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Is Going Vegan Unhealthy & Just A Fad? Scientific Research vs. Myths

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More people consider themselves to be vegan each year. But is this way of eating healthy or simply a fad?

Maybe you know someone who is vegan, you’ve eaten a plant-based diet in the past, or you’re vegan now. Veganism is definitely becoming a trend. You see more and more plant-based products in grocery stores. Restaurants are offering entrée selections specifically for vegans. And several celebrities identify as being vegan now.

A major shift is happening in how people look at meat consumption. More and more people consider themselves to be vegan each year. It’s reported that there is a 600% increase in people who categorize themselves as a vegan in the U.S. this year. But, is this way of eating simply a fad?

Here are eight common vegan myths that might make you think that going vegan is only a fad:

  • Cooking vegan food is difficult
  • Vegans only eat vegetables
  • You can’t get enough calcium eating a vegan diet
  • You can’t find vegan options at restaurants
  • A vegan diet makes you lose weight
  • Vegans don’t get enough protein
  • Vegans can’t get necessary Omega-3s because it’s only found in fish
  • Vegans are deficient in several vitamins and nutrients

Why the Vegan Movement is Here to stay

Whether you’re a vegan or you love a nice steak, the vegan movement is here to stay. In fact, it’s been around for centuries. Scientists, philosophers, and various other historical figures have been vegans or vegetarians since 570 BC.

Veganism is not a new occurrence. For hundreds of years, people have lived a vegan lifestyle to live healthier and more peaceful lives. Even though the term vegan was coined in 1944 by David Watson, vegans have eaten a plant-based diet for various reasons.

Whether for their own health, to eliminate animal cruelty, or to reduce their carbon footprint for the planet, the vegan movement is tied to more than a lose-weight-fast principle. Eating a plant-based diet does more than help you lose weight.

The vegan diet has been studied for several years for its incredible long-term health benefits. The China Study by Dr. Campbell studied 65 countries in rural China over the period of twenty years. He found that people who ate a plant-based diet had lower risks and rates of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Since the time of this comprehensive study, various other studies have recommended a plant-based diet for its health benefits. Now, national and world health organizations advocate for vegan and vegetarian diets.

The American Diabetes Association, the World Health Organization, and the American Cancer Society among others endorse a predominantly plant-based diet. The vegan diet is now a legitimate way to manage or prevent disease.

Plant-based products are also on the rise. 36% of consumers report that they buy plant-based meats. A whopping 58% say that they drink non-dairy milk.

New companies are focused on selling only plant-based products. And, existing companies are developing plant-based product lines. Even companies who have traditionally only produced junk foods like Nestlé wants to create more plant-based products because they believe the trend is here to stay.

However, there are several myths about veganism that are spread regularly that make veganism look unhealthy and like a temporary fad. We’re going to work to debunk these vegan myths that you’ve probably heard or even thought yourself.

Here are eight myths that perpetuate the idea that veganism is only a fad:

Myth # 1: Cooking Vegan Food is Difficult

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Maybe you’ve heard this one before, or you might even believe it. If you’re like most people, you probably grew up eating meat. Your plate consisted of some sort of meat source like chicken, a carb like pasta, and then a bit of vegetable like broccoli.

You are used to eating this way because you’ve done it for years. It seems like the simplest option. The idea of eating a plant-based diet seems complicated, stressful, and inconvenient. Starting a plant-based diet seems this way because it is new.

You’ve actually always eaten plant-based foods. You eat plant-based foods daily. You eat and cook vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes. All you need to do is increase your knowledge about which foods provide you with the nutrients your body needs.

That’s why when you first start eating a vegan diet, it’s recommended that you use meal planning. If you feel that meal planning is a lot of extra work, you don’t need to always do meal planning to be healthy.

Meal planning is a great way for you to learn about how your body is fueled by food. Soon you’ll learn to make your plate in a healthy way that helps your body. You won’t need to plan your meals if you don’t want to. It will become as natural as when you used to use animal products.

The idea that vegans have a difficult time getting adequate nutrition is similar to how some people only eat a few food types like pizza, hamburgers, and mac and cheese and then end up with health problems. With any diet, you have to make sure you’re eating a variety of foods to ensure optimal nutrition.

Myth # 2: Vegans Only Eat Vegetables

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Eating a plant-based diet doesn’t mean that you eat grass or only vegetables. Think about it. There are a lot of different food groups. Meat, eggs, and dairy are only three.

