I had a ton of questions, just like most do, when I decided to go vegan. My wife and I had watched a number of documentaries on the benefits for both us and the animals, along with some on the way they treat animals. I was convinced after doing some research and getting common sense answers to my questions. However, we will likely hear many questions and even concerns from people along this journey.
Today, I would like to take a look at some of the most common myths associated with eating a vegan diet (plant-based not Oreo-based). Some of these myths come from the incredible marketing done by large food companies, while others are simply silly.
Vegans are Deficient in Protein
The first question that just about everybody has about a plant-based or vegan diet is how will you get enough protein? We, as a society, have been fed this myth that we need a ton of protein in our diets and our best source of protein is dead animal meat.Doesn't a cow need protein, too? Click To Tweet
Doesn’t a cow need protein, too? These massive creatures must need a ton of protein to survive considering they usually weigh more than 1,300 pounds when slaughtered. That’s a lot of muscle tissue in need of protein. Side Note: The average carcass weight of cows has gone up by 47% since 1975. This just shows how unnatural beef has become because of the very dangerous things they pump into these cows, along with turning them into gluttons just so we can eat a hamburger or steak.
According to “What Does a Cow Need? A Review of Nutrient Requirements”, a cow needs a large amount of protein. If this is the case, where does it come from? Of course, since this same report starts by saying, Profitability and production efficiency are common objectives for many cattle producers,” (that sounds like we are dealing with an assembly line toy, not a living creature) most of the protein in non-grass-fed cattle comes from supplements added to their food because they eat a diet to fatten them up, not to keep them healthy.
However, if we look at what a cow is supposed to eat and what it would eat naturally, we can easily figure out that plants have a larger amount of protein than we might realize. Cows need protein and they have to get it from somewhere. They don’t eat each other or other animals. I have never heard of a cow hunting down some other animal, even before they were used for food production.
Did you know that you only really need about 42 grams of protein each day? This may come as a shock considering a vast majority of diets recommend closer to 100 grams per day. Of course, this number varies, depending on your weight and can go up as high as 80 grams, but it’s not the recommended 100+ grams as many weight-loss diets will have you believing.
Could it be that meat companies are behind these diets and are the ones making society think they need to gorge on protein daily to support their body? They have their hands in government agencies , such as the USDA and FDA, so why would it be far-fetched to think they are behind the so-called high protein diet targeting the very vulnerable thinking they need to lose weight?
In fact, an article from Time.com written by Markham Heid gives details to how the food industry has been lobbying for specific U.S. Dietary Guidelines. So those turning animals into an assembly line to produce food are the ones telling you what to eat. No wonder we think we need to become gluttons for protein in this country. Another article from The Verge, show the same type of influence and how our food guidelines come from lobbying, not science.
The average person eating a plant-based diet gets more than 70 grams of protein a day and many get even more. Since we have been brainwashed to think protein mainly comes from meats, we jump to the conclusion that vegans and vegetarians are protein deficient. However, this is simply not true.Just like the cow, on a grass-fed diet, gets the protein it needs from the plants it eats, so do vegans. Click To Tweet
Just like the cow, on a grass-fed diet, gets the protein it needs from the plants it eats, so do vegans. Some of the best plants for protein include”:
- Lentils – 9 grams of protein per half cup
- Black Beans – 8 grams of protein per half cup
- Quinoa – 8 grams of protein per cup
- Green Peas – 8 grams of protein per cup
- Artichokes – 4 grams of protein per half cup
- Oatmeal – 6 grams of protein per cup
- Chia Seeds – 5 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons
- Edamame – 8.5 grams of protein per half cup
- Spinach – 5 grams of protein per cup
- Asparagus – Over 5 grams of protein per cup
- Other Beans – From 5 to 15 grams of protein per cup
- Almonds – 7 grams of protein per cup or per 2 tablespoons of almond butter
There are a ton of other plant foods just like this with a good amount of protein in them. A great list comes from OneGreenPlanet.org here.
A salad, if put together right, may have just the right amount of protein for a meal, while making oatmeal with chia seeds (or another seed) and almonds provides more than enough for breakfast. The best part, plant foods also contain a ton of fiber, which Americans need desperately. You don’t get fiber from dead animal meat and that’s one of the reasons why it makes you feel so weighed down.The myth that vegans don't eat enough protein is simply false. Click To Tweet
The myth that vegans don’t eat enough protein is simply false. Even some athletes have adopted a plant-based diet for performance, not always due to compassion for animals. Here’s a great post from Forks Over Knives talking about one specific vegan athlete.
Nobody has Proven a Plant-Based Diet is Healthier than a Meat-Eating Diet
This might be the biggest myth outside of the protein myth. Many studies have shown eating a plant-based diet not only stops disease from spreading, but can also cure the body. It has been shown time and time again to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, help with weight loss and provide a number of other health benefits.
The book, How Not To Die by Michael Greger is a great source as he goes into detail on a number of the studies done. Another good choice is The China Study by Thomas Campbell. Both of these books will likely help to open your eyes, if you can open your mind and realize this is real data, from real people who have seen the positive health effects of eating a plant-based diet.
Eating Vegan Means Salads Only
That might be a bit extreme, but many thinks vegans eat horrible tasting foods because they eat many plant-based items. This isn’t true and it’s not all about just salads. Vegetables and plant-based items can be quite delicious, when prepared correctly.
Vegans eat far more than salads including lasagna, stews, pizza, kabobs and so much more. In fact, there are vegan recipe books filled with recipes very similar to western diet recipes, yet far healthier.
