RND stands for a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian. There’s often confusion on this acronym because it seems that most people use either Nutritionist or Dietitian, but RND is the shortest one.

I’m an RND and I advocate plant-based nutrition. You can learn more about me and my plant-based journey here.

I noticed that people and clients ask the same questions most of the time, and I want to answer some of them in this article. Maybe  I can also do a series of articles with this theme. When you’re beginning to learn and research a plant-based diet, I know there are some confusions: the terms used, how it differs from other diets etc.  I’m happy to share my knowledge, learning and experiences by answering these frequently asked questions.

What is a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and other food derived from plants. In a much simpler definition, it is proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources. Now, let me add the “whole foods” on it which makes it a Whole Food Plant-Based (WFPB). WFPB is not necessarily a set diet- it’s more of a lifestyle. This is because plant-based diets vary depending on the extent to which a person includes animal products in their diet which are the different types of vegetarianism.

The basic principles of whole foods, plant-based diet are as follows; 

  • Emphasizes whole, minimally processed foods.
  • Focuses on adding more plants in your meals, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, which should make up the majority of what you eat.
  • Limits or avoids animal products.
  • Avoids refined foods, like added sugars, white flour, and processed oils.
  • Whenever possible, chooses locally sourced, organic food.

Going whole foods plant-based (WFPB) is one of the most powerful steps we can take to improve your health, boost energy levels, strengthen the immune system and prevent chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancers, hypertension and others. If you want to learn more on what to eat on a plant-based diet, you may read my article I wrote specifically on this topic.

Why should I consider a plant-based diet? What if I feel healthy enough on my current diet?

These are three main reasons why I suggest you consider a plant-based diet whether you have a health condition or you are physically fit and healthy;

1.   For Optimal Health A plant-based diet is a powerful way to achieve good health. Whole plant foods are the healthiest foods we can eat as they are packed with nutrients, vitamins, fiber, and phytonutrients, low in calories and saturated fat and zero in cholesterol. These are all essential for proper and good nutrition for the body which prevents and even reverses chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, and other health conditions. There are a lot of studies now which concludes that eating more whole plant foods is a natural way of nourishing and healing the body.

2.   For the Environment Adopting whole foods plant-based diet is one of the greenest acts that we can do for our environment. According to the United Nations, a plant-based diet can fight climate change. Food production also contributes to global warming. Agriculture – together with forestry – accounts for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock rearing contributes to global warming through the methane gas the animals produce, but also via deforestation to expand pastures, for example. A plant-based diet is an earth-friendly diet. Most scientists believe we’re in the sixth mass extinction crisis and the first one caused by homo sapiens through our species’ rampant population growth and voracious consumption habits. Isn’t this scary? One of the biggest threats to other forms of life, and to the planet’s natural systems, comes from an animal-based diet.

3.  For the Animals, our fellow sentient beings I challenge you to watch the documentary Earthlings. It’s on youtube and it’s free. You’ll understand why vegans are vegans. It’s complete and in-depth and goes beyond consuming animals as foods. We have the choice to not contribute to any form of animal suffering and violence. Health, Environment, and Animals. With each plant-based meal, you’ll nourish your body, you’ll lessen your carbon footprint, and you’ll save the life of an animal. It’s a powerful and transformative decision you’ll make in your life. Choose the reason which resonates with you the most. Start from there.

Can I really get everything on a plant-based diet? Is it nutritionally adequate for people of all ages to eat only plants?

Yes, and yes, but there has to be a conscious effort on making sure you’re doing it right with considerations for proper nutrition like quantity, quality, diversity, current health condition/s, and health goals. It’s best to work with your doctor, nutritionist and/or health professionals to make sure that everything is taken into consideration. Each person is a unique individual with highly individualized nutritional requirements based on a number of factors. Your own plant-based diet may need to be personalized for you. You may prefer self-learning but do so with extra precautions. A little favour, please refrain from giving nutrition advice to others based on your experience because it may be working for you, but it may not work for everyone else.

Where will  I get my protein on a plant-based diet? Will it be enough for my needs? 

You can get your protein needs from plants! That’s where the animals’ cows, pigs, chicken and other animals get their protein too. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein intake is 0.8 gram per kilogram of body weight according to the World Health Organization. This is equivalent roughly to 8-10% of the daily calorie intake. Some people may be interested in increasing their plant protein intake for a variety of reasons, but this recommendation is already enough. On a plant-based diet, you can obtain protein from a variety of plant sources, including legumes, soy products, grains, nuts and seeds. There is no need to consciously combine different plant proteins at each meal as long as a variety of foods are eaten from day to day, because the human body, particularly the liver, maintains a pool of amino acids which can be used to complement dietary protein. The plant foods which are high in protein content per serving include tofu, tempeh, edamame, lentils, chickpeas, mung beans, chia seeds, potatoes, and the list goes on. You do not need to supplement if you can easily meet your daily requirement through your food intake. If you feel that you need to supplement because of a personal reason or goal, it is best to consult with a health professional to make sure that you’re doing the supplementation the right way- effectively and efficiently. To best provide your body with a broad spectrum of amino acids, as well as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, incorporate more whole plant foods from all of the food groups in your diet.

I’d like to try a plant-based diet. How do I get started? 

P.L.A.N.T.S!

P- Identify your purpose. Is it for your health, for the environment, for the animals or for every one of these reasons? Your reason/s is the first thing I recommend that you should be clear with. It will always help you to regain focus and motivation whenever you feel that you cannot change your behavior towards eating and diet. L- Learn actively. Watch documentaries. Read books. Ask questions for deeper learning and understanding of the plant-based lifestyle. A- Take action. Do it. Start going plant-based. Eat more plant foods and no/fewer animal foods. Start with eating more of your favorite plant foods and dishes. List them down and create your meal plan. Join a challenge or start your own personal challenge. Maybe 3 days, 7 days, 14 days or 30 days. On each plate and day, feel how your body is responding and thanking you for the nourishing foods that you’re taking in. We’re having our monthly 7-Days Plant-Based Challenge in our Plant-Based Pilipinas Community Facebook Group. Join us there. N- Nourish your body.  Every start of your meal, ask yourself, “Will this nourish my body?” If you have started learning about the benefits of a plant-based diet, you already have an idea what nourishes your body. If the answer to the question is no, do something. T- Thrive.  Enjoy your personal plant-based journey. You can definitely thrive on it if you commit to it. Acknowledge the changes in YOU – physically, mentally and spiritually. Embrace the positive changes within you. S- Get social.  Share your plant-based journey online or offline. Share your experience with your friends and community whom you share similar beliefs and who support your plant-based goals. I expounded more about each step on my article here.

I am Here For You

Do you have other questions on a plant-based diet? Need guidance on starting your own plant-based journey to achieve your health goals? I’m here for you. Feel free to check out my services here as a Registered and Plant-Based Nutritionist Dietitian. I’m here to guide you, Filipinos, to achieve your personal health and fitness goals through plant-based nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. References:

About the author

Roni is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian. She completed her certificate course in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell University and T.Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. She has long been passionate about helping individuals make positive and sustainable changes to their health, to be able to live and enjoy a better quality of life while being mindful of the environment and all beings. She founded Plants & Purpose where she offers her services and shares things about plant-based nutrition.