5 Crazy Myths About Veganism

by WiseFool

There’s a general opinion that vegans are a bunch of pasty-faced, undernourished, eccentric hippies. However, none of these stereotypes is accurate.

What is Veganism?

The term ‘vegan’ was coined in 1944, by Donald Watson - the co-founder of the British Vegan Society. However, vegans existed long before that time and had simply been known as vegetarians. It was only when a vegetarian diet that included dairy products became popular, that veganism was forced to ‘re-brand’ itself.

A vegan is someone who abstains from the use of animal products, both in food and other items.

Today, veganism is a growing movement, with people turning to a vegan diet for ethical and environmental reasons, as well as those who realise the many health benefits. Nevertheless, it is still considered a fairly unusual lifestyle and, consequently, there are a plethora of myths surrounding the vegan way of life.

Vegan Symbol
Vegan Symbol
Another Vegan Symbol
Another Vegan Symbol

1. You Can’t Get Enough Protein on a Vegan Diet

There is a frighteningly large proportion of people who believe that the only source of protein available to us is through animal products

The Truth:

It’s actually very easy to get protein in a vegan diet. Almost all vegetables, greens, seeds, nuts, beans and grains contain protein and some have an abundance of the stuff. And, as vegan sources of protein also contain lots of fibre, are low in fat and have absolutely no cholesterol, they are a far healthier alternative to the high fat, high cholesterol animal proteins.

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Just a few great vegan sources of protein are:
  • Tempeh
  • Soya beans
  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Baked beans
  • Tofu
  • Quinoa
  • Peas
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cashew nuts
  • Brown rice
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli

2. ‘Real Men’ Eat Meat

For many men, the notion of a vegan diet is emasculating. After all, meat (especially red meat) is essential for building muscle, right?

The Truth:

This notion that meat-eating is directly proportional to masculinity is ridiculous. As already mentioned, plenty of protein can be consumed on a vegan diet. So, it is very possible for a vegan man to build muscle mass. See the video on the right for evidence of this fact.

And if you need any further proof, how about this? Mike Tyson and Carl Lewis are both vegans. Moreover, the gladiators (of ancient Rome, not the popular TV show) thrived and fought on a vegan diet.

3. Vegans Have Countless Rules for What Can and Can’t be Eaten

There’s a common misconception that veganism is a ‘picky’ dietary lifestyle, which makes for incredibly fussy eaters

The Truth:

In fact, vegans aren’t half as choosey as omnivores. Why do I say this? Well, there is one very simple rule to veganism: If it’s come from an animal, a vegan won’t eat, use or wear it.

For meat-eaters, however, there seems to be a sliding scale of acceptableness when it comes to dinner. For example, in most Western countries the thought of eating dog or cat is unspeakable. In India, the cow is scared. In some religions, pig is off the menu. For the French, and many other European nations, there is nothing wrong with a little chevaline (horse meat).

In veganism, there is no precedence of one animal over another. No animal is viewed as a commodity for humans’ consumption.

4. Vegan Food is Expensive and Hard to Find

Many people believe that, if you're a vegan, it's difficult to find food and, if you do, it's extortionately expensive

The Truth:

Well, this is a less of a myth and more a strange perception that we humans seem to have. If you’re looking for vegan ready-meals and processed foods, yes, they can be difficult to find.

However, if you’re prepared to make your own food, it’s not difficult at all. Nor is it expensive. Basic vegan ingredients for any meals are fruits, vegetables, green leaves, pulses, beans and nuts. All of which are readily available and significantly cheaper than joints of meat.

5. Vegans Place Animal Rights Above Humans

There are some who think that veganism is all about the welfare of animals, to the extent that its importance supersedes that of humans

The Truth:

It is, of course, impossible to account for the beliefs of all vegans. However, veganism, as a philosophy, does not place animal well being above that of humans.

In fact, for many so-called environmental vegans, their dietary and lifestyle choices are motivated by the desire to prevent further damage to our planet. Did you know that ‘going vegan’ one day per week lowers your carbon footprint more than buying local produce seven days per week?

The fact that we, as humans, consume huge numbers of corn-fed animals also means that the prices of corn skyrockets. In turn, this causes food shortages in countries such as Bangladesh and Haiti.


Is Veganism For You?

Obviously, the vegan lifestyle is not for everyone and the purpose of this article isn't to alter your philosophical or moral views regarding the consumption of animals. Instead, the aim is to debunk a few of the myths that prevent many people from looking at veganism as a serious alternative to an omnivorous (or even vegetarian) lifestyle.

If you'd like to learn more, please visit the Vegan Society.

More on Veganism

Think cow's milk and dairy products are the only way to ensure strong, healthy bones? Think again!
Updated: 03/05/2012, WiseFool
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BrendaReeves on 07/20/2012

Love this article. I'm a vegetarian thinking of going vegan. I do like dairy products, but after learning what they do to newborn calfs, I'm trying to give it up. It's all about cruelty to animals for me.

WiseFool on 03/09/2012

Hello, Neo. You're right, of course, raw is becoming increasingly popular. I think it can be extremely helpful in terms of health. However, I do think it's dangerous and unhelpful to advise it as a 'cure all', which is what some raw fans do. I eat a lot of raw and I know it can give you boundless energy and, undoubtedly can help cure some things, but it's crazy to say it can cure everything. For example, despite my high raw diet, I still wouldn't be safe if I were bitten by a dog infected with rabies (not that we have rabies in the U.K., just a hypothetical example of the kind of things a good diet won't help).

WiseFool on 03/05/2012

Hello Katiem2, thanks for the comment. I believe that makes you a pescatarian, as vegetarians don't eat any animals. Pleased to hear you enjoy vegan food, though. Like you, I'm pleased that it's beginning to emerge from the dietary fringes and be seen as something other than a crazy, hippy fad.

katiem2 on 03/05/2012

Great article, I'm veganish, mostly vegetarian as I do eat fish. I'm thrilled more and more people are becoming aware of the vegan diet and or lifestyle as it is good for everyone and the availability of products become available for those who have not tried them to try them. Vegan food is my favorite, I often wish I had a vegan chef. I can dream :)

WiseFool on 02/03/2012

You're not wrong and, naturally, vegans and vegetarians are very much "on the same side". But, whereas (in the main) vegetarianism is looked on as pretty 'normal', for some reason, veganism is still viewed as a rather eccentric and "over-the-top" lifestyle choice. I suspect that's mostly down to this weird notion that humans need to get protein and calcium from dairy. But very glad to hear from you, and Jo, that this article appeals to the vegetarian community, too! : )

spirituality on 02/03/2012

Of course most of your arguments are equally valid for vegetarians like me :) Great article.

JoHarrington on 01/23/2012

I'm a vegetarian, but I still found a lot that was very informative in this article. Thanks for writing it.

teddletonmr on 01/22/2012

Thanks for taking time to publish this article on what veganism is about.
Keep up the good work,and best wishes. Mike

WiseFool on 01/21/2012

Thanks, Matthew. Glad you enjoyed it.

Matthew on 01/21/2012

Great article! : )

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