THE ANSWERS YOU'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR:
1. What does vegan mean? The definition of veganism was created by The Vegan Society in 1979 when they became a registered charity. They defined veganism as: "A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude- as far as is possible and practicable- all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.
2. Where do you get your protein? PLANTS!! All fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds contain protein. Nearly all Americans greatly exceed the minimum protein requirement of roughly 10% of daily calories That equals out to about 45 grams for women and 55 grams for men per day. You can use this calculation to figure out your personal daily requirement (in grams): body weight (in pounds) x 0.36. As long as you are eating enough calories on a whole food plant based diet it is almost impossible to not get enough protein. A great book on the topic is Proteinaholic by Garth Davis, M.D. The question you may want to ask is "Where do you get your fiber?" The recommended daily requirement for fiber is 25 - 30 grams per day. Most Americans are getting only about 15 grams per day. Fiber is found only in plant foods. Animal foods contain no fiber.
3. What do you eat? EVERYTHING! You can eat anything you can think of on a plant based diet.. Tacos, burgers, nachos, ice cream... Nowadays anything can be made with plants!! There is so much variety in the plant kingdom you will never get bored. Check out our recommended products on our Resources page for some products that can help make for a smooth transition.
4. What about soy? Isn't it bad for you? Soy has gotten a bad rap in recent years. It has been eaten for centuries in many parts of the world and has been shown to have many health benefits. Soy makes a healthful addition to a plant based diet! Of course if you don't want to eat soy..don't. It's definitely not a necessity of a plant based diet.
Please view these informative videos from Nutritionfacts.org about the benefits of soy consumption.
5. Isn't it hard? Actually.. not at all! Like anything new, at first it may seem like a challenge. But when you do some research and dispel some myths it becomes much easier to see how you can make it happen. When you see all the reasons WHY you should do it, it quickly becomes something that you love to do and you'll wonder why you didn't start sooner!
6. Will it help me lose weight? Generally speaking people eating a plant based diet will lose weight and/ or maintain a healthy weight. That being said you can also eat a lot of french fries, Oreo's (yes Oreo's are vegan!), and tortilla chips on a plant based diet. The best way to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight on a plant based diet is to eat whole foods (vegetables, fruit, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds). If weight loss is your goal, it is always helpful to join a program such as "Be Radiant" a weight loss group run by chef and author Tess Challis. www.tesschallis.com
7. Don't you need to take a lot of supplements? Again..NO! You can get all the nutrients your body needs from a whole food plant based diet. There are a few vitamins and minerals to watch out for so please refer to The Optimum Diet recommendations on the HEALTH page of our website.
8. Aren't you hungry all the time? Nope! The great thing about plant based whole foods are that overall they are low in calories which means you can eat a heck of a lot of them in a day. People often associate eating a plant based diet with eating only iceberg lettuce and tofu. Like we said before (#3); you can eat all the same foods you are used to eating but now they are made solely with plants!!
9. Can you build muscle on a plant based diet? Absolutely!! More and more top athletes are turning to a plant based diet these days to improve performance and recovery time. Check out torrewashington.com or veganbodybuilding.com for some inspiration.
10. Where do I start? Well it looks like you have already started! A good first step is to get more information. There are a number of documentaries out now with some great information. Forks over Knives, Vegucated, Cowspiracy, and Plant Pure Nation are a good place to start. The China Study, Proteinaholic, and How not to Die are information packed books. Next would be to look up some vegan recipes online or go grab some vegan cookbooks from the bookstore. You can never have too many cookbooks!! Or check out your local vegan restaurants! Don't have any local vegan restaurants?? Ask at your favorite restaurant what menu items are vegan. If they don't offer any just ask them what they can make vegan for you. Most restaurants are happy to accommodate! It is also helpful to join some vegan communities where you can gain support. Search social media or look for (or start) a Meetup group in your area. Finally we would say to try it for one day, (check out our Menu page for a 1 day sample meal plan with delicious recipes!) ....after just the one day you will want to do 2 and 3 and then there you go ..you're off and running on a plant based diet and vegan lifestyle!!