It would seem the most popular connotation to veganism is that of lack—a lack of flavor, a lack of nutrients, and a lack of variety. Still, America has seen a 600% rise in vegans since 2015. It’s safe to say this isn’t another fad. More and more people are realizing the health benefits and the sustainability of an animal-free diet. So why are there still so many haters? We’re debunking the five most common myths about veganism.
1. Vegans don’t get enough protein
The truth is, the average person eats about 100 grams of protein per day, or almost twice the recommended amount. All whole plant foods contain protein, so on a calorically sufficient meal plan, a vegan would easily surpass the daily recommended amount of 46 grams for women, and 56 grams for men. For instance, a day of beans, broccoli, nuts, and whole grains, can add up to more than 80 grams for one serving each. Not sure which veggies have the most protein? Find our top picks here.
2. Vegans can’t build muscle
Type in “vegan bodybuilders” into Instagram and you’ll find thousands of hulk-like men and women who swear by their vegan protein shakes. While research shows that overall vegans tend to be thinner; this is not always the case. People have a tendency to increase their carbohydrates as they decrease their normal sources of animal protein. The issue here is that carbs can lead to overeating and weight gain, which isn’t exactly lean muscle.
The key to building a strong, athletic body as a vegan, is to weight train while eating enough protein throughout the day. Leslie Bonci, R.D., L.D.N., director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, recommends .5-.7g of protein per pound of bodyweight daily. Try Veestro’s Chick’n Nuggets for 30 grams of protein in one serving.
3. Vegan food is centered around soy
While soy is found in tempeh, miso, and tofu—popular “vegan” foods—you can easily make the switch to plant-based without every eating soy. Grains, seeds, legumes, fruits, and veggies are filling and nutrient-rich options. Nuts, also used in nondairy milk substitutes, can a crunch and a kick to meals.
4. Vegan food is tasteless and unsatisfying
The culinary world has never had a problem with making vegetables into delicious works of art. Indian dishes are prime examples of entrees that are jumping with flavor and heat! Check out this list of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in America.
5. Veganism is too hard to maintain
While avoiding all animal-linked foods may seem daunting, the food industry has made veganism easier than ever before. Many restaurants have also taken into consideration the upsurge in plant-based eating, marking vegan dishes on the menu, and substituting items upon request, as they would a food allergy.
The benefits of veganism are also hard to ignore, creating momentum for true lifestyle change. Plant-based eating can increase energy, detox the body of food-borne allergies, and reduce overall inflammation. A study published in Nature compared plant-based diets and animal-based diets; researchers discovered an increase in B.wadsworthia, a bacterial microbe linked to inflammatory bowel disease, inside the stomachs of the people who ate animal foods. People who ate meat also had more fecal bile acid in their guts, which can cause gastrointestinal infections.