A Plant Based Diet – The Who, What, Where, When, and Why

Plant Based DietPIN IT!Though I’ve personally known maybe one person who has gone completely vegan, I’ve never really considered it. Vegetarian maybe, but vegan? No way! However, while I was at BlogFest I met Di and became very intrigued in learning more about her plant based diet. Why she chose it? Did she miss animal based foods? How does she get all of her nutrients? I felt like the more we discussed it, the more I became open to the idea. So when Di was open to guest posting about her diet, I was more than happy to have her! Have you been wanting to learn more about having a plant based diet? Read on!

Hi, my name is Di and I’m a vegan. And No, I don’t eat meat. Nope, not fish either, or dairy or eggs… I eat plants. I’m vegan or plant based, whatever label you feel like putting on it. I’ve been vegetarian since the 1990’s and vegan since 2013.

Who is a Vegan

Take a moment and imagine a vegan… I’m guessing you image some Birkenstock wearing hippy who was pale, thin and weak right? Did you know that many top athletes are vegan? Including some bodybuilders? So you can dispel the vegan weakling myth because there is even a vegan Mr. Olympia! Vegans can build muscle just fine, and in fact, we’re starting to compete with meat eaters… and win!

What is the definition?

Ok so no doubt you’ve known someone who was vegan, or vegetarian or “basically vegetarian but eats fish” yeah it can get confusing when people use the terms indiscriminately so let’s lay down the terminology:

  • Vegan/Plant Based – eat no animal products at all.
  • Vegetarian – Eats plants, eggs, and dairy. No, they don’t eat fish or chicken!
  • Pescatarian – eats plants, eggs, dairy, and fish
  • Flexitarian – tries to eat mostly plants but eats meat, eggs, dairy very occasionally
  • Omnivore – eats absolutely anything

Why go plant based/vegan?

So many reasons. Ask 10 vegans and you’ll get 10 different answers. For me, it was a combination of health, ethics, and environment.

  • Health wise a plant based diet has been proven to have many health benefits including prolong life, reduce inflammation, reduce cancer risks, reduce and reverse heart disease and reduce cholesterol. There are proven cases and leading doctors who advocate a plant based diet and have reversed heart disease using a plant based diet. That quadruple bypass can be avoided!
  • Ethics. There is a famous quote from my Sir Paul McCartney that “if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian”. I don’t think there are many people that agree with the mass production methods of today’s animal agriculture. Not only has it increased animal suffering but it’s not doing humans any good either with increased food poisoning outbreaks, and disease.
  • Environmental reasons to go plant based? Well, how about less water used. There is a major drought in California right now and 50% of our water goes to animal agriculture and livestock. Our sprinkler ban is a literal drop in the ocean in comparison. Plus the fact that by using the plants directly rather than feeding them to cattle we could feed all the worlds starving people. Animal agriculture is not the answer to starving children, plant based diets are. How about Rain Forest drastic and increasing deforestation for grazing cattle? It’s not like we need those trees for oxygen production right? Oh, wait…

Where are Vegan options?

Everywhere can be vegan. I’ve been vegan in the USA, in Canada, and in England. I know vegans online from all over the World and honestly, it’s not that hard to find vegan options. It just takes some research and education. If you’re into health and fitness that’s just stuff you’ll be used to anyway. Instead of just checking out the healthy options on the menu, instead, you’ll be checking out the healthy options without the animal products. You can find vegan friendly options on almost ALL menus these days. Plus all supermarkets are expanding their ranges to include vegan options. Heck Costco has a ton! Plus all stores have fruit and vegetables.

When?

No time like the present! Ok seriously though I know it seems like a HUGE step to just go vegan – cold turkey (pardon the pun) so instead how about a meat free day? As a Meatless Monday blogger, I encourage everyone to just start with one day a week. The Meatless Monday website is a great resource. Why Monday, because your willpower is stronger at the beginning of the week, but any day that works for you. Ensure to use the hashtag #meatlessmonday on social media to join in the movement.

If you want to go plant based but can’t do it all at once then do a reverse list in the definition above:

  • Omnivore – might be where you are now and wanting to make changes
  • Flexitarian- ready to reduce your animal intake. Maybe meatless Monday wanting to go more meatless…
  • Pescatarian – Maybe you start off omnivore and each month drop a meat source, First cows, then pigs, then sheep/lamb, chicken and finally fish.
  • Vegetarian – just drop the animal flesh entirely and just eat eggs and dairy. It’s not entirely plant based but it’s a start
  • Vegan/Plant based – remember that Oreos are vegan 😉

More info?

If you’re on the fence as to any of the above there are some great documentaries you can watch. As much as I really want you to watch them be warned that some are graphic and might turn you vegan overnight, literally.

  • Forks over Knives
  • Earthlings
  • Food Inc
  • Cowspiracy
  • Fat sick and nearly dead

DiFor more info, or to ask me any questions, please visit my blog workoutwithdi.com. I’m a vegan fitness professional, meatless Monday blogger and all round awesome human being.

Comments
  • Joanne T Ferguson

    There are so many diets on the market, it is sometimes difficult to know what to do! I think everything in moderation works…well at least it does for me!

