Myths and Facts about VeganismJun 11, 2019
Veganism has faced quite a lot of attacks since its inception. Many of these are supposedly true comments about it and its effects on the human body. However, as you will see, a majority of these comments aren’t facts; they are myths that need to be set right straight away. Here are some that I have come across in my time as a vegan.
Vegans can’t do without Supplements
Contrary to popular belief, the vegan diet contains all the necessary components of a healthy diet so long as the vegan eats the wide range of fruits, vegetables, pulses, seeds, and fortified foods.
Supplements can also be taken by both vegans and non-vegans, including VEG1. These supplements ensure that the user is getting all the nutrients they need. It must be noted, however, that these supplements are not a necessity.
Both vegans and non-vegans require fortified foods in their diets for them to lead a healthy life. Manufacturers of different foods also add supplements to the foods in order to provide us with the various minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that our bodies need.
The need for supplements has always been there, whether the people in question were on vegan or non-vegan diets. Consider the practice of adding iodine to table salt: before this practice became wide-spread, iodine deficiency was common around the world.
The same thing applies to animals. Cattle are commonly given supplements to provide them with vitamin B12, which is no longer present in the soil.
A Vegan Diet is Unhealthy
Whole foods plant-based diets are, in fact, so healthy that they can often be healthier than a comparable non-vegan diet. Being a vegan is like sticking to any other kind of diet.
You need to be careful about what you’re putting in your body and your body will thank you by taking care of you in return.
There are, however, notable advantages that vegan diets have over their non-vegan counterparts. One of these is that, as a vegan, you are far more likely than a non-vegan to reach your daily recommended portions of fruits and vegetables.
You’ll also generally have lower rates of obesity, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer.
Vegans can also steer clear of many of the additives that somehow find their way into non-vegan foods. These include unhealthy fats and complex sugars. You and I lead a healthier lifestyle simply by virtue of being vegans.
Veganism, contrary to popular belief, is a very healthy lifestyle that can even add a few more years to your life.
Veganism is a Disorder
Veganism has often been called a disorder of sorts, with many linking it to common eating disorders, such as orthorexia and anorexia. This is a common tactic used by news outlets, particularly tabloids, to promote sensationalism over the subject.
It’s important to, first of all, perform a separation of terms here. Orthorexia is a symptom, not a cause. It is a mental health concern that can be deduced from the diets of the afflicted. The diet, therefore, does not cause the disorder; it is merely a symptom. The same applies to anorexia.
Veganism, on the other hand, is a self-consistent philosophy based on the belief that animals should not be tortured for the benefit of humans. Veganism, therefore, seeks to exclude, as practically as possible, all types of cruelty to and exploitation of animals for clothing, food, or any other purpose.
Seen from this perspective, it’s pretty difficult to confuse veganism with any kind of mental disorder. This view is just used by media outlets for its shock value and should be disregarded.
If you are thinking of going vegan but have an eating disorder, you should first seek the services of a professional before undergoing the lifestyle change.
Vegans like to Impose their Beliefs on Everyone
This one is just preposterous. There’s a running joke among meat-eaters that goes a little like this: how do you know if someone is a vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you. In an actual sense, it’s far more likely to be the other way round.
A majority of modern society consists of meat-eaters. No one is going to turn their heads in surprise if you decide to have a bacon sandwich. You won’t hear any questions asked over your choice to have a steak instead of a soybean-based meal.
On the other hand, if I, as a vegan, decline to eat a certain food at a social gathering because my vegan lifestyle does not allow me to, a flurry of questions will follow.
The fact that veganism is non-conventional will lead to defensive behavior where other people will try to understand my decisions. When they can’t the go-to excuse is that I’m trying to force my lifestyle upon them.
To be sure, some vegans can be preachy. However, a majority of us stick to our social networks, talking to like-minded people, and being very humble about our chosen way of life.
Veganism is just a Trend
This is a common belief that is also perpetrated by the media. Veganism is most certainly not a hippie movement. Veganism, if it could be called a church, is a very broad church with members coming from far and wide.
People who profess veganism come from all kinds of backgrounds, styles, and races. To verify this for yourself, just go to a vegan festival, such as those held in the United States of America or the United Kingdom.
You will find them to be melting pots of all kinds of people, ranging from Rastas to punks, to groomed parents to indie kids to fashionable teenagers to goths to bodybuilders.
Veganism is, if nothing else, a unifying movement that brings people together regardless of their backgrounds or beliefs.
Vegans don’t have a Reliable Source of Calcium
There is a common misconception that vegans need milk to get their daily dose of calcium. This is most definitely wrong. On the contrary, a lot of tests have shown that leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, and kale, have better absorbability than milk.
