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The truth behind vegan myths

With so much misinformation surrounding veganism, we’ve taken matters into our own hands and dug out the truth behind the vegan myths.

The Vegan Society found that there were over half a million vegans in Great Britain in 2016 – three and a half times as many as estimated in 2006. But despite its growth, myths surrounding the lifestyle continue to grow. From a lack of protein to a diet of leaves, veganism has become one big fat stereotype. Team WHL thinks it’s time that changed, so asked Karin Ridgers, presenter at VegFestUK and founder of VeggieVision TV, the UK’s only vegan internet TV station, to set the record straight.

The myth: Being vegan is hard

The reality: False

There are vegan options everywhere – in every supermarket and café. Being vegan has never been easier – take it from me, I’ve been vegan for 20 years! Better labelling helps so you can read the ingredients and many supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Asda, Co-Op and Tesco are stating when something is vegan-friendly. Soya milk is in just about every café and coffee shop – in fact now many offer coconut and almond milk, too.

The myth: Being vegan is boring

The reality: False

When you go vegan, a whole new world of food opens up in front of your eyes. You start to experiment with new recipes, swapping old meaty recipes with new plant-based ingredients, you try new recipes, you go out to new vegan-friendly cafés and restaurants, you maybe find a local veggie group and sign up to the abundance of vegan groups on Facebook and make new friends. You see that vegan festivals are popping up everywhere in the UK, with the biggest being VegFestUK, which hold massive festivals attracting 10,000 people and more in Brighton, Bristol, London and Glasgow. New foods, new friends, new events… what’s the opposite of boring?

The myth: The world can not sustain itself if we carry on eating as we are

The reality: True

According to the BBC, we need four planets to supply the world with food according to a typical American’s daily diet. A plant-based diet needs just one-third of the land needed for a meat and dairy diet. The Vegan Society states that 800 million people do not have enough food; however, we feed animals to eat them and 3.5 billion people could live off the food we now feed to livestock.

Producing meat and animal products places a heavy burden on the environment. Grain to feed animals for meat is a serious contributor to deforestation. It takes 15,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of beef and just 180 litres for 1kg tomatoes, and on top of that agriculture is the worst offender for water pollution, with slurry from cattle and other livestock contaminating streams and rivers. In short, a plant-based diet is better for the planet, for animals, and for people, too.

The myth: You can’t build muscle or be sporty on a vegan diet

The reality: False

I will let the photos talk for themselves. Have a look at Patrik Baboumian, Tim Sheiff, Jermain Defoe, David Haye and more at greatveganathletes.com.

The myth: Veganism is a diet

The reality: False

Veganism is a lifestyle. There are of course links to ‘clean eating’ and a plant-based diet, but it is so much more than just about you and what you eat. A vegan lifestyle is about not harming others, and it’s about animal and human rights, kindness, compassion and creating a happier world for us all. A vegan lifestyle encompasses the planet, people, animals. Think of The Matrix – what pill do you want to take? Do you want to know what’s really going on in factory farming, for your health and the planet? It’s the biggest growing trend.

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