How to Handle Those Tough Questions From Family and Friends

As you transition to a plant-based diet, you may be asked “tough” questions by your friends and family about your new way of eating. The good news is that after the transition, these questions often begin to disappear. Plus, with all of the information on the benefits of plant-based eating penetrating deeper into the mainstream, these types of questions seem to be diminishing.

The two most frequently asked questions are “Where do you get your protein?” and, “What about your calcium intake?”. There are two types of people asking these and other questions; the first group is curious, and the second just wants to convince you to not eat a plant-based diet.  

Here are a few tips to help you when questions come up:

  • First, determine which of the two groups the questioner is from (it should be obvious by the tone of voice and facial expression).

  • If he/she is curious, then go with the flow and go as deep into the information as the questioner wants. Who knows - they might be thinking about trying a plant-based diet!

    • Protein question: A plant-based diet has plenty of protein, with higher amounts from beans, peas, nuts, and whole grains. Research confirms that a healthy plant-based diet meets all of your protein needs.

    • Calcium question: Think about where a cow gets their calcium; it is from the food they eat, which just happens to be plants! You also can get your calcium from a variety of sources including tofu, beans, greens, and seeds, and the research confirms that plant-based eaters have strong bones and the lowest occurrence of bone fractures.

  • If they are trying to convince you not to be plant-based, consider that they may feel threatened by your lifestyle and may even feel you are judging them about their way of eating. In this case, it is important to remain as humble and positive as possible. Try to keep your answers short and point them to research so that they can make their own informed conclusions. is an excellent research-driven site that provides short videos on the latest research.  

Here is the takeaway: be ready to answer questions, determine who is asking the question, and always communicate with humility.


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