When it comes to my diet, I’ve let go of labels. I’m not paleo, vegan or low-carb. However, I’m working to build a healthy lifestyle that I can maintain. Does this mean I never use the labels? Not at all. Sometimes it saves time to tell someone a summary of your diet instead of listing what you sometimes may or may not eat. But today I thought I would do a question breakdown for all my vegans/plant based eaters. If you are one, then you’ll probably get a laugh. And if you’re considering making a diet change, hopefully this will help answer some of your questions. Today I’m talking all about the 10 most frequently asked questions for those on a plant based diet.
What’s the difference between a plant based diet and being vegan?
Before I dive into the almost always asked questions, this is one I want to address. A Plant based diet is exactly what it sounds like: plant based. It’s heavy in fruits, veggies, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds. Most likely, someone who is plant based isn’t going to eat dairy, fish, meat or eggs. However, they may enjoy honey or bee pollen. But a vegan diet is more of a lifestyle. From products used to clothes worn, someone who considers themselves vegan probably chooses to apply this to more than just foods. This means to animal protein or animal by-products of any kind.
Where do you get your protein?
I think because you don’t eat meat, people forget that other forms of protein exist. A lot of plant based eaters will supplement vegan protein powders regularly into their diets. But lentils, nuts and even some vegetables are sources of protein. And it’s actually much easier to get the daily requirement that you’d think. However, it’s important to make sure you’re eating a balanced diet if you want to do that.
Do you only eat salads?
I can honestly say I eat more salads now than I did when I was fully plant based. Yes, salad is always a good back up options for eating out. But no, people on a plant based diet don’t eat only salads. With so many great blogs and cookbooks out there, it’s easy to find recipes that are substitutions for your favorite foods.
How can you live without cheese?
My favorite phrase to hear people tell me when I was plant based was “I couldn’t be vegan. I can’t live without cheese.” And I totally respect that choice. However, dairy was a huge reason I went down the plant based path. Plus nutritional yeast is a great option to give something a cheesier flavor. There are several great nut cheeses are on the market along with other that work well for pizza. Once you stop looking at it as though you can’t have something and start trying alternatives, it’s a lot easier to manage.
Aren’t you hungry all the time?
If you’re eating only fruits and vegetables, then yes you are probably hungry a lot. But being plant based isn’t any different than any other diet. Making sure you’re getting enough healthy fats and proteins is key. And making sure you are prepared with a snack when you’re out helps too.
Do you eat fish?
I always found this question amusing. I think it’s because I’m from a coastal town where we have access to local seafood. But I was always surprised by how many people didn’t consider fish a meat. Most plant based eaters will say no. Fish is still considered a meat. But you may find one that does eat fish. Fish was the first thing I introduced back into my diet so you never know. It depends on the person.
Does it offend you if I eat meat in front of you?
This may be the question that tells you whether or not someone is plant based or vegan. Someone on a plant based diet is most likely choosing it simply for themselves. And while they know they are making healthy choices, someone eating meat in front of them is not offensive. A vegan might be a bit more offended depending on where they fall on the vegan scale. When it comes down to it, it’s a lifestyle choice. Don’t feel like you need to apologize for yours simple because the person you’re eating with doesn’t enjoy meat.
What exactly do you eat?
I imagine this one looks a bit different depending on the person and the region. Smoothies were a regular in my diet and still are today. I also ate quite a bit of quinoa and rice & black beans. My favorite lazy girl meal when I was plant based was rice, black beans, salsa and whatever other veggies. It’s an easy burrito bowl that you can make in 10 minutes. There are some who eat a lot of tempeh, tofurkey or soy. Honestly, you can make a plant based version of most meals if you want to find it or look long enough.
Why are you on a plant based diet?
I mentioned in my post last week about books I’m reading lately that How Not To Die* is on the list. And if you’ve read it, you’ll know that a lot of people start a plant based diet for health reasons. For the most part, I’ve found that people who are plant based came to this conclusion for health reasons over animal activist’s choices. A plant based diet has been known to help heal the body from all kinds of things. From heart disease to diabetes, there are a lot of reasons to consider going plant based. But everyone comes to this place for a different reason. And if you want to know someone’s story, don’t be afraid to ask. Most people who are plant based would happily tell you how they got there. They want you to be just as healthy and happy as them.
So and so I know was vegan but it only lasted for a month. What makes your plant based diet different?
This question haunted me when it came time to making dietary changes a few months back. I didn’t want to be that person who failed. But here’s the thing. Not everyone’s choice for being on a plant based diet is the same. And based on personal experience and knowledge from several books, not everyone is does well a solely plant based diet. Part of that is because just declaring yourself plant based isn’t enough. You actually have to eat the plants and have a balanced diet. So if you succeed and find that a plant based diet gives you your healthiest life, I’m cheering you on. And if you find yourself making changes because that diet didn’t quite work like you planned that’s okay too. The goal is to live your happiest, healthiest life and whatever diet helps you do it is great.
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