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.

Myth 2) Think that you will lack in nutrients

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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

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3 Responses

  1. Hello and thanks so much for sharing I believe this will make this lifestyle more clear to those who are thinking about giving a try.

  2. Rogier says:

    Hey Barbara,
    Great post!

    The myth about having to spend more money as a Vegan is so true. It really depends on what you’re buying and where. There are a lot of places where I’m from that try their best to make vegan shopping as cheap as possible.

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