Vegans are Weak and Frail
The notion that vegans are weak or frail may be the most annoying of the myths. Click To Tweet
The notion that vegans are weak or frail may be the most annoying of the myths. Personally, I think this is other people’s way of rationalizing their diet and putting themselves above a vegan, even though they will claim vegans think they are better than everybody else.
Regardless, many vegans are actually athletes and many athletes are switching to a plant-based diet because it provides better performance. Champion power lifters, NFL Players, Parkour athletes, MLS Players and so many more are vegans. Just do a simple Google search and you might be surprise how many athletes are vegans and eat a plant-based diet.
Eating Vegan is Too Expensive
This is not really a myth, but one of the many excuses people like to use for not making a change. However, many people think eating a vegan diet is only for rich people or those willing to spend a ton of money on food.
The opposite is true, actually. You’ll spend less on a plant-based diet, especially once you get some recipes mastered, because meat is expensive and many processed foods don’t fill you up. In addition, you’ll likely go to the doctor less and you won’t need to spend nearly as much on health care.
A great website showing you how to eat plant-based on a budget is called Plant Based on a Budget (imagine that!). They have a ton of cheap recipes and even free meal plans you can use for one, two, three or four people, which will cost less than $30 a week per person.
Humans need Milk for Strong Bones
Wow! Does this one bring back memories to the many commercials fed to us as children for anybody? Guess who sponsored all those messages? The Dairy Council, which is made up of dairy farmers, the ones actually profiting from selling more milk and dairy products.No study has shown that drinking milk or eating dairy products helps give you stronger bones. Click To Tweet
No study has shown that drinking milk or eating dairy products helps give you stronger bones. In fact, the rates of hip fractures are highest in countries with diets including large amounts of animal protein and dairy products. Most of us cannot process dairy either.
Think about it this way, drinking milk is like drinking from another species mother’s teat. Cow milk was meant for calves, not humans and doesn’t even agree with our bodies most of the time. Quit diary for just 10 days and you’ll understand this very well.
My Grandparents Lived Into their 90s and ate Meat every day, it must be healthy
It’s great when grandparents live for a very long time, but it’s not proof their diet was any good. When looking at a large population, as The China Study did, it gives us a better picture of what really happens with most people. The longest-living populations have diets based on plants and not meats.
God Gave us Animals to Eat, so We should eat them
First, let’s consider that animals were not supposed to be food and only became food after man fell and Eve ate the apple. Second, if you look at Daniel Chapter 1, God clearly rewarded those eating a plant-based diet. There are other references to a mainly plant diet in the bible, while there are also references to animals being consumed, as well.God did not give us animals so that we could turn them into a factory assembly line of food to feed people. Click To Tweet
God did not give us animals so that we could turn them into a factory assembly line of food to feed people. God didn’t give us animals so that we could grow them for profit. God never said tend to the cattle and slaughter them for food. However, He did say to plant seeds and till the soil.
Personally, the more I read the bible, the more I realize how plant-based people really were. While many cultures ate fish and other meat, it was mainly done during times where plants were not as readily available. Historically, man has eaten animals for survival and when animals couldn’t be hunted or killed, they ate plants, which was more often than not.
Today, we have a choice and we can make the choice to eat plants or animals. We don’t have to continue to grow huge crops only to feed animals because a juicy burger sounds good. I bet if we were more connected with the animals we consume today, we’d consume them far less often.
Vegans are all Hippies
This is just a closed-minded myth. Veganism covers a large number of different types of people from hippies to bodybuilders to preppy parents and so many others. There are many different types of people eating a plant-based diet and the numbers are growing daily.
Children Shouldn’t be Vegan
Actually, the British Dietetic Association has shown that a well-planned vegan diet can work for all ages, even very young children. Wouldn’t you love it if your children craved spinach for breakfast instead of a box of dead food with cartoons on it? Give them more fruits and vegetables and you can change the way they crave now and in the future.
Vegan Meals Don’t Fill You Up
Another myth better to experience than just explain. If you went vegan for a week, you’d be surprised at how full you are, as long as you go plant-based and not Oreo-based (eating starchy alternatives, not plants). A hundred calories of broccoli fills up far more volume than 100 calories of ground beef. Therefore, it fills your stomach faster and you eat less, if you don’t gorge.
Even on a vegan diet, it’s possible to be a glutton, but you’d have to eat a ton more to really go over the daily amount of calories you need. However, the volume you will eat per calorie will be higher, so you will hit the full mark faster, if you eat plants and not vegan substitutes made mainly of soy, pea protein and even sugars.
There are several other myths I could cover, but these are the main ones I have heard. I understand that a Vegan diet isn’t for everybody and not everybody will see a slaughter of an animal on a video and change the way they eat. However, making small changes to consume less of animals can make a huge difference.
Instead of trying to convince you that veganism is the only way to go, I will just say, approach the subject with an open mind. When we open our mind and empty our cup, we have the opportunity to realize what’s really going on instead of being blinded by the marketing messages fed to us by huge corporations and the government.
I know, this is a long post on veganism on a productivity blog, but I believe diet has a profound effect on how productive we are. It’s not just about managing time, using the Pomodoro Technique and getting rid of procrastination. All of the tips I will ever give you about productivity and personal development becomes easier with a better diet.
Think about it, after a lunch consisting mainly of meat, even if it was a chicken breast on a salad, do you feel heavier or lighter? Do you feel more energized or like it’s nap time? Vegans don’t feel so lethargic after eating because we give our bodies nutrients that are alive. Try it for a week to ten days and you’ll notice a difference.