When we were researching a whole foods plant-based diet we found that there is a lot of anxiety out there about what vegans can and can’t do. People worry that by dropping meat and dairy from their diet they will harm themselves or their family. These fears are needless! Here are three things you CAN do on a whole foods plant-based diet:
Our baby girl is 4 months old now and she eats only breastmilk. When she was first born I was eating/drinking dairy and meat and she had no problems, although many breast-fed babies develop allergies or have reactions when mom eats dairy. We switched our diet for our health after seeing the documentary “Forks Over Knives” and doing some research of our own. Baby girl was born weighing 9 lbs, 5 oz (big girl!) and has since nearly doubled her birth weight to 16 lbs, 5 oz. She weighs more than 80% of all other babies her age, and she is longer than 97% of all 4 month old babies. She is healthy and happy. Vegans CAN breastfeed!
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Typically people think that a whole foods plant based (vegan) diet results in unhealthy weight loss. In 4 months, I have lost only 2 lbs
and my body mass index is in the “normal” range. That’s on top of breastfeeding my baby 7 or 8 times per day. I estimate that my body produces 1 liter of breast milk per day, so I require about 500 calories more than normal to maintain body weight. My vegan diet with no added meat, dairy, sugar, or oil provides me with enough calories to keep me and my baby healthy. Vegans CAN maintain a healthy weight!
3. Train for a 1/2 Marathon
My husband is 6’7″ and had maintained a weight of about 230 lbs for the past year. When we made the switch to a whole foods plant-based diet he also decided to step up his physical fitness and train for a 1/2 marathon. Training to run 13.1 miles is no joke! He has lost 10 lbs so far and is now in the “normal” BMI range. I can’t believe how healthful he looks, it’s great! He runs about 13 miles per week at this stage of his training for the 1/2 marathon in May. Our vegan diet provides him with enough energy to work full time and train full time. A chunky monkey smoothie makes a great post-workout drink! (And it has no weird isolates or chemicals). Vegans CAN train for a 1/2 marathon!
*Update: 3 MORE things!*
4. Have a healthy pregnancy and birth
It has been 3 years since the original posting of 3 things you CAN do on a wfpb diet. Well since that time our family has grown, and I’m happy to say we have another healthy daughter! She is made of plants, since that’s all I ate during my pregnancy. She was born a day before her due date, just like her sister, and weighed over 8 lbs at birth.
5. Go Camping
Our family loves to camp! We always have easy oatmeal and coffee for breakfast and eat things like corn on the cob, watermelon, baked beans, salsa and corn chips, and yes, vegan hotdogs. Camping is a special occasion and happens only 2 or 3 times a year, so we don’t feel bad choosing a convenient food like tofu dogs, even if they are more processed than we usually choose to eat.
6. Run even MORE half marathons
I think I’m up to 5 in the past three years. “No Meat Athlete” is a good resource for drilling down into running on a plant based diet, but I choose the “no worries” approach. I know that if I need more calories I will feel more hungry and naturally eat more whole, plant foods to satisfy the needs of my body in training. I typically like medjool dates for a snack while running, and have even enjoyed cooked and cooled new potatoes as a quick energy snack.