When I started a plant-based diet this past July, I noticed immediate benefits. My cardio improved, I felt more energized, and waking up and going to bed became effortless. I felt so good. I wondered why the whole world even bothered eating meat. As usual when I have a question, I went straight to the Internet. It seems everyone has an opinion on veganism, whether they have tried it or not. However, I paid most attention to those articles written by current and former vegans. I learned many vegans lacked the necessary education to adopt the diet correctly. Yes, people can eat only fruits, vegetables, and grains and still be unhealthy. Due to their exclusion of two major food groups, dairy and meat, vegans more than omnivores need to watch their nutrition. Taken from personal experience and online health articles, here are X reasons vegans don’t hate the players, but hate the game:
1. “You’re not living life!”
“How can you enjoy yourself without having a steak in life?” Bad puns aside, a daily annoyance comes from the comments of people perplexed as to how vegans can be anything but miserable. Personally, I feel happier knowing I can eat what I want. It’s a lifestyle choice, not a death sentence. If I wanted to eat meat, I could; I simply prefer to veg-out.
The confusion about veganism partly has to do with the diets that resemble it, such as plant-based diets and vegetarianism, and ovopescatarianism, Vegans maintain a lifestyle much stricter than simply eating a plant-based diet, like mine. According to The Vegan Society (yes, one exists), they also seek to exclude “all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” While always answering veganism questions must grow exhausting, it does make it easier for vegans to indoctrinate more people into their cult-like society.
Everyone has a different ideal diet. One man’s tofu is another man’s poison. Besides that, people need to consume animal products, the only natural source of B-12 appropriate for human assimilation. Vegans can only do what they do because of modern vitamins. Otherwise, veganism (and vegans) would have been dead a long time ago.
“Cool beans, hot rice, put’em together to bring out the spice.” The myth of protein combining—putting multiple non-animal derived foods together to make a “complete” protein—has been debunked by the American Dietetic Association since 1988. Vegans can reach their recommended daily protein intake by varying their diet to include enough of all essential amino acids. Nancy Clark explains, “It’s not that there aren’t good sources of vegan protein. But it’s not as bioavailable as meat. So you need to have more.” Which explains why not all vegans are skin and bone. Amazing.
When it comes to vitamin D, people are sort of like plants. Just exposing their skin to the sun, people produce enough vitamin D to meet the recommended daily amount. According to DavyandTracy.com, this means, “for a light-skinned person, 15-30 minutes of full sun exposure on the face and arms each day . . . . Darker skinned people will need more exposure.” Most people can get the vitamin D they need with a little sunbathing. So if you’re vegan, skip the spray tan and hit the beach.
I will repeat this as many times as necessary: People were not meant to be vegan. Without vitamin B-12 supplements. They. Would. Die. What happens if people lack vitamin B-12? To name a few, symptoms include “loss of energy, tingling, numbness, reduced sensitivity to pain or pressure, blurred vision, abnormal gait, sore tongue, poor memory, confusion, hallucinations and personality changes.” Some people think mental health is overrated, but I prefer eating nuts over being nuts, so pass me the B-12.
The evidence might be anecdotal, but I don’t care. My cardio has improved so much since I switched to eating only plants, it’s one of the main reasons I hate my diet. I feel so good, I am almost afraid to eat meat and lose those cardio gains.
Nobody has to go vegan to eat healthy. Rather, according to D. Enette Larson Meyer, public health would improve tremendously not by convincing everyone to turn vegan, but simply “eat one less serving of meat every day.” Says Dr. Kim Williams, “Simply reducing the amount of animal products in your diet lowers your risk of high blood pressure.” As usual, moderation rather than absolutism is the rule.
Veganism has its pros and cons, but vegans choose the lifestyle because they believe it’s good for them. Omnivores eat meat and plants because they believe it’s good for them. Diets, like people, are tricky. At the end of the day, everyone should listen to their body before cutting out entire food groups. Your diet should make you healthy. If it can’t do that, consider changing it. Otherwise, do it because you love it. If you don’t love it, maybe you should start.