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15 myths of veganism

The biggest hindrance to people going vegan is the myths that surround the diet. Some myths are understandable concerns. while others are ridiculous and misinformation. If you're reading this, chances are you either are vegan, thinking about going vegan, or curious about the diet. Regardless of your reasoning, I hope this will give you a better understanding of veganism and put any anxiety or worry about going vegan at ease. Please note- before making any dietary changes, check with your doctor to ensure this diet is doable. Without further ado, let's discuss popular myths surrounding veganism in no particular order.


1. Veganism is so unhealthy

If you have ever visited an anti-vegan website, this is one claim you will see them make. Now, there is truth to this if one's diet consists of a lot of processed foods, but how can a diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains be unhealthy? In 2015, the World Health Organization classified red meat as a group one carcinogen. This means it is as harmful as smoking and asbestos. Processed red meat has also been linked to high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. There's also the belief that chicken or other "clean meats" are better and lower in cholesterol, but this is also untrue. Every animal protein has some level of "bad" cholesterol. A vegan diet, being rich in vegetables, is higher in "good" cholesterol. This can lower cholesterol levels very well. Those following a vegan diet are also at lower risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. However, this all depends on how one structures their diet. A diet full of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, is going to be much healthier than one full of processed vegan "junk food". If you are interested in going vegan, doing ample research before making the switch can help you structure your diet correctly so you can reap the health benefits of a vegan diet.


2. Vegans lack proper nutrients and need to take a ton of supplements so it must be a bad diet

Again, going back to the aforementioned topic, it depends on how one's diet is structured. Vegans can get almost every needed mineral and vitamin from plants. The only exceptions to this are vitamin B12 and Vitamin D. Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal products, but there are a variety of products that are fortified with vitamin b12 such as cereals and plant milk. It is still recommended that vegans take a supplement for this vitamin, however, it is not limited to vegans. Many others who consume meat are also taking a vitamin b12 supplement. This also applies to vitamin D. Unless you are in the sun a lot, chances are you too should be taking a vitamin D supplement. The amount of supplements one takes does not equate to the diet being "bad"


3. A Vegan diet is expensive!

On the contrary, a vegan diet is relatively cheap in comparison to a meat-based diet. Let's take a look at the cost of hamburger meat versus kidney beans. If one was looking to feed six adults, three pounds of hamburger would be suitable. The total cost of said hamburger is approximately $15-17. Whereas, three pounds of kidney beans are suitable for up to eighteen people. The total cost of said kidney beans is approximately $5- a saving of approximately $10. If you were to calculate in ingredients to complete dishes, the price would only increase all the more. Eating a healthy vegan diet is rather inexpensive. Common staples for vegan dishes are all within $1-$5. This makes a plant-based diet one of the most inexpensive diets to follow!


4. Vegans don't get enough protein or iron

It isn't uncommon for one to have this type of assumption as the world promotes meat as a sole protein source. With nearly every whole food having some level of protein, it is ultimately impossible to be protein deficient. There is also a false narrative that a protein is not a "complete" protein unless combined with another protein source, however, this has been debunked. Adding different protein sources to your diet can help gut health, but is not necessary to obtain a healthy protein level. On average, a person consuming 2,000 calories should ensure they are getting 50–175 grams of protein per day, which is easy to obtain even on a vegan diet. Iron is very easy for vegans to get as many plants have iron. Though plants contain what is called "heme iron" which absorbs at a slower rate, nonheme iron in meat has been linked to cancer risk. Either way, protein and iron are not an issue with a well-balanced vegan diet.


5. Vegans contribute to more animal deaths during harvest than those who eat meat

To deny this happens would be asinine. Unfortunately, animals get killed during harvest- it is unavoidable. The opportunity to seek safety or run from danger, however, still existed. Livestock raised for human consumption do not have those freedoms. If they even attempt to run from their inevitable death, they are beaten and prodded into submission. They also live their lives in cramped sheds and are forced to walk among their feces. Many perish from the gases the build-up of feces creates. It is also worth noting that a large portion of grain harvested is fed to livestock. So, in that aspect, a meat-based diet kills many more animals than a vegan diet.


6. Vegan food is disgusting

To be fair, any dish that lacks spices is subpar to those with. Plant food is no exception. Seasoned correctly, all vegan dishes can have an exquisite taste...including tofu and tempeh. it is important to add that cooking tofu and tempeh comes with a learning curve. Your ability to cook them gets better with practice. Spices can transform a dish, so, vegan food is not disgusting!


7. Vegan food lacks variety and is extremely restrictive

This can be easily believed because a vegan diet eliminates meat and dairy but is not restrictive. With a plethora of different vegetables and spices, it's nearly impossible to run out of options. Many popular dishes can also be made vegan easily. In comparison to many fad diets, a vegan diet is so much more diverse with an unlimited variety of different dishes that can be created. In all honesty, I feel as though I am eating a larger variety of foods as a vegan than I did on a meat-based diet.


