Vegan Myths You Should Not Believe
According to Google the word “vegan” is becoming one of the most popular terms that is being searched on a daily basis. In addition, according to a study held recently, the number of the population that are turning vegan continue to grows with the main reasons being the sustainability factor, health and respect for animals. But when you embrace a new way of life and a new diet it is also easy to make mistakes, especially at the beginning, and get the wrong information. There are many Vegan myths around and you should always educate yourself and double check every single piece of information you receive before taking it for granted.
Do not fall in the trap of the “hearsay”.
False beliefs Vegans should be aware off
Myth 1) Believing that because it is vegan is healthier
Not all vegan products are good and healthy alternatives. Often when people embrace a Vegan diet, they believe as long as they stop eating meat and eggs and honey they are having a healthy way of eating and lifestyle.
But what happens, is they end up in the store buying a lot of processed food with the intent to substitute that meat they gave up for something look alike meat but that, not always, has the nutritional value our body need.
Many of the processed food on sale in the stores have a low nutritional value, they are loaded with added sugars, fats of poor quality, refined flours and with an endless list of ingredients.
At the beginning, it is common to change products of animal origin, for their same formats but of vegetable origin (for example: sausages or tofu burgers).
But do you really think it’s a better choice?
Many of products are deficient in vegetable protein and I am not here to say not to buy it, since I buy them myself as well, but what we should do, is look at these products as a source of food that is more like a treat than the main part of our meal.
Luckily, more and more brands are concerned about improving the quality of the products, and the market for Vegan products is growing tremendously, but remember, that nature and vegetables have all the nutritional value our body need, with truly no necessity of buying a look alike sausage made of tofu rather than our psychological need to feel like we are eating something different than a green leaf!
The best thing to do is actually to do all the burgers or sausage you want to eat at home! Yes, the homemade food that you can prepare will always have the best nutritional value and you will know exactly what they are made of, since you made them yourself.
How many friends, or even family members have you encounter that have told you, because of your vegan choice you will eventually fall ill because of the lack of proteins you are depriving your body of?
How many, have told you that you shouldn’t give up milk because your bones will suffer the consequences?
It’s funny when everyone worries about your calcium levels, but nobody cares about the level of cholesterol or your high blood pressure
The fact is with a proper Vegan Diet rich in legumes, vegetables, fruits, seeds and all the good things nature has to offer, you will have no problem to cover your daily needs and, and if only you might need something it would be Vitamin B12; Which I will talk about it further down in the article.
People think if you don’t eat meat you gonna lack , for example, in iron but being a vegan does not imply having a higher risk of anemia, when you compare it to the rest of the population.
There¡s plenty of iron in a plant based diet, and we should worry more about the correct functionality of our intestine rather than the amount of iron we intake on a daily basis.
People too often underestimate the importance of our digestive system and how the good or not so good functionality of the digestive system can have a great impact on the amount of iron, for example, that our body is capable of absorbing.
There are two types of iron in food: the iron of animal origin which is called “heme iron” and the one of plant origin called “non Heme iron”. In the small intestine, the Heme iron is absorbed in bigger quantity than the non heme iron. However, when the supply is low, a metabolic adaptation occurs in our body, and the absorption rate of non-heme iron increases, thus meeting the needs. The body always has a way of fixing itself.
In addition, you can apply these tips that will also increase your absorption of iron:
- Combines sources of vegetable iron like green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, with foods rich in vitamin C like fruits, vegetables, fresh parsley, among others.
- Separate the consumption of coffee and tea from the main meals.
These are all little tips that will help you organism in absorbing all the iron it needs.
Myth 3) Lack of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is of bacterial origin. Its role is vital in our body: it maintains the proper functioning of the nervous system, intervenes in the formation of red blood cells and participates in the synthesis of DNA and in the metabolism of proteins.
There are quite a lot of sources of Vitamin B12 in nature itself, but truth said, the quantity found in these foods might not be enough for your body, so Vitamin B12 is probably the only Supplement you will ever need.
People often take spirulina algae where the B12 is found, but the form that Spirulina contains is not usable for our organism, and this could lead, if you have a blood test, to results which are not always accurate. So best best it is actually to take some supplements if you want to be 100% sure.
Myth 4) The good protein sources
Proteins, are substances composed of amino acids, which intervene in important bodily functions.
There are two types of amino acids: essential (the body does not produce them and must be incorporated in food) and non-essential. For a protein to be complete, it has to have all the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities.
A protein is evaluated by measuring its digestibility (capacity of our body to take advantage of proteins) and its quality (composition in essential amino acids). They are scored from 100 (maximum quality) to 0. For example, soy protein has 96, tofu 93, tuna 94 and chickpea 78.
That said, let’s see examples of foods of vegetable origin with complete protein and that you could include in your diet in substitution of animal protein:
Legumes: chickpeas, beans and soybeans.
Pseudo cereals: quinoa and amaranth.
Nuts and seeds like pistachios and hemp seeds.
When you want to supply your body with the right proteins make sure you keep your diet varied and eat all of the above protein sources. Not all vegetables will contain the full protein formula so it is important to consume legumes, cereals and nuts.
Myth 5) Not taking into account the nutritional balance and the energy contribution
Imbalance in macro nutrients is common. And, becoming a vegan does not mean you have to substitute meat for more vegetables or for more cereals, or for more vegan “cheese” .
How can you avoid creating an imbalance?
- Change the refined flours with integral ones; not because you’re vegan, but because that fiber supply is good for your health.
- Make sure you get a supply of quality vegetable protein.
- The vegetable has to be the main ingredient of your plate.
- Avoid superfluous foods. The key, as in any product, is to read the list of ingredients.
- Eat fruits daily
- Supplement your diet with quality fats.
- Stop processed vegan sauces. If you want to season your dishes, use a good assortment of spices, it never fails!
A consequence of having a nutritional imbalance could be an insufficient energy supply. That happens when you do not get to cover the daily energy expenditure you need.
Therefore it is important to know what your body needs and what resources you have to be able to supply it.
Myth 6) Think that buying vegan is more expensive
Being vegan does not mean eating more fruit and vegetables than the rest of the population if you want your diet to be healthy.
But you have to consider what kind of fruits and vegetables you are choosing. That is, if you compare the price of 1kg of blueberries with that of 1kg of oranges in winter, the first ones will surely increase the cost of your shopping basket. Therefore, the advice is to prioritise seasonal vegetables, which are the cheapest, most sustainable and the best to eat just because they are in season
You do not need to be rich to be vegan. The cost will depend on what products you choose.
Ultimately, if you think of costs, think about your health and how much you value your health and if you are looking at it this way, maybe the blueberries want seem that expensive after all.
Do you still think being Vegan is that hard? I would love to hear your thoughts about it