If you have switched or considered switching to a whole food, plant-based diet, you may be all too familiar with these 3 most commonly asked questions for vegans/vegetarians:
- “How do you get all your nutrients?”
- “Where do you get your protein?”
- “What in the world can you eat on a whole food, plant-based diet?”
Perhaps the real question is “Are these valid concerns for those who choose to eat a whole food, plant-based diet?” The first question has a simple solution and the other two questions need not even be a concern at all.
First of all, it’s important to note that a whole food, plant-based diet is not a diet at all. Rather it is a way of life – one that carries a prognosis of improved health and wellness (click here to learn about the benefits of a WFPB lifestyle). Keep reading to hear the answers to all 3 questions from two medical doctors.
Question #1 – When eating a WFPB diet, how do you get all your nutrients? Do you need to take vitamin/mineral supplements?
Many people want the benefits of a WFPB diet but have reservations because they’re not sure if it provides all of the needed nutrients. This video by Michael Greger, M.D. of NutritionFacts.org explains that the only nutrients you need to supplement on a whole food, plant-based diet are Vitamin B-12. He also explains that B-12 is sometimes missing in the standard American diet as well so even non-vegans may want to watch this video to understand how much B-12 vitamin is needed on a daily basis and which sources are best.
Vitamin B-12 Supplementation for WFPB Diet
Question #2 Where do vegans get their protein?
This has got to be the most frequently asked question! Ask any vegan and they’ll agree! Here’s the answer: First of all, recent scientific studies show that we don’t need as much protein as some people might think. In fact, the average requirement for adequate protein intake is only 42 grams per day. In the video below, Dr. Greger explains that “Non-vegetarians get way more protein that they need…On average, vegetarians and vegans get 70% more protein than they need every day.” He then states that there is a different nutrient that is severely deficient in this country; one that less than 3% of Americans get enough of. It’s fiber. Perhaps a more appropriate question to ask then is, “Where do you get your fiber?” Watch Dr. Gregers video below for more details.
Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?
Finally, question #3, “What in the world can you eat on a WFPB diet?”
Since a picture is much more attractive than a list of a thousand foods, take a look at this awesome graphic from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Neal D. Barnard, M.D. The variety of foods on this list is vast, tasty, colorful, nutritious, full of fiber and guilt free! The numerous ways to serve these foods is endless and very delicious! ENJOY!