Ever since becoming vegan I constantly have people asking me questions about why I choose this lifestyle and what it’s really like. A lot of people can be pretty judgmental because of their preconceived ideas about food and health. Here are some of the most common myths I’ve heard about vegan diets:
- All vegan food is expensive
First of all, I’m a broke college student, and I’ve really had no trouble affording vegan foods. Whole foods are already much less expensive than packaged products, and foods like pasta, quinoa, tofu, beans, nuts, and fruits and veggies are very unlikely to break the bank. It’s actually quite easy to find cheap vegan foods, especially when you’re cooking for yourself.
2. Vegans have trouble getting enough protein
There are plenty delicious sources of protein that are vegan. Lentils, tofu, beans, nuts and nut butters, quinoa, green peas, artichokes, oatmeal, tempeh, spinach and chickpeas are just some of these foods that can provide vegans with the protein our bodies need.
3. Dairy products are necessary for strong bones
This is definitely one of the biggest myths out there. Humans really aren’t even meant to consume cow’s milk- baby cows are! (And we’re meant to consume our mother’s milk when we’re infants) Much of what we have learned about dairy products is from dairy companies who advertise to children in schools. (Remember that milk carton you got every day with your school lunch?) While it’s true that milk and cheese are good sources of calcium, there are plenty of other ways to get this mineral without harming animals or the earth. Foods like kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, almonds, calcium-fortified cereals, pinto beans, figs and oranges are high in calcium and can help keep your bones strong and healthy!
4. One person going vegan won’t make a difference
Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves:
1,100 gallons of water
45 pounds of grain
30 square feet of forests
20 pounds CO2 equivalent
and the life of one animal.
Not bad, huh?
5. Your body needs meat to be healthy
Eating a plant-based diet can help reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol as well as your chance of some cancers, obesity, diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Humans actually have no biological or nutritional need for animal products, and in 2016, a study conducted at Oxford University found that by 2050, widespread adoption of plant-based diets could prevent around 8.1 million premature human deaths each year.