Vegans; we love a good debate!
Following a lifestyle that the majority of people don’t adopt leaves us open to lots of questions, so with this in mind it’s always good to check from time to time that what you’re saying about veganism is accurate and that you’re not blindly defending veganism simply because it’s veganism. So when the team at Livekindly came across an article calling us out on all the “lies we tell”, we sat down with a nice oat milk coffee ready to be schooled.
Frankly, what I learned shocked me.
Apparently vegans avoid trans fats, refined sugar, processed grains and processed vegetable oils. I was so surprised I almost dropped my chocolate spread on toast. Oh… wait! This simply isn’t true.
Meat eaters are just as likely to avoid those sorts of ingredients because they’re bad for your health and although some vegans are health conscious, there are also many vegans who eat what might be described as ‘normal’ food. Not to forget the self proclaimed ‘Junk Food Vegans’. So, please, Hottest Fitness Girls (HFG), leave my Alpro ice cream alone.
Now we’ve got that cleared up, let’s look at all the fibs we’ve been telling.
9 “Lies” Vegans Love Telling & Why We Should Keep On Telling Them
1. “There’s More Protein in Vegetables Than Meat”
Aaah the protein question.
It seems we might have been found out! But actually, I think most vegans just try to point out that it’s just as easy to get all the protein you need from plant-based sources than it is from meat.
Even better, our proteins come without all the nasty stuff animal protein comes with. For instance for every 23g of protein you get from greek yoghurt you also get 11.5mg of cholesterol. Compare that to the 0mg of cholesterol in vegan yogurt and it seems to be a bit of a no brainer.
Dig a little deeper into the ‘facts’ and you’ll start to see some cracks show. HFG site 1 cup of lentils as having 9.2g of protein when in actual fact 1 cup of cooked lentils has 18g of protein and uncooked a massive 50g.
In addition to this studies are beginning to find that the quality of the protein we consume might be just as important, if not more important, than the quantity.
2. “Our Primate Ancestors Are Vegan So We Should Be Too”
Truth be told, I’m just not sure I’ve heard anyone say this.
I know some people follow a vegan paleo “caveman” diet, but the paleo diet isn’t exclusive to veganism. In fact many people eat a lot of meat, poultry, fish and eggs on a paleo diet. This sort of diet aims to eliminate processed foods.
There are also people who eat raw foods and the majority of these people are vegan given that most animal products are unsafe for humans to consume raw.
The truth is vegans don’t follow this way of life because they believe that apes do, they do it for ethical reasons, environmental reasons and health reasons.
3. “Humans Were Not Meant To Be Carnivores”
Now this one I have heard, usually in a lengthy debate between carnists and veggies about teeth.
Apparently, cooking and eating meat is the reason we have such big, developed brains that have allowed us to evolve beyond the animal kingdom. Now, our ancestors eating a small amount of meat might have lead to us having the brain capacity we do today but that doesn’t take away from the fact that we can thrive without meat in our diets.
HFG even quotes neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel who claims “It is certainly possible to survive on an exclusively raw diet in our modern day, but it was most likely impossible to survive on an exclusively raw diet when our species appeared.”
So we thank you, ancestors, but now we’re going to use our brains to realise that we don’t need to harm other species to survive. In fact, due to the environmental and health impacts of animal agriculture, eating animal products is risking our chances of survival.
4. “Vegans Easily Get Enough Healthy Fats”
HFG are referring to two out of the three fatty acids present in a complete omega 3, EPA and DHA. A vegan diet can provide plenty of LA (essential omega 6) and with consideration ALA (essential omega 3) but DHA and EPA are only present in animal products.
However it is possible to supplement all three omega 3 fatty acids. The supplements are derived from microalgae and The Vegan Society suggest these supplements are particularly important for “infants and those who are pregnant and breastfeeding.”
Even more good news is that with the right balance of LA and ALA in our diets our body can even turn ALA into EPA and DHA by itself.
5. “Vegans Get All Of Their Nutrients From Plants Without Supplements”
So we might want to consider taking omega 3 supplements if we’re pregnant or nursing but what about B12, the vitamin HFG are so keen to mention?
Turns out B12 deficiency is not a vegan-only problem. Many meat eaters are also absorbing less B12 than they need and this is due a variety of issues explained wonderfully by Nikki Hurst in this guide to B12. In addition to this much of the B12 found in animal products is due to the fact that the animals themselves are fed B12 – so really vegans are just skipping the middleman by going right to the source.
So yes, it would be misleading to suggest that plant based diets don’t require supplements, but it would be equally misleading to suggest diets including meat and dairy provide us with all we need.
6. “Vegans Never Have Cancer Or Heart Disease”
Another line I’ve never heard a vegan say.
A whole food, plant-based diet can most definitely reduce your risk of cancer or heart disease but unfortunately there are far too many different factors that contribute to these illnesses for us to proclaim that a vegan diet would eliminate the risk altogether. Smoking, genetics, asbestos, UV exposure… I could go on.
7. “Vegan Food Is Always Healthier”
Eating a whole food, vegan diet is seemingly one of the healthiest ways to live (that we know of). However, this doesn’t mean that vegans think that all their food is healthy.
Pint of vegan Ben & Jerry’s, anyone? …Definitely healthy.
Remember, not all vegans are in it for their health and Junk Food Vegans certainly don’t think what they’re eating is the healthiest thing out there.
8. “Eating Vegan Is Cheaper Than Eating Animal Products”
HFG provided a handy list of expensive vegan essentials including macaroni and soy cheese, pints of ice cream and vegan sour cream.
The reality is that you don’t need these to have a fulfilling vegan diet. Potatoes, rice, beans, pasta and bread are some of the cheapest foods you can buy and HFG even point out that it’s not fruit and veggies that are the expensive part. It can be really expensive to be vegan if you’re buying a ton of luxury products, just the same as if you were a meat eater. In fact, meat and dairy products are amongst some of the most expensive food items you can buy.
Just take a look at this advice from The Vegan Society.
9. “It’s Becoming Easier To Be A Vegan”
Saying this is a lie is just, well a really big lie!
It might not be the most popular lifestyle choice (yet) but it is becoming far easier to be vegan.
Many chain restaurants and supermarkets understand the importance of offering plant-based products on their menu and it’s not all salad and grilled vegetables. It’s easy to access vegan pizza, burgers and curry at lots of places that also serve meat. Not to mention the more vegans there are in the world, the more options places will have to provide.
So, pop on “What the Health“, order your vegan pizza and rest safe in the knowledge that you’re probably not as much as a liar as the Hottest Fitness Girls. Shame on you!