    • Di
      Joanne T Ferguson

      Joanne, I think that’s the difference with true veganism. It’s not a diet it’s a lifestyle. Vegans (rather than plant based diets) don’t consume any animal products or wear any animal products. For us it really is about seeing animals as the same. Dog, cat, cow, pig… no difference

  • Ourfamilyworld

    Thank you so much for highlighting these terminologies. I love meat, but because of health reasons, I am trying to eat less meat. I guess you could consider me as a Flexitarian.

    • Di
      Ourfamilyworld

      Meatless Monday is a great option, and reducing your meat intake not only helps health issues but also the ethics and environment too. Next time you have meat skip the seasoning and ask yourself if you really love the flavor of meat or the seasoning, & oil. 😉

  • Jaime Nicole

    I don’t know if I could ever go vegetarian. We have been focused on eating more fish and veggies and less read meat, so that’s a start!

    • Di
      Jaime Nicole

      Jaime Nicole – I am all about reduction! That’s how I started over 20 years ago. I was never a big red meat eater anyways as a kid so that was the first to go, Then chicken/turkey, then fish. Then finally 2 1/2 years ago ditched dairy and eggs too.

  • Amanda

    What an interesting post. I’m sure my diet can use some work, but I don’t think switching my diet to only being plant based is for me. Thanks for sharing the info.

    • Di
      Amanda

      No problem Amanda, just focus on 1/2 your plate being vegetables, that’s the best healthy diet advice I can give you. That needs to be everyone’s first step, Eat your veggies! Maybe you could join in the meatless monday movement? One day a week helps reduce environmental impact. Let’s leave the kids of the future a world to enjoy!

  • Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    I’m a total carnivore, but some of those undercover videos have even me thinking about going vegan. I really wish I could find a way to get all of my animal protein from a place where they aren’t treated badly. =(

    • Di
      Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

      Opt for a good, better, best system. If you can’t buy from a local farmer, then go for organic, grass fed, free range. While working on reducing the amount of meat you eat

  • Jacob Fu

    Thanks for sharing all of this! We’ve never considered going Vegan before but this is great information.

  • Briton

    I don’t think I’ll ever go vegetarian or vegan but we do try to eat mostly veggies and use meat sparingly. Great information, thanks for sharing!

  • Miranda @ The Bright Side of Reality

    I have some cousins that are vegan. I personally have considered becoming a vegetarian but I worry I don’t like enough veggies to make up for my lack of protein on a regular basis. This is great information though and I’ll certainly look into it more.

  • CourtneyLynne

    Ahhhh I seriously wish I could go vegan!!! Hey I would even settle with being a vegitarian lol…. I just don’t have the self control :-/

  • Heather

    I think it’s nice in theory, but it wouldn’t work for us. I think you have to have a family that is all in to make such a big leap to be vegan, other wise you are cooking different meals for every member of the family and my husband isn’t about to give up meat. But it’s interesting to know the nutritional values certain lifestyles hold.

    • Di
      Heather

      Nutritional values? Can you expand further?
      When I went vegetarian I was living with my parents who weren’t veggie. It can totally work! I don’t know that I’d be married to a meat eater, but thankfully my hubby is vegetarian 😉

  • Vera Sweeney

    I never knew that Oreos were vegan! This is a great breakdown, it is fun to learn about different diet lifestyles.

  • Miranda (Myrabev)

    Really great post, I have in the past thought about vegetarianism but never had the heart to commit completely but I do everything in moderation and though do not have the spine to completely give up meat I think am ok with moderation

  • Stephanie

    I would love to follow a plant based diet. I have tried so many times. Unfortunately, 99% of my diet is meat so it’s really difficult.

  • Ickle Pickle

    What an interesting post – we are ‘almost’ vegetarian, I cannot eat or cook lamb or duck, and only eat veggie sausages. Bit weird I know!! Kaz

    • Di
      Ickle Pickle

      That’s how things started for me. First red meat, then chicken, then fish, and lastly eggs and dairy. Baby steps.

  • Desirae young

    We love meat around here or until we read those horrific stories or those videos! I have tried the whole plant based diet and it just wasnt for me. Try telling my 6’7 275lb husband all he can have is plants. He might divorce me if I made him get rid of his meats lol!

    • Di
      Desirae young

      My husband is 6″ and eats only plants. 😉
      Tell him meat can cause E.D he might change his mind (true btw!)

  • Susan Quackenbush

    My daughter in law just recently started a plant-based diet and seems to really enjoy it. Though she admittedly misses steak. Lol. Thank you for sharing the benefits of this diet with us! 🙂

    • Di
      Susan Quackenbush

      Red meat was never a huge draw for me. I did miss fish initially, but that was so long ago, Plus they now have ‘fake’ meats and fish etc so if you want the flavor there is always that to fall back on. I have some reviews of them on my website 😀

  • Rebecca Swenor

    This sounds like an awesome information and there are some things I didn’t know about as far as vegan, etc. goes. This however is not for me but I know this is great information for those who have thought about going just plant based etc. for sure. Thanks for sharing.