It’s bound to happen, you’re making dinner plans with your friends to try that new steak house, when you learn that one of them is a newly minted vegan. Saddened at first that you won’t be trying that dry-aged t-bone the restaurant is famous for, you begin to wonder curiously, what exactly is a vegan? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! We’re here to break down and define veganism – what it is and what it isn’t.
Vegan Myth #1 – It’s a diet that will help you lose weight.
A vegan avoids meat, poultry, seafood, and wild game as well as dairy products, eggs and typically honey. Notice the word “diet” is missing here. Why? Because veganism isn’t a diet per se, it’s a lifestyle and eating choice, one that doesn’t often involve the end goal of weight loss. So while choosing a vegan way of eating will likely allow for the consumption of more nutrient-rich, plant-based foods, it isn’t a prescription for weight loss.
Vegan Myth #2 – Vegetarians and Vegans – the same, right? Sort of the same?
All vegans are vegetarians, but not all vegetarians are vegans. Confused? It’s ok! As a whole, vegetarians are like vegans in that they don’t eat meat, poultry, seafood and wild game, but they may still eat other animal-derived foods. That’s why vegetarians have additional classifications including lacto-vegetarians (eat dairy, but not eggs), ovo-vegetarians (eat eggs, but not dairy) and lacto-ovo-vegetarians (eat dairy and eggs).
Vegan Myth #3 – Veganism is just about the food.
While the focus is usually placed on what vegans eat, veganism isn’t actually limited to just the food. In fact, many people choose to become vegan because of their stance against animal cruelty or for protection of the environment. For others, it’s because of their culture or religion. Other people choose to go vegan for health reasons, perhaps to treat or prevent a type of disease. That’s why you’ll see them not only avoid these “foods” but also anything made from animals too, such as leather-based goods as well as soap, shampoos and conditioners.
Vegan Myth #4 – Just a hot trend in food culture right now.
As we mentioned in Myth #3, for many vegans, this is a way of life and not a trend at all. Yes, some restaurants and food companies are capitalizing on this way of eating, but that’s maybe a good thing. Who can shun a way of eating that does such a beautiful job of encouraging the consumption of more nutrient-rich, plant-based foods!
Vegan Myth #5 – Vegan food doesn’t taste good and is expensive.
While it’s true that some imitation meat products don’t taste awesome, some of them do! In fact, we’ve come a long way when it comes to vegan-friendly “burgers” and other meat substitutes. Some of the hottest restaurants are even having their hand at creating amazing vegan offerings, most of which taste better than animal-focused foods. And it doesn’t have to be an expensive way of eating at all. Most plant-derived foods are budget-friendly and cost much less than their animal counterparts.
And just to prove how awesome vegan food is, we’re sharing a few fun recipes for you to try!
- Beet Falafel Sliders from Elizabeth Shaw at Shaw Simple Swaps
- Vegan Carrot Cake in Mug from Luvo
- Black Forest Trifle from Kara Lydon, The Foodie Dietitian
- Mac and Cheese with Spicy Collard Greens and Cauliflower Crumbles from Luvo
- Parsnip and Pear Soup with Dukkah from Katie Cavuto, RD
- Sprouted-Almond Horchata Recipe from Luvo
- Blood Orange Moroccoan Salad from Debbie Murphy of Dietitian Debbie Dishes
- Vegan Ice Cream Floats from Luvo
- Tahini Sriracha Sauce from Luvo
Find anything surprising? Let us know in the comments section!
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