There is a big difference between vegan and plant-based which can often get confused. Vegan diets eliminate all animal products, while plant-based eating does not necessarily eliminate animal products, focussing more on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. Both have benefits to your health and the environment but it all relies on which one suits your lifestyle.
Myth 1: I will lose muscle on a plant-based diet
Historically, meat has been known to increase muscle mass. But really, this increase is associated with the protein – which can come from other sources too. Protein-rich plant foods can just as effectively build muscle as animal-based foods.
Muscle growth is predominantly stimulated by strength training, not just the amount of protein individuals consume. Eating quality whole foods with balanced consistent weight training and rest will always help you achieve your fitness goals, especially when it comes to muscle growth.
No matter what you are eating, a caloric surplus is crucial for anyone to build and strengthen muscles. It’s pretty simple: work out consistently and eat lots of nutritious food. If you train hard but don’t eat enough – or eat lots of food but don’t train enough – you probably won’t gain much muscle or get much stronger.
Myth 2: I won’t get enough protein on a plant-based diet
We’ve all heard someone ask “where vegans get their protein”. Protein is certainly an essential nutrient which plays many key roles in the way our bodies function, but the fact is, we do not need the huge quantities of it that come with a meat-based diet.
We recommend finding your favourite list of high-quality vegan protein sources online. Protein powder is also great to help energise our bodies for working out. It is very easy for a vegan or plant-based diet to meet the recommendations for protein consumption. Nearly all vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds contain plenty of protein. Fruits, sugars, saturated fats, and alcohol do not provide much, so a diet like this would have a very good chance of being too low in protein. However, not many vegans we know live on only bananas, lollies, butter, and beer! Vegans eating varied diets rarely have any difficulty getting enough protein as long as their diet contains enough macronutrients to maintain, lose or gain weight.
Myth 3: Plant-based eating won't fill me up, and it's boring
The internet is a wonderful source for eating plant-based, with thousands of recipes and their methods explained in detail, often with an accompanying video. Read a few of these, and the idea that the diet of vegetables is bland and unappetizing (or not filling enough) will fade fast. Some people say that eating plants means consuming mostly “salad and tofu” and never enjoying a good hearty meal.
A plant-based diet can actually be much more varied, flavourful and interesting than an animal-based one. Plant-based nutrition can still provide you with the perfect split of macronutrients, and is so diverse that you’ll never have to eat anything you don’t like. Introduce some new proteins into your diet and you'll see that you don't need meat to make a meal satisfying.
It’s ok if you can’t go plant-based overnight. While making the switch is amazing, there is a lot to learn about nutrition and cooking vegan meals. Try thinking less about cutting animal products out (not everyone’s ready for that drastic a change), and more about adding greens, veggies and new proteins into your meals for variety. It’s the perfect thing to try if you’re interested in helping the environment, animals and most importantly, your health. It may take time, but you’ve got this!
How to kick-start plant-based eating:
🥦Begin by aiming to make one vegetarian meal a week, and then try for two.
🥦Eat lots of vegetables, and as many greens as you can!
🥦Reflect on the way you think about meat – does it need to be a part of every meal, or can you turn it into more of a treat?
🥦Choose good fats like coconut oil, avocados and nuts
🥦Eat fruit for dessert, or top your desserts with your favourite fruit
🥦Invest in finding quality plant-based recipes that you love to make and eat, so it’s never a chore
Stuck for inspiration? The Tammy Fit app just dropped its second vegan meal plan that helps you, plan out your meals from breakfast through to dinner, and allows you to try foods that you may have never thought of trying. It even includes your weekly grocery lists, all put together for you.
If you have the app and are on your mobile right now, you can open the meal plan here. Trust us, it tastes gooood! x