In this latest vegan chat, we speak with the very knowledgeable Jacob Mcinness about his work as a dietitian and how this mixed with his knowledge of training and fitness, places him in a unique position to help us all live healthier and happier lives using the ‘plant potential’.
Enjoy the chat below and be sure to follow Jacob HERE too.
So Jacob, how did you get into the plant-based space?
I had a few conversations regarding ethics with vegetarian and vegan friends and saw some articles/documentaries highlighting the environmental impacts of animal agriculture, with media around climate change it seemed like cutting back on animal products would be a good thing to do for the environment.
So as a dietitian, I looked into how to eat a balanced plant-based diets that would still support my exercise/goals, I read a ton of articles and did some professional development in the area and began reducing my animal product consumption and was essentially 100% plant-based after a few months.
6 months or so after the changes, I started The Plant Potential and started sharing the information I thought was most useful for people eating plant-based and started doing online consultations tailored to the plant-based community!
You are a nutritionist and personal trainer – what are the two biggest myths around plant-based eating you hear from these industries?
That plant-based diets are devoid of X number of nutrients… some nutrients you have to pay more attention to, plan for and some supplementation can be required.
You can’t build muscle on a plant-based diet… Of course you can… all it takes is the right kind of resistance training, eating in a slight calorie surplus and consuming adequate protein all of which can be done while eating a plant-based diet!
You help optimise for sports performance, what are some of the key factors athletes need to think about when transitioning to a plant-based diet?
A lot of athletes going plant-based simply won’t eat enough overall and be falling short on several nutrients, usually when people are eating very “clean” or entirely whole-foods plant based.
Ensure they are eating in a way that will best meet their requirements for total calories, macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, zinc, iron etc.).
Depending on the demands of the sports and the individual the diet will look different but will always be based around a lot of nutritious plant food!
If someone wants to ensure they are eating in a way to best support their performance or goals they should see a dietitian!
You have an e-book, what can people expect from it? Who is the ideal reader?
The Vegan Nutrition Comprehensive Guide was me putting together all of the information I could around how to plan and execute a plant-based diet that will meet all of your nutrition needs.
It is quite long and in-depth with lots of scientific references to support the recommendations but it is full of useful information that would benefit anyone who eats a plant-based diet.
From shopping, cooking, snacks to include, supplements and a bit more nutrition theory and philosophies when it comes to approaching a balanced diet.
There are sections on each key nutrient that can be lacking, why we need them and recommendations on how to get them! From Vitamin B12 to omega 3 to the elusive plant protein.
I have also made a few meal plans with the Vegan Health Hub that provide lots of information.
What do you hope to achieve with your work in the next 3-5 years?
I hope to be providing useful evidence-based nutrition and health information to people on a larger scale (growing my audience). Continuing to educate people on nutrition, movement and helping them improve their relationships with food and themselves.
Not sure where that will take me… but for now I am happy to be earning a living through helping people live healthier happier lives.
What is your vegan/plant-based cheat meal?
I live in Melbourne and there are so many great restaurants to go to… there are some great places to get vegan versions of classic Asian style dishes or a big mock meat fried chick’n burger!
I eat pretty simple nutritious meals at home so usually when I go out.. I am going for taste over nutrition!
Who inspires your work?
There are some phenomenal dietitians who have been putting out great work for decades around plant-based diets and are the real experts in plant-based nutrition. Unfortunately, they don’t get the praise of some of the more popular American M.D’s or influencers… but they are the people I turn to when looking for recommendations for plant-based clients.
Plus a lot of people outside of the vegan/plant-based space who have influenced me with their no BS, evidence-based and pragmatic approach to nutrition.
If someone is concerned with the common protein/nutrients issue of giving up meat, what is the first thing you tell them?
There are countless others achieving great success on plant-based diets and clear evidence to show that a plant-based diet can fuel all stages of life.
If they want to give up meat for ethical/environmental/health reasons then it becomes only a matter of learning how and taking the right steps to adopt a plant-based lifestyle that aligns with their values.
Most underrated vegetable and why?
Oooh… this is tough. I love highlighting the basics so that healthy eating is more accessible and simple.
Capsicums are pretty great… they are high in vitamin C and can help boost absorption of iron from plant-sources!
But eat the rainbow! Carrots, peas, broccoli, green beans, baby spinach, mushrooms, onions, eggplant, zucchini! All these cost-effective classics are staples in my diet!
Who should we interview next?
Ebony McCorkell! She is a vegan dietitian with extra training in gut health/Irritable Bowel Syndrome!
Or any of the dietitians I mentioned above! They all have tremendous amounts of experience and a wealth of knowledge to share.
Thank you so much for sharing all of this Jacob! It’s clear you are incredibly passionate about helping people discover the power (and potential) of plants. For anyone who wants to dive deeper, we would highly recommend checking out Jacobs’s e-books. You can purchase them at http://www.veganhealthhub.com with a 20% discount using the code ‘JACOB’
Or If you are looking to work with a dietitian to review and optimise the plant-based/vegan diet, Jacob works online and more information can be found on his website: www.theplantpotential.com
To read about other amazing vegan stories, visit the link here.