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4 Myths about Eating Plant-Based for Weight Loss—Debunked

Eight years of annual blood tests to back up the dynamic food choices

I experimented with so many diets before arriving at my current lifestyle. Standard Australian, standard American, vegetarian, vegan high fat, vegan low fat, plant-based low fat, plant-based high fat—the list goes on.

Today I have eight years of annual blood tests to back up the dynamic food choices that finally helped me thrive. The very same choices I encourage you to make. Today, I’m a mama, latin dance champion, successful blogger, published author and speaker, and thriving human being, and I’m in the best health of my life!

I want to help you get there too.

Since 2010, I’ve dedicated my life to supporting people like you to lose weight, because I believe a sexy body is your birthright. I want you to understand—as I have come to understand—how the food you choose each day can shape your body.

I continue to study the nutrition facts and figures behind my lifestyle every day, so you can rest assured that my advice will always reflect both my own experience (and that of my clients) and the latest scientific research. I’ll let you in on a secret, though: we’ve known most of this for decades!

I’ve been dancing my whole life. When I was 13 my doctor diagnosed me with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis; by the time I reached 17, Australia’s top specialists diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis and told me to stop dancing. They predicted that my body would be crippled by the time I reached 22.

I was 13 kilograms overweight.

I also suffered from candida, bloating, loneliness, sadness, feelings of being lost and aimless, and self-esteem issues due to being overweight. Up to 13 kilograms overweight for a decade of my life, I went from being the nudist in my family to wearing long shorts and shirts at the beach in order to cover myself.

I lost opportunities for lovers. I missed out on the joys of looking in the mirror and thinking, “That looks awesome,” because it’s really hard to look good, big—or, it is for me, anyway. I was rejected at dance auditions. Potential dance partners who were less experienced than me overlooked me because of my appearance. I have been kicked off a dance team two weeks before competing at the world championships.

I know what it’s like to feel rejected, lost, and miserable because of my weight—and I don’t want anyone else to go through the same thing.

That’s why I’m here.

Less than two years ago, with a nine-month-old daughter at home, I became an Australian Latin Dance champion, and qualified for Worlds. I was 33 years old. Today, I’m 35 years old. I have zero pain, and every morning I see the body of my dreams in the mirror.

Going plant-based changed my life.

I have been thriving for years now on this diet, and I’m not the only one. Athletes, celebrities, bodybuilders, and models around the world are delighting in the benefits of this lifestyle.

A simple abundance of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains will change your life, just like it changed mine. I’ve not met anyone for whom that shockingly simple statement isn’t true.

So, let’s begin by clearing up four common concerns about the plant-based diet, shall we? If you’re new to this, you’re probably worried about four things: protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12.

Protein

If you tell people that you and your family are exploring plant-based or vegan eating, you’ll probably get one question more than any other:

Where will you get your protein?

Let me explain exactly where you and your family will get your protein—and how you can be sure it’s enough.

Protein doesn’t have to come from animals. Plant protein is neither incomplete nor inadequate; in fact, it’s superior to animal protein because it’s high-fiber, low-fat, and cholesterol-free. Animal protein (that is, dairy, meat, and eggs), on the other hand, it is linked to increased risk of heart disease, loss of calcium from our bones, and poor kidney function. Nutritionists agree that adults who consume about 2,000 calories per day from fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and/or legumes will get 50 grams of protein. A cup of chickpeas, for example, contains 12 grams of protein. Even if you eat nothing but fruit and veggies, you’re getting enough. Vegan adults, teens, and children who eat a variety of plant foods get all the protein they need.

Iron

Plants are packed with iron, and studies have shown that vegans consume more iron than meat eaters. That also goes for when you’re pregnant, when your body actually absorbs it more readily. How cool are you! Tempeh, tofu, sesame seeds, kale, greens (my favourite source of iron), squash, and pumpkin seeds are all packed with iron.

And because dairy can significantly reduce iron absorption, plant-based eaters are actually better off than milk drinkers.

Although vegetarian and vegan adults have lower iron stores than non-vegetarians, their serum ferritin levels are usually within the normal range. Which means we’re all good! It’s even been shown that iron levels on the lower side are associated with higher glucose tolerance, which in turn may help prevent diabetes. Higher iron levels, on the other hand, have been linked to cancer and heart disease.

The iron that plants contain is called nonheme iron, and it is easier to absorb when the body is low in iron, and less so when it has enough or too much. How good is nature, and how awesome is your body!

