Common Questions and Answers about a Plant-Based Diet - dummies

Common Questions and Answers about a Plant-Based Diet

By Marni Wasserman

As with anything new, considering a plant-based diet can bring up all sorts of questions and concerns. Here are five of the most common questions about taking up a plant-based diet.

Can you get full eating only plants?

Absolutely! The wonderful thing about eating plants is that you’re eating lots of fiber, and fiber makes you full! Also, the more wholesome the plants are (in other words, not processed), the more nutrients you’re eating, which helps make you feel more satisfied. As the nutrients load your cells with vitamins and minerals, this helps make you feel pleasantly full, but not stuffed.

Also, the diversity of texture can help with this. Because so many plant foods require you to chew more, you actually spend more time getting through the meal. So a big bowl of salad with lots of stuff in it may not seem that heavy, but it can fill you up quite fast.

How will you get protein?

This is always the big question. A plant-based diet has so much protein, you may not even believe it. Although it may not seem like the grams of protein add up to the amount of protein you find in meat, what you soon realize is that it’s not about the quantity but rather the quality.

The standard American diet provides too much protein, and this can cause many chronic illnesses. Plant-based protein sources like legumes, nuts, seeds, quinoa, tempeh, avocado, and green leafy veggies all have their own breakdown of amino acids, which build up inside your body to make a complete protein. The best part is, they absorb into your body much better than animal-based protein. You won’t feel that same heaviness eating plant-based protein.

What about calcium?

Did you know that plant-based foods like sesame seeds, hempseeds, bok choy, carob, and figs are extremely rich in calcium? Almost more so than a glass of dairy milk. This may be hard to get your head around, but it is actually proven in most cultures that the less dairy is consumed, the more calcium is absorbed by the body.

Turns out, you can eat almonds, seeds, and greens and get the same amount of calcium as dairy milk in your body. You won’t feel bloated, either, as these sources of calcium are loaded with vitamins and minerals, making the nutrients much easier to absorb.

How do you get iron? Won’t you become anemic?

Iron is definitely an area of concern for anyone not eating meat, so you need to be a bit more cautious to make sure you’re consuming enough of plant-based sources such as:

  • Dark leafy greens

  • Seaweeds

  • Nuts

  • Seeds

  • Legumes

  • Dried fruit

If you still feel like you aren’t getting enough, you may want to consider taking a good-quality, plant-based iron supplement — even just for a short period of time to boost your stores.

Many people — even athletes and the like — survive and even thrive without meat!

Does eating plant-based help people lose weight?

People should never choose to eat a specific way for weight loss. This never proves to have beneficial long-term results and always backfires on people if their weight-loss plans aren’t aligned for true health reasons. Focusing solely on weight loss or calorie counting can be extremely detrimental and can take up a lot of brain power and energy.

The good news is that by following a plant-based and healthy lifestyle, you will start to feel great and lose weight naturally. When you focus on eating well-balanced and nutrient-dense meals, your body isn’t deprived, and it starts to function efficiently. Deprivation is not an option.