If you’ve ever Googled “what is a plant-based diet” and come away more confused than when you started, you’re not alone. Who knew there were a million answers to that question?!

Rather than describing a specific pattern of eating, like veganism, it’s more of an umbrella term that covers different types of diets that emphasize one thing: eating mostly plants. While that looks a little bit different for everybody, we all reap the benefits from incorporating more plants into our diet.

The #1 question I get when around plant-based eating is always the same: “Where do you get your protein?!”

First, you don’t necessarily need to give up animal-based foods if you don’t want to. Secondly let’s think about this for a minute: where do some of the world’s largest living things get their intense strength and power? I’m talking elephants. Giraffes. Rhinoceros. Gorilla. Hippopotamus. Elk. And when they roamed the Earth, tons of dinosaurs.

Yup, you guessed it! Plants!

One cup of lentil soup will deliver nearly 20g of protein. When combined with a balanced diet, that cup of soup delivers a complete protein profile, which is exactly what the body needs.

A diet comprised of 100% plants isn’t for everyone. What is for everyone are the benefits we reap from incorporating more plants into our diet. Plant foods are packed full of fiber, water, phytonutrients, antioxidants and micro-nutrients that the body needs to give us optimal energy, regularity, increase immunity and to maintain a healthy weight.

There’s a good chance you are already incorporating more plant-based protein than you realize (see charts to the right).

With all of this said, there’s no rule that says you have to label your eating style. There are as many diets as there are people on the planet — each as unique as you are. The most important thing is to find a way of eating that makes you feel fabulous, works for your lifestyle, and you can stick with for the long term. Eating more plants is one easy way to do that!

Sarah Kaminski is a Pittsburgh native, educator, Holistic Health & Lifestyle Coach, Plant-Based Recipe Developer and Meal Planning guru through The Veg Out Project. Join her on August 7 at 7 PM at the East End Co-op to learn more about plant-based eating! Learn more about the event: plantcenteredeating.eventbrite.com. Learn more about Sarah or The Veg Out Project: www.sarahkaminski.com.