Can I get enough protein on a plant-based diet?
Research shows that plant protein is the healthiest protein,ref and a variety of whole grains, beans, and vegetables easily provides plenty. Many meat-eaters actually consume too much protein, which can lead to many diseases.ref
Aren't humans designed to eat animals?
You can't tear flesh by hand, you can't tear hide by hand. Our anterior teeth are not suited for tearing flesh or hide. We don't have large canine teeth, and we wouldn't have been able to deal with food sources that required those large canines.
–Richard Leakey, Anthropologist
Humans lack both the physical characteristics of carnivorous animals and the instinct that drives them to kill and eat raw animals.
Even if it was natural for us to eat animals, there's nothing “natural” about most of the animal products we consume today – due to modern farming methods with antibiotics, pesticides, genetic manipulation through selective breeding, unnatural feed, crowded, unhealthy conditions, and lack of exercise.
Is a plant-based diet more expensive?
It can save you money, according to a recent MSN Money article.
It's actually less expensive when you cook with staples such as beans, brown rice and other whole grains, tofu and fresh or frozen produce. There are many inexpensive or moderately-priced vegetarian restaurants in our area, and most regular restaurants and cafes (including some fast-food chains) have vegan or vegetarian options. However, certain processed or pre-prepared foods may be a little more expensive.
Also, you're likely to save money in the long run, by improving your health and reducing your future health care costs.
If you use soy, rice or nut “milk” and find it more expensive than regular milk, you can make it yourself inexpensively and easily with a commercial soy milk machine.
Aren't fish the best source for Omega-3 essential fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids can easily be obtained from vegetables. Flax (seeds or oil) is an excellent source, and it also has cancer-fighting properties.ref
There has been some concern that DHA (a necessary nutrient converted from Omega-3 fats) may be lacking in plant-based diets, and should be supplemented from fish-based sources. However, a recent study shows that our bodies produce and store sufficient DHA without supplements.ref If you choose to take a supplement, there are vegetarian versions produced from the same algae that fish obtain DHA from.
Fish can be high in toxic metals and environmental contaminants.ref
Why do vegetarians need B-12 supplements?
In nature, we would easily get B-12 (produced by bacteria) from the same source that animals do – directly from the soil remaining on unwashed produce, and from unsterilized drinking water. As these sources aren't available to most of us, it’s advisable to take a B-12 supplement or a multivitamin.
What about soy? I've heard conflicting things about it.
Don't many people have allergic reactions to wheat gluten (seitan)?
Wheat gluten (a high-protein food, popular in Asian cuisine and in vegetarian “meats”) only affects a small percentage of the population who have celiac disease,ref or wheat allergy (hypersensitivity).