In August, the TV personality Simon Cowell, unfortunately, broke his back while riding his new electric bike in the courtyard of his home in Malibu, California. While he had been adhering to a plant-based diet, in light of the accident—which required a metal rod being inserted into his back—he reportedly switched back to eating animal products to regain weight, per The Sun. Previously, Cowell had lost over 60 pounds following a vegan diet after a health scare, but it seems the diet has disappeared from his life for now.

American-British singer, and pal of Cowell’s, Sinitta Malone told the outlet in an October 25th scoop “He’s gained a bit of weight and is looking healthier. He said he had to start eating protein, calcium and break his vegan diet to rebuild his strength.” While we’re all for Cowell regaining his strength—and of course support his following the advice of any trusted medical advisers if this explains his diet shift—we can’t help but wonder if this is truly the best move.

In fact, following a vegan diet can support healthy weight gain and flood your body with nutrition so long as you follow a plant-based diet focusing on whole foods. “Cowell could have definitely stuck to the vegan diet post his accident to stay strong and healthy. It is a huge misconception that you will not obtain enough protein on the vegan diet,” says Bansari Acharya, MA, RD, adding that such high-protein choices include hemp seeds, tofu, tempeh, beans, legumes, and nuts.

Bonus: “Along with protein, these foods are also high in other nutrients that aid in improving energy levels and improving health outcomes. For example, walnuts and hemp seeds are an excellent source of protein but also contain essential omega-3 fatty acids,” she says. “As long as you are making smart choices, a vegan diet can be even more beneficial in providing strength and nourishment back into the body post an accident.”

Explaining the potential rationale behind Cowell ditching his plant-based ways, Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, who serves on the advisory board for Fitter Living, suggests that it could have been on the advice of his medical team. “Even though many people are avid vegans, there can be a time and place where it may be necessary to break your diet pattern in the name of better health. This is the same for other diets and eating rules as well. For example: When a malnourished person needs to gain weight, often the primary goal of nutrition care is to get that person to a healthy weight, by using high calorie-high fat foods that may have saturated fat and sugar (think Ensure shake),” she offers.

“In Cowell’s case, perhaps his medical team prioritized his health needs and suggested liberalizing his diet to include animal foods. Since there were reports of fatigue and weakness (not clear how he was before the accident) he may have had some nutritional deficiencies from an inadequate vegan diet. Vegan diets can be complete, well-rounded and healthy if done correctly…[Cowell] could have stuck with a vegan diet, especially if followed by a registered dietitian, but perhaps diet liberalization with non-vegan foods fit better with his recovery plan,” Kostro Miller continues. We’re not a fly on the wall in his doc’s office, so we have no way of knowing, but we certainly hope he ultimately goes back to his vegan ways.

Some healthy vegan suggestions should Cowell’s medical team support his plant-based lifestyle amidst his recovery? While the possibilities are virtually endless, Acharya has some thoughts for a mock meal plan to keep him fueled and eating a healthy, balanced vegan diet.

Breakfast: Vegan breakfast burrito (key ingredients - black beans, tofu, avocado, other veggies of choice)

Lunch: Vegan Cobb Salad (key ingredients - chickpeas, sunflower seeds, almonds, avocados, beets, quinoa, cucumbers, leafy greens, asparagus, cucumbers, chia seeds)

Dinner: Chickpea Curry with Brown Rice and Whole Wheat Roti Bread

Simon, if you’re reading this, we’ll totally join you for that bowl of chickpea curry, especially if it’s this creamy potato chickpea curry with tomatoes, onions, and fresh ginger. Here’s to hoping you continue to recover well, and we can win you back over to the plant-powered life.

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