery store and find a delicious plant-based option. It has become very accessible to many people. Another plant-based tip: most restaurants have fries. They're the go-to plant-based option if you can't find anything on the menu, and who can say no to fries?
4. 'Plant-based diets are boring and I could never eat plant-based food.'
If you've ever had Oreos, peanut butter, pasta, rice, Thomas's New York Style Bagels, Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookies, Sour Patch Kids, or a piece of fruit, then you've eaten a plant-based food. You may not realize that you already include many plant-based foods in your diet without realizing. Besides the plant-based foods that you're already eating, there are so many new and exciting plant-based foods and recipes to try. The great thing about transitioning into a plant-based diet is that it encourages you to eat a wider variety of food. You can make tropical smoothie bowls with acai or create a warm, comforting coconut milk curry. A plant-based diet can be as exciting and delicious as you want. If you wish to vegan junk-food, you've got it. If you want to eat a healthy salad or comforting meal? That's easy! You don't have to resort to eating only plain lettuce and soy milk. Open up that spice kitchen and get creative!
5. 'Plant-based diets are just a new trend that will go away.'
While plant-based diets are new, vegetarianism can be traced back to ancient India and eastern Mediterranean societies, according to TIME. Vegetarianism was first mentioned around 500 BCE by Pythagoras of Samos, a Greek philosopher. People from all different cultures and religions have used various plant-based eating practices throughout history. It's important to acknowledge that even though we may be noticing a new trend in our society, it has existed for many years. This is a way of eating that always has and will always exist. It's just becoming more popular with time as we raise awareness.
Are you interested in transitioning into a more plant-based diet? Check out these ten easy no-bake vegan recipes!