Guys, if you’re interested in taking on a plant-based diet, join the celebrities like Joaquin Phoenix and Colin Kaepernick and move past the hyper-masculinity that challenges plant-based eating and learn how to take the first step by trying these vegan diet tips, which will provide you with the know-how and inspiration to take on a plant-based plunge for health.
These days, it’s cool to be vegan, including for men. People who identify as males face many challenges of hyper-masculinity in our society, especially surrounding food and health choices they make. Think of the stereotypical cliches of men hunting wild game, gathering together over a carnivore buffet, and eschewing concerns about their health and diet and you’ll see how toxic our societal culture can be for men’s health, as well as the health of the planet. Indeed, research has shown that veganism is more popular among women than men, and myths abound about the masculinity of meat eating. However, by eating a plant-based diet, a body of evidence shows that men, in particular, can gain enormous health benefits from their top disease killers, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Men can even cut their eco-footprint—all in one fell swoop—by eating more plant-based. We all want a better future for our children, including a planet that can support a diverse ecosystem and a safe food supply.
So, it’s exciting to see the momentum come for plant-based eating among men. More and more men are interested in eating a plant-based diet, including vegan diets, and this diet is here to stay. One reason the diet is soaring is because of athletic performance benefits, which was documented in the movie Gamechangers. An overwhelming number of athletes, such as Torrey Washington and Colin Kaepernick, now eat a vegan diet for better performance. And then of course a slew of celebrities are eating plant-based for health, environmental, and animal benefits, including Rich Roll, Woody Harrelson, Joaquin Phoenix, Brendan Brazier, and James Cameron. So, if you are thinking of taking on a plant-based lifestyle, it’s ok, you’re in good company.
Going plant-based can be a big change from a highly processed Western-style diet, filled with burgers, sausage, and bacon. The most important thing you need to do is focus on whole minimally processed plant foods to fill your plate. This style of eating is linked with multiple health benefits for men. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that a plant-based diet can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, provide enough energy for endurance athletes, and is a healthy choice for men (and women) at any stage of life. On the other hand, research shows that the typical Western, high-meat diet is linked with higher risk of erectile dysfunction, colorectal cancer, and heart disease, so the plant-based way is a healthy lifestyle for men, for sure. The good news is that there are so many satisfying, hearty plant-based options in restaurants and supermarkets. And a little social and emotional support can get you through the rough patches, too.
Check out these top guy-friendly tips for kicking off a vegan diet.
1. Find a Community
It’s so much easier when you have social support. Get a friend to take a vegan challenge with you. Sign up for a local plant-based lifestyle meeting—most areas have groups that meet on a regular basis to discuss plant-based eating. Seeing others interested in a plant-based lifestyle can build confidence, while inspiring creativity in your own personal diet.
2. Expand Your Knowledge
Being comfortable with plant-based options can go a long way to making the vegan way of life more comfortable and healthful. From being confident in the kitchen and ordering at a restaurant, to knowing how to shop for new foods and try new recipes, it will make your path much more steady when you prepare yourself. Which brings me to our next tip.
3. Do Your Research
Before you plunge in, learn about how to plan a healthful, balanced vegan diet, which is tailored just for you. Find out what foods you should include at each meal, and supplements that should be part of your diet. Check out my book The Plant-Powered Diet as a great resource, and find a registered dietitian nutritionist skilled in plant-based eating here.
4. Consider Easing into a Vegan Lifestyle
Trying something new always comes with a few questions and bumps in the road. A lifestyle change may be more successful for some people when it is gradual, so don’t become overwhelmed. If you’re not ready to go cold turkey, start with Meatless Monday, and continue adding a few more plant-based meals during the week, then move into a 30-day vegan challenge.
5. Don’t Worry
Your choices are just that, YOUR choices. Whether you’ve gone vegan for health, the environment, or the treatment of animals, be proud that you’ve navigated a not so easy path. Be confident in your decision. Surround yourself with positive thinkers. Enjoy all of the beautiful plant-based foods available to you. And feel well.
Written by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN
For other tips on eating a healthy, plant-based diet, check out the following:
9 Rules for a Healthy Vegan Diet
How to Eat a Healthy, Plant-Based Mediterranean Diet
Top 9 Dietitian Tips to Make Meatless Easy
What are the Best Supplements for a Vegan Diet?
How to Get Vegan Calcium Sources