There are a lot of myths out there about plant-based diets and going vegan. Today I thought I’d share some information and my responses to some of the more common myths.
Myth #1: It’s expensive to be vegan.
This is a very common myth when it comes to switching to a plant-based diet. And I understand that this is a legitimate concern. But, actually, a lot of the cheapest foods at the grocery store are vegan. Pasta, rice, potatoes, carrots, beans, and more are all vegan and are probably the most affordable and nutritious items at the grocery store. Also, many of the vegan meats that are available are actually cheaper than real meat. They taste just like the real thing — but with no cruelty and no cholesterol. So many people don’t realize that if you’re eating a balanced diet, then probably a lot of what you’re already eating is vegan. For the foods that aren’t vegan, there are plenty of affordable, vegan alternatives (with more becoming available all the time). We can all eat healthy and delicious vegan foods at an affordable price.
Myth #2: Vegans are protein-deficient.
This is not true at all. Most people, actually, get too much protein. The recommended daily intake of protein is approximately 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight (0.8 grams per kilogram), or more for athletes. If someone is eating enough healthy calories in a day, then the likelihood of them being protein deficient is quite low. Eating a variety of plant-based foods (like vegetables, grains, beans, etc.) can easily provide us with all 9 essential amino acids (which we need to get through diet). In fact, eating plant protein rather than animal protein has all kinds of health benefits.
Myth #3: You can only get B12 from eating animals.
This is probably one of the most common myths about going vegan. What a lot of people don’t realize is that any vitamin B12 meat eaters do get from animals is filtered. Vitamin B12 doesn’t naturally come from plants or animals. Vitamin B12 is actually made by bacteria. It used to be commonly found in plant foods from the ground, but because of the way we cleanse and sanitize foods today, it’s a bit harder to get it from plants alone. To make sure that we’re getting this necessary vitamin, many vegans either take a supplement or buy B12 fortified vegan foods (which are actually quite common). Even animals raised for food don’t generally get their B12 naturally; they get supplemented with it. It’s very easy to get enough vitamin B12 without eating animals.
Myth #4: Vegan foods are boring.
I beg to differ! I’ve always loved eating and I’ve always loved food. I never would have imagined that I would go vegan. But here I am…vegan and loving it! Actually, now it’s easier than ever to go vegan. There are vegan alternatives to almost every animal product that taste just as good, but with no cruelty or negative health effects. Vegan foods are anything but boring!
Myth #5: You need dairy to get calcium.
We absolutely don’t need to be consuming cow’s milk to get the right amount of calcium for our bodies. There are plenty of other sources of calcium, such as broccoli, cabbage, nuts, tofu, soybeans, plant-based milks (like almond, soy, cashew, coconut, etc.), and a lot more. In fact, by consuming dairy — rather than plant-based sources of calcium — we’re not just getting calcium…we’re putting ourselves at risk of other diseases (studies have shown that dairy has been linked to cancers, heart disease, and diabetes). With so many calcium-rich vegan alternatives, why potentially put ourselves at risk of diseases? It’s crazy how it’s been so ingrained in most of us that we need to be consuming dairy to be healthy — when studies have shown the opposite. If you think about it, we really don’t need cow’s milk any more than we need dog’s milk, cat’s milk, rat’s milk, human’s milk (as an adult), or giraffe’s milk. Cow’s milk is for baby cows.
Myth #6: I only buy humane meat.
There is no such thing. The majority of animals raised for food are not treated humanely at all. They’re raised on factory farms and live in horrendous conditions. But even if animals raised for food are raised humanely and kindly, most still go to the same slaughterhouse to die. There is nothing humane about taking the life of an animal who doesn’t want to die. Animals feel fear, pain, sadness, terror…everything we feel. The only humane meat is plant-based meat — which is just as delicious and it’s much more healthy.
Myth #7: A vegan diet is not safe for kids.
Actually, a vegan diet can be very healthy for kids. I find it kind of funny that we live in a world where if someone feeds their children fast food several times a week, most wouldn’t be too concerned (or at least wouldn’t voice their opinion). But if someone decides to raise their children vegan, people start wondering about nutrient deficiencies and their health. Any diet can be dangerous and unhealthy if it’s not nutritionally balanced — even if you eat meat, drink milk, etc. In fact, in the U.S., a high percentage of children under the age of 10 actually are already found to have fatty streaks in their arteries. Eating a vegan diet can significantly reduce the risks of cardiovascular health problems in children and adults.
Myth #8: Eating meat is part of the food chain.
It’s not the food chain if you’re going to the grocery store to buy a packaged slice of flesh — which is what, I would say, the majority of meat eaters do. Natural meat eaters (like lions) hunt their prey. They do it for survival. The same can’t be said for the way we breed and raise animals for food. But even if someone decided to hunt animals for food, what right do they have to do that? The odds of them actually doing it for survival are very low. The majority of the meat-eating population eats meat for taste and because society continues to give us a false notion that we need to eat meat for survival — and we absolutely don’t.
Myth #9: Plants feel pain too.
This is a bit of a ridiculous myth…but I had to include it because I still hear this all the time. Are plants considered intelligent? Yes, there have been numerous studies to show that they can respond to stimuli. But, the difference between animals and plants is that plants don’t have a central nervous system. Plants responding to stimuli from the sun and an animal getting stunned in the head by a bolt gun is not the same. Animals feel fear and pain, and are aware of their existence. They don’t want to die…and most openly express that.
Myth #10: It won’t make a difference if I go vegan.
It absolutely does make a difference! It may not feel like it on an individual level, but on a group level, choosing plant-based alternatives makes a huge difference. It’s all supply and demand…if we continue to buy cruel products, then they’ll continue to be supplied. If we spend our money on cruelty-free, plant-based products, more will become available. The best form of activism that each of us can do and the best way to make our voices heard is where we spend our money.
Every second of every day, more than 2,000 land animals are killed for food…plus trillions of fish a year. This is wrong — especially when we live in a day and age where, for the most part, it’s so easy and affordable to make vegan choices. I really hope this post was a bit helpful to those of you who may be contemplating going vegan. The best decision I ever made was to go vegan on April 6, 2018!