There are many myths about vegans and the vegan lifestyle. Generalisations and assumptions are made and extended to all vegans.
As with most stereotypes, the result is misleading and false information about veganism that only serves to confuse people about the vegan diet and lifestyle.
In order to clear up some of those false assertions about vegans…
Here are just some of those myths along with reality that debunks them:
#1. Myth: All vegans live on tofu.
Plenty of vegans don’t even like, let alone eat soy-based products. Featuring tofu in all of your meals is certainly not a requirement of going vegan. There are many vegan recipes that don’t call for tofu.
#2. Myth: Following a vegan diet is difficult and an inconvenience.
Being vegan is becoming easier every year with more vegan food brands, restaurants, and a general awareness of the vegan lifestyle.
That being said, in areas that are dominated by convenience food with little access to grocery stores or markets, produce and vegan foods may be harder to come by.
Although more attention is slowly being brought to the issue, if you happen to live in such an area, more work may be required on your part in order to help create change and make plant-based foods more readily available. You can learn more about Food Deserts here.
#3. Myth: Most vegans are anemic.
Many plants foods are iron-rich. Eating a variety of these foods will help to ensure you get all the iron you need.
#4. Myth: Giving up cheese is the hardest part about going vegan.
There are so many vegan cheeses available, with new flavours and brands constantly being created that, if you are a cheese fanatic, there is plenty to keep you satisfied.
#5. Myth: A vegan diet is expensive.
Reality: Although eating at restaurants can be expensive, it’s not necessarily more expensive eating a vegan diet than standard western fare. And eating at fast food chains may be cheaper in the short-run, but long-term health effects certainly don’t make it a good investment.
As for groceries, you certainly don’t need to spend a whole lot to fill your grocery cart with plant-based foods. Rice, beans, oats, and the like are all quite affordable foods compared to other meat and dairy-based goods.
However, after going vegan you may be inclined to include more vegetables and fresh produce in your diet. In this case a vegan diet may be more expensive than your previous diet, but it will certainly be a healthier one. Even if you are keen on eating more fruits and vegetables there are ways, such as buying in bulk, that can make it more affordable.
#6. Myth: Vegans are weak and feeble.
Reality: Many vegans are bodybuilders, endurance athletes, and even Football players.
Although you may adjust what you eat somewhat depending on your preferred activity, when you follow a vegan diet you can certainly be trim and fit for long-distance racing or choose to hit the weight room and be a power-lifter.
There is no one standard for what a vegan must look like or how strong they can be.
#7. Myth: There’s not enough calcium in a vegan diet.
Reality: Leafy greens, seeds, soybeans and many other plant foods are naturally high in calcium.
Including a variety of these foods in your vegan diet will help you to get all the calcium you need. Other nutrients that are also present in these plant foods help your body to absorb calcium.
Besides, if you were still worried about getting enough calcium, you could always turn to calcium-fortified foods such as orange juice or non-dairy milks.
#8. Myth: Being a soapbox preacher comes with the territory of being vegan.
Reality: Many people live a vegan lifestyle, yet go about their daily lives without a soapbox in tow.
However, many people who are not vegan automatically assume they are being judged. In which case, it often says more about the person who feels they are being judged, simply by you going about your life.
#9. Myth: Following a vegan diet means you’ll be B12 deficient.
Reality: No matter what sort of diet you follow, B12 deficiency could be an issue.
Over many years, the soil that grows much of the world’s food supply has become less nutrient-rich. Additionally, because few of us grow all of our own food, we also wash produce incessantly.
It is for these reasons, along with other contributing factors, that by and large our bodies do not produce adequate B12 stores.
Many people in the North America are low or deficient in B12 and can benefit from supplementation. It’s certainly not just a vegan issue.
#10. Myth: Going vegan means you’ll be on your own.
Reality: There are numerous communities, like VeganWALL, created solely to support other vegans and provide a sense of togetherness.
Regardless of where you live in the world, if you have access to the internet there is likely some group that you can connect with. This often includes being able to meet up with others in your local area for vegan potlucks, picnics, and other events.
As you probably know, there are many myths out there about vegans. These are just some of them.
When assessing the validity of some fact or other, the important thing is to always be critical about the information you receive. Be sure to follow up, checking more reliable sources to support or deny certain “facts.”
Generalisations are often a signal that the truth may be amiss. So look into the vegan lifestyle for yourself and find resources that you find to be more thorough and reliable.
How much you know about being vegan is up to you. Those who don’t really want to know or who don’t take learning into their own hands will stick with the biased information that circulates around.
The more you know, the more you can help to educate others who have likely been misinformed.
Let’s help to clear up these myths about the vegan lifestyle!
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