It’s January! We hope that you are taking on the Veganuary challenge with us. To help you along, we’ve put together some very common vegan myths that you might stumble upon during your vegan month. Let us know on Facebook or Twitter if you can think of any others!
- Vegans don’t get enough protein
Studies have shown that most vegans get too much protein. The average American meat eater’s diet contains double the recommended protein, which leads to a higher cancer risk.1 Vegans get their protein from a multitude of sources. It’s plentiful in wholemeal bread, beans, corn, lentils, peas, chickpeas, oatmeal, nuts and of course, all of our products!
1 Campbell and Campbell, The China Study
- Animals eat each other, so it’s only natural for us to eat them too
Many animals are capable of showing empathy, but the reality is that in the wild, carnivores hunt because they have no choice. If they showed empathy towards their prey they would starve. The same is not true for humans. Humans not only survive, but thrive on a vegan diet and plant-based foods are available in abundance.
- You have to eat meat for strength and energy
Today, just about every runner knows that spaghetti is a better pre-marathon meal than, say, scrambled eggs or steak. The Australian Institute of Sport’s list for pre-event meals omitted meat. They added that a ‘well-chosen vegetarian diet contains adequate energy and protein, is high in carbohydrates and low in fat – making it ideal for athletes striving to meet the dietary guidelines encouraged for sport.’ 1
These top athletes didn’t need meat for strength and energy:
- Robert Parish, who is one of the “Greatest Players in NBA History”
- “Olympian of the Century”, Carl Lewis, who is a gold-medal winner with a heart to match.
- Ultimate Fighter winner and King of the Cage world champion, Mac Danzig.
- Four-time Mr Universe, Bill Pearl is a gem for animals, with his healthy vegetarian diet.
1 Higdon, Marathon: The Ultimate Training and Racing Guide, 108-110
- Soya contains oestrogen and lowers testosterone
Soya beans contain isoflavones, which are members of compounds called phytoestrogens. Because isoflavones bind to the same receptors in the body as oestrogen, a misconception has built up about soya. The bottom line is that isoflavones are not the same as oestrogen, and do not have the same effect as oestrogen.
Furthermore, a 2010 study looked at whether soya has oestrogenic-like effects in men and lowers available testosterone levels. It concluded: “The results … suggest that neither soy foods nor isoflavone supplements alter measures of bioavailable testosterone concentrations in men.” 1
1 Hamilton-Reeves JM, et al.
- But what about fish? I heard that they don’t have feelings
Numerous studies provide evidence that fish do in fact feel pain in the same way that we do. Scientists from the Universities of Edinburgh and Liverpool placed bee venom on fish’s lips. “The pattern of the electrical recordings was typical of those from pain receptors in humans, strongly suggesting that the lips of a fish contain pain receptors…. the neurons show a similar firing pattern to that in the human nervous system when transmitting a pain signal.” 1
1 Lynn Sneddon et al, Do Fish Perceive Pain? May 2003, roslin.ac.uk
- Cows have to be milked in order for them to live healthy lives
We interfere with nature by drinking the milk that cows produce for their offspring. Cows are not dissimilar to humans in that they produce milk when they have calves. The reason dairy cows produce so much milk is because they’re impregnated and fed growth hormones by farmers. We’re the only species that drinks milk after infancy.
- Wouldn’t there be an overload of farm animals if we didn’t eat them?
Most animals we eat are bred for that purpose. So if everyone went vegan, there would simply be less of them because we would stop producing them. In the event that the whole world went vegan, it’s unlikely we would be overrun by farm animals. If more people stopped eating meat, causing demand to fall, this breeding industry would start to slow down as it would become less profitable. If everyone stopped eating meat completely, the industry would eventually cease to exist. In the short term, livestock currently being kept for meat and dairy could be rehomed or allowed to live out their lives in sanctuaries.
- I’ve heard that plants feel pain too
A nervous system and a brain enable the sensation of pain. These are possessed by humans and animals but are absent in plants. The vast majority of grains raised today are used as cattle feed. It takes 2kg of feed to produce 1kg of chicken. So by eating plants directly, you will end up saving the lives of more plants anyway. 1
- Vegan food is boring. What do you eat?
This is a myth that almost all vegans are very happy to challenge. Vegans love sharing their passion for food and you’ll find a real sense of community between food bloggers, chefs, Instagrammers, celebrities, etc. Initially creating food you’ve never made before might seem daunting, but you will be amazed at how quickly you discover new flavours and recipes. There are heaps of places to find inspiration for vegan meal ideas. Check out our recipe section to get started!
- One person doesn’t make a difference
What about these ‘one persons’: Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, Adolf Hitler? Total dedication by one person to his or her chosen cause can make a huge difference. We also forget the influence we have on others as a parent, child, brother, sister, friend or colleague. We don’t just affect the thinking and behaviour of those we influence, but also their contacts – which is a geometrical progression. The question is not “can you make a difference?” You already do… it’s just a matter of what kind of difference you choose to make.