As I’ve talked to people over the years about eating plant based, there are a few questions that come up over and over.
Here are the answers to a few of your most common questions about going plant based:
1) Don’t I need milk?
A large portion of the world’s population is lactose intolerant in adulthood (including most people of African, Latino, and Asian descent) because milk is designed for nursing babies.
Although some populations have developed the ability to digest lactose throughout their lives, most of us haven’t.
There is plenty of calcium in beans, leafy greens, almonds, and other plant foods.
2) Do I have to stop eating meat forever?
Aka: I can’t imagine life without pizza/macaroni and cheese/Chick-fil-A!
My personal view? No.
I take the phrase “plant BASED” very literally. For me it’s about including more plant based foods in your diet.
You may want to eat some meals plant based, most meals plant based, or go fully plant based for a time then add some animal foods back.
If you’re like me, you may surprise yourself and lose interest in animal foods over time. I’m not absolute about it though, and I’ll still eat turkey on Thanksgiving or chocolate layer cake made with dairy once in a while.
3) What’s a good brand of ____________?
When shopping for plant based foods, I encourage you to work toward looking for ingredients instead of brands.
For example, if I wanted to make a plant based pizza at home this is what I would do:
- Buy flour to make a crust.
- Pick up a couple of cans/jars of diced tomatoes or tomato sauce (with minimal ingredients).
- Go to the produce aisle for toppings – basil, broccoli, olives, onions, mushrooms, peppers, etc.
- Go home and put it all together.
If you’re saying to yourself, yeah that sounds cool but I have no time (or desire) to do all of that, you could do one of three things:
- Buy a readymade crust and add toppings.
- Look for a readymade pizza with minimal ingredients.
- See if a local pizza shop offers a “red pie” (regular pizza with no cheese) or is willing to make one. This is what we do if we want to order out. It’s now my favorite pizza and I don’t miss the cheese. Now I want one.
When shopping for readymade foods, if you read the ingredients list and you can’t visualize more than half of the ingredients, skip it.
4) Will I lose weight?
People often lose weight on plant based diets because plant based foods are typically less calorie dense than animal foods.
That means you can eat more food for less calories.
For example, you could eat a whole plate of black beans, broccoli, quinoa, and avocado for less calories than a turkey sandwich with mayonnaise.
A whole cup of strawberries has roughly the same amount of calories as two Hershey’s kisses.
Four cups of homemade popcorn has less calories than one small single serving bag of Cheez-its.
I don’t like getting too caught up in calories (I use a different, easier tracking method with clients), but the point is that the difference in calorie density plus an understanding of how to balance your meals often leads to weight loss.
5) Are the plant based options at fast food restaurants good?
Plant based meats like the Impossible Burger are high in sodium and saturated fat, so I would generally recommend eating them once in a while.
These are some of the most common questions I’ve gotten about eating plant based.
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