There are plenty of myths surrounding plant-based diets that make people frown on them or shy away from them. However, the truth is that there is nothing complicated about following a healthy vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based diet. And you don’t suffer when it comes to getting proper nutrition in your diet either. We are going to debunk some of the most common plant-based myths that cloud the good name of plant-based diets so you can know just how easy and healthy it is to maintain a proper one.
1. You can’t get the right number of proteins through a plant-based diet
Meat being the primary source of protein for many people, it’s easy to see why they’d think you may be protein-deficient by taking it out of your diet. There are plenty of plant alternatives that provide you with protein, you may just have to eat more of it to meet the same amount meat gives you.
Basically, you are looking for the required amino acids to fulfill your body’s needs. This can be tofu, quinoa, lentils, beans, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. There are also plant-based protein powders available in grocery stores and the market. You can easily add one scoop of these in your morning smoothies and shakes to get your body’s minimum fix of protein every day.
Check out my favorite complete plant-based protein that I use in my morning smoothies.
2. People following a plant-based diet have an iron deficiency
If this were true, wouldn’t there be an uproar to stop the diet? Absolutely. So, no this is not true.
There are plenty of combinations of plant-based foods which you can interpret into your diet to reach your required level of iron.
Chickpeas, lentils, dried fruit, chia, and hemp seeds are all examples of foods that provide you with iron.
Meat, yes, is the main source of iron for many people, but it’s not the only one. Iron from meat contains heme iron which is easier for the body to digest. Non-heme iron is found in plant-based foods which is harder to digest, but this can easily be fixed.
A combination of vitamin c rich foods and non-heme foods can make digestion easier and improve iron availability.
Try this delicious chickpea salad recipe.
3. People following a plant-based diet are nutrient deficient
Once again, this is another false claim. You can get the required amount of nutrients your body needs easily, especially thanks to additional fortifications made available for everyone. Fortified foods are not hard to come across and very easy to sneak into a daily diet.
If you are looking to learn more about the plant-based diet, check out the Free Plant-Based Beginner’s Guide.
4. Dairy is needed for stronger bones
Dairy is a great source of calcium but not the only one you will find out there.
Kale, Bok choy, mustard greens, and plant milks are all examples of plant-based foods that will give you a healthy dose of calcium. A combination of dark leafy greens and fruits can provide enough calcium for your body’s needs.
Oranges and figs are great places to start if you’re looking for easy fruits with calcium in them.
Here is a list of plant-based foods high in calcium.
5. Soy increases your chances of cancer
Research indicates that in reality, the reverse may be true. Soy is considered safe for men and women to consume without the worry of cancer creeping up with every serving.
Amongst Asian women, there is actual statistical evidence that foods such as tofu, soy milk, and miso may reduce the chance of having breast cancer in their life.
These foods are an exemplary source of protein and have proven themselves a healthier option than animal fat and red processed meats. Remember to choose organic, non-GMO options as much as possible.
Try this delicious tofu vegetable pot pie recipe.
6. Children should not be placed on a plant-based diet
Au contraire, children can be encouraged to lean towards a plant-based diet as this is healthier and more balanced than having tiny carnivores at home. They can all gain the required nutrients, proteins, minerals, and vitamins they need while also diversifying their taste in food.
There is the common issue of children not liking vegetables. But if you involve your child in cooking and teach them earlier what is good and bad for them, they will be more inclined to try vegetables and fruits.
Have your kids make simple dishes with you that include cauliflower, broccoli, and asparagus and they will get used to seeing them in dishes they eat as they grow up.
7. All vegan diets are healthy diets
While a proper vegan diet can be considered perfectly healthy, not all vegan diets are. A vegan diet that consists of minimally processed foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, greens, lentils and legumes is one you could consider healthy.
But a vegan diet that consists of highly processed and synthetic foods to meet the required vitamin, mineral, and nutrient count isn’t considered healthy. You could also have all your requirements met through vegan supplements, but this is not a natural or healthy diet recommended to people.
If you want to take your culinary skills up a notch and learn more about holistic nutrition, check out this excellent program at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.
8. Plant-based diet vs vegan diet: Are they the same?
There is a difference between the two diets, though they are both centered around plants.
A vegan diet aims to eliminate all possible animal produce from the diet, not just meat. It also involves the elimination of dairy products and anything else that contains any kind of animal product inside of it. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for much other than plants.
A plant-based diet is a little more lenient than this. While the focus is directed towards plants as much as possible, it does not take out all products made by animals. These can be used in the diet; you are just more focused on making sure that the center pieces are plant-based and that you are cooking more with real food.
You can also read my blog post, Vegetarian, Vegan, Plant-Based: What’s the Difference?
9. Plant-based diets are too expensive to maintain
Many people would argue that plant-based diets are expensive, and it’s better to stick to an ordinary diet; meat-focused and driven. This is actually false.
Diets that are plant-based tend to be more cost effective than their meat equivalents. Plants don’t come in as high a price range as meat and fish do and they can even be homegrown for free food on the table on the daily.
There are a lot of myths surrounding the plant-based diet that may have nothing more than a strong bias for meat. While there is no harm in enjoying meat, it’s simply not the only source of nutrition, protein, iron, and more. Even animal products like dairy can also be replaced with plant-based foods without losing out on anything. A plant-based diet can easily be a balanced, healthy, and cost-efficient diet.
If you need some easy and cooking inspiration for following a healthy plant-based diet, check out some of my plant-based recipes.
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