Would you be keen to follow it, too?
As one of the most talked about women on the planet, the thought ‘What does Kim Kardashian eat?’ might’ve crossed your mind once or twice before.
Supposedly, Kimmy K has recently jumped on the plant-powered bandwagon and eats a ‘mostly’ vegan diet… so does that mean you should, too?
Here’s my dietitian opinion on the popular plant-based trend. Disclaimer: it’s not all sunshine and roses.
What exactly does ‘plant-based’ mean?
News flash: plant-based does not necessarily mean vegan. I don’t follow a vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or pescatarian meal plan and I would still consider my eating pattern to be plant-based. To me, a plant-based diet is one that’s packed to the brim with plant foods – but it doesn’t have to be exclusively plant foods.
In other words, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds make up the majority of the foods on the plant-based menu, but meat, poultry, seafood and dairy foods can be included, too, if you want them to be. Veganism, on the other hand, is where all foods of animal origin are off limits – and this is kind of diet Kim K supposedly mostly follows.
Vegan diets are automatically assumed to be healthy, but that’s not always the case. Of course, if a vegan diet is made up of simple whole foods like veggies, whole grains, legumes, legume products (like tofu), nuts and seeds, as I imagine Kim Kardashian’s is, that’s an excellent start. These foods are rich in a range of beneficial nutrients that support good health, like fibre for digestive health and disease-fighting antioxidants.
There are, however, stacks of vegan products on supermarket shelves that don’t quite fit the ‘healthy’ criteria. Many are high in sodium and saturated fat, both of which are bad news for your ticker. So, if you’re eating lots of convenient vegan alternatives, like faux chicken, meat-ish burgers and baconless bacon, your diet probably isn’t going to get a five star health rating from me.
My main concern with a vegan diet, however, is the extremely restrictive nature of it. Not only can drastically restricting what you eat harm your relationship with food, there is great potential for nutritional deficiencies. The one that comes to everyone’s mind when talking about vegan diets is protein, but the truth is that it’s quite easy to get enough protein from plants (think: tofu, beans, nuts). Vitamin B12 for healthy blood and calcium for strong bones, on the other hand, are much harder nutrients to come by when your diet is solely plant foods.
Should you go ‘plant-based’
Just because Kim Kardashian follows a mostly vegan diet doesn’t mean you should, too. Of course, if that’s your preference or choice because of your personal beliefs, likes or dislikes, then go for it – but make sure you see see an accredited practising dietitian when you’re first starting out to ensure your new vegan diet is nutritionally balanced and adequate.
If, on the other hand, you’re thinking of going vegan as fast track to weight loss or because you think it’s healthier… stop! While a plant-packed diet is essential for good health, a plant-only diet is not. Instead of feeling like you have to jump on the vegan bandwagon, I’d encourage you to channel your efforts into simply eating more plants (read: not restricting non-plant foods). It’s a far more positive frame of mind that I think is more likely to set you up for long term, sustainable healthy eating habits. Veggies, anyone?
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can follow her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.