Everyone loves to hate vegans. Perhaps it's the stigma that has been attached to the word “vegan”, or maybe it's the feeling of needing to defend your love of cheeseburgers. Trust me, I was not vegan for 18 years and I, an avid burger and ice cream lover, did not understand why anyone would torture themselves with a vegan diet.
While I was interested in the idea of veganism, I resisted going vegan because I believed the following myths, and could not find answers to the following questions.
This post isn't to force you to go vegan or to annoy you about how healthy the lifestyle is. Instead, I wanted to answer the questions that you most likely have wanted to ask your vegan friends/ acquaintances.
1.“But where do you get your protein?”
This seems to be the top question that people ask vegans. I'm not sure why our society is so obsessed with protein, but a plethora of scientific research proves that it is extremely uncommon for a normally healthy person to be protein deficient --so, Vegans most likely aren't struggling to receive protein. In fact, there are plenty of foods that will give you just as much protein as meat. For example, peanut butter has 8 grams, lentils have 9 grams and tofu has 10 grams. Our vegan diet doesn’t make us lose muscle or get weaker; one of the World’s Strongest men, Patrik Baboumian, is vegan. There's some food for thought.
2. Doesn't it suck to just eat lettuce all day?
I personally really love lettuce! BUT my vegan diet is actually really similar to omnivorous diets (sans meat and dairy, of course). I personally like to make vegan quesadillas, rice bowls, Chick’n tenders with French fries, pancakes, smoothie bowls, burritos, stir fry, and pasta with meatless meatballs! Nothing is better than eating a bunch of food that satisfies cravings AND will leave you feeling energized rather than feeling bloated and overstuffed.
Oh and not to mention, I still eat a pint of non-dairy ice cream every other day (which isn't healthy, but COMPLETELY satisfies my ice cream addiction). Check out my favorite vegan ice cream: (Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy; So Delicious; Breyer’s Non-Dairy).
3. Why are you so annoying about the fact that you're vegan?
Okay, I get it. I completely felt that same way when I was still an omnivore. Vegans, to me, were the annoying crunchy granola tree-huggers who would throw animal blood at you and try convince you that you're a vile human being. While there are some EXTREME vegans, most vegans are actually tame and peaceful. The extreme Vegans you see are probably avid PETA lovers, and a lot of vegans actually dislike peta because of their extremity.
Imagine learning a huge amount of information that completely changes the way you view your life and the world. A lot of vegans are “annoying” because they feel incredibly passionate about their research and their personal diets. Some are “annoying” because since the information clicked for them and changed their lives, they want to be the person who changes yours.
But also think about how you treat vegans. A lot of my friends send me pictures every time they eat pizza or make fun of me for opting out of a burger. While I may be “annoying” for not eating cheese, ask yourself if you're annoying for constantly pestering me about my dietary choices.
So yeah, vegans can be annoyingly passionate, but don't let that lead you to completely write off the entire lifestyle!
4. Don't you miss eating chicken and cheeseburgers?
I think I can speak for most vegans when I say, probably not. When you learn certain information about the meat industry, you look at that food differently. What once was appetizing to us is no longer.
About a week or two of being vegan leaves you with basically no cravings of meat. When I'm out with friends, I am completely unbothered by the bacon burger in front of them. While we don't have real meat or dairy, we still have vegan chicken (which I personally think tastes like chicken without the fat), vegan ground beef, vegan cheese, vegan mayonnaise (also made by Hellmann's), vegan meatballs, veggie burgers, and even vegan pork! While these replacements might not taste exactly like meat, they're enough to satisfy any cravings, and I truly think that they taste REALLY GOOD! (Just a friendly reminder that I was probably the biggest Baconator and pizza lover that you could meet. And YES, I think vegan food tastes better than the meat I used to eat).
Trust us, we're not suffering.
5. Isn't it super expensive and time-consuming to be vegan?
Honestly, it is definitely a little bit more time consuming to avoid meat and dairy. But that's because our country is obsessed with bacon, beef, and cheese. We have to look a little harder for clean and fresh food, but it's all accessible. I'm telling you… being vegan seriously is NOT that hard.
I've always thought that being vegan means closing yourself off to most foods and therefore eating less; however, being vegan allows you to expand yourself to more vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and more! Instead of reaching for processed foods or fast food, most of the meals you eat are fresh, honest, and clean.
You definitely will have to make a lot of your own meals (unless you're lucky enough to live around a lot of vegan restaurants), but the meals could be as simple as microwaving 1 Minute Rice and some vegetables, or even putting some spinach on top of ramen noodles (sans the chicken/ beef seasoning).
As for the cost, our country makes sure that unhealthy food is far cheaper than healthy food. Since it is so cheap to get a Big Mac or a meal from Burger King, vegetables and other foods do seem more expensive. However, once you restock your house with the vegan necessities (vegan butter, mayo, milk, grains, and nuts), your grocery bill will probably be equal to your bill of your current diet.
(That, of course, varies based on location and access to fresh vegetables.)
6. What even are the health benefits?
You're probably thinking, “sacrificing my favorite foods just isn't worth it”; but for some people, going vegan can be the difference between life and death; health and sickness; and peace and suffering.
Veganism has been proven to reverse or reduce diseases such as High Blood Pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, Breast Cancer, Obesity, High Cholesterol, and more.
This experiment proves that vegans and vegetarians had lower BMI than non-vegans, meaning that their bodies had less body fat and were therefore healthier.
Dairy can cause autoimmune diseases such as an overproduction of mucus, stomach issues, and more. Cutting out dairy from your diet may not only lessen these problems, but can clear your skin, decrease bloating, and improve overall digestion. Many reports even show that countries with the lowest dairy intake had the lower osteoporosis cases.
7. What gave you that final PUSH to finally go vegan?
The initial decision to go vegan varies among people. I immediately decided to go vegan after watching, “What The Health” on Netflix at 2am. Since that night, I completely cut off meat and dairy and fully dove into a completely new lifestyle. I recommend reading some books (Skinny Bitch, Main Street Vegan, and No Meat Athlete are some good ones) and if you're more of a movie person, you can watch What the Health, Cowspiracy, Forks over Knives, Vegucated, and Food, Inc. I mainly get my information from vegan YouTubers, like Liv's Healthy Life, Hitomi Mochizuki, Tess Begg, and Mic the Vegan, just to name a few).
As you continue to educate yourself on the danger of meat and dairy, the false advertising from the meat and dairy industry, vegan recipes, and health benefits, it will all just click.
If you're interested in going vegan, keep doing research and figure out a plan! If you're like me and want to dive in, do it! If you prefer to slowly ease into the diet, start by cutting out a certain type of meat or dairy, such as ground beef or eggs.
If you still absolutely despise the idea of veganism (and you have every right to, I can't force you to agree with me,) then hopefully this gave you a little more insight on what your vegan friends are doing!
Whatever diet you have, try to keep yourself balanced, nourished, and happy!
Bon Appetite (maybe Krabby Patties are veggie burgers?)