Vegans may make up a small percent of the population but reality is the demand for vegan-friendly products in the food & beverage, health and beauty industries is becoming increasingly popular. Although there is more awareness on veganism, there are still so many misconceptions about vegan diets. Here, we’ve asked our nutritionist to tackle some common myths surrounding veganism.
MYTH: Not Enough Protein
One of the most common misconceptions is that to meet your protein intake you must include meat in your diet, this is far from it. There are a variety of high protein plant foods including nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, lentils and of course tofu which provide plenty of protein. In fact, some of the foods you may already be enjoying in your diet provide a good source of protein in just 1 serve. Quinoa, for example, provides roughly 13% of your daily recommended intake of protein I just ½ cup. You can also reach your protein intake with the variety of plant protein powders available, this includes pea, brown rice, pumpkin and hemp seed protein powders. They’re easy to add to cooking and baking plus of course in a delicious smoothie with your favourite superfoods.
MYTH: Restrictive choices
With so much variety and choice available today of vegan foods and products, you’ll feel like a kid in a candy shop with all the endless options. Just take a look in your local supermarket or health food store and you’ll see the choices of mylks, cheeses (yes vegan cheese exists!!), chocolates, spreads and more! Many restaurants and cafes cater to vegans with some even being exclusively vegan. You can easily enjoy your favourite recipes like spaghetti bolognaise, pasta carbonara, nachos and cakes and slices using vegan products such as coconut milk, flax & chia eggs, plant mylks and more. Check out our recipes for some delicious vegan-friendly dishes at: https://knowrishwell.com/blogs/recipes
MYTH: Iron deficiency
a belief that vegan diets result in iron deficiency is a very common misconception. Most people make the link that iron is only found in meats, particularly red meat, this however is not the case. Iron rich food sources include dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, beetroot leaves and swiss chard (a cousin of beetroot leaves). Fact: Iron absorption is actually increased when consuming vitamin C rich foods at the same time. Good sources of vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits and strawberries. Our tip is to make a delicious citrus dressing to go on top of your leafy green salads, or even enjoy a glass of OJ with your meals!
MYTH: Being vegan isn’t healthy
It’s true that having a balanced diet is the foundation for healthy eating, which is exactly what veganism is. There is no excluding of macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates and protein) in fact it could be argued that vegan diets are healthier due to the majority of the diet coming from fruits, vegetables and wholegrains which are rich in micronutrients (vitamins & minerals). This includes mushrooms which are rich in B vitamins and broccoli which is rich in calcium. Many plant based mylks are also fortified with calcium and vitamin D such as soy and almond.
If you’re considering going vegan, we recommend easing into it, start by incorporating 2-3 vegan days a week, experiment and have fun in the kitchen and also check out some popular vegan influencers on social media for tips and delicious recipes. One of our favourites is Sam Murphy from @sobeautifullyreal.