Top 7 Vegan Diet Myths (And How to Address Them). Frank gave up eating meat and other animal products almost 10 years ago. He’s in his late forties, and for the first three decades of his life, Frank enjoyed his burgers, grilled fish, milkshakes, cheese omelets and chicken nuggets. But after talking to some friends and relatives who made the same choice before him, he decided to change his lifestyle and never looked back.“It was hard at first,” Frank says, “but I kept reminding myself why I chose to do this in the first place.”He tossed and turned at night, struggled with cravings and had headaches. Frank’s emotions were all over the place, too. Frank shared, “Now that I’ve made it to the other side, I can proudly say it was worth it.”
But after adjusting to his new lifestyle, there was one thing Frank didn’t expect. After he took the vegan plunge, he had to deal with all sorts of questions from his family and friends. They ranged from curious to well-meaning-but-kinda-annoying. And some were just plain rude.“Making the transition was one thing. Explaining my choice was… quite something else,” Frank said with a smile. He continued, “Luckily, the vegan folks in my community were super supportive. I learned how to educate non-vegans without sounding preachy or smug about it.”Today, Frank enjoys his vegan life harmoniously with his non-vegans family and friends. And he’s even convinced a few of them to make the switch! He still gets the occasional annoying question, but it doesn’t faze him now. If you’re in the same boat that Frank found himself in – or you’re thinking of going vegan – you’d best learn about the 7 Most Common Vegan Myths (and How to Debunk Them):
#1: Plant-based foods will give you everything you need
One of the most common stereotypes about vegans is that they only stick to green leafy vegetables and nothing else. This is harmful to new vegans because they end up experiencing nutritional deficiencies. A lack of vitamin B12, for instance, is something vegans need to watch out for. That also includes other nutrients like iodine, omega-3, vitamin K2, taurine and vitamin D.So the truth is that vegans need to get these from other sources like nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. Any diet needs a well-rounded variety of food to heal your body and give you the energy you’ll need throughout the day.
#2: A vegan diet alone will keep you healthy
Like the last myth, you won’t hear this from a vegan critic – but it is harmful to vegan practitioners. Studies do show that vegans tend to make healthier choices in general (e.g. not smoking and working out). However, living longer doesn’t depend on ONE factor alone, like what you choose to put in your mouth. And being vegan isn’t some unbreakable force field. This one thing won’t magically shield you from cardiovascular disease and other sicknesses. There are other aspects of your overall well-being that you also need to be on top of, such as:- Regular exercise (what good are all those nutrients if you’re not putting them to use?)- Managing your stress (mindfulness and meditation, anyone?)- Having a social life – Not smoking (no amount of kale or broccoli will kill nicotine)- Drinking moderately (a vice is a vice, no matter how you look at it)Let me also add that just because something is labeled as vegan (e.g. vegan chips and cookies), that doesn’t necessarily make it healthy. Some processed junk can pass off as vegan and wreck your health.
#3: Going vegan will be difficult
Like any other major change in your life, there’s going to be a period of adjustment. But it’s not as soul-crushingly hard as others would have you believe. Sure, it might be a little challenging, but it’s nowhere near impossible. Here’s something to consider: like Frank, a lot of people grew up on animal-based foods. So they haven’t really paid attention to alternate food sources. Most marketing and advertising focus on meat-based products. That gives meat-eaters less of a reason to think about vegan foods that are right under their noses. This is probably the biggest thing that worries people who want to make the switch. They think that being vegan means eating a limited range of foods for the rest of their life. But the truth is that they haven’t developed an eye for finding vegan food yet. Nowadays, you’ll find just about any kind of food you want if you know where to look. Healthy food stores (both physical and online) are popping up all the time, and they’re not as expensive as one would assume. Even supermarkets are carrying more and more vegan-friendly foods on their shelves (but read the labels carefully!). So yes, the grass is just as green on the other side – if not greener.
#4: “All vegans eat are (insert common vegetable here).”
