There are many myths about a vegan diet that are not true. Let’s look at some common misunderstanding about a plant-based diet.
1) Plant-based diets are low in protein
This is one of the most often heard myths about a vegan diet!
Plant-based diets can provide enough protein, especially if the diet includes a variety of protein sources. Good protein sources are soy products and other legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
It is important to eat enough calories as a vegan in order to get enough protein.
Vegans should aim at a daily protein intake of about 1g/kg body weight. So if you weight 70kg, aim at 70 grams of protein per day.
2) Plant-based diets are not healthy
Compared to the Standard Western diet, wholesome plant-based diets are much lower in sugar, salt and saturated fats. And much richer in fiber, antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients.
Well-planned plant-based diets that are nutritionally adequate provide numerous health benefits, including lower risk of obesity, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes type 2, and certain types of cancer.
3) Plant-based diets are boring and unappetizing
Plant-based diets can be diverse, flavorful and colorful! They include a range of tasty, nutrient-rich foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and ….. spices!
Yes, you will learn how to be creative in the kitchen. You will find new flavorful food combinations and spices that you didn’t try before you went vegan.
If your plant-based dishes taste boring, you should take a cooking class and improve your plant-based cooking skills ;)
4) Plant-based diets are expensive
One of the most heard myths about a vegan diet is that it is too expensive. This is just not true. A plant-based diet can be affordable, especially if individuals focus on buying seasonal produce and bulk items like beans and grains. Meat replacers are expensive, but you don’t need them.
Extra tip: make a meal plan so that you just buy what you need and won’t be tempted to order takeout.
5) Plant-based diets are low in calcium
Plant-based diets can provide adequate calcium if the diet includes calcium-rich foods like fortified plant-based milks, leafy greens, and tofu.
You can easily achieve the advised amount of 1000mg calcium per day. Aim at consuming 2-3 portions of calcium-fortified dairy substitutes, plus two handsful of dark leafy greens, including broccoli, kale, bok choi and Brussels sprouts.
6) Plant-based diets are low in iron
Iron deficiency happens to people on all kinds of diets, also omnivores. Especially women are at risk for an iron deficiency because of menstrual blood loss. Plant-based diets can provide enough iron if the diet is well-planned and includes a variety of iron-rich foods like legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds and dark leafy greens. How to prevent iron deficiency on a vegan diet? Read my in depth article here.
7) Plant-based diets are hard to follow
Plant-based diets can be convenient and easy to follow, especially with the growing availability of plant-based options in grocery stores and restaurants.
If you have difficulties, then just take small steps.
Start with substituting dairy for plant drinks. Eat more legumes and less meat. Experiment with new recipes, find out what you like and just do your best, one step at a time.
It also helps to be clear on your reasons to go plant-based. Keep them on top of your mind as your biggest motivation.
8) Plant-based diets are lacking in essential nutrients
Plant-based diets can provide all essential nutrients, as long as the diet is well-planned and balanced. Vegans should be aware of the principles of a wholesome plant-based diet in order to make sure they get all essential nutrients.
9) Plant-based diets are low in energy
Plant-based diets can provide adequate energy, especially if the diet is balanced and includes enough healthy fats and carbohydrates.
You should never eat a very limited vegan diet, such as a raw food or smoothie diet.
Make sure you include foods from all 5 food groups: fruits, veggies, starches (whole grains and (sweet) potatoes), protein (legumes, beans and peas) and healthy fats.
A healthy plant-based diet can help you with weight management and can promote healthy and sustainable weight loss, if desired.
10) Plant-based diets are not suitable for athletes
Athletes can thrive on plant-based diets. Many professional athletes follow a plant-based diet and have reported improved performance, recovery, and overall health. A balanced plant-based diet can provide all the necessary nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, for athletes to meet their energy and nutrient needs.
However, as with any diet, it’s important to ensure that it’s well-planned and diverse to meet the unique needs of each athlete.
11) Plant-based diets are not recommended for children
Children can thrive on a well-planned plant-based diet. It is important, though, to seek the guidance of a specialized plant-based dietician to ensure adequate nutrient intake.
Do you still believe in one of those myths?