Veganism (n): refrainment from consuming animal products, not only meat but also eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived substances.
Ahhhhh, veganism. Growing up in L.A., I was very much used to going to unique and versatile restaurants that accommodated nearly every diet that exists. I discovered my personal dietary restrictions fairly recently, around the same time I started to realize the benefits of clean eating. I knew what veganism was, but I never really thought much about it, other than “I could never do that, nor would I ever want to.”
And of course, I had my misconceptions and personal judgments about the practice of vegan eating. And after plenty of research and consulting with people who follow the diet, I realized that most of my thoughts about the practice are completely false. So here they are, the 5 most common vegan misconceptions, finally put to rest:
1. Every vegan that exists will forever try to shove veganism down your throat.
I just kind of assumed this is what it was like. I can’t speak for vegans, and I can’t speak for anyone who knows one. Some vegans are truly just passionate about their ways of life and I’m sure they aren’t trying to make you feel bad about what you put in your mouth. Just like in politics, you may or may not agree with the message, but it is your right it to be heard. (And based on personal encounters, my vegan best friend does not gag and does not sulk when I eat eggs. It doesn’t happen. She doesn’t yell at me about baby chickens.)
2. Being vegan won’t allow you to receive the proper nutrients.
I feel like this is definitely the most important one. This is completely false. Meat is not your only source of protein. Milk is not your only source of calcium. It will definitely takes research to truly solidify a proper vegan food pyramid, but it is nowhere near impossible! It just takes a little effort. Need protein? Substitute beans, nuts, soybean sprouts. Not only that, but the food industry is always evolving. All it takes is willingness to explore. Imitation chicken nuggets exist. And they are freakin’ delicious.
3. Vegan cooking is too difficult.
- Toast your favorite bread and smear some avocado on it. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. You can make it at home. It’s filling, and its completely animal free!
- Make your own lettuce cups! Take pieces of iceberg lettuce, and fill with any veggies of your choice. Add teriyaki sauce, and voila!
- Take mushroom caps, and fill them with salt, pepper, and breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Combine with brown or white rice and a side salad!
4. It’s impossible to eat out as a vegan.
The people I’ve spoken to confirm that eating out really is the hardest part of being vegan- but who doesn’t like a little challenge? Restaurants all around the world are now accommodating so many different food lifestyles. Substitutions can always be made. There will always be healthy alternatives! I recently went out to a Mexican Restaurant that was completely 100% organic & vegan. Safe to say it was probably some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever had! I cannot utter this enough: it’s about exploration.
5. Vegan food isn’t good.
Have you tried fake chicken nuggets? Or Vegan celebration roast? Or vegan enchiladas? Didn’t think so. Don’t knock it till you try it!
P.S. : Ben and Jerrys just came out with dairy-free ice cream.
P.P.S: Oreos are vegan. Yes.
And so I’ll leave you with this: I am not a vegan. I never have been. But once I became informed, I began to respect their dedication much more and began to ditch my old ways of thinking of all the things wrong with being a vegan and started focusing on all the benefits it can bring into your life. We fetishize food so much in this world. Once we realize that food is fuel, we can change the way we look at food and truly see and respect all that we wish to put into our bodies. So whether you’re a vegan or a carnivore, cherish your body and give it what it needs. It’ll thank you later.
Shout out to Erica, Eliza, and Nicole for inspiring this article. I love you.