9 Myths about Being Vegan, Debunked
If you're vegan or have just turned into one, you've probably faced all sorts of questions, speculations, stereotypes, and assumptions about this lifestyle. Are you not hungry all the time? Don't you feel weak? Do you eat just salads every day? Let's debunk these and other myths about veganism now!
Myth #1: Pregnant women shouldn't be vegan
Many vegans wonder whether or not they should continue their vegan diet upon learning that they are pregnant because they believe that it may not be good for the baby's health. The truth is that all pregnant women, regardless of whether they decide to follow a vegan or omnivorous or vegetarian diet, should pay more attention to what they eat during pregnancy in order to obtain adequate nutrition to promote proper child development during pregnancy.
A study shows that the vegan diet, if it is well planned and balanced, is considered safe for the formation of the fetus or lactation. Plus, a systematic review of nine studies of pregnant vegans and vegetarians found that they came to the same conclusion.
Myth #2: Kids can't grew up healthy without eating meat.
For many parents, the idea of raising their children only with veggies, cereals, pulses, fruits, and nuts is difficult to digest. On the one hand, there is a stereotype, strongly massified by marketing and advertising, that red meat and milk help children grow and give them strength. On the other hand, some children, when used to junk food, could be reluctant to eat vegetables and could prefer to abuse hot dogs, nuggets, and others.
However, as more and more people go vegan, it's only natural their children will follow. The British Dietetic Association says that it is possible to follow a plant-based diet that supports healthy living in people of all ages. It can be nutritionally complete, as long as careful planning is done, including protein, carbohydrates, and enough fat to ensure that children receive adequate calories to grow. In addition, vegan diets present one opportunity for families to teach children about nutrition and healthy eating principles from an early age; they can be nutritionally complete and even offer health benefits.
Myth #3: Vegan diets do not provide enough strength
There is a common misconception that meat is the only way to get protein. However, tofu, tempeh, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains have proteins, too! In fact, from soccer strikers and Olympic weightlifters to martial artists and famous tennis players, elite-level athletes are switching to a vegan diet because it improves sports performance.
"It definitely changed my whole life. It changed the pace that I live at. It changed everything (...) There's something about when you're eating healthy food; it makes you feel proud, and it makes you feel like you're doing the right thing. When you eat unhealthily, there's a certain guilt about it... you just know it's going to catch up. So, I love that feeling of when I'm eating healthy," Venus Williams said in a 2017 interview for Health magazine.
Myth #4: Vegan always eat the same, just salads and “rabbit food”
Eating plant-based does not simply mean eating salads, but on the contrary, when you become vegan, a range of culinary possibilities opens up in front of your eyes. A vegan can eat a wide variety of plant foods, spices, flavors, and colors, with recipes coming from all corners of the world, like vegan sushi, Indonesian tempeh, and Middle Eastern hummus.
Being vegan is not restrictive at all! Giving up animal products and derivatives means you have to figure out how to cook healthier and richer.
Myth #5: Being vegan is a food fad
Many people believe that being vegan is a fad and that vegans just want to look "cool," but in recent years, the number of restaurants, magazines, and websites about veganism has grown. People are becoming more and more aware of the impact of their diets on them and the world.
Most of these people are not born vegan but choose this lifestyle. They become vegan for various reasons, especially to take care of the environment and animals and to improve their health since animal products have long been linked to diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer, to name only a few.
Myth #6: Humans can only consume protein and calcium from animal products
Animal proteins come indirectly from vegetables since animals are raised essentially eating grains or grass. So instead of eating animals to get those proteins, you can get them directly from plant-based sources like soy, lentils, beans, chickpeas, and peas. The same applies to nutrients such as calcium and iron.
In addition, milk is not as good as everybody thinks it is. A study concluded that the more milk men consumed as teenagers, the more bone fractures they experienced as adults. Another study showed that the consumption of dairy products was linked to prostate and breast cancer and susceptibility to diabetes and could shorten the life span through increased oxidative stress.
Regarding the calcium provided by food, a series of studies from the Cornell-China-Oxford Project on Nutrition, Health and Environment (known as the China Study) linked low bone density and osteoporosis to high-meat diets. Conversely, vegans can get non-dairy sources of calcium, such as legumes, dark green vegetables like broccoli or kale, and fortified soy milk and juice. Most soy-based beverages contain 120 mg of calcium per 100 ml—about the same as cow's milk, just to give an example.
Myth #7: Eating vegan is expensive
Eating vegan does not mean buying processed fake meat or "gourmet" hand-crafted cheese substitutes at the grocery store. If we follow this pattern, going vegan can be expensive.
However, on the contrary, if we consciously plan our diet, we can save money compared to an omnivorous diet, as vegetables and grains are much cheaper than meat and dairy products. You can buy seasonal fruits and vegetables at your local street market, freeze leftovers for use in soups and smoothies, buy bulk foods (especially dry ones like rice, almonds, and grains), and cook from scratch instead of buying processed foods or ordering delivery. Moreover, this is what makes a vegan diet healthier!
Myth #8: Vegans usually suffer from some kind of deficiency IAnyone under any type of diet can suffer deficiencies. It is not that, just by being vegan, a person suffers directly from nutritional deficiencies.
It is known that B12 deficiency is prevalent among people who eat animal products, and it can happen with vegans as well when they do not supplement. That's why it is highly recommended for people with a low level of B12 to take supplements.
On the other hand, one study from Oxford shows that vegans have higher levels of B9 vitamin in their organs than people who eat animal products, for example,It is generally argued that vegans do not get enough protein, but the truth is that an excess of protein, iron, and calcium from animal products is the main contributor to bone loss, kidney stones, and kidney failure. On the other hand, vegans tend to eat more fiber, which is incredibly important for reducing blood sugar levels, preventing chronic diseases, reducing the risk of colorectal cancer, and even lowering cholesterol.
Myth #9: You'll be hungry and tired all the time
While vegetables and grains may often not seem satisfactory to people who eat animal products, scientific data shows that starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, squash, parsnips, lentils, corn, yam, and beans, increase satiety, are associated with better gut health, reduce hunger, and keep energy levels stable throughout the day. Conversely, if a balanced diet is not followed, vitamin B12 and iron deficiency can lead to fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and anemia.
If you sometimes do not know how to answer certain questions, here, we offer you all possible and verified answers. Furthermore, following a whole plant-based diet represents one of the most effective ways to change the world and support a fairer and more sustainable food system that does not harm animals or the environment. Consider ditching meat, dairy, and eggs. Click here to know how.