Questions People Ask Me About My Plant-Based Diet

Yes, I’ll answer the question on protein.

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

I’m not strict with my plant-based diet, and I haven’t been on this journey for quite that long, but I get tons of questions when I say: “No thank you, I am trying to eat less meat.”

Sometimes it gets a little frustrating when I have to go through the same conversation with my friends and family over and over again. So I thought, maybe I should just write an article answering all those questions and forwarding the link to them at every single dinner session. I’m kidding, but then it’s an excellent idea for an article piece, right? If my friends and family are curious, I’m pretty sure others are too.

So, this is that article.

The list of questions below isn’t an exhaustive one but instead the most common ones I find myself having to answer all the time.

1. Why are you doing this?

There are a variety of reasons why someone would try and adopt a plant-based diet. Personally, I am trying to avoid meat mainly for environmental reasons and recently, also for animal cruelty. The bonus is feeling good after being full from a plant-based meal.

The plant-based diet consists mostly or entirely of foods derived from plant sources, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and soy products, and with few or no animal-source foods.

2. So, you are a vegan?

No, I’m not vegan. There are many definitions of plant-based diets, so I can understand why people are confused. While the diet mainly focuses on vegetarian food, some people may include small amounts of animal products into their diet (semi-vegetarian or flexitarian). Others may cut out meat and include seafood (pescatarian) or cut out both but include dairy and eggs (vegetarian). And some people strictly cut out all animal products (vegans).

Most meals I try to have vegetarian food, but if there is little to no choice, I’ll choose dishes/meals that include seafood. When I am with friends and family, I don’t like to impose my dietary preferences on them. So if we are at a restaurant that doesn’t serve any vegetarian options, I’ll opt for a pescatarian meal.

3. But fish and other seafood are animals too, and we are also degrading our ecosystems by overfishing.

It is a valid point, the fishing industry does have some environmental issues, and I am glad people are aware of these issues happening around the world. I don’t consume seafood frivolously, and as I don’t know where public food places source their fish from, I try my best to avoid it.

There is no single solution that is 100% effective for our environment, and we are all not perfect either. I can’t solve every problem in the world, and neither can you, but we can do our best to reduce the impact our choices make on the environment.

The main reason I chose seafood over poultry or red meat is that seafood, although not completely, emits lower greenhouse gases compared to their land counterparts. And we all know that greenhouse gases impact heavily on our climate.

Greenhouse gas emissions from our food industry make up roughly 30% of our global greenhouse gas emissions.

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Photo by Hannah Ritchie on OurWorldInData.Org

Here is a short video explaining “why the production of some foods emit more than others, and which foods to avoid to be a more climate-conscious consumer.” (not trying to convert you, just find it informative):

The word is “AVOID”. While I try not to consume chocolate and cut down on animal milk by substituting it with plant-based milk, I still drink coffee.

It is hard to explain when people are just looking for a loop-hole or a fault in the system. So I just stick to what I believe in and try to avoid high-emission foods as best as I can or have them in moderation.

4. Where do you get your protein from then?

The queen of all questions, one people never fail to ask. I know it is a question that stems out of concern, so I do appreciate it.

Meat indeed has higher amounts of protein, but just because I consume less of it doesn’t mean I lack protein. Although some plant-based eaters do struggle with protein, the amount of protein each of us needs depends on many factors.

I am petite, and I work out at least 5 times a week. When I calculated the amount of protein I needed, it was only 31g of protein per meal, and that’s roughly 1 cup of tempeh (Approx. 30g).

If all else fails, some supplements can help me to bridge the nutritional gap. Even people who have a regular diet still need supplements to help maintain a proper balance of nutrients in their body too.

In my opinion, I think protein isn’t a massive concern for me. It may be for others, but we just need to monitor our own food intake whether we’re plant-based eaters or not.

5. Do you miss chicken?

In all honesty, sometimes I do. When I walk past a fast-food chain and get a small whiff of the fried chicken, oh boy, that’s momentary bliss. Or when my friend orders a mean plate of Curry Katsu Don, my mouth would water in silence.

6. Do you really not eat any lean meat or red meat anymore?

Very very seldom. Initially, I didn’t eat red meat so I wouldn’t eat it now. I choose not to consume lean meat when I can make a choice. I know, people can’t force me to do things that I don’t want to. Still, if I am at a restaurant that is famous for their say…black pork, and my friend offered me a bite to try, sometimes I might just give it a shot (but very seldom do I say yes).

This is one of my all-time favourite videos explaining why the focus should be on reduction, and I hope you can take some time to watch this fun video.

“Eliminating 90 percent of your meat intake is more important than eliminating all of your meat intakes,” said Almaraz.

7. Do you mind if I have meat in front of you?

Don’t worry, I don’t mind. You do you!
Go ahead and enjoy it!

This diet is not for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s not for anyone.

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

I contemplated writing this article because I felt that I wasn’t in a place to talk about it since I am not an extremist or an advocate. People can also be quite sensitive about this topic.

But I am not here to change anyone’s dietary preferences, or to attack your choices. I am just here to share my experience and reasons I chose this path. As you can see, I’m not perfect, and I am just doing what I can to help our planet.

While I take on a plant-based diet, others may be into leading a minimalistic and zero waste lifestyle but are meat-eaters and that’s totally fine.

Although some may argue that cutting down meat is not entirely cruelty-free with the whole issue surrounding bees and honey, or human cruelty in our food supply chain and etc. I would love to be able to solve every problem in the world, but I can’t. Sometimes there is only so much we can do, and the rest is up to the organisations and our authoritative bodies.

Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean if we can’t do it perfectly we shouldn’t do it at all.

If we all do something 50% of the way, we would already be halfway there!

It is a collective effort to help save the planet. You choose your own battles to fight, and we can all save the world a little every single day.

On a journey of self-discovery and leading a life with purpose. Working on becoming more present as I explore, learn, grow and write about it all.

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