your questions about plant based nutrition
Updated: Jan 15, 2021
Thank you again for sending me your questions on Instagram, I tried to squeeze most of them into a blog post !
I summarized / or adapted some in order to create more informative content or when they were very similar.
Have fun reading!
1. I could never live without (cheese, product xy) … how can I still become vegan ?
I hear this a lot. And my answer would be: what if you just go as vegan as you can be ? I truly believe we don’t need a few persons doing one thing perfectly but a lot doing it unperfectly. Don’t let yourself being stopped by that piece of cheese you might still wanna eat or that chocolate bar you love.
I know people who started this way and in most cases, as they got to learn and see more about plant based nutrition, they finally ended up being 100% vegan. It’s a process and and taking the actions you can way more sustainable than forcing yourself into "perfection".
You cannot “fail” at this. Trying your best is already a lot considering you grew up and still live in a world where veganism is not the rule and where or value system is completely different than the new one you are currently learning more about. It’s way more than “just stopping to eat certain things”.
2. Was it easy for you becoming vegan ? what was the hardest part ?
I was working in sports & nutrition and I was vegetarian for years before – so at some point, the transition was the only logical step for me and it wasn’t really “hard” from a physical point of view. I knew I was doing the right thing at the right time. With that said, I understand that everyone has a different background and story so it’s not the same kind of easy for everyone. I could see this with my clients too, and it's perfectly fine.
The “hardest” part sometimes was, how people started to project things on me they absolutely didn’t before and their perceptions of what "vegans" do, should do or do not do. I couldn’t identify a lot of what "the vegan community" implies, that leads us to the next question.
3. What is the difference between plant based and vegan ?
Considering what you do, it is pretty much the same. You don’t eat or use any animal products. Plant based is a more neutral term and focuses on nutrition, less on a lifestyle or a community. I prefer to refer to myself as someone eating a plant based diet because I cannot identify myself with certain things the vegan community does. Also, my nutrition doesn't define me as a person (in my opinion). Even if it says a lot about my values, it will say nothing about my character, if I am a good friend or not, my passions or what inspires me in life.
4. Do you buy or wear leather ?
No never. I have one old leather hand bag that was a gift I got before going plant based and which I like for emotional reasons and this is the only leather item I own or wear.
I do not wear or buy animal products at all, nomatter if it’s leather, fur or duvet (feathers).
I used to own other bags and jackets but I sold them or gave them away.
With that said, if you are into that, there are beautiful and high quality "fake" leather items that are 100% cruelty free and just as Beautiful, even for high end products (like Stella McCartney).
5. Do you sometimes eat non-vegan food and why ?
Yes, I did during my travels and it was a conscious choice and I think it's important to be honest about it too.
Not every culture knows plant based nutrition and when you are about to climb a 5200 m mountain, it’s 5 a.m and you sit in a hut in the middle of nowhere and there is some food, the last you’ll eat for the next couple of hours and it’s not vegan, you eat it. For me it was scrambled eggs.
Would I do this in another situation ? No.
Does this situation happen very often in your life? Probably no as well.
Could I had been more prepared? Probably yes, but we’re humans, all of us.
6. How did your body change in the process ? Did you notice some changes, especially concerning your workouts ?
I observed (and it’s even scientifically proven) that I recovered much faster from my workouts that I used to. I had way more energy in general and my overall performance got better. also, I am sick less often than I used to be.
This is my personal experience though and cannot be applied on everyone.
7. What are good plant based protein sources ?
I’ll keep this one short as I will write a blog post about protein but here is a short list of plant based protein I would recommend to clients as well:
- Quorn (mushroom, texture is like chicken, basically fat free, high in protein)
- Every kind of tofu
- Silky tofu for shakes
- Legumes like chickpeas or lentils
- Soy milk or soy yoghurt
But actually ... every food there is contains protein. Eating enough covers your need in most cases and if you are not on a specific diet or an athlete.
Protein should be the last of your worries on a plant based diet. It's availabe and affordable pretty much everywhere.
8. Travelling is bad for the environment too !
It is, and there is no way to say it otherwise and I admit it a 100%.
BUT the main reason I became vegan is for ethical reasons. I grew up with animals and love them and truly believe we should not harm them for no reason, period.
Then, I discovered being vegan is helping the planet and is good for my body as well and these reasons became important too, but we all make choices from where we are and I made mine from where I was at that time.
Becoming vegan was something personal for me and I didn't want to become a role model or anything close to that. If some people are inspired by my actions, it makes me happy, if I can help some people, it makes me happy to, but you can always find someone doing things much better than me.
9. How did becoming vegan change you (if it did)?
Of course, when I started to shift my perspective on what I was putting into my body, my view on other things shifted too. I started to question nutrition but fast fashion, consumation in general as well as what we define by "health" and our healthcare systems.
As my view on the world changed, my wishes for my future and how I wanted to live my life changed too.
Over the last 6 years or so, I went from working in marketing for a fast fashion brand to completely stepping out of the corporate world. I let go of relationships and I let go of material things and the value we attach to them. I could go shopping for hours now it’s just exhausting to me and I haven’t done it since forever ( and no, no one cares if you wear the same black t-shirts all the time or you show up to family dinner in your yoga pants. The right people care about YOU and do not notice anyways.)
It made me a little softer, which is good and it made me second guess choices or assumptions more (I still do stupid things, don’t worry).
10. How did your friends and family react?
First of all, who would have guessed, but I don’t really care about other people’s opinion on my personal life choices ;-)
I didn’t make a big thing out of it either, as I'm not here to tell people what to do. Also, at that time, I was vegetarian for 10 years and practicing yoga (I will share a post on how yoga and veganism are connected), so it was not really a surprise to most people. If there are interested persons or friends I will gladly share all I know with them or explain them whatever they want to know. They will come and ask by themselves. If not, it’s fine too, I’m simply me and not “the vegan person”, I can have a lot of other conversations too.
So with some friends, I talked a lot about it and we cooked vegan stuff, some even turned vegan themselves and with others, I rarely ever talk about it. My family even started to cook vegan things sometimes and this made me happy but I’d say they are more sceptical, which is fine. When you don't force your beliefs on people, they are often way more curious and interested than you might think they are.
11. I heard soy is bad for the rainforest and also bad for your health.
The soy we eat is NOT the one coming from the rainforest, which is planted to feed the animal we breed for the meat Industry (see my blog post on Brazil for details. So if something harms the rain forest, it’s rather eating meat than soy products.
The soy for human consumption is not genifically modified and for Europe, it’s grown in Europe. There is no evidence that the phytoestrogens in soy products (nomatter if you’re a man or a woman by the way) are harmful for you in any way.
For example, people in Asia eat soy foods since 1000 of years and their traditional nutrition is known to be benefical for your Health.
If for some reason you don’t want or cannot eat it (some people are allergic to it) – you can totally go plant based without any single one of them.
Thanks again for your questions and interaction. I hope you got some new views or interesting answers. You inspired me for new blog Posts for sure !