Market Strategy & Growth Lead, Sprouted Ventures
I was a carnivore. By every definition of the word. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Meat, meat, and meat. Oh, and dairy. Lots of it. My body didn’t like it, but I didn’t notice. I just kept consuming insane amounts of steak, chicken, turkey, pork, milk, and cheese. I began thinking my stomach “issues” were natural and there just wasn’t anything I could do about it. The thought of going “vegetarian” or “vegan” or anything that started with a “v” was the absolute last thing I considered doing, especially because I was a very active once-college-athlete that thought the only way to stay strong and "healthy" was to eat an entire cow every week.
My intention was never to completely cut meat and dairy from my diet, but to start from scratch and build a new way of eating for myself that was more sustainable, both for my body and the environment.The following "debunked" myths are based on my own personal experiences of transitioning to a primarily plant-based diet:
1) "A plant-based diet doesn’t taste as good"
Well, I was remarkably wrong about this one. What I thought was going to be restrictive and limiting actually turned out to be liberating and eye-opening. Plates that used to be a slab of meat with a small to no helping of vegetables turned into a wide array of different flavors, textures, and colors, all which lead to a more engaging eating experience. My curiosity for food began to expand. After 1 week, I saw a significant increase in my intention behind my om-nom choices, and, quite surprisingly, more fulfilling eating experiences.
This has been the most pleasant "surprise" for me through this journey, considering I LOVE food and am part of the 70% of consumers who put taste and texture above everything else in their food choices.
2) "A plant-based diet is toO expensive"
Simplicity has been an underlying theme I’ve attempted to reinforce in my life for a few years. And surprisingly, trying a plant-based diet aligned with that initiative like butter on bread (plant-based butter, of course; check out our favorite, Fora, here). Expecting my grocery bills to be absurdly high, I was shocked after my first month of reviewing my grocery receipts. Why? Because, guess what? I wasn’t buying $11 steaks multiple times per week. Or 10 yogurts every other day. Or a gallon of milk every week. My diet became simpler, but also more well rounded. Vegetables, beans, fruit, wheat breads and pastas. Protein, carbs, and fats. The entire food pyramid. Or whatever they call it these days.
3) "A plant-based diet IS COMPLICATED & INCONVENIENT"
I have no idea why this thought even crossed my mind; why would reducing/cutting certain things in my diet make eating less convenient? Things became more convenient. Just grab some vegetables and beans, throw a quick bowl together, and munch. Instead of trying to decide between chicken, steak, or a pork 3 times per day, my options actually expanded, which may be counter-intuitive, considering I was limiting certain things. But once I thought about it more deeply, I realized eating plant-based was forcing me to think more broadly about food. Which was in turn bringing about more simplicity and convenience when choosing foods to eat.
4) "A plant-based diet is less nutritious"
This one was very interesting. As mentioned above, I played sports in college and was very focused on not only taste and texture, but also functionality of what I was consuming. That principle has stuck with me since then, and I found myself concerned that transitioning more plant-based options into my food habits would result in a less healthy, less strong me. This myth was debunked in the first 5 days of eating plant-based.
The term "plant-based" doesn't only refer to not eating certain things, but it even more points towards intentionally consuming certain things. Immediately, my diet was filled with more vegetables, beans, and fruits, resulting in much higher density and variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Long story short, I felt great. This, above all else, is what pushed me to continue a plant-based diet. I started having more energy, and almost every single one of my stomach problems went away.
So, I leave you with this: explore the world without bounds or preconceived notions. Try new things, and realize that sometimes the most beautiful and life-changing things are on the other side of skepticism. I developed a strongly plant-based diet and sure enough, it's now part of who I am.
I mean, the oldest living things on the planet are trees, and hey, you are what you eat, right?
Anthony is part of Sprouted Ventures; who helps early-stage food-tech startups reach their first $10M+ in sales through innovative and proven market strategies. Interested in collaborating? Reach out here!