The health benefits of plant-based diets are indisputable. Plants are packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (plant nutrients) that keep your body working properly and you feeling your best. But there still are a few myths and misconceptions floating around that may deter you from adopting a plant-based diet.
If you’ve been considering a plant-based diet, but you’ve heard some things that are holding you back, you’re in the right place. Keep reading so you can bust these plant-based myths and make your decision with just the facts.
Myth: Only strict vegan or vegetarian diets count as plant-based diets.
Fact: Plant-based eating just means focusing more on plant foods.
When you hear the term “plant-based diet,” what’s the first thing you think of?
For many, the words “vegan” or “vegetarian” immediately form in their mind – and those certainly fit under the umbrella of plant-based eating. Those who follow a vegan diet avoid all animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs, gelatin, and sometimes even honey. Vegetarian diets are similar – while they still exclude meat, they allow dairy products, eggs, and other animal products.
But remember, plant-based eating isn’t “all-or-nothing”, and you don’t have to change your diet drastically if you don’t want to. Adopting a plant-based diet simply means eating more plant foods and less meat and other animal products.
Myth: You can’t get enough protein without meat.
Fact: There are plenty of plant-based protein foods that can help you meet your protein needs.
This is perhaps one of the biggest, most persistent myths about adopting a plant-based diet. Sure, meat, poultry, and fish are great sources of protein – but you can absolutely meet your protein needs without them.
Plants are powerful, and some are packed with protein to help you maintain healthy muscles, support your immune system, and promote satiety. Plus, unlike most animal proteins, they’re low in saturated fat – the kind that’s hard on your heart if you get too much.
So, try swapping meat for protein-packed plant foods like beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, and seeds. Not sure how to get started? Meatless Monday is a great way to ease yourself into plant-based eating. Check out this blog for some tasty plant-based recipes: “Meatless Monday Recipes: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.”
Myth: Plant-based diets are expensive.
Fact: There are so many ways to make plant-based eating budget-friendly.
The real fact: food is expensive. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that food costs have increased 11.2% over the past year, and it’s making everyone stretch their grocery dollars further than ever.
This shocking statistic may make you feel like a plant-based diet is even further out of reach – maybe even off the table completely. But transitioning to a plant-based diet can actually help you fill your cart for less.
Interested in learning how? Be sure to check out this blog for helpful tips to help you adopt a plant-based diet on a budget.
Myth: All plant-based foods are healthy.
Fact: Just because it’s plant-based doesn’t automatically mean it’s healthy.
Think about potato chips – they’re technically a plant-based food. So are boxed vegan macaroni and cheese and vegan chocolate chip cookies. While it’s fine to enjoy your favorite processed foods when the craving strikes, they’re typically high in added sugar, saturated fats, and sodium and low in essential vitamins and minerals that help your body thrive.
Myth: Plant-based diets are restrictive.
Fact: Plant-based diets are full of variety – you just have to shift your perspective.
Plant-based diets aren’t meant to be restrictive – they don’t come with a set of written rules you have to follow. And while the focus should remain on plant foods, you can still include all your favorite foods, even if they’re animal-based.
It’s all about a shift in perspective. Instead of thinking about what you should take away from your diet, think about the incredible variety you can add to your diet. You’re making plants the star of your meals and letting animal foods lend a supporting role. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds – you’ve got so many tasty, colorful options that are full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (plant nutrients) that keep you feeling your best.
Myth: Plant-based diets aren’t filling.
Fact: Plant-based diets are packed with fiber, a nutrient that helps keep you fuller for longer.
Plant-based diets focus on fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. There’s one important nutrient that all these plant foods have in common: they’re packed with fiber.
Fiber is a nutrient that supports gut health, healthy blood sugar levels, and a healthy weight. And when it comes to satiety, fiber is key. It gives your gut a workout, slowing down digestion, so you feel fuller for longer.
So, a plant-based diet doesn’t mean you’ll have a constant rumbly tummy, and you don’t have to choose between a plant-based diet and feeling full. You can have it all. Fill your plate (and your stomach) with plant foods and reap the benefits of fiber.
Now that you’re armed with the facts about plant-based eating, you’re ready to embark on your plant-based journey, enjoying every tasty bite along the way.