Veganism is easier than you think. Contrary to the belief that a (plain and boring) vegan diet revolves around plants only and that one must adapt to rabbit food, the truth is that a vegan lifestyle is about plant-based foods. This means that vegetables, grains, lentils (or pulses), nuts and fruits are all on the table. Pun intended. Here are some of the top veganism myths busted.
Myth 1. Veganism and vegetarianism is the same thing.
Fact: Nope. Vegans go one step further than vegetarians – besides not eating meats, they also don’t eat foods (or other products) that come from animals. So besides meat, fish and poultry, vegans also exclude dairy products, eggs and honey from their diet.
Myth 2. Salads must make up the dominating component of the vegan diet?
Fact: Not at all. Think of it as building blocks using starchy foods such as potatoes and whole grains, which are then used to make hearty comfort foods such as risottos, stews, pastas, sandwiches and more. In fact, thanks to the gradually increasing trend of going vegan, eating out and grocery shopping for such a lifestyle has become much easier now than it was a few years ago, making the vegan diet more plausible. Indeed, just because they won’t eat eggs or dairy does not mean that vegans are sacrificing delicious cakes, pizzas or even ice cream. That’s probably why more and more celebrities (think Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Jennifer Lopez) have been jumping on the vegan bandwagon, making fads like Meatless Mondays more than a passing fashion statement.
Myth 3. Vegans don’t get adequate protein, calcium or iron and/or are physically unhealthy.
Fact: Wrong again, on all counts. Several published studies show that vegans have lower cholesterol, BMI and triglyceride levels (which can lead to heart disease in elevated levels).
Also, vegetarian and vegan populations have lower rates of heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. As with any restricted diet, vegans must include adequate amounts of foods that contain vitamins B12 and D, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iodine and zinc, and be mindful that they are consuming enough calories.
Vegans can get their iron from dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach; dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots; iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas; peas etc. Similarly, the calcium may be easily obtained from plant based sources like leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes and some nuts and seeds. On the protein front, think hummus, kidney beans salad, trail mix, soy milk shake, almond milk, quinoa, oats… I could go on and on!
Myth 4. Being on this “special” diet is expensive.
Fact: Hardly. Unlike organic food which is usually heavy on the pocket, eating this low-fat plant-based diet actually means that it’s cheaper than eating meat.
Myth 5. You can’t maintain an active lifestyle if you’re vegan.
Fact: Heard of world-class athletes like ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek, Ironman Brendan Brazier and Ultraman Rich Roll? All three proclaim that they can train even harder and recover faster from workouts after going vegan. What’s their secret? Making ample use of plant-based proteins, such as hemp seeds, tofu, edamame, beans, nuts and seeds.