Nearly every individual who is a vegan or vegetarian is familiar with the excessive interrogation characteristic of family, friends, and even strangers who are unfamiliar with, or critical of, the lifestyle. While some questions are posed out of curiosity or interest, many call into question the validity of a cruelty-free diet, despite the overwhelming good that a plant-based diet does for humans, the environment, and, first and foremost, animals who are saved from inhumane lives and eventual slaughter. Despite all of this, many myths about veganism still continue into the present day. Here’s a list of seven of the most common misconceptions regarding vegans and the vegan lifestyle.
Myth #1: Vegans are weak, skinny and sickly.
This myth can be proven false by all of the healthy and thriving vegans that populate the planet. A diet devoid of animals and animal products does not make one sick. In fact, animal products contribute to many of the health ailments plaguing millions. Many question how the vegan diet can provide all necessary nutrients, but plant-based foods often offer the healthiest forms of nutrients without cholesterol, unhealthy fats, and other substances that harm the human body. The most common question concerning vegans most certainly has to be the quintessential “Where do you get your protein?” The answer? From the same place as the strongest animals on the planet; from vegetables, seeds, nuts, and countless other forms of plant-based foods. If anything, the Western diet poses health risks from too much protein
Myth #2: The vegan diet is restrictive and boring.
Consuming a vegan diet is the farthest thing from uninteresting! There is an endless, colorful variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and other foods to choose from. The recipes that can be created from vegan foods are plentiful, and vegans are more likely to consume a wider variety of these items. If you’re in a food rut and find yourself eating the same meals day in and day out, then vegan blogs, websites, and cookbooks are surefire and extremely accessible ways to find culinary inspiration.
Myth #3: Vegans are all left-wing, radical, incense-burning hippies.
Being a vegan is only one aspect of a person’s lifestyle and personality. Although it is a significant aspect, the false assumption that one can predict the political leanings and social preferences of an individual based on their dietary choices is not only faulty judgment and stereotyping, but also fails to represent the extremely diverse vegan community.
Myth #4: The vegan lifestyle is expensive.
Surprisingly, it is widely assumed that consuming a vegan diet breaks the bank and is therefore a more difficult, high maintenance lifestyle. Studies show, however, that replacing meat, fish, dairy, and eggs with plant-based foods can cut food bills by thousands of dollars a year! Buying staples like rice, quinoa, seeds, and nuts in larger quantities, buying produce at the farmers’ market, or participating in a CSA share are additional ways to save money and support local farms at the same time.
Myth #5: Vegans aren’t enjoyable to invite to social events or go out with.
Unfortunately, some people assume that those who do not consume animal products are drags when it comes to restaurant outings or other social events. This misconception can be a result of the stereotype that vegans are uptight or difficult, despite the availability of vegan dishes, or easily customized vegetarian ones, at most restaurants. As for parties and gatherings, snacks and drinks free of animal products are easy to find at all grocery stores, with even more available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Vegans do in fact eat things besides salads!
Myth #6: Dairy, eggs, meat, and other animal products are necessary to be healthy.
Despite what fast-food commercials and ads featuring celebrities boasting milk moustaches portray, the Western diet is promoting a culture of unhealthy individuals. Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and other ailments are plaguing our society at higher rates than ever before. Studies show that diets higher in plant-based foods prevent and largely reduce the causes of many diseases, and those who consume balanced, vegan diets prove that veganism can be the picture of perfect health.
Myth #7: The vegan diet isn’t masculine enough.
The idea that the vegan diet cannot coexist with masculinity is a misconception that remains ingrained in the minds of many, especially guys themselves. The concept is largely rooted in the false idea that meat is substantial and “manly”, most likely dating back to the caveman era. Advertising certainly reflects this association, with commercials like Burger King’s “Manthem” featuring phrases like, “Oh, yes, I’m a guy…wave tofu bye-bye!” In no way does the vegan diet make someone less of a man. In fact, a plant-based diet prevents weight gain, promotes physical fitness, lowers the chance of many diseases, and can reflect compassion and respect for other living creatures. And despite what some men with overinflated egos believe, the vegan diet is in fact enough to sustain them.