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The Benefits of Plant-Based Eating: How to Get Enough Protein

by | Apr 19, 2023 | Vegan Diet | 0 comments


Plant-based eating is a diet that focuses on the consumption of foods derived from plants. It’s important to note that plant-based eating doesn’t mean you have to cut out animal products completely, but rather make them a smaller part of your diet. For example, if you eat meat once or twice a week and otherwise stick to a vegetarian diet–that would be considered plant-based eating. The benefits of this type of diet are numerous: it can reduce your risk for heart disease and cancer; it helps prevent diabetes; it may even help you lose weight (1). One thing many people don’t realize though is how important getting enough protein is when following this way of life!

What is Plant-Based Eating?

Plant-based eating is a diet that focuses on plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. It excludes meat (like beef) and fish but includes eggs and dairy products. There are several types of plant-based diets:

  • Vegan – a vegan diet excludes all animal products including eggs, milk, cheese, and other dairy products. Vegans may also avoid honey because it’s an animal product made by bees foraging pollen from flowers.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian – this type of vegetarian diet includes both dairy products (lacto) as well as eggs (ovo).
  • Pescetarian – pescetarians eat fish but no other types of meat or poultry products; they may also eat some eggs if desired since these are not considered part of the flesh of an animal according to some interpretations of Christian doctrine

How to Get Enough Protein on a Plant-Based Diet

Plant-based protein sources include:

  • Legumes (beans, lentils, peas)
  • Nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, almonds)
  • Grains (quinoa)

The Benefits of Plant-Based Eating

  • Health benefitsThe health benefits of a plant-based diet are well documented. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those who ate more fruits and vegetables had lower rates of heart disease and cancer, compared to those whose diets were high in red meat and dairy products. Plant-based foods contain less fat, cholesterol, and sodium than animal products do–and they’re also rich sources of fiber (which helps regulate digestion), vitamins (like vitamin C), and minerals like magnesium that are essential for maintaining good health.*
  • Environmental benefits Plant-based eating has a positive impact on the environment as well. The UN Food & Agriculture Organization estimates that greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production account for 14 percent of global human-induced emissions–more than all transportation combined! By choosing to cut out meat from your diet altogether or simply eating fewer animal products each week, you’ll be helping reduce your carbon footprint while protecting our planet’s future.*
  • Ethical reasons

The Drawbacks of Plant-Based Eating

The drawbacks of plant-based eating are not as obvious, but they are still important to consider.

  • Nutrient deficiencies: Plant-based diets can be high in fiber and phytochemicals (plant chemicals), but they often lack other nutrients like calcium, iron, and vitamin B12 that you get from animal products. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies if you don’t take supplements or eat fortified foods such as cereals or soy milk.
  • Social pressures: If you’re new to the vegan lifestyle, it may be difficult at first to explain why you don’t want to eat meat or dairy products when dining out with friends or family members who do consume these foods regularly. You might also find yourself feeling left out at social events where everyone else is enjoying their burgers while you have nothing but a salad on your plate–and no one even asked if there was anything wrong with it!
  • Cost: Plant-based diets tend to cost more than omnivorous ones because they rely heavily on fresh produce (which tends not only to be expensive but also requires frequent trips back into town).

Common Misconceptions About Plant-Based Eating

Myth 1: You can’t get enough protein on a plant-based diet.Fact: Protein is found in all plants and grains, including quinoa, buckwheat, beans, and legumes (including soy). Plant-based sources of protein also include nuts like almonds or walnuts; seeds like pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds; whole grains such as brown rice; vegetables such as broccoli or kale; fruits like bananas (which contain about 1 gram per medium banana)

Tips for Starting a Plant-Based Diet

  • Start small. You don’t have to go cold turkey and give up all animal-based foods at once. But it’s important that you start somewhere. Pick one day a week when you’ll eat vegan, or even just vegetarian, and see how that feels. If it’s too much for your schedule or budget, try adding more plant-based meals into your routine over time. Instead of trying to go all out right away.
  • Plan ahead. When planning meals for the week (or even just dinner), think about what vegetables are in season and which ones would pair well together in recipes. This will help ensure that there’s always something delicious on hand when hunger strikes.
  • Find support! Whether it’s through social media groups like Facebook groups dedicated specifically toward plant-based eating or simply asking friends who share similar interests. If they’d like some pointers on making healthier choices–having people around who understand why we make these decisions can help us stick with them when things get tough


So what are the benefits of plant-based eating?

  • You’ll be healthier. Plant-based diets have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. As well as lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • You’ll feel better physically and mentally. Research has shown that vegans may have higher moods than meat eaters. Because they’re getting more omega-3 fatty acids (which are linked to improved mental health) in their diets. In addition, people who follow vegan diets tend to weigh less than those who don’t; this is especially true if they also exercise regularly!
  • It’s easier than you think! While it might seem intimidating at first, there are many ways that you can start incorporating more plants into your life without sacrificing flavor or convenience:
    • try making smoothies with fresh fruits instead of ice cream for dessert;
    • swap out the chicken for tofu when cooking stir fry;
    • try adding a side salad instead of fries with lunchtime sandwiches at work every day this week…the possibilities are endless!


This article was written with the help of the following research sources:

  1. “Plant-Based Diets for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention” by Neal Barnard, M.D., Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (2013): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4315380/
  2. “Plant-Based Diets and All-Cause Mortality: Results From Adventist Health Studies 2 and 3” by Michael J. Orlich et al., JAMA Internal Medicine (2014): https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1900510
  3. The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., et al. (2005): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5466943/

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