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If you haven’t noticed, veganism or plant based diets, are growing in popularity thanks to some eye opening documentaries available on streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon. But, don’t let that fool you; some people still believe some of the most misconstrued myths out there about veganism!
It may not always be easy to be vegan when surrounded by those who don’t understand it, or care about health and nutrition. But, the health benefits, environmental, and money saving benefits all outweigh the criticism you may receive!
Let’s take a look at some common myths that many still believe about vegan diets.
1. Vegans don’t get enough protein.
As adult humans, we only need between 40 and 60 grams of protein a day.₍₁₎ Many of us consume way too much protein on a daily basis.
Think of this; a glass of milk, whether cow’s milk or soy milk, contains 8 grams of protein. If you have 3 glasses of milk a day; that’s half the amount of protein you need in a single day. Then add in the whole grains, beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, and vegetables (all of which contain protein) that are in a regular vegan diet. There is no way that a vegan can’t get enough protein.
If anything, people who consume meat and dairy on a regular basis should be worried about their own health and protein consumption, rather than that of vegans.
Did you know that too much protein, specifically from animal protein, can lead to heart disease, type two diabetes, kidney and liver disorders, cancer, and more!?₍₂₎ And, ironically enough, too much protein, such as drinking those three glasses of cow’s milk a day, leads to decrease retention of calcium in the body!
2. It’s expensive to eat vegan all the time.
Think again! More like it’s expensive to eat meat and dairy products all the time (especially depending on where you live). If you’re thinking of the meat alternatives for vegans, like frozen processed foods, or non dairy ‘cheese’, then maybe it’s a little more expensive.
But, how many vegans really eat all of those processed foods all the time. Basic ‘vegan’ foods are relatively cheap!
How much do you honestly think it costs to eat when, besides fruits and veggies, most of your calories comes from rice, beans, and whole grains like oatmeal and quinoa. All of these can be bought in bulk, as well, to reduce costs even further.
Even fruits and vegetables can be bought in bulk when frozen.
Test it out for yourself, if you want! Or, do a little math.
You can get a 5lb bag of brown rice at Walmart for $3.32. This comes with 50 servings of rice in it. That’s less than seven cents per serving. Add in some pinto beans($2.07/2lbs) and mixed veggies (frozen-$5.98/5 lbs) and you come to less than $0.40 for one meal. You can’t beat that with a meal based on meat. (The meal mentioned above also contains 11 grams of fiber and 16 grams of protein!)
3. Vegans lack vitamins and minerals, like iron.
On the contrary, vegans actually consume more vitamins and minerals than non-vegans, especially vegans who eat a more plant based diet, rather than processed foods. Most people who believe these myths will most likely be the people on a SAD (Standard American Diet), and be in more danger of lacking vitamins and minerals, themselves!
And, thank you for thinking that vegans lack nutrients. Because of this, many vegans do more research into their nutrition to make sure they aren’t nutrient deficient!
There are plenty of nutrients available in plant foods. For the concern with iron, vegans have many options to get enough, such as; lentils, tofu, brown rice, oatmeal, tomato sauce, collard greens, and much more!
One nutrient that some vegans may have to be concerned with is vitamin B12. Luckily, many non dairy milks are fortified with this nutrient, so it’s not too much of a concern. There’s also this wonderful food called nutritional yeast. It contains 130% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin B12 in just 1 ½ tablespoons. This can be sprinkled on top popcorn in place of butter, added to a vegan macaroni and ‘cheese’, or added to just about any other dish!
4. Vegans get sick easier.
Only the ones who deprive themselves of nutrients by eating mainly processed foods. And, only at the same rate as anyone who isn’t vegan, doing the same. The key to preventing illness isn’t simply in the way we eat, but also in the way we live.
In a study done by the National Institutes of Health₍₃₎, having a vegan diet can actually be healthier than a non-vegan diet. It correlates to less chronic disease, less obesity, and a longer life expectancy! And, who wouldn’t want that?!
So, if staying healthy is your reason for criticizing vegans; take a long, hard look in the mirror before pointing your finger!
5. There’s nothing to eat on a vegan diet.
There is plenty to eat on a vegan diet! Any type of fruit, vegetable, grain, bean, legume, nut, or seed you can think of, and even some you can’t think of! And, there’s just as many ways to combine the foods together to make a meal, as there is in a non-vegan diet.
For almost every meal that isn’t vegan, there’s a way to make a vegan alternative. Want ice cream; there’s banana ice cream. Don’t feel like making your own, the brand So Delicious has you covered with cashew ice cream! (And, it’s really sooo delicious!!)
Also, a lot of ‘regular’ food is vegan, like oreos, sugary juices, and pasta. Sure, there might not be as many artery clogging foods you can consume on a vegan diet. But, there is certainly plenty of options, if that’s what you choose.