8. A vegan diet is just a fad diet or too hard

Fad diets, like Keto, are great diets for rapid weight loss but may not produce results. The restriction of the foods you eat and caloric intake in these diets can lead to one feeling as though they are starving themselves. This can then lead to one binging on restricted foods on a "cheat day", which then reverses the progress made in weight loss on a fad diet. In contrast to fad diets, a vegan diet puts focus on nutrition rather than certain foods. Using this method can change eating habits and can potentially improve one's relationship with food. Many people who quit a vegan diet stick with the eating habits learned while on a vegan diet. This helps one to stay a consistent weight rather than backsliding from their diet. As far as it being hard goes, I'll be honest I thought it would be too. With so many alternatives to dairy and egg products, it has been incredibly easy to make the switch. It is recommended you research veganism to ensure you have proper nutrition. Otherwise, veganism is not a fad diet, nor hard to stay consistent on.


9. Soy is bad for you

This is a genuine concern among many people. The good news is that the opposite is true. According to The American Cancer Society, soy does not increase the risk of breast cancer, rather it lowers the risk. Soy contains an organic compound called isoflavone which has been shown to block potent natural estrogen which is the cause of breast cancer. Even then, food containing soy does not contain enough to impact cancer risk. It has also been suggested that soy produces "manboobs" in males due to its high estrogen content. A recent study proved this to be a myth when male participants were given a highly concentrated amount of soy and did not show any change in hormone levels. Therefore, soy is not bad for human consumption.


10. The human body was designed to eat meat

Consider other omnivores- they have serrated canine teeth. These aid in their ability to kill and consume their prey. Compared to other omnivores, humanity appears weak. Our canine teeth are dull and incapable of ripping apart flesh unassisted. We are ill-equipped for killing prey let alone ripping apart flesh; We would need instruments to assist us in doing these things. The human jaw can also move in an upward and downward motion as well as sideways. Other omnivore's jaws can only be moved in an upward and downward motion. Our jaw mimics that of a herbivore as opposed to an omnivore. Our digestive tract is also different, as it is much longer than those who consume flesh. A short digestive tract allows meat to be digested quickly while a longer digestive tract is designed more for the breakdown of fiber and nutrient absorption. Thus, it appears our bodies were more designed for a plant-based diet as opposed to a meat-based diet.


11. If we stopped eating meat, farm animals would overpopulate the world

This is a common misunderstanding. Livestock is only bred at a rapid rate now because of supply and demand. As demand for livestock increases, so does the supply. If we refrained from consuming animals, the supply would decrease. Thus, it would not lead to an overpopulation of farm animals...they would not overpopulate the earth.


12. Cows need to be milked otherwise they experience pain

Basic biology tells you a female mammal has to give birth to an offspring to produce milk, and cows are no exception. That being said, this is nothing more than a myth. The issue lies within the dairy industry. Dairy cows are repeatedly impregnated to ensure a continuous flow of milk for human consumption. Baby calves are whisked away immediately after birth. Female calves are then artificially fed until they can reproduce, then they become milk machines just like their mothers. Male calves are immediately sent to slaughter because of their uselessness in the dairy industry. Cows do not experience pain if they are not milked, but they experience emotional pain when their newborn calves are taken away.


13. We need dairy for strong bones

Cow's milk was specifically designed to help a baby cow grow. It does not contain calcium, either. Calcium is the result of bacteria in the cow's diet. Considering a cow's diet is plant-based, we can assume obtaining calcium through a plant-based diet would be possible for us as well. It has also been proven humans do not need milk after childhood. In addition, recent studies have even connected dairy consumption to osteoporosis. How can we claim humans 'need dairy" for calcium f it potentially leads to osteoprosissis? This myth is nothing more than a ploy by the dairy industry to keep the money flowing.


14. All vegans are skinny or weak

This one is honestly just rude. Every body type is different, and there are so many factors when it comes to someone's weight. Their medication, preexisting medical conditions, and genetics all play a role in one's weight. It also will depend on how a vegan structures their diet. Going back to an earlier myth, someone who consumes "vegan junk food" is more likely to struggle with their weight than someone consuming whole foods. One's diet also does not determine their strength. Some of the strongest mammals are herbivores. Even the world's strongest man, Patrik Baboumian, follows a plant-based diet! That being said, this myth is just ridiculous.


15. Plants have feelings

Those following a meat-based diet love throwing this one at vegans. To experience emotions, one would need a brain, to experience pain, one would need a central nervous system. The lack thereof means there is no way for plants to experience pain- they are not sentient beings, unlike animals.


I hope addressing these myths has put any worries you had about going vegan at ease. If you have any other questions, please leave them below and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible. Otherwise, you can shoot me an email at thetinyvegan@aol.com until next time!


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