Oh, I do love to rant about the delusions that are often connected to the vegan lifestyle. My plant-based diet saved my life, but nothing crushes me more than to hear someone tell me why veganism is ‘bad‘, or ‘disordered‘, or ‘unhealthy‘. The truth is, their arguments are completely not founded in reality. I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 vegan myths that I hear on an almost daily basis and have gathered research to back them up.
Here are the top 5 vegan myths exposed!
Myth 1 – We Are Protein & Or Iron Deficient
First of all, Brit’s and Americans get way more protein than we even need, which can lead to a whole host of health problems. The majority of people think that eating extra protein builds muscle, but science reveals that this is intact, false. The average male needs around 56 grams of protein per days and the average female around 46 grams. Thats just a cup of firm tofu, so this alone shows how easy it is to consume enough protein. (source) Plant based protein rich foods include: dark leafy greens, nuts, beans, tofu, tempeh, lentils, whole-grains, brown rice and quinoa.
As far as iron deficiency goes, eating a plant-based vegan diet is no different when it comes to maintaining our iron levels than it is when eating a vegetarian diet. Plant-based eating will easily keep your iron levels in topped up as long as your consuming a variety of iron rich foods such as lentils, soybeans, tofu, tempeh, lima beans, quinoa, fortified cereals, oatmeal, pumpkin, squash, pine nuts pistachio nuts, cashew nuts, sesame seeds (unhulled), swiss chard, collard greens, molasses, and prunes to name just a few.
Myth 2 – We’re Only Concerned About Animal Welfare, Not Human Welfare
I actually Lough Out Loud when I hear this one. Yes, we take pride in the fact that we care for the welfare of our animals, but we love humans equally. Personally, my primary choice for veganism was healing, but part of this lifestyle is also largely a part of standing up for animal rights and attempting to save the planet for future generations. Humans and animals alike, we are all part of the same ecosystem and we need each other to survive. I also think people forget that animals, like humans have emotions and feelings too. Carol J. Adams, a writer for the Washington Post explains this topic well.
In the book “The Fast Food Nation“, Eric Schlosser points out that “Veganism is a social-justice movement that includes concern for animals but these issues affect humans too. The food choices vegans make address the environmental costs of meat and dairy production and the public health crisis like obesity and heart disease”. Did you know that eating vegan for only one day per week lowers your carbon footprint more than eating locally sourced food seven days of the week? Yup!
Myth 3 – If People Didn’t Eat Animals, They Would Take Over The Planet
This is a complex issue, so I’ll try and keep this one short. In reality, a typical cow would only have one calf, but factory farmed dairy cows usually have 7 or more calves before they’re sent to be slaughtered. The reason there are so many factory farmed animals is simply because humans are making them selfishly over-produce for the sake of the sale and production of meat and dairy. Naturally, cattle would not produce this many babies without pharmaceutical manipulation. This not only impacts the health of the animals, but the environment. Why? Because a typical grain fed cow produces 8x more methane than a grass fed cow. Grain fed cattle estimates for 98% of beef in our supermarkets. Add that to a cow that is making 7 plus babies and thats a whopping amount of extra methane being let loose in nature in high quantities. Yes, we are all breathing this nasty stuff in, every single day! In fact, this contributes to more green house gases than all the cars on the entire earth produce together.
Myth 4 – Humans Were Meant To Consume Meant, Why Else Would We Have Canine Teeth?
There are such people that argue that since we have “canine” teeth, we were therefore “born to be carnivores“. Though have you ever tried to tear the flesh of another animal? I’m guessing it wasn’t so easy. Animals that have real canine teeth also have sharp claws and were born to kill other species for their survival. This wasn’t what nature originally taught us to do, and we also weren’t born to eat raw meat, either (did I hear you say, food poisoning?). Actually, other herbivores that have “canine” teeth like panda’s, horses, deers, hippos, wild boar, pigs, etc only eat plants. Red meat also causes inflammation in the body…isnt that nature trying to tell us something too?
Myth 5 – Vegan Diets Are Unhealthy/Disordered
This one generally makes me angry, mostly because of my background and the fact that without me finding the holistic approach to food (i.e., plant based eating), I would probably be in my grave today. Most people that believe vegan diets are either unhealthy or disordered (or both), are, in my eyes, simply uneducated. Studies have found that vegans have lower cholesterol, triglyceride levels, less health problems, and lower incidents of heart disease. Check out these 7 awesome (and fabulously educational!) documentaries on the subject. Not only this, the British Journal of Cancer has found that vegans are 45% less likely to develop cancer of the blood and 12% less likely to develop cancer at all.
What vegan myths do you hear the most?