I’ve been thinking lately about some of the misinformation out there about vegans and veganism. Perhaps it is because veganism is only now coming into mainstream knowledge. So in both seriousness and fun, let’s take a look at this arbitrary list of the top 10 myths about veganism.
Veganism is a cult
This is an easy one to dismiss, but yet some folks genuinely believe that veganism is a cult. It’s not. It is a loose collection of awesome folk sharing the belief in a non-violent lifestyle. And the foundation of that is ending the violence that is so easy to end which is dining on the corpses of sentient animals who suffered incredible violence.
Veganism is boring
From personal experience I can honestly say that I have never experienced such variety and such tastiness in my food since I became vegan. In fact, becoming vegan opened up my palette to so much international food that I had been deaf to before. Most meals of meat are often simple. Meat, veg and perhaps starch like potatoes. On the other hand, Thai, East Indian, Chinese foods are filled with a variety of foods, spices and textures that offer a full complexity to vegan foods. Curried chickpeas, vegetable and tofu stirfry, tofu pad Thai amongst other vegan treats offer so much flavor that veganism is certainly no more boring than omnivorous foods, and arguably more exciting.
Veganism is expensive
Folks often think veganism is expensive because most of them are looking at the textured tofu or other meat substitutes that litter the health food isles and supermarkets. Yes, textured vegetable protein and other heavily processed soy foods are expensive but those should never make up a large part of any diet especially a vegan diet. Soy milk is certainly more expensive than cow’s milk but that’s due to the unfair subsidies that the dairy and meat industries enjoy at taxpayers’ expense. A healthy vegan diet full of vegetables, beans, fruit and grains is much cheaper than even a meat centered diet that uses the cheapest cuts of meat.
Veganism is unsustainable
When people think veganism is unsustainable they’re generally talking about living vegan for extended periods of time. Now although there have not been historic cultures living solely vegan based lifestyles, there have been vegans who have lived most if not all of their lives as vegans. I personally have been vegan for over 20 years now. Donald Watson the original vegan was vegan for over 60 years.
Veganism is unnatural
This is a favorite of many who are looking to tear down the vegan ethic and lifestyle. Mostly you’ll hear this from people who’ll go on to say how they could never be vegan. Anyway, veganism is not unnatural, in fact I’d say it is a more natural diet than eating meat. Most of us could never imagine eating raw meat, but eating a raw apple is no problem. What I think is unnatural is never getting weaned off milk. Is it not macabre to imagine an adult hitching up to a cow and sucking milk right from her teat? Sure it is when you think of it that way. And eating fetid and putrefying corpses is quite unnatural too. Veganism is the most natural diet for humans because it uses foods that remain as close to their natural state as possible.
Veganism is not for infants
As you’re starting to see, most of these vegan myths are all excuses really. And infants can thrive on a vegan diet. In fact, the great Dr. Spock suggested a vegan diet for infants after weaning as the healthiest and best choice.
Veganism is not for old people
This myth is the same as the one before. And you can read into things like veganism is not for women or veganism is not for body builders. All these myths are easy to debunk. A properly planned and wholesome vegan diet can meet the needs of any person or group of people. Despite what some people might think and the “vegans” who “had” to return to eating meat. There is no requirement in meat that can’t be found in a vegan diet, whether that is vitamin B12 (obtained from microorganisms) or vitamin D which is obtained from the sun.
Veganism is hard
Veganism is not hard. In fact, I can think of no other diet that is easier than veganism. You could eat the blandest foods, pasta with marinara, potatoes and vegetables, bean salads. These are all easy foods to prepare and/or make. Veganism is easier than eating meat where you have to worry about contamination, sanitation and inspiration in trying to make decaying flesh palatable.
Veganism is a luxury
You’ll often hear this myth perpetrated by the well to do liberals and conservatives of the West suggesting that veganism can’t be forced on the poor and the third world, let alone the Inuit of the North. These are the same folks who live in McMansions in luxury suburbs dotted all around Europe and North America. The very folks who could easily afford the most lavish of vegan cuisines are the ones to suggest that veganism is a luxury for other people. We aren’t debating veganism for Inuits or veganism for other groups that might find it difficult. Veganism for 90% or more of the world is a necessity if we want to help alleviate suffering and poverty for the majority. In fact for most of the world, eating meat is a luxury that can only be afforded by the very rich and well to do in their societies.
Veganism is violent
Usually you’ll hear this one as being couched under the shroud of “plants feel pain” too. It is easy to dismiss this out of hand. I have found no reputable evidence that plants feel pain as mammals and fish feel pain. Nevertheless, even if we grant plants a certain ability to feel discomfort surely we could all agree that being immobile and lacking a nervous system their “discomfort” is certainly less than that felt by creatures that bleed. There is admittedly some violence in keeping yourself alive, but the goal is to minimize suffering and violence as much as within our control, not necessarily eradicate it completely. Being vegan is an easy way to eliminating the most common forms of violence that society allows against our animal brothers.
There you have my top 10 vegan myths. There are plenty of others but these 10 are perhaps the most prevalent myths against veganism you’ll likely come across. Veganism is worthwhile, easy and cheap. Go vegan for your soul, go vegan for your health, go vegan for your wealth and go vegan to protest violence against animals.