Last updated August 2, 2022
Plant-based diets seem to be one of the biggest alternative lifestyle choices people are choosing these days for a more healthy and happy life.
With global issues on the rise, from deforestation to plastic-packed oceans, more and more people are turning to a more conscious, carbon-neutral way of living and eating that’s in harmony with the earth.
Adopting a plant-based diet is a chance to experience a new lifestyle, make some conscious decisions that benefit the earth and better your health.
You may have toyed with the idea of going plant-based for a long time. You’ve thought about it, read some books, experimented with some recipes, or perhaps you have a friend that’s vegan that’s offered their advice, but you aren’t yet ready to make the move.
To help you jump over that final hurdle, here are 7 essential facts that you need to know about before going plant-based to fully prepare you for the experience.
It Is Possible To Meet Your Nutritional Needs By Eating a Plant-based Diet
Some people out there believe that eating just plants will not be adequate for your body to be strong and healthy, and you probably will hear from them throughout your plant-based journey.
This is completely false. As humans, we can get everything single nutrient, mineral and vitamin from plant-based foods apart from B12 (which is easily supplemented—see below).
A plant-based diet can be filled with complex carbohydrates, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
What matters the most, however, is what you eat. Just like eating nothing but junk food as part of a regular Western diet doesn’t meet your nutritional needs, neither will a plant-based diet centered around junk food.
Make sure to prioritize a healthy, balanced diet rich in natural foods and less processed ones. If this is your focus, you shouldn’t worry about your nutritional needs not being met.
Many Of Your Favorite Treats Are Already Vegan
That’s right. Many foods out there are actually vegan, and chances are some of your favorite snacks and treat already are.
Not everything you find in the supermarket will have a “vegan” symbol on it. If you’re just starting out, however, you’re going to really want to spend some time reading the ingredients lists of packaged foods, and sure enough, you will find some of your favorites to be plant-based.
If not, there are many plant-based versions of popular products out there, too.
Being Plant-Based Will Be As Cheap or Expensive As You Want It To Be
Many believe that making the switch to a plant-based diet is expensive, but it’s actually quite the contrary—however, it does depend on what you buy.
Plant-based staples such as grains, beans and legumes, spices, seasonal fruit and vegetables are affordable for most people and with a little knowledge and creativity, you can create delicious meals out of very cheap ingredients.
If you want to, however, you can spend money on expensive nut butter, nut milk, superfood powders, organic produce and ready-to-eat products that could gobble up your entire paycheck very quickly.
There is so much choice and variety in the plant-based world nowadays that it can seem like you need to buy it all in order to be plant-based. Fortunately enough, all plant-based essentials that you need to be healthy and full are budget-friendly.
People Will Share Their (Unwanted) Opinions About Your Diet
Not everyone is always going to agree with your choices in life and the same goes for a diet switch.
There will be people who criticize your choice and tell you that a plant-based diet will make you unhealthy and you’ll miss out on life and its culinary experiences.
When this happens try to remember that you are doing this for yourself and nobody else. Tap into your why—the reasons you have for going plant-based— and stick with them.
You Most Likely Will Have to Supplement Your Diet
As mentioned previously, a plant-based diet will supply us with all the nutrients we need apart from B12.
B12 is produced by bacteria and is absorbed by animals throughout their lives through their contact with manure and bacteria-filled water which is why Vitamin B12 can only be found in animal products.
It’s an essential vitamin that helps to maintain our nervous system so it’s essential to supplement.
Many plant-based eaters also supplement with probiotics, Vitamin D and other essential nutrients that are difficult to get enough of every day if you don’t pay special attention to your food.
Make sure to always speak to a healthcare professional before supplementing to make sure you are taking what you need and not over or under supplementing.
The Health Benefits are Unbeatable
The health benefits associated with a plant-based diet are numerous.
The focus towards a shift in a diet based on consuming more plants will allow you, in turn, to increase your intake of essential vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables. This helps to support the body and mind keeping both healthy and functioning well.
A plant-based diet also lowers your risk of contracting major diseases like heart disease and type-2 diabetes, supports a healthy gut and helps to manage weight. Most also see a fundamental increase in energy too.
For more benefits make sure to read 7 Key Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet!
It Is Possible To Get Enough Protein on a 100% Plant-based Diet
One of the things people will always ask you, probably one thousand times over, is what you eat to get enough protein.
Harvard Medical School Journal suggests that our Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of protein is 0.8g per kilogram of body weight. For an average woman weighing 140 pounds, that’s 53 grams of protein per day, so unless you’re a professional bodybuilder you really don’t need to be eating that much protein.
As long as you are eating a plant protein-rich diet of plenty of beans and pulses, nuts, protein-rich vegetables like broccoli and peas you should be getting everything you need.
If you find yourself falling short you can add plant-based protein powders into your morning smoothie for example.
With more knowledge about a plant-based lifestyle, you can be more sure about deciding if this is the right diet for you.