It seems like everyone — from your favorite celeb announcing they're going all veg to the countless documentaries popping up on Netflix — is talking about a plant-based diet these days. This diet is everywhere!
It's great that plants are getting more attention, but with that attention it seems that there are too many myths and too much confusing information that comes with it. Information that might scare you away or make you nervous about incorporating this type of diet into your life.
Let's break down the top five below and ease your mind about giving plants a chance.
1. It's so expensive!
Yes, buying raw/sprouted/activated/magic-dusted almond butter is expensive. But so is caviar. If it's in your budget to buy the specialty stuff, go for it. If not, save those items for special occasions. Eating plant-based doesn't have to break the bank if you shop smart and plan a little (the same way you would if you weren't eating plant-based).
Many plant-based foods are among the most affordable. Shop the bulk section or find deals online for lentils, beans, grains, and nuts. Even buying the nut pieces versus whole ones saves some cash. Buying fresh produce that is in season can help your wallet too. For example, I'm sticking with frozen strawberries in the winter when the fresh ones are $6 a pack.
2. It has to be all or nothing.
I mean, you can go all or nothing (hooray for you!), but if you're the type of person who never wants to give up their weekly pizza and wine night, don't. My philosophy is to start by eating at least one plant-based meal a day (One Part Plant!). You may stay at one or, in time, go for three meals a day.
Do your best and ease into what works for you. Also, who says that pizza can't be plant-based? Don't believe me? Check out this lasagna recipe.
3. You're committing to a life of brown rice and steamed broccoli (aka there go all my favorite foods).
The only way I'm eating a bowl of plain steamed broccoli and rice is if it's smothered in curry sauce. Plant-based doesn't have to be bland and boring. It can be lasagna, tacos, stews, and desserts. I encourage you to make a list of your favorite dishes and find recipes for plant-based versions of them. Okay, so fondue is probably not gonna work here, but I'm pretty confident you can make enough options that will leave you satisfied and excited for dinner.
4. I'm going to get so skinny!
It's true that most people lose weight when changing to a plant-based diet, but that's not always the case. As you begin to make the change, be conscious of all the packaged "gluten-free! Dairy-free! Refined sugar-free!" foods. Some of these foods are incredibly processed and the ingredients aren't going to make you feel your best. Keep in mind, cookies are cookies. Your body is going to process organic evaporated cane juice pretty much the same as good old-fashioned white sugar. Do your best to stick with whole plant-based foods, and eat your sweet treats in moderation.
5. I won't get enough protein, vitamins, calcium (insert another worry here).
You can and you will! As long as you're eating a well-rounded whole foods plant-based diet, you'll get everything you need. Think about the gorilla. He's the strongest dude in the jungle and he's a plant-eater! But this concern is totally valid and it's important to make sure you're feeling your best. If you're worried, there are online calculators to calculate your recommended daily allowance of protein. You can also get tested every six months or so to make sure your vitamin levels are A-OK. And if you do decide to go fully plant-based, look into taking a B12 supplement. This is the only vitamin you can't get from a strictly plant-based diet.
About Jessica Murnane
Jessica is the creator of the One Part Plant movement, author of the One Part Plant Cookbook, host of the One Part Podcast, and a wellness advocate. She's working to get everyone on this planet to start eating one plant-based meal each day.