5 Common Misconceptions About Veganism
STORY: Janelle Yong
01 November 2021
Despite its growing ubiquity, veganism tends to be misunderstood by meat–lovers. So, before you go around asking your vegan friends how they survive on rabbit food, chew on these 5 myths about their lifestyle.
Myth #1: Veganism and vegetarianism are the same thing
The truth: While vegetarian diets have long been part of our local food scene, whether for religious reasons or otherwise, veganism is still a fairly new phenomenon locally.
At its most basic, vegetarianism involves the exclusion of meat from one’s diet. Depending on the variation, vegetarians may still eat eggs, milk or both. Or they might eat neither and be forbidden from eating herbs like onion and garlic as well, for religious reasons.
On the other hand, veganism forbids the consumption of any and all products derived from animals. This includes by–products such as honey, as well as non–food products like wool, fur or leather, or products made with the use of animal testing.
Myth #2: Vegans eat nothing but vegetables and salads
The truth: Although vegetables do make up a part of vegan diets, the spectrum of foods vegans consume is more diverse than you might think. Rice, mushrooms, nuts and legumes are just some of the common ingredients used in vegan recipes; add in variations of each type of ingredient, and you get a wide range of dishes available for vegan consumption.
Myth #3: Vegans suffer from nutrition deficiency
The truth: At a glance, abstaining from meat and dairy products might seem like a sure–fire way to end up with malnutrition. However, there are nutritional workarounds for vegans to ensure that they obtain enough vitamins and minerals from their food. For example, protein is available from nuts and whole–wheat bread or noodles, while calcium can be obtained from foods like grains and legumes.
The only concern vegans might face is a lack of Vitamin B12, which is found in most animal–based foods but has no known plant–based sources yet. For this, you might have to take vitamin supplements to ensure you get sufficient intake.
Myth #4: Being vegan is expensive
The truth: This is unfortunately partly true. Veganism is still somewhat new in Singapore, so vegan alternatives for food items such as ice cream and cheese are likely to still be too expensive for an average person to eat regularly. However, staples like rice and legumes are regular groceries for vegan meals which are comparatively cheaper than meat for a high nutritional value.
Myth #5: Vegans are automatically healthier
The truth: The typical stereotype is that vegans are hippie health food nuts. The truth is, it is possible to be vegan and subsist on a diet of junk food, such as fries and Oreos. Even “healthier” vegan foods such as bananas and avocados are high in calories despite being nutritious. A vegan diet is not a one size fits all way to lose weight.