Veganism – 8 myths debunked

Veganism – 8 myths debunked
Savvy Maria

Savvy Maria

A teacher living in Cyprus trying to spread the vegan message and make the world a better place for human and non-human animals. Nutrition enthusiast, vegan foodie, panda obsessed & crazy dog lover
Savvy Maria

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People are very skeptical when it comes to veganism, and it’s mainly because of the myths that have been constructed around the vegan diet. The meat & dairy market is a huge industry, making billions every year by feeding us… well, lies!

If you care about animal rights, then there really shouldn’t be anything holding you back from embracing a vegan lifestyle. Animals are not ours to eat, wear or experiment on.

Hopefully, dispelling these 8 popular vegan myths will allow us to move away from the vegan stereotype of a hippie living off of leaves!

So, what are the 8 most common misconceptions regarding veganism? Where does fabrication end and reality begin?

Myth No 1: Vegans don’t get enough protein.

I literally must have heard this a thousand time! So much so that I when I was transitioning to a vegan diet I was worried there was some ‘hidden’ protein information I was missing! I was beginning to doubt my own research! As if hospitals are filled with vegans suffering from protein deficiency!

Fact

Our bodies rely on 20 amino acids, 9 of which must come from food sources and are called ‘essential amino acids’. Contrary to popular belief, people on balanced plant-based diets can get all the protein necessary!

Here are some vegan sources of protein:

  • Guava – 4.21 g per cup
  • Asparagus – 2.95 g per cup raw
  • Quinoa – 4 g per ½ cup ( check out superfoods section on quinoa)
  • Dried chia seeds – 3 g per 2 tablespoons.
  • Pasta – 10 g per cup cooked
  • Kale – 2.87 g per cup raw
  • Oats – 5.33 per ½ cup dry
  • Baked potato – 6.28 g
  • Chickpeas – 5.90 g per ½ cup cooked
  • Pistachios- 6 g per ounce
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Myth No 2: A vegan diet is too strict and hard to maintain.

Many people believe that vegans have a really difficult time with their diets. They assume that a plant-based diet is boring, hard to stick to and rather uninteresting.

Fact

It may feel so in the beginning but it’s really just a matter of changing habits! Most people already eat vegetarian or vegan meals and don’t even take notice. The vegan population has grown dramatically over the past years, which has led to the expansion of the vegan food industry. It’s simple supply and demand rules. It’s now easier than it has even been to maintain and most importantly enjoy a plant-based diet.

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Myth No 3: You need milk to get calcium.

We are the only species on this planet that drink milk other than that of our mothers as newborns! Who ever thought that for us to have healthy bones we need to consume milk that is derived from another lactating species and intended for their own offspring?

Fact

Dairy companies have fooled us by portraying ‘happy’ cows on the face of their product containers. The reality behind the milk we think we need is that millions of cows are impregnated every year on dairy farms so that they can produce a steady supply of milk. Calves are taken away from their mothers within 1 or 2 days of birth. Female calves are raised as future milk producers whereas male calves are confined for 16 weeks to tiny veal crates. These weak, 4-month-old calves are thereafter sent to the slaughterhouse and then sold as veal.

The idea that the only source of calcium for human’s is cow’s milk in completely absurd as there are so many plant-based products that can supply the amount of calcium your body needs without the unnecessary violence!

Here are some examples of vegan calcium sources:

  • Soybeans – 175 mg per cup cooked
  • Okra – 135 mg per cup cooked
  • Tahini – 128 mg per 2 tablespoons
  • Broccoli – 62 mg per cup cooked
  • Almond milk – 450 mg per cup
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Myth No 4: There is no proof that a plant-based diet is healthier.

Excuses, excuses… People who don’t want to give up meat simply don’t want to be lectured on the benefits of a vegan diet. ‘You won’t be getting enough iron’, ‘You will become weak’, and the ever so amusing ‘You will be too thin or anorexic’ are remarks coming from people who are just uneducated on the subject.

Fact

In reality, there are numerous scientific studies on the health benefits of a plant-based diet. The vegan diet is the only diet that has been proven to halt or reverse conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and many more.

A plant-based diet is low in saturated fat, high in fiber and nutrients and several studies have shown that the vegan population have lower rates of obesity and high blood pressure.

On the other hand, the harmful effect of eating meat is being noted regularly in various scientific journals. People who regularly consume meat and other animal products are more likely to suffer from cancer and heart disease.

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Myth No 5: Vegan food is expensive.

This is one of the most popular myths regarding veganism. People tend to believe that vegan food is a ‘luxury’ that can’t be afforded by the regular Joe. They look at the price tags of mock meats and cheese (which are indeed a bit pricy!) and think that a plant-based diet revolves around this type of products.

Fact

The fact is, that vegan staples such as beans, tofu, rice and pasta are way cheaper than meat! And whilst you are saving money by not buying meat, you can always spurge for some vegan cheese or other fortified non-dairy milk products that do tend to be slightly more expensive than regular dairy products. Bottom line, consuming plant-based products will put less strain on your wallet than having a meat-centered diet.

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Myth No 6: Vegans are extremists.

If it’s extreme to not eat who I love, then guilty as charged! When some people hear the word vegan, the image of an aggressive animal activists lobbying in a square somewhere comes to mind. People believe that vegans are out ‘to get’ anyone who doesn’t live by their standards.

Fact

The idea that vegans are trying to ‘force’ their way of life on others couldn’t be further from the truth. Promotion of the realities of factory farming is not extreme.

Vegans are essentially animal lovers who are simply promoting love and compassion. They have made the connection between meat and animal and no longer want to consume any. Nobody can force anyone to make this realization.  Educating the public about the implications of their lifestyle habits is a duty. What you do with the truth is up to you.

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Myth No 7: Plants feel pain too.

This is the most ridiculous myth yet. In order to avoid the idea that a vegan diet is more ethical than a carnivorous diet, people tend to come up with different excuses that would justify their eating habits. As if eating an apple and eating a pig could ever have the same impact!

Fact

Plants have no central nervous system, nerve endings or brains! Case closed!

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Myth No 8: Vegans only eat salad.

Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard this one before. For some reason the sound of the words ‘plant-based’ makes people think of raw vegetables and terrible-tasting food.

Fact

Enough with the ‘do you only eat lettuce’ questions! No! A plant cuisine is primarily based on starchy foods like potatoes and whole grains as well as fruit and vegetables. And, no! Not everything is eaten raw! The vegan cuisine is actually very tasty and satisfying and there is absolutely no dish that you can’t make with plant-based ingredients!

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Sources:

  1. http://www.peta.org/living/food/vegan-myths-exposed/
  2. https://www.vegansociety.com/whats-new/blog/13-myths-about-veganism
  3. http://www.forksoverknives.com/
  4. http://www.vegkitchen.com/nutrition/some-common-myths-about-vegan-diets/
  5. http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011134-11-biggest-myths-vegan-diet-debunked/
  6. http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/calcium.php
  7. http://www.theveganwoman.com/is-vegan-food-more-expensive-a-guide-to-eating-vegan-on-a-budget/

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