Do other people ever question your choices? Empower yourself with the knowledge that you’re doing the right thing…
1. Vegan diets aren’t healthy
On the contrary, they can be far healthier! Eating vegan is like other ways of eating: take care with what you’re putting in your body, and your body will take care of you. However, vegan diets also have numerous advantages over others. Vegans are far more likely to reach the recommended 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, have lower rates of obesity and reduced risk of colorectal and prostate cancer.
2. Vegans are preachy
“How do you know if someone is a vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you”, may be a running joke among meat eaters, but it’s far more likely to be the other way around. Think about it. We live in a society revolving around non-vegan food. It’s splashed on our television sets and our Instagram accounts. You see your friends, family and colleagues eating it every day. Has a meat eater ever done a double-take at someone mentioning that their lunch today is a tuna sandwich? That they can’t eat the cake in the canteen today because they’re on a diet? No – but if someone mentions that they can’t have a slice of so-and-so’s birthday cake because it’s not vegan, chances are it’s immediately picked up on.
These non-conventional food habits can lead to defensive behaviour whereby certain meat-eaters accuse vegans of trying to thrust their diet on others. This can make vegans feel anxious when discussing their choices openly. Thankfully, we vegans are lucky enough to have lots of supportive networks we can turn to if this is the case. Visit vegansociety.com to find a group near you or search for vegan groups on Facebook. Avoid getting into arguments about your new diet, but rather lead by example.
3. Vegan food doesn’t fill you up enough
While studies demonstrate that there is no difference in satiety between meat and soy-based products, some people still argue that plants aren’t gratifying enough. But did you know that it can generally take a few weeks for your body to get used to a different diet? Give yourself at least 30 days to adjust and fill up on delicious, hearty meals like chickpea burgers, vegetable lasagne, dahl.
4. Vegan diets make you weak
Then how do you explain the success of Germany’s strongest man Patrik Baboumian, record-breaking marathon runner Fiona Oakes and two of the greatest tennis players of our time, Serena and Venus Williams? Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton is also vegan, along with a host of other Olympians. Follow vegan-since-birth body builder @nimai_delgado on Instagram and you’ll soon see that meat is not needed to build muscle.
5. Veganism is white
Veganism is often thought to be the domain of white middle class 30-somethings for a number of reasons: the media and the majority of vegan advocacy focuses upon white vegan stories which neglect to mention people of colour. As a result, some of the most successful vegan personalities tend to be white due to this privilege.
This means activism by vegans of colour such as A. Breeze Harper and Aph Ko is overlooked, despite the fact that there are likely to be twice as many black vegans than there are white in the US – not to mention the large amount of vegans residing in South and South-East Asia. In fact, when The Vegan Society commissioned a survey into how many vegans were in Britain, it was found that 30% of vegans identified as non-white, compared to 13% of the population. Erasure is an issue we vegans need to combat.
6. Vegans need to drink dairy milk to get calcium
Wrong! Those milk adverts certainly got you. Leafy green vegetables such as kale have been shown to have excellent absorbability compared to dairy milk, which lags behind these vegetables. Not to mention the fact that fortified plant milk has just as much calcium as dairy milk, while calcium-set tofu is a really rich source too.
7. Only vegans need supplements
The vegan diet contains all the ingredients for optimal health when eating a range of pulses, seeds, fruit, veg and fortified foods: just like non-vegan diets. Vegans and non-vegans alike can take a supplement to ensure that they are getting all they need, though this is not a requirement. Fortified foods are necessary for healthy living in both vegans and non-vegans. Manufacturers add supplements to the foods we eat in order for us to get the vitamins, minerals and nutrients our bodies need.
Cereal giant Kellogg’s recently fortified their cereal range with a form of vitamin D (for healthy bones and teeth) derived from the oils in sheep’s wool, making them unsuitable for vegans, so check the provenance of supplements to ensure they are not animal-based. Dairy milk, like many plant milks, is commonly fortified with vitamins A and D. Moreover, before countries across the world started to add iodine to table salt and cattle feed, iodine deficiency was rife. This is also the case with B12 being fed to cattle, as it no longer naturally occurs in the soil.
8. Veganism is boring
Far from being dull and boring, veganism today is an exciting world to be a part of. There’s the thrill of the chase when it comes to sniffing out obscure accidentally vegan products at the local shop and sharing the results. There’s the delight of stumbling upon new vegan food launches and fashions – no animals harmed in the making of this jacket. There are protests, meetings, festivals and events all centred on vegan living, all connecting you to people who share your common, passionate interest.
9. Veganism is hard
While this really depends on your socio-economic circumstances, it is fair to say that going vegan is now easier than it has ever been before. In the UK especially, there are a multitude of vegan-friendly ready meals in the supermarket; there are health food stores in every town if you’re looking for fancy smoked tofu; and online vegan-friendly stores will deliver all the treats you could imagine to the most rural of places.
While there is still work that needs to be done in combating food deserts, chances are that if you’re a student or working part-time, you’ll have the time to find out how cheap it can be to eat vegan. If you have the money but not the time, in today’s world you can order great vegan groceries to your door. Moreover, vegans do not have to go to specialist shops for vegan clothes, but can merely check labels for leather, wool and silk.
10. Vegan diets are not suitable for children
Some people believe it is unfair to serve children healthy vegan food because they have not had the ‘choice’ to have meat: but
how can forcing a child to eat animal products before they know the facts surrounding their production be a ‘choice’? The British Dietetic Association says that a well-planned vegan diet is suitable for all ages.