It’s easy to accept commonly-held myths about veganism when you’re unfamiliar with plant-based eating and well-acclimated to a culture that embraces meat.
Top Vegan Myths, Busted!
If you’re afraid a vegan diet simply won’t meet your nutritional needs as an athlete or you just want to see whether those common vegan myths are true, don’t miss this essential (and science-backed) guide:
Vegans are Malnourished
FALSE. Many believe the myths that vegans can’t get all the nutrients they need without consuming food from animals. They must be lacking in protein, iron, and calcium, right? Wrong. There are many benefits to plant-based diets. Not only can you derive the full spread of essential amino acids you need from plant-based foods like legumes, nuts, and whole grains, you actually end up consuming more fibre, vitamins, and minerals too.
Granted, vegans need to be mindful of how they source their food to avoid consuming excess processed white flours and sugars, but in general, research has shown that replacing animal protein with more plant protein in your diet is actually associated with lower risk of death. As needed, vegans can also opt for cruelty-free supplements like multivitamins, protein powders, and vegan Omega-3’s.
Athletes Can’t Survive on a Vegan Diet
FALSE. More and more athletes are finding that their health and athletic performance is actually enhanced by a vegan diet. In addition to tennis star Venus Williams, elite vegan athletes like former Chicago Bears defensive lineman David Carter is illustrating how intense athletic training and performance are optimized by the protective nutrients and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties  of a plant-based diet.
A vegan diet which incorporates small plant-based meals throughout the day provides consistent fuel for physical activity and can benefit muscle recovery as well.
Veganism Is Just as Bad for the Environment
FALSE. It’s common to hear the argument about how meat production contributes to climate change countered with “well, soybean farming is just as unsustainable and leads to mass deforestation.” While it’s true that soy production is adding to deforestation, it is important to note that the majority of global soy crops are cultivated as animal feed for poultry and other livestock  for human consumption. Not to mention soy-products only comprise a fraction of a true vegan diet that is rich with other plant foods.
Veganism is a Hippy Trend
FALSE. Sure there is your share of spirited, barefoot “crunchy” granola hippies that tout a vegan diet as a way to reconnect with Mother Earth; but the truth is that veganism has become so much more than a passing trend among animal-lovers and environmentalists. In addition to leading vegan athletes and celebrities, a quick search will reveal a host of vegan bloggers and chefs who are re-imagining the vegan lifestyle altogether.
In addition to modifying how they eat, vegans examine what they wear and how they care for their body. Considering the environment in an effort to both be healthier as well as stand up to animal cruelty and exploitation.
Vegan Diets Aren’t Filling
FALSE. You often hear a vegan diet referred to as “rabbit food” or “bird food” because of the prevalence of greens and seeds. The truth is that a vegan diet implores an eater to fill up on so much more of the bounty plants have to offer including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts.
Chomp down on any variety of the most basic vegan staples. Try grain bowls, for example, and you’ll quickly find yourself consuming generous amounts of wholesome ingredients in one sitting like lentils, roasted sweet potato, steamed kale, crispy tofu, cooked beets, avocado, and hemp hearts.
Veganism is Expensive
FALSE. If you can go grab a burger at McDonald’s for $1; eating vegan must be more expensive than that, right? Think again. Not taking into account the massive hidden costs to your health and longevity that eating meat leads to; a vegan diet can actually help you save money in the long-term. A recent study published in the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition found that over the course of a year, people who ate a plant-based diet saved upwards of $750 compared to those who ate meat .
Pasta, beans, potatoes, and rice are some of the least expensive foods you can find in the grocery store per pound. Most of the time go-to fruits and vegetables aren’t going to cost you more than $1 or $2 per pound. Plus canned and even frozen fruits and vegetables often retain their nutritional profiles. They also cost much less than meat.
Vegans are High-Maintenance
FALSE. You may hear friends or family complain about having to “cater to one person’s vegan needs” for a group meal. A small shift in thinking, however, reveals that vegan dishes are the opposite of high-maintenance; they simply require expanding the horizon of meal possibilities outside of what a meat-based eater might be used to. You can literally throw any array of plant-based ingredients together and craft delicious (and much more nutritious) meals in minutes.
In conclusion: myths busted.
For additional information check out these eight easy ways to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet.
Shop TDF Sports full line of vegan supplements.