Science Beats Myth(s)

by | Mar 14, 2019 | Featured, Health & Nutrition, Plant-Based 101

In the spirit of battling plant-based myths, I am sharing my personal metrics – fresh from a blood test – to show how well my nutrients are doing. I have been plant-based for 26 months with the occasional intake of fish (less than once a month, and only the fish broth). Let’s see some of the common plant-based myths and compare with actual facts!

Can you get enough protein?

Yes you can. Levels of total protein and albumin are indicators of how sufficient my protein intake is. My total protein is 7.2g/dl (healthy range is 6.5-7.9g/dl) and albumin is 4.6g/dl (you should have more than 3.9g/dl). As you can see from our site – and even better from our Instagram/Facebook posts – we do not measure, calculate, or fuss about the daily nutrient intake levels. Yet, this is the result. Let that sink in.

I heard you can’t get any Vitamin B12?

True, it is almost impossible to get Vitamin B12 from only eating plants – or so people think. I get mine from water cress (fortified), seaweed, nutritional yeast, and marmite. You can also look for breakfast cereals that are fortified with B12, or try B12 supplements. As mentioned earlier, I don’t measure, calculate, or fuss about this nutrient either, and yet I have 322pg/ml (recommended range is 233-914pg/ml). Again, let that sink in.

Can you get enough calcium without dairy?

Look at my beautiful levels of calcium at 9.2mg/dl (range should be 8.6-10.2 mg/dl). Need I say more?

How about Iron?

Yes, however, I will be honest; my iron levels were low this time (27mcg/dl where the range should be 50-170mcg/dl). I don’t have metrics from my non-plant-based days, but I can tell you I have always been on the low range of iron even when I ate meat. The doctor said that this level is nothing to worry about as there are no signs of anemia. I just need to eat more spinach.

And here’s the bonus: Low fats and Cholesterol!

While it’s true that eating plant-based in itself will not decrease your fats – eating processed vegan food can fatten you up too! – you just cannot get any additional cholesterol from eating any kind of plant-based diet (junky or not). I myself stick mostly to home-cooked (minimal processed) foods, but still love the occasional fry-up or late night Friday popcorn. The day before my blood test was Jad’s 1 year meat-free anniversary and I had a LOT of gyoza and chips! However, observe that my fats are at an all-time low! 57mg/dl for LDL (range is 60-119mg/dl, and generally lower the better), 53mg/dl for HDL (should be higher than 40mg/dl), and 60mg/dl for neutral fat (30-149mg/dl). Actually, let’s be fair, the doctor did say the dinner before a blood test doesn’t really affect the blood….but all things aside, having lower fats and cholesterol translates to decrease in risk of cardiovascular diseases, strokes, and high blood pressure.

Have we gotten you interested?

I sure hope so! Follow us for inspiration on how to make a plant-based choice fun and tasty, or reach out if you are interested in meal plans and suggestions to help you transition to cleaner eating! It could be you bragging about your blood test results next year!

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About me

Noriko Shindo

What started as a curious experiment to opt for a completely plant-based diet consequently turned into a new and exciting lifestyle! Since my transition, I have been primarily interested in 2 things: to increase awareness on the plant-based lifestyle, and to help as many plant-based people in Japan sustain their plant-based lifestyle by providing useful information. I believe that a plant-based life is for everyone: you can do a meat-free Monday and still call yourself plant-based. Even if you still occasionally put some parmesan on your pasta, go ahead – declare you live a plant-based lifestyle. The point I’m trying to make is, plant-based, it is just another way of life.

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