That means you’re eating a large variety of food even if you cut out meat, dairy, and eggs. Plus, you’ll probably even discover foods that you didn’t eat before such as tofu, tempeh, chia seeds, and others that are great for your health.

With any diet, you want to be sure to eat different kinds of food groups. Each food has different proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals that your body needs. Eating a varied diet is essential to your health. Try to eat a rainbow as much as possible.

Myth # 3: You Won’t Get Enough Calcium Eating A vegan Diet

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When you eat a plant-based diet, you stop consuming milk, yogurt, and cheese. But these foods aren’t the only sources of calcium like you’ve been led to believe. There are numerous plants that contain high levels of calcium to keep your bones strong.

A few plant-based sources of calcium include:

  • Chia seeds
  • Beans and lentils
  • Almonds
  • Rhubarb
  • Dark Leafy Greens
  • Amaranth
  • Tofu
  • Figs
  • Broccoli

That’s a lot of food besides dairy products that contain calcium. As a vegan, you won’t be missing calcium in your diet unless you eat a diet of only one to two types of food.

Myth # 4: You Can’t Find Vegan Options At Restaurants

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You may have been told that eating out is difficult if not impossible when you eat a plant-based diet. That’s simply not true. Vegan restaurants are becoming more widespread. Plus, more and more restaurants are offering vegan options.

But say a restaurant doesn’t offer meals specifically for those who eat a vegan diet. You can still stay plant-based. Ethnic restaurants almost always have entrée options that you can make vegan. Or, say you’re in a steakhouse. You can make a meal from ordering different sides.

Eating a plant-based diet doesn’t mean you can’t eat out at a restaurant with your friends and family.

MyTH # 5: A Vegan Diet Makes You Lose Weight

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Can a plant-based diet help you lose weight? Absolutely. But not all plant-based diets are created equal. You can still eat unhealthily and be plant-based. There are lots of different vegan junk food options. A diet of plant-based cookies, crackers, burgers, and pizza isn’t going to make you lose weight.

You have to eat a whole-foods plant-based diet to really experience both the health benefits and the weight loss that comes with this way of eating. Try to eat the least amount of processed food as possible. You’ll feel great, and the weight will come off easily.

Myth # 6: Vegans Don’t Get Enough Protein

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Did you know that there are several vegan athletes and bodybuilders who get plenty of protein? You can stay fit, build muscle, and lose weight from plant-based protein.

The majority of us actually eat way too much protein for our level of activity. You might be eating meat several times a day, but if you’re not exercising much, this level of protein will actually make you gain weight rather than lose weight.

The average person needs 0.38 grams of protein per pound that they weigh. An athlete should aim for 0.8 grams per pound. These levels of protein are achievable. Find out more about how almost all foods contain protein not just meat, dairy, and eggs.

Sunwarrior also makes several protein powders that help you get your daily protein intake easier and faster. We’ve made protein powders that offer the right amount of protein, are raw and undamaged by heat, perfect for those with allergies and sensitivities, and taste great.

You also don’t have to be vegan to choose a plant-based protein over whey protein. Our proteins don’t have extra fillers. They’re clean and fuel your body to perform at its best.

MYTH # 7: Vegan’s Can’t Get Necessary Omega-3s Because It’s Only in Fish

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You’ve probably been told several times throughout your life that you need to be sure to eat plenty of fish to ensure that you get your Omega-3s. Omega-3s are essential to joint, muscular, and brain health, but they aren’t only found in fish.

In fact, fish actually absorb Omega-3 from algae cells in the ocean. They don’t produce Omega-3. Because they swim with their mouths open, the Omega-3 from algae plants end up in the fish’s flesh.

Instead of getting your healthy Omega-3 fats from fish, go to the source and get them from algae. Sunwarrior’s Omega-3 supplement from algae lubricates your joints and reduces inflammation caused by injury or arthritis.

Another reason that it’s best to choose plants for your Omega-3s is that fish also absorb mercury, pesticides, and dioxins. Find out more on why some doctors don’t recommend fish.

You can also get your Omega-3s from other plant sources such as:

  • Chia seeds
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Algal Oil
  • Hemp seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseeds

MYTH # 8: Vegans are deficient In several Vitamins and Nutrients

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A plant-based diet doesn’t make you deficient in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. An unbalanced diet does. If you only eat lettuce and tomatoes, you aren’t getting what your body needs. If you only eat chicken and rice, you aren’t fueling your body properly either.

Supplements can be helpful for all diets to ensure you fill gaps in your diet. You don’t always eat perfectly. With a whole-foods, varied diet and a little supplementation, you’ll boost your immune system easily.

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