If you’re considering becoming a vegan, you will soon come to realise that you open yourself to a barage of questioning that is unlike that of any other fairly common life decision! If you are vegetarian you might have already experienced something similar. This vegan FAQ list will hopefully arm you with some responses to questions you are likely to be asked.
1I can understand vegetarian, but vegan?
It’s not that difficult to explain really. The majority of vegetarians are so because of concerns for animal welfare and the environmental impact of dairy production and livestock farming – and for the most part meat eaters can at least understand the reasoning (even if they might not act upon it). For vegans this same reasoning stretches to the production of dairy.
Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Cowspiracy
2But where do you get your protein from?
This is the number one worst question to ask a vegan and the one that everyone gets! People assume that we need meat for protein but if that was the case, where do animals get their protein from? Plants! The top 10 heaviest land mammals in the world are all herbivores – you’ve never seen a skinny elephant, and they only eat vegetation!
Plants are more protein dense and without all of the damaging effects of eating meat i.e. high cholesterol. So vegans get PLENTY of protein. If you want more of an idea, download this Vegan Protein List then you can whip out your list every time you get asked this question – it’s a common one!
3So, do you eat tofu now?
4But the production of soybean (used for making tofu) destroys forests!
It is true that soybean production causes huge areas of deforestation. But what is often ignored is the fact that the majority of this is consumed by livestock – not by vegans. It is somewhat ironic that the reason livestock is fed with soy is that is a great source of protein, plus it’s a cheap and effective way to get your livestock to market weight quickly. This somewhat reinforces the answer to “Where do you get your protein from”.
According to www.soyatech.com:
“About 85 percent of the world’s soybean crop is processed into meal and vegetable oil, and virtually all of that meal is used in animal feed. Some two percent of the soybean meal is further processed into soy flours and proteins for food use… Approximately six percent of soybeans are used directly as human food, mostly in Asia.”
5If we aren’t meant to eat meat, why do we have canine teeth?
If you compare human canine teeth to animal canine teeth, they are practically non-existent! Canine teeth are designed to wound and incapacitate prey. How many humans go about biting a cow to death and then consume it? Yep, that’s the point! Our digestive systems are also very different to carnivores’; a carnivore’s digestive system is short to pass the meat through in a short space of time to prevent rotted meat sticking in the digestive tract. Humans have longer intestines in the same style as a herbivore, which means that meat sits and rots in there (nice!).
6It’s too expensive to be a vegan.
Pound for pound; you will get more vegetables, legumes and nuts for your money than you will animal products. Yes, specialised vegan food is more expensive, but it isn’t necessary for a vegan diet. Yes, nut milk can be slightly more expensive, but think about what that says about your food? You will already buy the staples of a vegan diet in your weekly shop; vegetables, beans, pasta, pulses. All you are doing by going vegan is cutting out the animal products, so effectively you’re saving money! Likewise, any higher prices will mean that you’re getting quality over quantity. If you go vegan your grocery bill is likely to go down not up.
7How can you build muscle in the gym/exercise effectively without protein?
See above about the top 10 heaviest land mammals! Also, there are vegan protein powder alternatives. We are also told that we actually need more protein than we really do resulting in overeating of protein sources and detriments to our health. As an example; according to dietary recommendations, I need 57g of protein a day, but according to “My Fitness Pal” app, I need 100g. This is because to ensure that people hit their ideal protein intake, governments tell us to eat at least double what we need to get us to over achieve our goal, but again this comes with a detriment to our health including a higher risk of cancer, kidney damage and gaining fat not muscle.
8We need dairy for calcium.
Research has shown that dairy isn’t necessary for calcium and indeed may not actually be the best source of calcium. Instead we can get all of our calcium requirements from plants along with none of the adverse effects of saturated fats from dairy as well as increased risks of certain cancers. To find out more about vegan calcium intake read The Vegan Society’s helpful guide.
9Aren’t you annoyed at the lack of food options when going out?
Yep. But it’s getting better. 10 years ago, you’d be lucky to get a vegetarian option on a menu but now it’s commonplace. Things are going the same way with vegan options. As demand grows, business owners adjust their businesses; so the more people become vegan the more common vegan options in restaurants will become. Take a look at Trip Advisor to find some of the best vegan restaurants around.