It’s almost the end of Veganuary, and I hope it’s been going well for all of you taking part, and that all of you are staying vegan.
Perhaps you’ve spent the month being asked questions from concerned friends and family members, who think that you might not be getting enough protein, or nutrients… or flavour in your diet!
Well, you can tell them that there’s really nothing to worry about. There are a lot of misconceptions about the vegan diet and I will discuss just a few of those here and explain why they belong in the realms of mythology.
It’s all healthy salads and bland, boring, food.
Sure, there are lots of salads, if you so wish to eat them, but they all taste amazing – much better than a plate of lettuce and a few tomatoes. If you haven’t tried a Buddha Bowl, I highly recommend them – they take salad to a whole new level.
However, vegans still eat cakes, pies, burgers, sweets, pastries, chocolates. Everything that a non-vegan can eat, there is a vegan version of. You can make many of these yourself from scratch, but there are loads of foods in the supermarkets now.
We are still people with busy lives, and many of us work. Therefore, just like anyone else, we sometimes want easy, convenience food too.
Just because we don’t want to eat animal flesh and products anymore, we still want the flavours, tastes and textures we are used to. Our tastebuds don’t suffer and as you are about to discover, vegan food doesn’t taste like sand or cardboard – don’t believe all the jokes you hear on TV!
Vegans Don’t Get Enough Protein
There are so many plant based foods which contain protein, the list is very long. Tofu, soy beans, wheat, broccoli, spinach, beans, lentils, pulses, nuts, chia seeds, peas, quinoa and wholewheat bread, to name just a few.
You can get protein with or without mock meats, but the mock meats on the market are filled with pure plant based proteins, so there’s no need to worry.
Oh, and the brand new vegan sausage roll from Gregg’s which has caused rather a stir on social media – it contains more protein than the regular meaty one!
Vegan Food is Difficult, Expensive & Time Consuming
When preparing vegan food, as with any other meals, you can spend as much or as little time cooking as you wish – the same as anyone else. There are beautiful recipes that can be prepared from scratch, and there are lots of lovely convenience foods and ready meals on offer too. The choice is yours.
There’s also none of that ‘getting it just right’ timing to avoid food poisoning from under-cooked meats.
In terms of budget – as with any foods, there are value ranges and fancy, expensive ranges. Beans, lentils and pulses cost much less per 100g than meats. There are also budget friendly meat replacements, but also more expensive ones.
A Plant Based Diet isn’t Healthy or Balanced
Lots of people are unaware that you can get all the nutrients you need from a vegan diet, and you’ve probably heard about the many scientific studies and peer reviewed research that has highlighted some of the risks around meat eating.
The World Health Organisation report in November 2015 ranked processed meat as a group 1 carcinogen (the same category as cigarettes, alcohol and asbestos). Eating just 50g per day (two rashers of bacon) increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. It also classified red meat as a group 2A carcinogen.
For good bowel health and reduced risk of bowel cancer (which is higher amongst those who eat red and processed meat) the NHS recommend high fibre fruit and vegetables and plenty of water.
There are lots more vegan myths out there, and I’ve barely skimmed the surface with these. But I hope you can see that it’s not as scary as some make it out to be, and that being vegan is not only good for you, but great for the planet and the animals too.
I’d love to hear about your Veganuary journeys, so please leave me a comment if you wish.
Thanks for reading.