When I made the decision to go vegan, I was imagining that bankruptcy was imminent because of how expensive the internet told me it would be. I thought that I’d shrivel up and die because I wasn’t getting any protein and that my bones would crumble under the weight of my calcium deficient smugness.
Eight months later, and I’ve got some news for you about being vegan.
Myth 1: Being Vegan is expensive
You are damn right it is! Being vegan can be expensive when you’re buying speciality products, but that isn’t veganism. Being vegan means that you aren’t consuming or purchasing any animal products. Chances are that you spend a fair bit on meat, eggs and dairy products each month, but what if you remove that from your grocery bill?
Logically, you should be spending less on your groceries because you’re now only purchasing fruit, vegetables and legumes. Sure, I love faux meat, but that isn’t the foundation of my vegan diet and a lot of retailers are offering cost-effective vegan alternatives in their stores. In South Africa, Checkers now has the Simple Truth range that includes a variety of vegan products at really cost effective prices.
Myth 2: Vegans have a protein deficiency
The most common misconception is that you have to eat meat in order to get enough protein. This isn’t true, and although there is protein in meat, that isn’t the only form of protein to exist. In fact, vegans simply do what cows, pigs, sheep and chickens do; we go to the source.
Green vegetables, beans and pulse, grains and nuts are all excellent sources of protein. Getting enough protein on a vegan diet is not a big deal either, you just need to be aware of what you are eating. A lot of plant-based foods are protein rich, I mean, a peanut butter sandwich is high in protein and you’re probably already a fan of this snack.
Myth 3: Tofu and Soya contain too much oestrogen
Sorry, guys. But that’s a no. Soya beans contain isoflavones, which are members of a group 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 soy 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.’ – Hamilton-Reeves JM, et al.
Myth 4: Where do you get your calcium from?
Not from dairy, but neither do you. You get the majority of your calcium from plants too. Plus, I don’t really want to go into how they treat dairy cows, but the bottom line is that you can get the same calcium from your fruit and veg. Calcium-rich non-dairy foods include leafy green vegetables and broccoli, both of which are also great sources of vitamin K, another key nutrient for bone health. Beans and tofu can also supply calcium.
Plus, my calcium deficient self hasn’t had split nails in months. If anything, my nails are healthier than ever before.
Myth 5: I would die without cheese
This is the one thing that makes me laugh the loudest. I can’t be vegan, I’d die without cheese! I’ve been vegan for 8-months, and although there are cheese alternatives (that are super tasty), I’m not dead yet.
I don’t miss cheese, nor do I miss feeling bloated, sluggish or ill. Since going vegan, I haven’t been ill or craved meat once. It isn’t as difficult to make the switch as you’d think, just be prepared for a lot of uninformed commentaries aimed your way.
Until next time.