I’d highly recommend heading more towards a whole food plant based diet, though!
6. You can’t eat out if you’re vegan.
Many restaurants have vegan options on the menu, and I’m not talking about the fries. Olive Garden has their pasta with marinara sauce, Subway has their veggie delite sub, Taco Bell and Moe’s have their vegan options, as well. You could even order a veggie vegan pizza from Dominoes (click here to find out how). Plus, many restaurants have salad bars and Starbucks has some coffees that are actually vegan!
So at first, it may look like vegans can’t eat out, but in reality, we can! It may just take a little more effort and a peek at the nutrition labels that are posted online. There’s even an app for help finding vegan friendly restaurants, such as happycow.
7. It’s hard to be vegan.
Really, it’s no harder than eating the standard American diet. In fact, it’s easier because vegans don’t have the likelihood of developing as many chronic diseases. At first, it may be slightly difficult, but that’s just because of the addictive ingredients in dairy products and processed foods that keep you going back to them. And, being asked silly questions about veganism makes it slightly more difficult, as well. Other than that, it’s pretty simple!
Honestly, it’s so simple a child can be vegan. Plus, if you feel lost and alone, there’s plenty of online communities for support, recipes, and meal plans. A few months ago joined this Facebook Group for more ideas and inspiration, it’s quite active!
The hardest part is really just being criticized by non-vegans who don’t understand the link between nutrition and health.
8. Vegan food is gross.
Okay, if you say so! But, when did fruit salad and cupcakes become gross? Yes, cupcakes can be vegan; try out my recipe, the frosting is soo good, too, it tastes store bought, but it’s not!! Along with many other baked goods. (Like my blueberry muffins and chocolate chip cookies!)
There’s quite a few companies dedicated to making delicious vegan chocolate, too. Some may even be better than ‘regular’ chocolate, like Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Mmmm…those are so good. If you’re willing to make your own candy bars at home, there’s vegan friendly recipes for almost every kind; check out these delicious desserts on pinterest! And, don’t forget to follow me to keep getting fresh ideas!!
There are so many ‘regular’ food that is also vegan; which means you probably eat quite a bit of ‘vegan’ food without even realizing it! Such as fruits, vegetables, peanut butter, certain breads, tortillas, and quite a few other foods! Check what you’re eating before deciding that ‘vegan’ food is gross. More than likely, you eat ‘vegan’ food on a regular basis!
If you really think vegan food is gross; I dare you to sign up for this FREE recipe ebook with 15 picky eater vegan recipes in it, just to try a few out yourself.
9. People who are on a vegan diet are weak.
If you call bodybuilders, pro wrestlers, and football players weak, then sure vegans are weak₍₄₎!! Even Patrick Baboumian, a strongman competitor, is vegan₍₅₎. It’s pretty hard to say that pro athletes are weak, or someone competing with the strongest men in the world!
If someone is weak, it’s not because they are vegan. More likely it’s because they aren’t eating enough in general or not getting enough exercise. Many athletes who go vegan thrive, or perform better, after switching to a vegan diet!
Along with recovering faster from training, without the expensive protein supplements and powders₍₆₎.
10. It’s not safe for children to be vegan.
As long as the parent of the child knows about nutritional needs of children and knows how to put together a proper meal or meal plan for their child; there’s no reason a child shouldn’t be vegan! The more plant based a child’s diet is; the better! Plant foods provide more vitamins and minerals than the standard American diet does, by far!
If a parent wants to have their child on a vegan diet and doesn’t know a thing about nutrition, or doesn’t have access to the internet; there’s always the option of seeing a registered dietitian, or nutritionist, for assistance. The most important thing for a child when on a vegan diet is to have their meals properly planned to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need₍₇₎. Honestly, all children should have their meals planned to ensure proper nutrient consumption.
Unfortunately, in this country, that doesn’t always happen.
No Reason to not be Vegan
See, these are all myths that people tell you to scare you away from going vegan. Maybe they honestly believe them, or maybe they’re stuck in their ways and a vegan diet if different; therefore ‘bad’. But, there are so many benefits to eating a whole food plant based, vegan diet; don’t let those who don’t understand nutrition or how their health really works, scare you away from eating better.
When I was 7 I became a vegetarian, people thought that was strange, so I can’t even imagine what they would’ve thought if I became a vegan back then. Our society believes what they’re told about food and follow the mainstream. But, the mainstream diet is SAD! Literally, it is the Standard American Diet (SAD). And, I honestly love that acronym; it’s so true. Because what most Americans eat is sad, generally processed food and foods that come from poorly treated animals. It is truly SAD!!
So, do yourself a favor, and the rest of this world; be a little different, and don’t believe the myths you’ve heard!!
If you’re having difficulties going vegan check out my 10 tips for going vegan. Or, leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to reply!!