I’ve been vegan for just over three and a half years now and although I’m entirely convinced that I’m doing right by moral, environmental and health related standards, four years ago I would have laughed in your face at the thought of giving up meat. I was the biggest meat eater in my family, I ate ridiculous amounts of meat without ever thinking twice about it. My favorite kind of meat was ribs, either that or salami.
I remember my cousin going vegetarian and my response being: “It’s just meat, who cares?” Fast forward to today, here I am, I’d be the one laughed at but also the one proving the misconceptions wrong. In my experience veganism is the most morally sound way to live. A way to significantly reduce environmental impacts and to reduce potential triggers for cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
1. Veganism causes deficiencies
Truth is, any diet can cause deficiencies if it’s approached in the wrong way. Although nutritionally speaking, animal products are rich in a lot of things, this does not mean that cutting them out will immediately cause deficiencies. Often times the root cause of a deficiency is eating too little or eating too few nutritionally dense foods. Regardless of how simple it is to get in your daily requirements, sometimes life gets in the way. Student dinners sometimes consist of noodles and rice cakes, breakfasts of toast and jam. I’d always recommend taking a multivitamin, just to be sure.
2. It’s just an excuse to eat less and restrict yourself
Unfortunately the veganism is often perpetuated as a trend and the thing with trends is that people don’t look into it, they just go along with what everyone else is doing. As a general rule, plant-based foods have fewer calories than animal products. This means for an entirely plant-based meal you’d have to eat more to consume a sufficient amount of calories. A lot of people are afraid to eat more because they assume they’ll gain weight. I promise you, an extra handful of broccoli or cashews will make you feel much better in the long run than eating mac and cheese.
Although it’s true that veganism in and of itself is a restrictive diet (you very literally cut out an entire food group) this does not mean the meals have to be restrictive. You can and should eat more than you would, and the options for vegan meals are surprising in variety. Vegan food isn’t just celery and salad leaves, it’s not just rabbit food.
Check out some examples here
3. Veganism doesn’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things
Being vegan saves hundreds of lives you wouldn’t normally have considered you were taking. By buying animal products you’re essentially paying another person to kill an animal. Brutal right? Meat and other animal product production is resource intensive and requires huge amounts of water, land and food. Lastly, the amount of carbon emissions that come from animal agriculture actually exceed transport emissions. Look it up. It’s crazy.
4. There’s no way to build muscle on a vegan diet
I started lifting weights around the time I went vegan and haven’t had any issues whatsoever with gaining muscle, recovering or performing because of my diet. As long as you’re eating enough and being mindful of your intake, there shouldn’t be any issues. Also, there are a number of really famous vegan bodybuilders/athletes that vouch for my point. Some people thriving on veganism are Tia Blanco (professional surfer), Griff Whalen (wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens), Torre Washington (bodybuilder), Mike Tyson etc.
Bonus celebrity vegans:
- Miley Cyrus
- Alicia Silverstone
- Liam Hemsworth
- Natalie Portman
- Ellen Page
- Joaquin Phoenix
- Woody Harelson
5. If the animal has a good life what does it matter
Ask yourself this: if you’ve had a good life would it be justified to kill you? How does the quality of the life of the animal change that its life is ending when it doesn’t want it to?
6. Veganism has nothing to do with the environment
I’m sure you’ve heard of the UN giving the world 12 years to attempt to repair climate damages and to take action to save the planet. In climate, conservation recycling isn’t enough. The impact of farming and animal agriculture is unprecedented. Emissions created by both livestock and processing facilities for the animals contribute massively to global greenhouse gases. It’s easy to dissociate yourself from the production of what you’re eating because you just see it packaged at the grocery store, and never before then. There’s value in being aware of where your products are coming from and how you are contributing to environmental damage.
7. Giving up bacon is so not worth it
I was that guy too, saying I’d never give up meat because it just tastes so good. And it’s true, animal products, in general, do taste good, there’s no denying it. And yet there are so many substitutes that don’t take the life of an animal or damage the environment as animal products do. Every product out there has a vegan counterpart, cookies, cakes, burgers (check out the beyond burger), even eggs!
Anything you can eat I can eat vegan!
8. It’s just an animal, they don’t care and don’t feel a thing
Actually, and I know I can’t speak for animals, animals can feel pain just like we can. They have a nervous system and receptors, so being struck, shot, drugged is not without pain or trauma. And don’t be that person that tries to argue by saying “but plants have feelings too, they feel pain.”. Plants don’t have a nervous system, nor do they have a brain.
Have you ever seen those videos of elephants grieving over their dead? Or whales carrying around their offspring even after they pass away? Tell me again that animals can’t feel a thing.
Also, think for a second about the way we treat domesticated animals, why are they so valued and others are treated like dirt?
If you want the harsh truth about factory farmed animals and slaughterhouse footage then watch Earthlings. WARNING: very graphic and distressing.
9. I can’t change, I was raised this way
I was raised with animal products as well, my family thought I was insane when I declared I’ll never eat cheese, milk, eggs or meat again. Flash forward to today, my family are my biggest supporters. They eat vegan with me (because they want to) and tell me how surprised they are that there are so many options and that they taste delicious.
I won’t deny it’s hard to break the cycle. For the first few months of being vegan my brother threatened to put meat and butter in every meal I ate – mind you he was 19 at the time. It’s awkward to come to a family gathering and not be able to eat the birthday cake or the roast. But veganism is well and truly on the rise, there are so many options, restaurants are catering to it more and more. And as people become accustomed to your choices, they’ll ease into it. Don’t expect everyone to jump into it with you though, it takes time for people to see what you see.
10. Vegans are pushy, angry activists
I’ve definitely met a fair share of angry vegans, I’ve been an angry vegan as well. But I’ve met many many more angry omnivores who were so threatened by the concept of veganism that they ridiculed me and made me out to be fighting a useless cause. Most of the time the angry vegans you’ll meet are just incredibly passionate. They can’t unsee or unlearn what they know. We’re all just trying to do right by our own set of morals in terms of ethics.
Resources (if you’re curious)
- Cowspiracy (documentary, available on Netflix)
- Forks over Knives (documentary, available on Netflix)
- What the Health (documentary, available on Netflix)
- Earthlings (warning: very graphic)
- Earthling Ed (youtube channel)