While veganism might be one of the hottest trends in the world right now, many are still not exactly sure what it means. Numerous common misconceptions surround vegans, such as their food is bland and tasteless, they eat the same as vegetarians, and they are diet enthusiasts and animal lovers.
To be clear, veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all forms of exploitation, cruelty and consumption of animals for all purposes. It is about making better choices using compassion and love. There are varying reasons for such misconceptions, and we’re going to look into them.
Vegans don’t get enough protein
One of the most common misconceptions of veganism is that it is difficult to get enough protein. Protein is one of the three macronutrients and is responsible for building muscle and repairing tissue. It is made up of chains of hundreds of thousands of amino acids.
Animal meat is a “complete protein” that contains all of the amino acids needed for the body. However, there is also a huge range of plant-based proteins from nuts, seeds, and beans to nutritional yeast and seitan. Picking a well-balanced plant-based diet can provide your body with all the nutrients it needs.
Learn more about plant-based protein in our Vegan Protein Guide!
Being vegan restricts you from enjoying delicious foods
From an outside perspective, the vegan diet may seem like never-ending salads, but this isn’t the only choice. There are definitely some restaurants that won’t have options for the vegan diet but as more people become vegan, more restaurants are realizing that there’s a huge customer base. Hence, many restaurants now have options for the vegan menu. Eating out is not only possible, it can actually be pretty simple when you know what to look for. Do your research and check for the menu before heading out.
If you’re planning to cook yourself, many comfort foods can be adapted to suit the vegan diet as long as you’re creative and think outside of the box.
Alternatively, why not try one of these delicious vegan meal kits?
The vegan diet is expensive
Many non-vegans believe that veganism is an expensive lifestyle to practice. Indeed, some vegan items such as plant-based milk, meat, cheese, and yogurt are more expensive than the non-vegan versions. If you open any vegan cookbook, you may come across all these expensive ingredients such as almond milk, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, maple syrup, and many more.
But a vegan diet doesn’t have to be expensive when you know how to keep your vegan groceries affordable. Sticking to minimally processed or unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, tofu, tempeh, grains and beans and making your own meal preps are just some of the great ways to cut down on your food expenses and maintain a well-balanced lifestyle.
Being vegan damages relationships with family and others
People may not always react positively to one’s decision to become vegan. They might also hang out with you less because you’re “different” now. Having a talk with them and telling them your decision and opinion of veganism can be a good way to introduce them to the idea. It can be challenging at first, but I’m sure they will respect your decision.
While some family and friends may never support one’s decision to be vegan, this doesn’t mean that it has to damage relationships. Here’s some great advice from a vegan and non-vegan couple.
Soy protein leads to rising estrogen level
Soybeans are a complete protein source and a dietary staple for vegans. Soy-based foods are rich in isoflavones that may mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen in our bodies. Because of this, it’s been hypothesized that isoflavones might increase the risk of cancer by acting like estrogen, but there is no evidence for this effect in humans. The effects of soy isoflavones on human estrogen levels are complex. Hence, soy is safe for everyone to consume.
Still not sure? Learn more by reading our article on Is Soy Really Vegan?
Veganism only applies to food
Even though food is a big part of the vegan lifestyle, it isn’t the only aspect. Vegans avoid using products that are involved in animal exploitation including those found in clothing, shoes, cosmetics, toiletries and more. For example, many vegans do not wear clothing made from animal products, such as fur, wool, feathers, leather, and silk. Instead, they wear plant fabrics like cotton, linen, and synthetic materials such as polyester, acrylic, or nylon. Check out this Vegan Clothes Guide for more info!
As you can see, veganism isn’t restrictive, pricey or unhealthy. A well-balanced plant-based diet can provide your body with all the nutrients it needs without including any animal products. The vegan lifestyle sometimes does require some planning, but this allows you to be more thoughtful of what you are eating, using, and getting.