Ideally, your GP (the one taking your blood tests that you get every couple of years after embarking on the plant-based journey so you can track your awesome improvements are) knows this and understands that they’ll look different to meat eaters. I see a healthy iron test result as 60-170 mcg/dl. Iron levels in pregnancy normally plummet as a result of dilution of the blood volume, but on a high-calorie, low-fat plant-based diet your body is so good at retaining what it needs.

Calcium

How do we know if we (and our families) are getting enough of this vital nutrient? And where do we get it if we want to consume less (dairy) milk, cheese, and yogurt?

Get ready, because the truth about calcium is fascinating…

To keep your bones strong, you need to prevent your body from losing calcium—rather than focusing on boosting calcium intake.

Nowadays, many people avoid dairy because it contains saturated fat, cholesterol, allergenic proteins, and lactose sugar. Or they just don’t feel good after consuming it. Dairy products have been linked to Type 1 diabetes (juvenile-onset diabetes), and other serious conditions. The plant-based diet offers many less dangerous sources of calcium.

In cultures where dairy products are absent from traditional diets, people consume fewer than 500 milligrams of calcium per day, yet generally have low rates of osteoporosis. This has led many scientists to believe that osteoporosis may have more to do with factors like lack of exercise and less to do with poor calcium intake.

Our bones are constantly breaking down and making themselves anew—up to around our thirtieth birthday. After that, they tend to break down more than they rebuild. Too much calcium loss can lead to fragile bones or osteoporosis.

The major contributing factors to calcium loss are:

High-protein diets, which lead to a greater loss of calcium through urine. (Animal protein is much more likely than plant protein to cause this loss.)
High-sodium diets, which lead to greater loss of calcium through urine.
Caffeine, which increases the rate of calcium loss.
Smoking, which increases calcium loss.

The major contributing factors to bone-building are:

Exercise, one of the most important factors in bone health maintenance.
Sunlight, exposure to which enables the body to produce vitamin D.
For adults, consuming an average of more than 2,000 calories per day from fruits and vegetables, which helps keep the calcium in your bones.

In summary, if you and your children are enjoying an abundance of fruits and vegetables each day, and if you’re all fully satisfied after each meal, then it’s highly likely that you and your little ones are meeting all your calcium needs. If you’re consuming calcium and moderate protein from plant-based sources, especially green vegetables and legumes, you’re providing your body with the building blocks it needs for bone health.

Vitamin B12

Can you get enough Vitamin B12 from the plant-based diet?

Almost all the world’s health and nutrition professionals maintain that anyone who doesn’t eat meat must supplement their diet with Vitamin B12. In reality, however, Vitamin B12 deficiency isn’t limited to vegetarians and vegans. It’s common among all humans today—not because they don’t get enough B12, but because they don’t properly produce and absorb it.

There are two primary vegan sources of natural Vitamin B12. Under ideal conditions, we should be able to meet our B12 requirements through either or both of them. Vitamin B12…

1. …is a waste product of a bacterium that lives in and on the plant and animal foods we eat, and

2. …is produced in the intestine and the mucosa of healthy humans.

If it’s true that plant and animal foods contain B12, and that our body produces it, how can we be deficient in it?

These are three reasons:

1. The produce we eat no longer contains B12, because the soil it grew in was damaged, or because the plants we eat have been modified.

2. We wash our produce too thoroughly.

3. We can’t absorb the B12 we eat.

Do you need a B12 supplement?

I recommend you go to your local GP and have a blood test to find out whether you need a supplement for this vital nutrient. In my own experience, taking supplements I didn’t need (because a well-intentioned doctor pushed me to do so despite my test results showing totally normal levels) wreaked havoc on my body for months. Of course, if you need it, take it. I’ve had clients who didn’t know they were B12 deficient start taking a supplement, and they went from depressed, lethargic, and unfocused to energetic, optimistic, and joyful almost instantly. If you receive the supplement via injection, the effect is fast. Within hours, whether or not you really needed it, you’ll start experiencing these rapid mental and physical changes. While your health and well-being might suffer if you’re B12 deficient, overdosing can prove equally damaging. Don’t go down the same road I did!

I hope this information has helped set your mind at ease. Now there’s nothing standing in your way on your journey to weight loss, body shaping, and beautiful health!

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get you nourished—today.

Want more sexy facts, body-shaping recipes, and healing information? You’re in luck—my new book, Everything You Want To Know About Being Healthy, Sexy and Vegan, is now available! This is the book I wish I had when I was in your shoes. In it, I share with you practical, proven guidance to embrace the plant-based lifestyle and finally eat for the sexy body, health, and life you deserve. Go get it today!

Xx,

Donna

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