The plant-based food sector is flourishing these days as more and more people turn towards veganism. People consciously choose non-animal sourced proteins for the lower health problems associated with them, coupled with their strong desire to reduce the environmental damage their food choices have made in the past. If you’re someone who falls in this category, we’re sure that you've already been subjected to random speculations and misinformation about veganism from all corners. Unfortunately, if you are not well-informed, you could be persuaded to ditch this form of diet altogether. But don’t worry, we are here to debunk these myths for you to help you stay on track to give this lifestyle a try, and probably even fall in love with it. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get started.
Given below are some of the most common myths about veganism.
Myth 1: Vegan diet is not healthy
Fact: Well, that is far from the truth. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vegan diets, compared to any other diet, contain less saturated fat, cholesterol, and more dietary fiber. That is why most vegans tend to be energetic, active, with low serum cholesterol and comparatively a lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of cardiovascular ailments. Apart from that, a balanced vegan diet is also known to bolster the immune system, provide more energy and endurance, and promotes healthy-looking skin. Having said that, you need to complement this diet with regular exercise. Additionally, you need to consume-less oil based products on a daily basis, even if it’s vegan as failing to do so could lead to weight gain and an unhealthy lifestyle.
Myth 2: A vegan diet is a protein-deficient diet
Fact: This may be a popular opinion but it is definitely not true. The most common types of plant-based protein sources include beans and legumes, soy and soy products, seeds and nuts, superfood grains and flour, plant-based protein supplements (hemp protein, sunflower seed protein, chia protein, soy protein, pea protein, etc.) and faux meat. To catch up with the ever evolving landscape of veganism, more and more food brands are developing innovative ways to incorporate protein-rich plants in processed and unprocessed foods to replace meat. Some brands are also using sophisticated technology to integrate various plant-based products to replicate the taste and texture as real meat. So there are plenty of options for the vegans as far as protein is concerned.
Myth 3: Vegans are calcium-deficient
Fact: This is one of the most common myths that vegans have to deal with just because veganism entails giving up dairy and dairy products. Given that milk is a rich source of calcium, many believe that by not consuming animal milk, vegans become calcium deficient and hence are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis when compared to non vegans. Good sources of calcium for vegans include green leafy vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, kale, fortified unsweetened soya, rice and oats milk, calcium-set tofu, pulses, sesame seeds and tahini, dried fruit like raisins, prunes, dried apricots and figs, among other things.Soy milk, almonds and cashew milk are excellent substitutes of animal milk for the vegans. The body also needs healthy levels of vitamin D to regulate the amount of calcium in the body. And so for vegans, the rich sources of this essential vitamin are vegan vitamin D3 supplements (such as Wellbeing Nutrition’s Vit D3 Melts), fortified fat spreads, breakfast cereals and unsweetened soya drinks, among other things.
Myth 4: Vegan foods don’t keep you satiated for long
One of the misconceptions that people often use to discourage those who are planning to adapt to veganism is that plant-based foods fail to keep you satiated for long, unlike meat-eaters. Well, studies have shown that there is no difference between meat and soy-based products as far as feeling satiated and full for long is concerned. Moreover, it takes some time for the body to adapt to anything new. So give yourself at least a month to adjust your tastebuds to a delicious, hearty vegan meal consisting of delicacies like vegan lasagne, chickpea burgers, vegan pasta, and the like.
Myth 5: Veganism is expensive
Many people believe that veganism is expensive because you need to substitute animal products with fancy plant-based ones. This may not entirely be true, as barring a few premium organic vegan products, in its essence, plant-based foods are cheaper than a diet comprising dairy, eggs, meat, fish, seafood, and other poultry products. The essential ingredients in vegan dishes remain the same, except when you substitute ghee with oil, paneer with tofu, or meat with jackfruit and tofu for the texture. Packaged milk like almond and soy milk are costlier than any animal milk, but most plant-based milk can be prepared at home, so that could help you bring down the expenditure further. Having said that, veganism is more of a lifestyle, and if you consider the returns and the myriad health benefits that it has to offer, you will agree that it is more of an investment (towards a healthier you) than an expenditure.
These are perhaps just about the most common misconceptions that people have about veganism. This new form of lifestyle ( and yes, we call it a lifestyle because it is so much more than just a diet) is here to stay with more and more people committing towards a better, more humble form of living. Sure, adapting to anything new takes time initially, which is no different with veganism. But if you get past the initial few days, busting each of the myths as mentioned above along the way (And perhaps even more), you’ll undoubtedly take to this new and emerging lifestyle in no time. If you are new to veganism and are worried that your nutritional requirements are not being fully met, try out Well Being Nutrition’s Daily Greens, a 100% vegan and organic multivitamin supplement. Made up of 39 farm-fresh greens, veggies, fruits, and antioxidant-rich superfoods, it is the best form of nourishment you can give your body!
- Health effects of vegan diets, Winston J Craig, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2009, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2009.26736N, (https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/89/5/1627S/4596952)
- Plant Proteins: Assessing Their Nutritional Quality and Effects on Health and Physical Function, Steven R. Hertzler, Jacqueline C. Lieblein-Boff, Mary Weiler, and Courtney Allgeier, Nutrients Journal, 2020, doi: 10.3390/nu12123704, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7760812/)
- Appetite control and biomarkers of satiety with vegetarian (soy) and meat-based high-protein diets for weight loss in obese men: a randomized crossover trial, Madalina Neacsu, Claire Fyfe, Graham Horgan, Alexandra M Johnstone, 2014, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.077503, (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24944057/)
- Might a Vegan Diet Be Healthy, or Even Healthier?, Book-Animal (De)liberation: Should the Consumption of Animal Products Be Banned?, Deckers J, London: Ubiquity Press; 2016, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK396513/)