Vegan Myths & Misconceptions
Top Questions concerning a Plant-Based Diet
Those choosing to partake in a plant-based diet do so for a multitude of reasons. Some are looking to improve their lifestyles through their diet. Others want to decrease their impact on the environment or they have ethical concerns with eating animals or products derived from them. Whatever your reasons may be for choosing or investigating this path, we realize that there are questions surrounding a plant-based diet and we’d like to explore these topics with you.
Myth 1 “How will I get my Protein?”
A common concern among many would-be vegans and vegetarians, this is a great question. As discussed more in-depth in Day 3’s article, there are alternative, complete protein sources that are in-line with a plant-based diet plan. Instead of including meat, which tends to be high in protein, a plant-based diet can include these three categories to ensure ample protein intake and absorption: Seeds and Nuts, Legumes, & Grains.
Myth 2 “I won’t get enough nutrients on a vegan diet!”
When adopting a plant-based diet, it is important to learn how to increase your intake and absorption of certain nutrients that are often over-looked in a plant-based diet. Plant-based diets tend to be rich in antioxidants, vitamins and healthy fats. Diets that include meat, by contrast, tend to contain more protein, iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin B-12. Knowing that these are possible nutrients that you may be lacking on a plant-based diet, here are a few ways to make sure you get these nutrients:
- Protein: See Myth 1 above.
- Iron: you should make sure to consume more plant iron from dark, leafy greens. Also, avoid absorption inhibitors such as tea and coffee which will oppose the effects of absorbing iron from plant sources.
- Zinc: Eat soybeans, cashews and sunflower seeds, each rich in zinc.
- Calcium: Eat tofu, beans and almonds as well as other calcium-fortified foods.
- Vitamin B12: Take this as a supplement vitamin, or from foods that are fortified with Vitamin B12, such as some breakfast cereals and soy products (1).
Myth 3 “I can’t afford it!”
This myth may have held up a little viability a few years ago, but there are many affordable options for a plant-based diet today. Local grocery stores and farmers markets are supplying whole foods and produce at an affordable price. As more organic produce and foods become available, prices will continue to be accessible, making this myth busted!
Myth 4 “I’ll get too hungry!”
If you feel that a plant-based diet will keep you hungry for more, you are not alone. The problem is the caloric intake you are used to in a non-plant based diet is higher, leaving you feeling hungry after a meal. Be sure to get whole grains, nuts and heart healthy fats and you will overcome the feelings of hunger.
- Carolyn, Author of Vegetarian Voice. “Five Nutrients Vegetarian Diets Lack”. October 2, 2014. vegetarianvoice.com/vegetarian-nutrition/7/five-nutrients-vegetarian-diets-lack/