The term “vegan” has become increasingly common in our society. According to the UK’s vegan society (the oldest in the world), veganism “seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals.” Coherent with this philosophy, eggs, milk, its derivatives, and any other foods of animal origin aren’t consumed by vegans. Most people are vegan due to the ethical responsibility they feel towards animals who have feelings and don’t deserve to die simply for our satisfaction, which is exactly what happens.
But many also choose to refrain from eating these foods for their own well-being. After all, it’s entirely possible (and likely) to live a healthy, balanced, and energetic life without animal products. Not associated with veganism as a movement, this diet is called a “strict-vegetarian” or “plant-based diet”. This was the original diet given to mankind at Creation, prescribed by the all-knowing Nutritionist who created the human body and placed the nutrients it needs to function within the human environment. But humanity has strayed so far from the original diet, that a return to it inevitably raises a lot of doubts and skepticism.
Today we’re going to address some myths surrounding a plant-based diet, which we hope will increase your awareness, and excitement, around it!
- It’s hard to eat plant-based – Many say they would never be able to go fully plant-based because it’s hard or because they love a certain animal product too much. But everything’s a matter of habit and knowledge. We can easily find everything we need from plant origin. With a little thought and planning, this change won’t be a lot of work.
- It isn’t healthy – Some associate a vegetable-only diet with weakness and fatigue. But the vegetarian diet is one of the healthiest that exists. It helps our body fight against various diseases like high cholesterol and obesity. It also prevents illnesses like type 2 diabetes, cancers, and cardiovascular diseases. It also enhances athletic performance!
- It’s expensive – The truth is that you can choose whether it will be expensive or not. The vegetarian diet isn’t limited to industrialized products and vegan cheeses, but to a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and seeds available. Many stores also sell a variety of inexpensive plant-based products. Search for the brands that fit your budget and plan your groceries around what’s in season and readily available. Use and abuse inexpensive staples like rice and beans.
- Vegetarians/vegans are annoying and just want to impose their agenda
Unfortunately, you may have heard of or known someone who wouldn’t stop talking about how you should change your diet. But most adopters of a plant-based diet aren’t like that and quietly live the choices they’ve made in the search for greater harmony with nature and health.
- Plant-based diets lack protein
We can start by mentioning the name of famous athletes like baseball player Patrick Neshek; international tennis queens Venus and Serena Williams; the world’s top tennis player, Novak Djokovic, and many other champions who chose a plant-based diet for better performance. Obviously, they have no problem with a lack of protein. There are several options that offer the same amino acids as meat when combined. Among the many natural sources of protein, we have beans, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, peas, and the list goes on.
- Children and pregnant women need meat
Many people consider it an “ideological imposition” that parents raise their children on a vegetarian diet, but it’s worth remembering that imposing meat, eggs, milk, and dairy products is completely accepted. It’s all about choices. Research shows that a proper vegetarian diet is very healthy for a child’s development.
Alright, so let’s say your perception of a plant-based diet is beginning to shift. Below are eight ways you can strengthen your decision to go plant-based and how to guarantee your success!
- Research and stay on top of the subject
Being informed is the first step. Understand your motivations for switching to a plant-based diet, so that you have convictions to ground you when you’re tempted to go back to your old one. Watch documentaries like “Forks over Knives”, “Cowspiracy”, “What the Health”, “The Game Changers”, “Meat is Weak”, “Dominion” (several can be found for free online). Read about the responsibility we have towards our bodies and the rest of creation in the Bible and books like Counsels on Diet and Foods.
- Get inspired
This change can be light, fun, and colorful! Start a Pinterest board for fun recipes to try. Follow plant-based influencers on social media. Subscribe to YouTube channels and blogs that have recipes that fit your budget, time, area, and taste! Being inspired by people we admire is powerful!
- Consult a doctor and don’t skip your checkups
It’s very important to talk to a doctor that supports your decision. If yours doesn’t, make sure you’ve invested in tip #1 above. Know your body, your rights, your choices. Getting a blood test is the first step. Check on your vitamin intake, especially if you need to supplement B12 (something meat-eaters also need to do!).
- Know the basics of what you need
You don’t have to be a nutritionist to create balanced meals. Just know that your dish needs to be composed of protein + iron + calcium. Rice and beans, for example, already form a complete protein. From leafy greens, legumes, and nuts you get iron and calcium. So it never gets tiresome, implement strategies! Set aside a day of the week to cook for the rest of the week. Or, make double batches to freeze!
- Play in the kitchen
Unless you eat out for all your meals, you’re going to need to cook. Don’t be afraid to mess up! Here’s where you learn. We have many resources available to teach us simple, fast, plant-based recipes. Use Instagram, Facebook, blogs, and, especially, YouTube.
- Take it easy
Don’t try to eliminate all animal products at once. Your body isn’t used to all that change. In other words, start by adding more plant-based and then start taking away the animal products. A great idea is to make a list of everything that’s of animal origin that you eat on a daily basis. Then start crossing things off to get a sense of your progress.
- Make friends with other plant-based people
In the beginning, it’s very uncomfortable to be with people who only criticize and make jokes about your new lifestyle. That’s why it’s interesting to surround yourself with people who support you, whether they eat the same or not. This will help strengthen you, and they’ll make great company to try new restaurants together!
Motivate yourself to do your best for your health and for the well-being of the world we were supposed to be good stewards of.
Who do you follow for inspiration? Let’s start a list in the comments!