Long gone are the days when veganism was a fringe movement. No more are tofu and bland rice milk the only options for us.
When superstars like Beyonce and Lizzo are plant-based, and fast food giants like Burger King carry a vegan option, you know the movement’s here to stay.
Despite the fast-increasing popularity of all things plant-based, there are still some pesky vegan myths that just seem to stick, despite how outdated, unfounded, and harmful they are.
These Vegan Myths Are Fake AF, But They Do Real Harm
Before I went vegan six years ago, I absolutely fell for many of these vegan myths. Had I known the facts, I’d likely have ditched meat and dairy far sooner.
As a vegan coach, I see so many of these vegan myths hold people back from trying the lifestyle. It’s high time we put these unfounded vegan myths to rest, once and for all.
Not vegan? This article is still for you! Perhaps the biggest vegan myth of them all (more on this later) is that you have to be 100% vegan to be in the “cool kids club” or for your efforts to matter.
That simply couldn’t be further from the truth!
Here Are 7 Vegan Myths and the Real Facts Behind Them:
Whether you’re 100% vegan or embrace Meatless Mondays, clearing up these vegan myths is in all our best interests.
The world likely won’t ever go 100% vegan, but all of us taking small steps in a more plant-based direction is a win for all of us and for our planet. So let’s bust some vegan myths!
Myth #1: A Vegan Diet Is High Carb (And That’s a Bad Thing)
By far, one of the most common vegan myths circulating around out there is that a vegan diet is inherently high in carbs, and that this is somehow a bad thing!
False and false.
While it’s true many foods that can be staples in a vegan diet, like legumes, grains, and produce do contain carbs, there are many, many ways one can adhere to a vegan diet.
Saying that all vegan diets must be “high carb” is a total generalization. And high carb according to what metric?
Perhaps more to the point, carbs aren’t the enemy! They’re a vital part of a balanced, healthy diet, essential for energy, satiety, and strength! One can still lose weight eating ample carbs, so this vegan myth is riddled with problems from start to finish.
Myth #2: Vegans Struggle to Get Protein
Ready to debunk perhaps the most eye roll indulging vegan myth of all?
#ButWhereDoYouGetYourProtein has become a tongue-in-cheek hashtag among the vegan crowd for a reason. The vegan myth that you can’t get ample protein on a vegan diet is so untrue and archaic – it’d be laughable if it wasn’t doing so much damage.
Put simply, all foods contain protein – lentils, tofu, tempeh, legumes, grains, seeds, nuts – you name it. It’s possible to even surpass the (very modest) recommended dietary allowance of 50-ish grams of protein for an average woman as a vegan. (I’ve done it for years, often without trying!)
Myth #3: Vegans Are Often Low in Iron or B12
While it’s true that anyone can become low in iron or B12, and both these vitamins and minerals are crucial for good health, eating a vegan diet is far from a guarantee that this problem will occur.
For one, many vegan foods are loaded with iron, such as leafy greens, and many are fortified with B12 like plant milk and nutritional yeast.
Secondly, even non-vegans can be low in B12 or iron – a blood test is the only way to know, and supplements are an easy, effective fix, for vegans and non-vegans.
Myth #4: You’ll Have a Hard Time Dining Out as a Vegan
Thankfully, this vegan myth is becoming less true by the day. The number of restaurants with vegan options on the menu is fast increasing, even in the most unlikely of areas.
Being stuck with side salads is a thing of the past.
Myth #5: Veganism Is a Way to Lose Weight
Many view going vegan as the be-all-and-end-all for health, and/or believe it to be a surefire method for weight loss.
Veganism is many things – a chance to contribute to less violence and suffering, or leave a smaller footprint on the earth – but a diet it is not.
As such, if you go into veganism expecting to drop weight instantly, you could be very disappointed (calories still count, even if they’re vegan!). What’s more, you’d be missing out on so many more meaningful reasons to go vegan. Again – it’s not a diet.
Myth #6: All Vegans Are All Angry, Preachy, or Hate Seeing People Eat Animal Products
Oy vey – the preachy vegan crowd!
This vegan myth exists for a reason, sadly, but we’re not all angry, preachy, or pushy. It doesn’t bother me at all to see someone eating animal products, because other’s eating habits are none of my business!
My advice? Steer clear of vegan Facebook groups that are often filled with the preachy-vegan crowd, and put your hater blockers on. This movement is meant to be about compassion, and that should always include our fellow humans.
Myth #7: Vegans Are All or Nothing
See above – the vegan movement can be filled with extremists. But it’s not all of us.
Most vegans are thrilled to see anyone taking even small steps, like replacing their dairy with almond milk or just cutting back on their meat consumption.
For whoever needs this reminder: small steps count. The whole world will likely never be 100% vegan, and that’s okay. Any bit we can collectively move the needle toward a more sustainable and just way of eating is a monumental win.
When It Comes to Vegan Myths, Look at the Science and Don’t Fall for The Lies
Just like with any movement, approach veganism with a healthy dose of common sense and remember, there are extremists or bad apples in any crowd. Sticking to the science (and removing yourself from angry Facebook groups!) goes a long way.
In terms of the shortcomings of veganism, by no means is this list extensive. The vegan movement has a lot to reckon with still – whitewashing, cultural appropriation, and lack of accessibility, just to name a few. But it also comes with a whole lot of positive aspects as well.
Feeling hungry and inspired to make some small changes, or go all the way with plant based eating? Ditch the vegan myths and dive headfirst into the research or give veganism a try to see for yourself what all the hype is about.
All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.