Here I’m going to address some common myths about being vegan:
1. Vegans are automatically “healthy”
Just because someone stops eating animal/dairy products does not mean what they’re eating will necessarily be healthy. One can be a vegan and eat chips and sweets all day, having no nutritional balance. As with any diet, one has to be conscious to eat a good variety, to not eat tons of fried and processed foods, and to make sure they’re getting protein, carbs, healthy fats, and the vitamins they need, etc.
2. We became vegan to lose weight
Yes there are some people who become vegan as part of a “trend” and to cut out foods for the sake of losing weight. If you ask the majority of vegans WHY they are vegan though, they tend to answer for the animals, for the health of not putting certain things into their bodies, or for the planet. While vegetarians eschew meat products, vegans also avoid the dairy industry as there is much animal suffering there as well. Veganism is a lifestyle. Of course one can always choose to what extent they will take on that lifestyle.
3. Vegans don’t get enough protein
There are numerous ways vegans get protein: from beans, quinoa, nuts, soy products, vegetables, faux meats and dairy, seeds (you’ll be amazed at the nutritional makeup of some seeds! Look for a post soon.), spirulina, etc. More and more in grocery and convenience stores you’ll see things like vegan protein powder, vegan protein bars, and other supplemental items. It’s easier than ever to get protein as a vegan, whether through a whole-food based diet or through a mixture of that and products infused with protein.
4. Veganism is only about food
Veganism is a lifestyle. It’s about refraining from consuming animal products and causing no harm to any animals in any way. Most vegans think of all animals as equals: a dog no different from a cow, a cat no different from an elephant. There are many vegans who not only don’t consume animal products, but also don’t use them on their skin in skincare or makeup products, or as part of their wardrobe. When one thinks of animals in an egalitarian and compassionate way, having animals suffer to serve us in any way becomes harder to accept.
5. Being vegan doesn’t really affect the world around us
Leading a vegan lifestyle makes a huge impact on the health of the planet, and to the lives of animals. The livestock trade is responsible for nearly 20% of greenhouse gas emissions. It takes many, many times more water to produce meat than to produce plants. According to this site, producing a pound of animal meat takes 2,400 gallons of water, whereas producing a pound of wheat takes 25 gallons of water. At a time when people are becoming more cognizant of protecting our environmental resources, choosing to live a vegan lifestyle a decision that makes a difference. In terms of creating a more sustainable model for our world, eating plant-based takes up only 1/3 of the land needed for a meat and dairy diet. Each vegan saves roughly 200 animal lives a year.
So veganism is not something that is a fad, or a bunch of elitists who want to make you feel bad. It is a way of living that is more compassionate, puts less strain on our resources and values and respects all animals.
*Want to know more about why people are making the choice to go vegan?
There are many amazing documentaries, films, and short youtube videos about the meat and dairy industry. Here are a few titles to look for: Earthlings, Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, Speciesism. You can watch Earthlings for Free HERE.