3 Myths About Vegan Eating
Debunking the Myths About Being Vegan
If you’ve ever experimented with a plant-based or vegan diet, you’ve probably heard all the typical vegan remarks already. Friends and family have probably asked you if you’re getting enough protein, or if you’re only trying the diet to lose weight. The vegan stereotype is not particularly flattering, and, more importantly, it’s not very accurate. Listed here are five common myths about vegan eating, and some evidence you can use to counter them the next time the subject comes up at a family reunion.
Myth #1: You can’t get enough protein with a vegan diet.
While meat and dairy can offer dense sources of protein, it’s completely possible to eat enough protein in a plant-based diet. In fact, most Americans consume twice as much protein as they need for a healthy diet, even in a plant-only diet. Another common misconception is that animal protein is more effective or healthier than plant proteins. Recent studies have shown that they contain very similar nutrients, and one is not a more effective protein than another.
There are plenty of grains and legumes that are full of healthy protein, and as long as your diet contains some of these—chickpeas, lentils, tofu, quinoa, and beans, among others—you can have a protein-packed vegan diet. Far from not having enough protein, it’s even possible to be a vegan bodybuilder. There are a number of successful vegan bodybuilders who serve as an example that a well balanced vegan diet can be protein-packed and completely healthy. Which leads us to our next myth....
Myth #2: Vegan diets are unhealthy.
Any diet can be unhealthy, and vegan diets are no exception. It takes care and planning with any diet to make sure that you are eating healthfully and getting the nutrients you need. In some cases, a vegan diet takes even more care and planning than other diets. That said, if properly balanced, a plant-based diet can have several advantages over one with animal products.
First, you’re much more likely to get your daily recommended dose of vegetables and fruits. Vegans and vegetarians generally experience lower levels of obesity than their meat-eating counterparts. Obesity is often a cause of other chronic diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. As a result of their lower rates of obesity, vegans and vegetarians are at lower risk for several chronic diseases. Plant-based diets also result in lower rates of cancer, including leukemia and colon and lung cancer. The fiber and antioxidants in plant-based diets have been shown to have a particularly strong positive effect in preventing cancer.
Myth #3: Vegan diets are for hippies.
When the average person thinks of a vegan, they often summon up a caricature of an idealistic, over the top hippie. Just like all the other myths in this article, this conception is untrue and easily debunked. Well-known vegans include actors and actresses Woody Harrelson, Ellen Page, celebrity icon Ellen Degeneres, and rockstar Joan Jett.
Veganism is also linked with several ancient religions, including Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. It’s impossible to paint so many people with such a broad, stereotypical brush. Vegans come from all walks of life and a huge range of backgrounds. If you are vegan, or considering veganism, because you want to support animal rights or for other environmental reasons, don’t let someone’s stereotype of a vegan stop you. Studies have shown that eating meat and animal products contributes to air and water pollution. On top of that, meat consumption levels around the world are rising every year, meaning the problem will continue to grow.
While you may be just one person among billions, your eating habits can make a difference. You can vote with your wallet, as the popular saying goes, and beyond that your lifestyle choices can inspire and educate others. If you feel strongly about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle, don’t let anyone else’s stereotypes stop you from doing what you feel is right.