There are plenty of vegan myths when it comes to veganism. Whether you are thinking about going vegan or have been vegan for years, you have likely heard plenty of vegan myths about the dangers of veganism. From being told that vegans have extremely low protein levels, must avoid cancer-causing tofu, and the need to be rich to eat plant-based, vegans have heard it all. At Vegan Grit, we are here to debunk the most common and outlandish vegan myths while shedding light on the benefits of veganism.
Undoubtedly the biggest of vegan myths is that vegans do not get enough protein. The truth is that protein comes from sources other than meat. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains have plenty of natural protein. For example, a cup of black beans has 16 grams of protein and is an easy protein addition to most meals.
The recommended daily protein intake is 42 grams for a woman and 56 grams for a man, but Americans eat about double of what they need. Let’s compare 100 calories of broccoli and lean steak. The broccoli offers 11 grams of protein while the stake has just 6 grams. Meat eaters need to eat more cholesterol heavy and artery-clogging stake to get the same amount of protein intake as vegans who eat whole foods.
The second biggest amongst vegan myths is that vegans can’t get calcium on their dairy-free diet. Thanks to the marketing efforts of the dairy industry and countless “Got Milk?” ads, some people think that calcium only comes from dairy. While calcium is needed for our bone, teeth, and heart health, milk from cows is filled with saturated fat, cholesterol, and hormones.
Vegetables like kale, collard greens, and broccoli provide tons of calcium that keep vegans going strong. Many plant-based kinds of milk also offer more calcium than their dairy-based counterparts. By eating right, vegans never have to worry about being low on calcium.
There is a big anti-soy movement that falsely links soy to cancer. Some people leave soymilk, soybeans, and tofu out of their diets in fear that it will raise estrone levels in men or cause cancer. Soya does contain phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens in the human body are relatively weak and can actually bring benefits, such as a lowered risk of cancer, by 'blocking' actual estrogen. Soy can actually help protect against certain diseases and cancers. Soy is a powerhouse that is high in protein, antioxidants, and fiber that vegans can’t get enough of.
By not eating meat, certain people think that vegans are always hungry. Vegan food is lower in calorie density, so it takes longer to eat 200 calories of leafy greens than it does chicken. However, plant-based foods have plenty of fiber that keeps you feeling fuller longer. In contrast, meat and dairy have no fiber, leaving omnivores hungry for more.
Whether a child was raised vegan from birth or transitioned with their family at a young age, naysayers do not take kindly to the idea of raising a kid vegan. One reason people do not like the vegan lifestyle for children is that they believe kids will lack the nutrients to grow up healthy. However, with a little bit of research and an open mind, countless studies show the long-lasting health benefits of veganism for all ages. Kids raised on vegan diets, on average, grow up healthier and live longer lives.
The second reason why people oppose veganism for children is that they do not like that the parents made the choice for their child. But omnivore parents also decided that their children must eat meat. Anyone with a young kid knows how opinionated they can be. There are heartbreaking videos of kids who found where their meat comes from and cry telling their parents that they will not eat it anymore. By raising kids’ vegan, they can start their life compassionately and decide for themselves if they want to continue eating plant-based.
Unless you are talking about vegans who only live off junk food, vegans can be as hardy as they come. Some of the world’s greatest athletes are vegan, like these all-stars:
You can’t call a vegan who can lift 831 pounds or run 165.7 miles in one day weak! Dietitian Alison Ozgur explained that “Plant-based foods can speed up muscle recovery time and decrease inflammation due to their high amount of antioxidants and phytonutrients.” With a vegan diet rooted in whole foods, you have the foundation to become your own world-class athlete.
With the popularity of veganism, more restaurants have realized that they do not want to lose out on the plant-based customer base. While plenty of diners can be trusted to have a veggie burger and fries, eateries have become more accommodating with additional vegan options. Also, plenty of waiters are happy to help modify an order to make it vegan friendly.
There is also the unmistakable joy of finding a new vegan option at your local restaurant or, even better, seeing a new vegan restaurant open shop. Fast-food chains like Burger King are now selling the Impossible Whopper, KFC has Beyond Fried Chicken, and White Castle has the Impossible Slider (and is testing vegan cheese). Ordering vegan from non-vegan restaurants is important because it shows them that there is a demand for vegan options and they may add more to the menu.
Today it is easier than ever to be vegan. There is no need to make a pilgrimage out to a vegan store in the middle of nowhere just to get some cashew cheese. There are tons of vegan options at grocery stores, vegan-friendly restaurants, cookbooks, and endless vegan recipe blogs to explore.
Plus, you can eat vegan versions of all the best foods like pizza, burgers, quesadillas, tacos, cakes, and so much more. Your favorite snacks may already be accidentally vegan like Fritos, Oreos, Classic Lay’s, Sour Patch Kids, and Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos.
The last of our vegan myths we will debunk is that veganism is expensive. Eating out at upscale vegan restaurants, adding vegan cheese to every meal, and frequenting vegan bakeries can add up. However, meat is more expensive than buying plant-based protein sources at the supermarket. Vegans can also save big by stocking up on staples like rice, beans, oats, and pasta.
Since the vegan diet is incredibly healthy, vegans will be able to avoid preventable diseases, saving them serious money in the long run. The WHO has classified meat as a Group 1 carcinogen right beside substances like tobacco. Through eating well, vegans can enjoy reduced blood pressure, a lower risk of heart disease, and protection against certain cancers that their body and bank account will thank them for.
Do you have any vegan myths that need debunking? Let us know so we can help dispel vegan falsehoods and help everyone learn more about the perks of veganism.