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Three common vegan myths debunked

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It’s one of the fastest-growing food industries; it promotes the compassionate consideration of animals, promises a myriad of health benefits and is more environmentally friendly. Vegan food has taken the world by storm.

Despite its growing popularity, a vegan lifestyle has brought a lot of misinformation and myths which has led to confusion and doubts. Here are some of those myths put to rest, once and for all.

Myths about being a vegan

Myth 1: You need meat for protein

Perhaps one of the most exhaustive myths, this fallacy probably stems from a subsidised meat industry that, for decades, has extensively promoted meat as being a necessary and unique source of protein.

Conversely, vegans are capable of not only completely satisfying their protein requirements, but are usually able to exceed the necessary daily recommended protein intake.

Beans, nuts, nut butters, a variety of seeds, soy products and oatmeal are all excellent sources of protein. Recently, documentaries promoting the benefits of vegan diets have been widely circulating, in an attempt to dispel such myths. Specifically, The Game Changers (available on YouTube and streaming on Netflix) focuses on vegan athletes and bodybuilders who are able to source all their excessive protein needs from plant-based foods.

Myth 2: The food is expensive

False! Vegan lifestyles can be fueled entirely on fruits and vegetables, some of the cheapest foods around in South Africa. However, if you’re wanting to supplement your diet with fancier meat replacements, alternate milks and cheeses, this, too, is no longer a problem.

Initially, when veganism first started gaining traction a few years ago, a select few plant-based alternative products were available in South African stores — most of which were imported. Now, as the plant-based community is exploding and products are in demand, various supermarkets provide a wide range of moderately priced, locally-produced and affordable soy milk ranges, soy-based meats and vegan snacks.

Myth 3: Vegans only eat salad

Vegans are able to indulge in more than a fair share of gooey, sugary, carb-heavy and comforting foods. In fact, it is perfectly possible to be vegan but entirely unhealthy.

Some of our beloved South African snacks — many flavours of Simba chips, many kinds of rusks and biscuits — are plant-based. Now, as more stores provide soy, oat and coconut milk substitutes, and an infinite range of alternate meat, being vegan has never had a greater plethora of culinary options.

If you’re searching for more information on vegan or plant-based options, are battling to transition, or experiencing difficulty differentiating between the facts and wide-spread myths, indulge in the array of vegan documentaries available online during lockdown and seek out a like-minded community in your city.

Also read: A natural recipe for vegan foodies: Dried Fig and Coconut Slices

This content has been created as part of our freelancer relief programme. We are supporting journalists and freelance writers impacted by the economic slowdown caused by #lockdownlife.

If you are a freelancer looking to contribute to The South African, read more here.

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