5 Vegan Myths Debunked: What You Should Stop Saying to Vegans
After being vegan for a year, I have noticed some comments that are made over and over again in response to the fact that I choose to avoid meat, dairy, and eggs. I have listed out some of the most common ones, why they are misconceptions, and why you should avoid saying them! Through this post, I am trying to foster mutual understanding between both vegans and non-vegans alike - I respect all dietary choices, and I don't aim to offend, criticise, or belittle anyone!
1. The Protein Concern:
"How do you even get protein if it's not from animals?"/"Where do you get your protein?/"You won't get enough nutrients and you'll be tired all the time!"/"Looks like you're going to die of protein deficiency!"/"But don't carbs make you fat?"
I could probably create an entire blog post dedicated to all the different variations of this protein-related question. Long story short, vegans are NOT protein deficient. In fact, after turning vegan, I have been paying more attention to the food that I consume to ensure that I am not lacking in any crucial nutrients - I used to think it was normal to be eating a plate of plain pasta for lunch, but now I will go out of my way to avoid that type of 'meal', because I am more conscious of the amount of protein and other nutrients that I should be having every day. Here is a list of high-protein food that commonly appears in my daily diet:
- Peanut butter (2 tbsp): 8 grams
- Almonds (50g): 11 grams
- Oats (100g): 15 grams
- Soymilk (1 cup): 8 grams -- that's more than a cup of cow's milk
- Tofu (1 block): 36 grams
- Tempeh (100g): 19 grams
- Chickpeas (100g): 19 grams
- Black beans (100g): 21 grams
- Edamame (100g): 11 grams
- Kidney beans (100g): 24 grams
As you can probably tell, protein deficiency is the least of our worries!
2. The Starvation Concern:
"What do you even eat?!"/"Can we still go out and get food? You can't eat at [insert restaurant] right?"/"So basically you can eat nothing?!"
I understand where this misconception stems from, but salads are not the only thing that vegans can and do eat. In fact, in the time that I've been vegan, I can probably count the number of times I have eaten a salad off the top of my head. I don't like salads either. Eliminating meat from your diet does not lead to a diet exempt of any color other than green.
Green Monday is an organisation based in Hong Kong that aims to promote green living, and one of the many incredible things that they do is collaborate with restaurants to create Green, plant-based menus. Many restaurants that thrive on their vast selection of meat have adopted these menus so that they may cater to a larger range of customers. This also means that vegans can visit increasingly more restaurants in Hong Kong and find a decent amount of items to eat from the menu. Even restaurants with the most vegan-defying names such as Beef & Liberty and The Butcher's Club sell delicious vegan burgers that can be enjoyed by vegans. Wherever you go, there's probably going to be some kind of veg option! (unless you go to those Chinese street food stores... it is practically impossible to find vegan options at those)
3. The Lack of Satisfaction Concern:
"I don't get how you can not eat meat! It tastes so good!"/"Don't you miss meat?"/Do you want to eat my steak?"
I'm not denying that meat tastes great; there is a reason why mock meats are so widely enjoyed by vegans over the world. However, at least for me, I prefer to think long term - meaning that I am happy to sacrifice my short term satisfaction derived from eating meat to benefit our environment, the wellbeing of animals, and my own health (processed meat is a prime example of food that is extremely detrimental towards your health)! Of course, I'm not trying to be condescending towards those who would rather enjoy a plate of steak, but those are my personal values, and that's why I chose to become vegan in the first place! :)
4. The Overly Concerned Concern:
"But the meat is already dead..."/"One person not eating meat is not going to change anything!"
If you've ever taken a basic economics course, then I'm sure you are already aware of the concepts of supply and demand. The meat isn't 'dead' because some farmers on the other side of the world feel like slaughtering animals for fun. If there wasn't such a high demand for meat, then there wouldn't be a reason for the animals to be killed in the first place. Of course, one person's diet isn't going to make an enormous impact on the world (but going vegan for a year does reduce about 400,000 gallons of water, 7,300 pounds of CO2, and 14,600 pounds of grain). It's a collective effort, and it works just like the domino effect. One person's lifestyle will influence others to change, and eventually, when everyone catches on, less forests will need to be destroyed to be populated by farm animals, less clean water will be wasted on the production of meat, and less carbon emissions will be released to ruin our atmosphere.
5. This Makes Me Concerned:
"You're vegan? F*** you", or "Oh, I can't be friends with you sorry"
I still struggle to fathom how anyone could utter such a disdainful comment - especially when the individual attacked by the first remark is the farthest you'll get from a vegan who actively tries to impose their beliefs on you. It's pitiful when people make the immediate assumption that all vegans are 'annoying, white, and entitled' and jump to the conclusion that '[you] can't be friends anymore". If they've disrespected your beliefs, then go ahead and form your disapproving opinion of them, but if you don't take the time to understand them, then don't be so quick to judge and criticise. I don't have much of an argument to combat this statement, because this one is up to you to change!
Special thanks to the following Instagrammers for their contribution! :)
@6thshare @svaskarma @adrienne.chen @inesxhui @tofurambles @therawcircus @correarubi2001 @meelaaanied @trycerahyun @bombinatebuzzing @camelot.b @chickpeasandkeile @makingtheboxbigger