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The Myths of Vegetarian Meals

By Sara Butler

More and more people are unlocking the health benefits of a plant-based diet, even if it’s just for a meal or two a week. As more and more people reduce the amount of meat they eat, it’s becoming more popular to question whether or not going meatless is healthy. The answer is a resounding yes! If you plan your diet appropriately, going vegetarian or even vegan can be a healthy way to eat. But there are still a lot of myths out there about plant-based eating. Here are the biggest myths and the truth behind them.

Myth No. 1: Vegans and Vegetarians Don’t Get Enough Protein

When many people think of meat, they think of protein. That can make it difficult for some people to identify sources of protein that aren’t meat-based.

When it comes to vegetarian and vegan diets, getting enough protein really isn’t a problem if you know where to look. Foods that vegetarians and vegans can eat for protein include:

  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Peanuts
  • Beans
  • Soy products
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Eggs and dairy (for vegetarians)

Just keep in mind that plant-based protein sources are not as digestible as animal protein, so vegans and vegetarians also have to consume more protein than people who consume animal products.

Myth No. 2: Soy Increases Your Risk of Cancer

For vegetarians and vegans, soy is an easy way to get protein and calcium. You may have heard that soy can increase your risk of cancer, but that’s not really true. There’s been no proven link between soy consumption and cancer. In fact, women who consume more soy in their formative years have a lower risk for breast cancer in their lifetime. Just make sure when you choose soy, you go for the less processed sources such as tofu, edamame, and tempeh.

Myth No. 3: Pregnant Women, Athletes, and Children Should Be Vegetarians

There’s an idea out there that some vegan or vegetarian diets are lacking -- especially for people who need extra nutrients. But that’s not true. Vegan and vegetarian diets offer enough nutrients to people if the diet is well-planned. All it takes is a menu-planning skill and diligence.

Myth No. 4: All Vegetarian Food is Healthy

It is not true that all vegetarian and vegan food is healthy. Highly processed foods can still fall into the vegetarian and vegan category but have a lot of added sodium, fat, and sugar. Don’t fall into the trap of loading up on highly processed foods and make sure to read the labels of anything you buy and create a diet centered around fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein.

Plant-based diets can be a really healthy way to live, even if you only have one or two plant-based meals per week!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Lake Forest, Calif.

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