Plant Based Diet Series - Additional Tips for Success
Here are answers to questions that might be on your mind after reading the previous chapters.
What if I am invited to someone’s place for dinner?
Well, if you are a flexitarian, that shouldn’t be an issue since you have allowed some flexibility in your nutrition plan for situations like this. If you are a vegetarian or pescatarian, there are usually an option on the table, unless the person is making a meat lasagna, that would be difficult to opt out.
In all cases, you might be able to prevent some uncomfortable situation and set you up for success by simply asking your host if you can bring a salad and if that tactic doesn’t work, be honest. Compassion and honesty are the best policy!
That could also be an opportunity for you to share why you have chosen this goal. Caution, don’t be a preacher; no one likes to hear that what they are doing is wrong and what the other one is doing is better.
What if I am going out for a meal?
Be prepared! Always look at the restaurant menu before choosing where you will eat. While plant-based meal options are more prominent than ever, it isn’t always on the menu. If you forget to look at the menu in advance and end up in a place where you have no options, choose a garden salad or ask for a menu item without the meat.
What if I eat meat by mistake?
As a plant-based eater, it might happen that you realize there is chicken in your wrap or beef in your salad. No big deal, you’ve eaten meat before. On the other hand, if you are going for the vegan option, you will need to do some research on what ingredients are vegan.
Condiments like mayonnaise, Worcestershire or horseradish sauce may contain animal product. Make sure that you are well informed on products that are vegan-friendly.
Is potato chips plant-based eating?
Yes, potato chips are technically a plant-based food but beware of junk food! It’s a highly processed food that often contains a large amount of sodium.
If you stick to the recommendations of the daily intake of 2300 mg of sodium and 50 mg of sugar, you will quickly realize that eating junk food is unsustainable since a bag of chips (party size) contains about 2550 mg of sodium and 15 g of sugar. A 4 oz chocolate bar can contain 80 mg of sodium and 56 g of sugar. Add a can of regular soda (or pop) to the mix and you now have an additional 30 mg of sodium and 41 g of sugar.
What about milk?
Studies show that humans stop producing the enzyme that metabolizes the lactose in breast milk after an early age in life. That said, it is fair to say that we become lactose intolerant very early in our childhood. It is estimated that 75% of us are lactose intolerant.
Yet, many people in our nation continue to consume cow milk. Choosing a plant-based nutrition can be an opportunity for you to plant-based milk like almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, etc. Many options are now available at most grocery stores.
What about fat?
Fat is a little bit harder to explain and a bit more complex to understand. As you’ve heard, there is good fat and bad fat. The number one rule with fat is to stay away from trans-fat, as soon as you see it on a label in the grocery store, put that item back on the shelf.
A general rule is that no more than 20–30% of calories should come from fat. The good news is that eating more vegetables and fruits can reduce the amount of fat intake.
What about physical fitness? And mental health?
As mentioned earlier, physical fitness plays an important part in health and weight loss. With a plant-based nutrition, you will likely find yourself having more energy and will be motivated to be more active. Don’t fall into the trap of committing to something you don’t enjoy. According to a study, 63% of gym members don’t use their membership.
Find something you enjoy doing and do more of it. Also, don’t stop yourself from being active because you don’t have a full hour a day to dedicate to it. A quick 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is enough to make you sweat.
If you are already active, pay attention to changes of your body during the gym sessions and after, you might want to increase your plant-based protein intake.
And mental health? According to some research plant-based eaters showed fewer signs of depression and mental illness than omnivores. There is much more research to be done and certainly some aspects to consider (like sugar intake) but these researches are very promising. The best way to know is to try it and see how you feel.