There are hundreds of not only excuses but misconceptions about the vegan diet. These misconceptions, or myths, tend to prevent one from developing an interest in the vegan diet let alone the lifestyle. It’s obvious that the spread of bogus information ranges in severity but people become widely misinformed because of it. Excuses are excuses, ranging from “If we didn’t eat meat animals they would overpopulate the earth!” to “Meat is the only source of protein!”. One may ask how can they learn more and teach others; do as much research as possible and use your voice to spread this information!
“Meat is the only/main source of protein”
One must consider that farming on such big scales is not natural; using machinery and inflicting extreme harm for days on end, many times their entire lives, to farm is not part of “the circle of life”. Meat is the most promoted source of protein but its far from the healthiest let alone ones only source. Legumes, nuts, seeds, green vegetables, soy products, and more are all sources of plant-based protein. Aside from plant-based wholesome sources there are replacers/alternatives to meat from brands such as Gardein, Beyond Meat, Sweet Earth, and more, you can find a larger list here.
Meat isn’t only unhealthy, leading to many diseases, but it’s unsustainable. In 2001 about 38% of land was used for farming and it continues to grow today; leading up to that same year about 12 million hectares of land were cleared annually which only aided in the growing deforestation issues, remember, deforestation is a human issue too! Meat isn’t an essential dietary need.
“Milk builds strong bones”
Although we’re taught from a young age that milk is essential, it actually depletes bone calcium, density, and strength. It’s best explained like this, “..milk acidifies the body pH which in turn triggers a biological correction. You see, calcium is an excellent acid neutralizer and the biggest storage of calcium in the body is – you guessed it… in the bones. So the very same calcium that our bones need to stay strong is utilized to neutralize the acidifying effect of milk. Once calcium is pulled out of the bones, it leaves the body via the urine, so that the surprising net result after this is an actual calcium deficit.” (via Save Our Bones)
Consuming milk meant for a calf, which can grow up to 1,500 lbs, can damage our bodies severely. Milk is food and energy for babies so when another being consumes that milk there are negative effects such as uncontrollable cell growth leading to cancer and calcium taken from bones causing osteoporosis. There are other sources of calcium that don’t lead to things so harmful such as cashews, figs, and spinach!
“Animals would over populate the earth if we didn’t eat them”
Wrong. Not only is this incorrect but contradicting. The mass production of animals causes major health problems to begin with, aside from weak muscles, joints, and bones, they tend to be overweight and live in extremely unsanitary living conditions. Many animals are sickly and the over production of them and their products isn’t the solution. One can’t claim that there’s “too many animals” while funding an industry that farms them like objects. The goal of the industry is to produce and make as much money as possible so why fund it while being against it?
If humans stopped “producing” animals/their products and disregarding the fact that they’re sentient beings the amount of animals on the planet wouldn’t drastically increase, they wouldn’t “over populate” the earth. It’s important to acknowledge the fact that the earth and its beings would thrive without people, we’re rapidly destroying whats left and it must stop, or at least be slowed down. Many question what can one do to help; educating others, not supporting an industry thats ruining any resources left, buying local or growing some of your own foods, using “eco-friendly materials”, and eating and/or buying vegan options when possible are only a few things one can do to help. Click here for more ways to help outside of your diet and here for more information on the effects the industry has on the environment!
“Veganism is more expensive”
Depending on whether one is a smart shopper or not, veganism can be cheap and a money saver. Many tend to eat at fast food weekly because it’s not only cheap but convenient. The issue is that many don’t understand how or what to buy, whether is be at the grocery store or at restaurants. Items such as fries, salad, pasta, and sometimes onions rings are easy options when eating out, if you want to enjoy your favorite dishes simply ask for them without the meat or dairy. If the dish is mainly meat and/or dairy then one may need more guidance to find cruelty free options.
Grocery shopping allows one more flexibility; remember items that will last awhile when shopping like potatoes, grains, fruits, vegetables, and fats such as avocado or nuts. One can find a guide to staple items here. It’s important to understand that being vegan doesn’t mean the person is inherently healthy; they may eat mainly mock meats and dairy along with “accidentally” vegan foods. Veganism is about balance so if one does want occasionally to eat mock foods then it’s perfectly okay but, these foods can be more expensive. In order to get the most for your money try buying local and buying in bulk, not only is it cheaper but it prevents one from constantly running pack to the store.
Popular items to buy in bulk are:
- nuts and seeds
- tea (bags)
- green vegetables/salad mix
- root vegetables
Here is a guide to being vegan on a budget!
“I won’t get all the nutrients I needs as a vegan, I’ll get sick”
It’s important to consult your doctor and/or a nutritionist when considering becoming vegan. Many doctors aren’t throughly educated on the vegan diet so they advise against it, on the other hand, many encourage it not only for optimum health but lessening the severity of or curing diseases. If you’re already vegan but want to consult a plant-based doctor, here is a list by state and city! Make sure doctors you speak to about the lifestyle are open to it; discussing a vegan lifestyle with someone who’s already against it won’t get you the answers you need. If one is still not convinced after discussing it with a physician they can look here for a thorough explanation of nutrients, including where to get them, and more.
“Free range and grass fed are okay to eat”
Both terms are created so that the consumer believes the animal is getting better treatment but thats not the case. These are more commonly on labels of big name brands. “Free range” chickens and eggs are a mere ploy to draw in consumers; these chickens are simply not in cages. They’re almost always crammed into a single, usually dark, room/barn and forced to stand for hours on end. Aside from unsanitary, inhumane conditions, they’re many times given hormones so that they not only grow at a faster rate but, grow to an unhealthy and unnatural size. “Free range” and “cage free” aren’t open and comfortable living conditions.
“Grass fed” is a way of raising cows that supposedly is not only healthier but more human. Giving an animal more space and/or nicer food doesn’t equate it being humane. Many who claim to eat purely “grass fed beef” don’t understand the negative affect it has, aside from health, it damages the environment. It takes 35% more water and 30% more land to raise them “grass fed” rather than “grain fed”. How much good is doing if they choose between two things to fund which cause harm either way?
Doing your own research and learning new information is importation. When one believes anything they hear, they’ll believe in misconceptions and spread other false information. Yes, it’s easier to believe whatever is common but at what stakes? Continue to educate yourselves and others, continue to debunk common myths!