“Plant-based” is a bonafide buzz word right now and although the whole foods plant-based lifestyle is growing rapidly in popularity, I still come across widely-spread plant-based myths all the time.
I started helping cancer patients adopt plant-based lifestyles even before my first official day as a registered dietitian, so I feel like I’ve heard it all. It would take literal years for me to dispel all of the myths I’ve heard – but I’m working on it.
I’m starting with the big three, the plant-based nutrition myths I hear most often and want to permanently bust for good.
Plant-Based Myth #1: Plant-based meals don’t contain any meat or dairy products.
The first time a prospective client asked me whether we could work together even if she planned on continuing to eat meat and dairy, I didn’t think much of it, but then the question kept coming up, over and over again.
I realized that many people are confusing the term “plant-based” with the terms “vegan” or “vegetarian.” These terms are similar but also carry important distinctions.
While a person who identifies as vegan or vegetarian typically abstains from eating all meat and dairy products (often for ethical reasons), a person who chooses a plant-based lifestyle may include meat and dairy products on occasion or even at every meal if desired.
The term “plant-based” really just means that the majority of the food we eat comes from plants. A plant-based meal could include a few ounces of pork and you could wash it all down with a glass of cow’s milk too if you wanted. As long as a good majority of your plate is filled with vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and/or seeds, it passes the plant-based test.
Once I describe plant-based eating this way, most clients and fellow dietitians I know can get behind it. It’s about eating more of the good stuff and all foods can fit!
Plant-Based Myth #2: People need meat and dairy, especially when we’re active and/or growing. Eating less meat and dairy almost always leads to nutrient deficiencies.
If I had a dime for every time someone told me there wasn’t enough protein/calcium/iron/etc/etc/etc in plants…well I’d probably be doing exactly what I’m doing now…but seriously friend, can you help me blast these plant-biased nutrition myths once and for all, please?
Sure, if you’re used to lots of processed foods and a huge hunk of meat at each and every meal, you might feel a little lost when you switch to a vegan diet suddenly without fully understanding the balance of foods you need…but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible!
With the exception of vitamin B12 for strict vegans (a whole ‘nother topic), plants contain more than enough protein, iron, calcium, and all the other macro and micronutrients we need, growing children included.
You can transition into a plant-based lifestyle much more smoothly and safely by working with a registered dietitian. I’m also a huge fan of baby steps – there’s no need to go cold turkey 😉 all in one go.
By the way, I’m also NOT a big fan of weight loss programs that recommend complete elimination of all meat and dairy products for the purpose of losing weight – because diets just don’t work in the long-run. So if you tell me you want to switch over to a strict vegan diet, I’ll gladly help you do it the right way but you best have a non-weight-related reason for doing it.Don't fall for any of these 3 most common #plantbased lifestyle myths!Click To Tweet
Plant-Based Myth #3: Plant-based meals are boring and flavorless.
Seriously? No. Biggest misconception ever.
I can honestly say that I enjoy food one billion percent more since learning how to properly cook vegetables, whole grains and other delicious whole plant foods. Plant-based eating has opened my eyes up to a whole new world of flavors and possibilities – and its basically the entire inspiration for the recipes behind this blog. 🙂
Make plant-based meals that leave tastebuds begging for more by choosing seasonal produce (here’s what’s in season this winter) and by following these top plant-based flavor-boosting tips and then sign up below to receive my downloadable e-cookbook, Simply Delicious, which features 21 of my most popular plant-based recipes to get you started.
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