Off the menu: Five myths about being vegan that should be busted

Do people need non-vegetarian food to become strong and healthy? Not necessarily, says cricketer and nutrition enthusiast, Jeswanth Acharya, in his guest column, where he attempts to dispel the myths surrounding veganism today
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Vegan meals are gaining popularity even amongst regular meat eaters. I would like to talk about five of the most important myths of vegan food that are in circulation today. We have been misled to believe that we need to eat meat in order to grow healthy and strong, but this is not necessarily true. If a vegan meal is planned well, it can help you stay healthy and ensure that you consume adequate nutrients too. Vegan foods can also help in curing certain diseases.

Here are the five myths that surround vegan foods…

Protein Power

It is definitely a myth that the vegans have a difficult time getting enough protein. Meat is predominantly known for its protein supplements but not many people know that even plant-based foods have adequate proteins. Most of them struggle to identify non-meat sources of protein.

Plant based proteins, in fact, contain less saturated fat and a large quantity of fibre. There are several plant-based sources of protein which can be consumed for a healthy diet.

Nuts are full of proteins

These are a few of them...

  • Soya Products
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Legumes (beans, lentils, peas and peanuts).
  • Quinoa
  • Almonds
  • Black beans


Bone health

It is a myth that one must include dairy in their diet to build strong bones.

Tofu and orange juice can help build strong bones

If you are not including dairy in your diet then you must ensure that you are consuming enough substitutes like non-dairy milk, orange juice and tofu along with a nutrition-rich diet. Exercises like yoga, brisk walking, running and strength training will also help build stronger bones.

Not for everyone

Vegan meals are not recommended for pregnant women, children and athletes, but this is a myth.

A well-planned vegan meal can meet all the nutrient requirements of athletes, children and pregnant or lactating women. It is just about consuming the right kind of nutrients your body requires. Pregnant women need a lot of iron along with vitamin C.

Choose fresh vegetables to make the best vegan meals

So, they must try foods which contain a combination of iron and vitamin C, like tofu, broccoli and beans. Infants must also consume all the above foods for normal growth. Since athletes need a high level of energy, a combination of both protein and nutrients must be consumed in the right proportions.

Soya woes

It is a myth that consumption of soya can increase the risk of breast cancer. Incorporating soya in the diet is an easy way to meet both the protein and calcium requirements of the body. Despite reports to the contrary and reports of breast cancer scares, there are no proven facts to establish these claims. Switching to animal-based protein for soya is a good way to make your meal nutritious and interesting.

Health is wealth

Vegan food is chock full of health benefits

Just because someone has chosen to be vegan does not necessarily mean they are healthy. This is a myth too. Bad food choices are eventually a bad choice regardless of dietary orientation. Chips, French fries, veg burgers and other junk foods are considered vegetarian, but they are all certainly not healthy.

Innumerable studies have shown that those who follow well-balanced vegan diets have a lower probability of developing obesity and a reduced risk of health problems, including some cancers.