Leave it to Beyoncé to make eating plant-based foods trendy. After confirming that she’ll be headlining the Coachella music festival later this spring, she asked Instagram followers to join her on her44-day return to a vegan diet. Though Queen Bey’s relationship with vegan eating is on-again-off again, many other famous folks like Ellen DeGeneres and Woody Harrelson have taken a more long-term approach for health, environmental and ethical reasons. If you’re thinking of joining Beyoncé for a few a weeks or making the switch for good, here’s what you need to know about going vegan — starting with the myths and facts.
MYTH: Vegans don’t get enough protein
While we all tend to focus on getting enough protein, the truth is, most Americans aren’t under-consuming this nutrient. A proper vegan diet that includes plant proteins from sources like nuts, beans, soy foods, quinoa, and seeds, like pumpkin seeds, can definitely satisfy protein requirements. Even athletes, who have particular protein needs, can meet their quota by choosing a variety of plant protein sources, according to a recent study.
One more thing: It’s not necessary, as you may have heard, to combine different plant proteins during mealtimes (say, by having beans and rice or peanut butter on whole wheat toast). Though most plant proteins are considered “incomplete” proteins, meaning they don’t have all nine essential amino acids that animal proteins do, as long as you eat a variety of protein sources on a given day, you’ll be covering your bases.
FACT: Vegans never eat meat, fish, dairy or eggs
Strict vegans only eat food from plants. While you may find vegetarians who eat dairy and eggs, people adhering to a vegan diet don’t eat any animal by-products, including honey. Whether it’s animal welfare concerns, environmental reasons, health reasons or weight loss or wellness beliefs, strict vegans only put foods and products made from plants on their plates.