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Your Top 8 Myths About Veganism – Busted!

Your Top 8 Myths About Veganism – Busted!

From Robbie Williams, to Novak Djokovic and the Williams sisters, more and more people are turning to a vegan diet, making it one of the fastest-growing global trends.

But why is this, the case? What about protein? And don’t plants have feelings too? As a plant-based nutrition consultant, I hear many myths and misunderstandings surrounding a plant-based diet almost every day, and I believe it is time to dispel them. Here are the most popular vegan myths – busted.

1.     “But where do you get your protein?”
The average recommended intake of protein is 42 grams a day. Meat eaters, on average, eat way more than the suggested amount – almost 80 grams! But even vegetarians and vegans get enough protein and often consume up to 70 grams per day. Vegans get their protein from numerous sources including beans and legumes, peas, nuts and seeds, oatmeal and meat alternatives that are made from plant proteins and natural spices such as Burgers, Sausages and Chicken-Style Nuggets from The Fry Family Food Co. Additionally, plant-based protein is free from cholesterol and lower in saturated fats, lowering your risk of heart diseases, various cancers, type-2 diabetes, obesity and weight gain (3).

2.     “Don’t vegans need to take supplements?”
A plant-based diet contains all the nutrients needed to achieve optimal health when a variety of ingredients such as legumes, fruit, veg, seeds and fortified foods are consumed regularly. Fortified foods are necessary for both vegans and non-vegans. A good example is B12 vitamin, which used to be produced naturally in soil, but due to over-farming, the quality of the soil has decreased, including the presence of this essential vitamin. Manufactures now add B12 to foods like cereals and non-dairy milks, as well as cattle feed.

3.     “Soy messes up my hormones!”
According to Dr. Michael Greger, soybeans naturally contain a class of phytoestrogens called isoflavones. When people hear the word ‘estrogen’ in the word ‘phytoestrogens’, they assume soy has estrogen-like effects, from causing breast development in men to disrupting menstrual cycles in women. He explains that estrogen has positive effects on some tissues and potentially negative effects on others. Soy phytoestrogen is classified as a ‘selective estrogen receptor modulator,’ meaning the body experiences both pro-estrogenic effects in areas where estrogen is beneficial and anti-estrogenic effects where estrogen causes harm (5). For example, studies show that soy consumption lowers breast, and other types of cancer risk (an anti-estrogenic effect), but can also help reduce menopausal hot-flash symptoms (a pro-estrogenic effect). “So, by eating soy, you may be able to enjoy the best of both worlds”, adds Dr Greger.

4.     “Wouldn’t there be an overload of farm animals if we didn’t eat them?”
Most of the animals we eat are bred for that purpose: to be eaten. If more people started eating less meat, demand will decrease, causing the animal agriculture industry to slow down and become less profitable.

5.     “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. Additionally, the vast majority of grains raised today are used as cattle feed; it takes 2kg of feed to produce 1kg of chicken (6). So rather than consuming both animalsand plants choose to eat plants directly – you will end up saving the lives of more plants anyway.

6.     “A vegan diet is expensive”
When you’re at the grocery store switch out your steak, ham and bacon, and even chicken for chickpeas and lentils and you’ll see your monthly food bill shrinking. Staples like grains, potatoes, bananas and beans are some of the cheapest (and healthiest) things you can buy in the supermarket. Even meat replacements, such as Fry’s Sausages, Burgers, Nuggets and Schnitzels, are competitively priced against meat. My favourite Fry’s product? Their Chicken-Style Burger!

7.     “One person can’t make a difference”
Think Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, or Nelson Mandela. Total dedication by one person to his or her chosen cause can make a huge difference. The collective action of individuals has the power to make global change, as if many people decide to stop eating meat, the markets will order less, and the amount of those products supplied will decrease.

8.     “Ok, but vegans only eat grass and cardboard, and I love my tasty food!”
This is a myth that almost all vegans are very happy to challenge. From hearty stews to pizza, pasta and burgers, vegans love sharing their passion for food. 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. To ease yourself into it, consider switching your meat with a plant-based alternative from Fry’s, for a meal that has the same taste and texture to meat.


Get It Magazine (Ballito/Umhlanga) – November 2018

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