As veganism is growing in popularity, there are some lingering misconceptions about the lifestyle itself as well as the people following it. But what is the truth behind these myths?
Myth: You’ll be missing on nutrients on a vegan diet
Truth: You can get everything your body needs on a vegan diet; there is no nutritional need to eat animal products. Vegans actually tend to eat much more fruit and vegetables than the rest of the population which has amazing health benefits. The British Dietetic Association, an independent UK authority on nutrition, states that a vegan diet is suitable at any age or life stage, including infancy, childhood and pregnancy.
Eating a balanced vegan diet helps to limit saturated fat and get plenty of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Research shows vegans have lower blood pressure, lower chances of getting heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. This is partly because animal products, unlike vegan food, contain a significant amount of cholesterol.
Myth: You will be missing and craving animal foods
Truth: Going vegan does not mean giving up your favourite dishes – it’s very easy to veganise dishes by replacing non-vegan ingredients with their plant based counterparts. You can simply add the word ‘vegan’ next to your favourite dish when googling a recipe and you will find hundreds of options.
Most vegans choose the lifestyle for ethical reasons and still want to enjoy the same foods, hence we have seen a rise in outlets selling vegan junk food. Whether it’s seitan burgers, soya protein kebab or cheesy nachos, vegans can indulge in junk food just like everyone else. It’s not the case of eliminating foods from your diet; it’s the case of replacing them with kinder alternatives.
Myth: You have to be a certain person to be vegan (stereotyping)
Truth: The image of veganism is undergoing the most radical change in its history, while shedding some tired, old stereotypes. People now closely associate it with health, fitness and wellbeing.
There are vegan teachers and athletes, firefighters and students, children and elders, pole dancers and full-time parents, businessmen and businesswomen – everyone is going vegan for ethical, environmental and health benefits.
You can walk into any supermarket and be greeted by a huge range of plant-based products or walk into any restaurant and be presented with an exciting vegan menu. There has never been a better time to be vegan.
Myth: Eating a vegan diet doesn’t help the environment that much
Truth: A 2018 Oxford University study – the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage animal farming does to the planet - found that a vegan diet is the single most effective way to reduce our carbon footprint. Even the researcher himself went vegan as he could not find a sustainable way of farming animals.
Farming animals wastes a lot of food, water and land, because farmed animals eat much more food than they ‘produce’. Eating meat, dairy and eggs is an incredibly inefficient way of getting calories, as we receive only 40 calories for every 100 calories we feed to farmed animals.
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