We have a wide range of sources from which they can obtain an adequate amount of calcium. One of these is tofu. Calcium-set tofu is known to be a very rich source of calcium and isn’t hard to find at all.
Another ready source of calcium for vegans is fortified plant milk. Fortified plant milk has just as much calcium as milk, and probably tastes the same, or better, depending on who you ask.
This one is a sneaky one. There are two main arguments used by detractors of veganism to support their claims that vegan diets are not good for children.
One of them is that veganism is simply not healthy for children and won’t fulfill their nutritional needs. The other is that we are being unethical by not feeding meat to children before they have had a choice to have meat.
The first argument can easily be discarded. Various dietetic associations and other authorities, including the British and American dietetic associations, have surmised that a well-planned and executed vegan diet is suitable for human beings of all ages.
Children need many of the same nutrients as us. As for those special ones that they need in particular, a vegan option always exists.
The second argument is an example of a double standard. A child isn’t capable of making any choices, regardless of whatever diet that child is exposed to.
That means that a non-vegan argument can easily be turned on its head. How can forcing meat on a child before it has had the choice to reject it be considered ethical?
Ultimately, a child’s dietary tendencies will be determined by its parents, and good parents will teach the child to be open-minded about everything, including the variety of diets out there, whether they are vegan parents or non-vegan ones.
Veganism is for rich people
This myth falls under pretty much the same category as the one that claims that veganism is a hippy thing. It is a common misconception to see veganism as something practiced by white, middle-class people in the mid-thirties.
The main reason for this is that the media focuses on the stories of white vegans. Vegan advocacy groups are also guilty of the same bias.
People of color, while often neglected in media coverage, are a significant part of the vegan movement. Vegans of color, such as Aph Ko and A. Breeze Harper are ignored for the most part, and yet, according to some studies, there are twice as many vegans of color as there are white vegans in the United States alone. We haven’t even begun to touch upon the vegans in Southern Asia.
Recently, the Vegan Society commissioned a survey to find out how many vegans lived in Britain. 30% of those who identified themselves as vegans also identified as non-white. This is compared to 13% of the UK population identifying as non-white at the time.
Vegan Diets for Animals are Dangerous
This is another claim that has recently been debunked by studies. Vets across the world are now coming to the realization that regular dog food and cat food isn’t very healthy for our pets. Meanwhile, vegan pet food is nutrient-dense and is provided by trusted suppliers.
These vegan pet foods contain everything your pet needs, from synthetic taurine t various types of vitamins and minerals. Of course, you are still advised to keep a close eye on your pet and consult your vet before taking it through a diet change.
However, all other factors held constant, vegan pet food isn’t dangerous for pets in general.
It’s hard to stick to Veganism
This used to be true, and may still be to some extent. Veganism, to some degree, depends on the socio-economic circumstances of the person in question. However, it has become much easier and cheaper today than it used to in the past.
In the UK and US, for example, there is a large variety of vegan-friendly foods in the supermarkets. There are also stores in every corner of every town dedicated to health-foods.
You can also turn to online shopping, where you will find plenty of online vegan-friendly stores for your needs.
There is, admittedly, a lot of work still to be done on the absence of vegan-friendly products in many places. However, it isn’t hard for someone who is determined to find out how to cheaply and conveniently get vegan food, wherever they are.
At the simplest, just check ingredient labels to see if products contain any animal ingredients.
You don’t get full on a Vegan Diet
Many people argue that a vegan diet will not give you the same level of satiety as a meat-based diet. Studies, however, have demonstrated that there is fundamentally no difference between meat-based and vegetable or soy-based products.
One thing that might have a role to play is your body itself. It takes the body a couple of weeks to get accustomed to a change in diet.
That is why, when trying out a vegan diet for the first time, go easy on yourself. Check out my free guide that outlines the basics when going vegan.
Vegan Diets make the Body Weak
This claim simply isn’t true. Many great athletes, including the world champion of French Kickboxing, Germany’s strongest, and at least 2 high profile tennis players are publicly known vegans.
Veganism is a philosophy, not some kind of weakness in the diet. Whatever nutrition you can get from animal-based food, you can get from plant-based diets just as well. Veganism, therefore, does not make you weak in any way, so long as you watch what you eat.
Plants experience Pain just as well as Animals
Plants have no central nervous systems, brains, or nerve endings. There is currently no conclusive evidence to suggest that plants feel pain.
In fact, if you want to minimize cruelty to plants, it even more sense to be vegan than it does to be non-vegan. The vast majority of legumes and grains farmed today are fed to cattle being reared for their meat.
It takes as many as 16 pounds of vegetation to produce just one pound of beef. All that vegetation could feed the humans of the world many times over.
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