What’s the difference between ‘plant-based’ and ‘vegan’?
The main difference is that “plant-based” focuses on what your diet includes, while “vegan” focuses on what your diet excludes. A plant-based diet is a diet based on whole plant foods including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. A vegan diet is a diet that excludes all animal-derived foods (including things like honey), but does not necessarily emphasis whole plant foods. For example, soda, Fritos, and Froot Loops are all ‘vegan’, but they are not whole, plant foods!
How can I get enough protein?
The short answer: if you are eating enough calories and your diet is reasonably varied, then you are getting enough protein. The average person only needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, and this is easily attainable on a plant-based diet. The best plant-based protein sources: beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, nut and seed butters, edamame, tofu, and tempeh.
Only 3% of the U.S. population is deficient in protein (mostly hospitalized and elderly people), so protein should not be a concern for anyone. There is one nutrient that 97% (!!) of Americans are deficient in- fiber! Guess where fiber is found? Only in plant foods Americans don’t need more protein, they need more fiber. In other words, Americans don’t need more meat, they need more plants!
Do I need to take a supplement?
Generally speaking, no (with one exception). It is best to get your nutrients from whole, plant foods instead of supplements. In fact, supplements can be dangerous and do more harm than good.
The one exception is vitamin B12. People eating a plant-based diet must take a B12 supplement. Vitamin B12 is made by bacteria in the soil. Since all the dirt is washed off of our food even before it arrives in the grocery store, and since most of us aren’t frequently exposed to bacteria-rich dirt, our food supply is an unreliable source of this vitamin. B12 supplements are shown to be safe for people on a plant-based diet to take. The recommendations for adults is about 2,500 mcg of cyanocobalamin per week. Learn more about vitamin B12 in this post.
Is a plant-based diet healthier than a paleo diet?
A plant-based diet is the ONLY dietary pattern scientifically proven to not only prevent, but also reverse the most common chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The truth is that we know very little about the actual paleolithic diet. One thing we do know: it was likely 95% plants! Read more about why the modern paleo diet is fad diet hype in this post.
Is soy safe for men?
Yes! Not only is soy safe for men, it is healthy for men! The rumor that soy has feminizing effects in men was started from rat studies that showed this effect in male rats. Humans metabolize soy differently than rats, so soy does not have feminizing effects in human males. In healthy doses (3 to 5 servings per day), soy is linked to prevention of cancer, a reduction in belly fat storage, and lowering of cholesterol. Read more about men and soy in this post.
How do I prepare tofu?
Tofu is a soy food made from coagulated soy milk. It's been eaten in Asia for 2,000+ years! It’s a great source of plant protein and is linked to cancer prevention, heart disease prevention, and reduction in belly fat.
What documentaries should I watch?
Here are a few of our favorites!
Forks Over Knives
Watch this documentary first! Learn the science behind the powerful health benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet, and hear stories from real people who have reversed their chronic diseases and changed their lives with plants.
This documentary is a mind-blowing look at the environmental havoc caused by eating animal products. Forget recycling, reusable bags, and biking to work- the best thing you can do for the environment (by a long shot!) is eat a plant-based diet. This documentary proves that it is actually impossible for us to continue producing and eating animal products at the current rate.
Why should I ditch eggs?
Eggs are high in unhealthy cholesterol and stimulate the cancer-promoting hormone IGF-1. They are linked to increased risk of other diseases including heart disease and gestational diabetes. Even just one egg a day may be too much. In fact, just one egg a week may increase your risk of diabetes. When studied head to head with smoking, eating eggs results in a similar increase in artery plaque. See below for a few ideas on thriving without eggs!
How do I replace eggs in baking?
Our favorite store-bought egg replacer is Ener-G egg replacer, but more often we whip up a simple “flax egg” to replace each egg in our baking recipes. To make a flax egg, mix 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed with 3 tbsp. water. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes until it thickens and turns to a gel (like the texture of an egg!). We use flax eggs in many recipes including our Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins and Double Chocolate Breakfast Brownies.
How do I replace scrambled eggs?
Tofu is an incredible replacement for scrambled eggs. It mimics the texture and, with the help of a little turmeric, it even looks like eggs.