One thing I have realised over time since going vegan is that there are a lot of platforms where this lifestyle is discussed. Whenever you mention the word vegan, everyone becomes an expert: in nutrition, environmental issues, ethical issues and your personal issues too! Jokes apart, today I would really like to lift the veil on some common vegan myths.
Not only to shed some light on the subject but also to give the opportunity, to whoever is flirting with the idea of going vegan, to explain what veganism is NOT.
Myth # 1 – Vegan equals a healthy diet.
Crisps, vegan junk food, processed foods, chips, biscuits… all vegan but sometimes filled with a list of ingredients I wouldn’t even be able to pronounce.
We do not want to harm the animals and want to create as less impact on the planet as possible. If that means eating chips or rice and beans, it makes no difference to us. Personal choices might lead us to eat more healthy, that is, plant-based rather than processed, but either way, it shouldn’t really yield judgement.
Vegans know exactly what they’re eating and why. No need to remind us that the vegan ice cream is still filled with lots of sugar. Guess what? We know. But is it filled with animal ingredients? No. And that is good enough!
Myth #2 – Vegan food is expensive.
If you want to shop in Wholefoods or organic stores that charge you more just because they are fancy, by all means, keep going if you can afford it. But you are probably going to spend double the amount that you would spend in a normal local market or supermarket.
Unfortunately everything labelled as vegan will come with a higher price tag. They will even label nuts as vegan and charge you more! That’s the way marketing works I guess.
Contrary to the hype, MOST food in nature is vegan. Think rice, pulses, pasta, veggies, fruits.. and especially if you buy in bulk or if you buy in their natural state, they will be even cheaper. Stick to plant-based and believe me your weekly shopping bill will cost you so much less!
Myth #3 – Veganism is a ‘diet’.
So often people will ask me: are you still doing that diet? And sometimes I really need to think… am I on a diet? Just because we eat no animal products or by products that doesn’t mean we are following a specific way of eating for a specific purpose, aka losing weight.
Some people decide to follow a plant-based diet for health reasons and still go about using products like leather bags and shoes, or silk and use brands that test on animals.
Veganism comprehends the removal of animal exploitation at 360 degree. Food just happens to be one of the categories.
Myth #4 – Cows need to be milked, there’s no harm in drinking the ‘excess’ milk.
I used to believe that too to be honest, that cows produce milk all the time. As mammals, cows only produce milk once pregnant and until their young ones need to be fed.
Young ones are actually taken away within hours of birth, and not allowed their mother’s milk. Female newborns are continued to be raised on the farm, while male births have a less certain future, such as being sent to the slaughter house, as cited in this article.
So in order to produce enough milk for human consumption and all the derivative products like cheese, cows need to be impregnated mechanically. On top of that, they need to be constantly pregnant to satisfy the market demand, as cited in this article. That leads to cows being sick, on antibiotics and with their lifespan reduced from 20 years to 6 if lucky.
Myth #5 – Veganism is the cause of deforestation (and all other environmental disasters).
I hope you catch the sarcasm here, but honestly vegans have been accused of deforestation, of destroying natural animal habitats, we were also recently blamed for the disaster in the Amazonian forest. This is one of the vegan myths that I just can’t imagine people fall for.
Once you know the truth about why so much land gets cultivated with soy crops for example, then you will know that is to feed the cattle that are destined for slaughter. Unfortunately the truth will always be disguised to maintain the balance of political power.
Myth #6 – Vegans will suffer protein deficiency.
The protein thing is literally one of the biggest vegan myths.
It makes me laugh so much when people ask me what I eat for proteins or how I cope without animal proteins… never anyone asked me this question before going vegan. I am Italian and we thrive on carbs… proteins not an issue there?
Read More : Vegan Pasta in Asparagus Sauce
Also, everything, from broccoli to potatoes from pasta to pulses have proteins. So as long as you eat some forms of carbs and some pulses in a period of more or less 24 hours, you would have a complete nutrition. I would mainly worry if you are not eating enough veggies and fruits of fibre-deficiency.
Myths #7 – Vegans are aggressive, imposing their beliefs on the world.
I get it. We are extremely passionate about our beliefs. We get quite fired up when we hear that people don’t care about eating animals or that animals were created for our own consumption. Because we take every single living thing very seriously.
And why wouldn’t we?
Life is a gift that should be granted to everyone. At the very bottom of our choice there is a very strong decision made with awareness in consciousness. When people attack us as know it all, hippies, aggressive, arrogant, preachy and judge us in such harsh ways, in truth, they are only avoiding to look at themselves.
Some vegans can be aggressive when they educate in veganism. I get it. But we are all different and we only want to make you understand our point of view, which is the point of view of a minority when we feel it should be the norm.
We don’t know everything, just like non-vegans don’t either. But we don’t feel better than anyone else. We have simply made a choice from the heart and we do our best to be coherent. We fail, we beat ourselves up, and we make mistakes too.
Next time you indulge in a conversation about veganism, remember, we want to give voice to the voiceless. We want every living soul to enjoy the gift of life that nobody should have the right to take away.
And now that these vegan myths have been debunked, I hope you’re better informed. Veganism will also hopefully make a lot more sense! Worth making this choice, I hope?
Sending love and light,
Annalisa D’Agostino is a Reiki Master, also professionally pursuing holistic and spiritual counselling.
She enjoys cooking and making delicious vegan takes on everyday food.
So here you can find a little corner, TheVeganSense, where you will find recipes and Vegan insight to show love not only to your loved ones, but also the animals and the planet.
Follow her on Instagram @TheVeganSense