This kind of overlaps with the first myth (which can sabotage newbie vegans’ efforts). Remember – vegans don’t just eat salads all day. Vegans have a variety of other foods to look forward to. You’re not doomed to an eternal, flavorless limbo of eating beets or carrots. On the contrary, you’ll get to enjoy burritos, peach turnovers, baked sweet potatoes and pasta. If you know what you’re doing, you can whip up a meal that’s just as hearty as non-vegan ones.
#5: You need to eat a ton of carbs after going vegan
First of all, a diet with carbs doesn’t necessarily mean you’re on the path to sickness. That might hold true if you also enjoy a lot of processed foods and refined sugar. But you’re not going to suddenly have spikes in your blood sugar levels – or turn diabetic – by eating carbs alone. It’s the processed foods that you need to watch out for. That applies to any type of diet, whether you choose to eat meat or not. Having said that, you can still cut your carb intake while you’re on a vegan diet. Like I said before, there’s more to going vegan than just eating vegetables. Nuts like almonds, cashews and pecans offer low-carb goodness. At the same time, they provide you with good dietary fats that fuel your body and benefit your brain. Coconuts are also made up of healthy fats that help your brain function well, along with a bunch of antioxidants. If anything, you should equate veganism with variety. You’ll be able to indulge in all kinds of colorful, nutrient-dense foods without the carbohydrates.
#6: Vegans are protein-deficient
Non-vegans usually associate meat, eggs and dairy with building muscle. And you might even think that skipping these foods will make you weak and frail. But the truth is that there are plenty of world-class athletes living the vegan lifestyle. Tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams both went vegan. NFL player David Carter also made the switch. They did it to improve their athletic performance – and it’s helped them flourish in their respective careers. With enough research and planning, you’ll get all the protein you need from plant-based sources and other vegan foods. This includes artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach……as well as walnuts, pine nuts, hemp seeds and chia seeds. And that’s just the beginning. You won’t have to worry about not having enough protein in your body after you’ve taken the plunge.
#7: Vegans need to eat substitutes for meat and other strange-looking food
Yes, there are “veggie meats” out there, but they’re not really a substitute for anything. You could use them initially while your taste buds haven’t quite made the leap to the vegan diet just yet. But for the most part, going vegan is about sticking to whole foods that are actually quite affordable. The fancy stuff you see at health stores isn’t the main course (although they’re nice to have). The reality is that it only takes a little bit of planning in advance to figure out what you want to eat. Vegan recipes are surprisingly simple and easy to look up. You don’t have to be a world-class chef (or even work in the culinary world) put together a rich, wholesome meal. You just need to list down the ingredients beforehand so you won’t feel lost at the grocery. There’s a ton of vegan-friendly foods and information resources that will make it easy for you to go vegan.
Living a Life Built on Good Eating Habits
I hope this clears up the biggest misconceptions of the vegan diet for you. At the heart of it, any diet can make you healthy or unhealthy. It all depends on finding that balance and choosing the best components of whatever diet you go with. A vegan one has the incredible potential to keep you strong, nourished and protect you from a lot of modern diseases. You just need to be mindful of what you eat (including vegan-friendly foods that aren’t necessarily healthy). And when you do decide to make the switch, don’t feel like you have to defend your choice. When people do ask questions or drop these myths on you, the key is letting them know you’re doing it for your own reasons. More importantly, let them know that it works for YOU. But even if you ultimately decide that going purely vegan isn’t your thing, that’s ok! You can still incorporate non-vegan food into your diet and live a long, healthy life. But remember, processed foods aren’t good for ANYONE – vegans and non-vegans included. And while you’re here, you should also take the opportunity to learn exactly why the modern Western diet is wrecking everyone’s health. I highly recommend you check out this groundbreaking documentary series. These 12 information-packed episodes will take you on an eye-opening journey through the dangers of sugar and other processed foods. These are the factors that help sicknesses like cancer and diabetes to THRIVE in today’s times. On top of that, you’ll also learn how the right food habits can REVERSE these life-threatening conditions. Watch it now – CLICK HERE