December is coming to an end, the holiday celebrations are over and so it's that time of the year again where most of us think about new year's resolutions, changes for the coming year, and general wishes for one's personal or professional development. After feasting our way through Christmas breakfasts, lunches and dinners and eating more than our own body weight, cutting back on food in general is on many said lists of intentions. For some the idea of Veganuary might not be new, either because we (mostly) eat plant-based anyway during the rest of the year, we have participated in Veganuary before, or because we have heard about it but never had the opportunity to participate…
Well, your opportunity is now. And if you need additional information as an incentive to actually commit… just keep reading. Because contrary to popular belief, Veganuary is not just about animal welfare. Of course being conscious about our furry friends is for sure a big part of eating plant-based, but there are many other important reasons why consuming less animal products might be a good idea. Have you ever heard of the term Climatarian? That is someone choosing their diet based on what is good and least harmful for the environment. Eating less animal products actually supports that notion of environmental preservation. Because unfortunately, with our modern day farming infrastructure, animal farming has become a major contributor for climate change, deforestation, loss of species, air pollution and antibiotic resistance among humans.
If living a life in favour of conscious and considered environmental practices and in line with mother nature isn't enough to fully convince you, this might be because you have heard so many strange claims about eating and being vegan or plant-based. Let's see whether we can bring you along by busting some of those myths for you:
Being vegan is much more than "just" eating plant-based
Well, let's get this one out of the way, as it is actually true. Adopting a vegan lifestyle means to choose not eating animal products at all, as well as rejecting any animal based products in general. Think about exchanging traditional animal leather with vegan leather or making sure your cosmetic products are not tested on animals. Veganism goes even further than that and promotes a lifestyle protecting the environment. Does that however mean that you can only do Veganuary when you adopt the perfect vegan lifestyle? NO, NO, NO. This movement is all about you doing as much as you feel right for yourself and your own personal situation. If that means, eating one plant-based meal per week more than usual, then this is perfect. If that means, eating no meat for lunch, then go for it. It is not about some people being 100% strictly vegan, but about many people being just a bit more conscious about their eating patterns.
When leaving out animal products from your diet, there is nothing left to eat except salad
This could almost be funny if it actually wouldn't be so tragic. For some people, eating animal products is so much intertwined with their perception of what a diet should look like, they actually have no idea what else there is out there when it comes to plant-based food. And they couldn't be further away from the truth. The plant-based diet is so rich and diverse in options, it can actually blow your mind to learn that there are more than 1000 types of vegetables. Can you imagine so many colourful and nutritious goodies?
Eating plant-based is just too expensive
This idea of an expensive vegan lifestyle doesn't come as a surprise. Looking at the ridiculous prices of all kinds of superfoods and exotic chocolates makes any other thought or opinion almost impossible. Yet, here it is: eating plant-based CAN but for sure doesn't HAVE TO be an expensive choice. Like with so many things in life, you can choose for the normal affordable range, or you can choose the posh variant. And especially when you are used to buying good quality meat and fish, you might even be surprised by the comparable low price-tag for vegetables and fruit.
A plant-based diet will leave you malnourished
The exact opposite is the case when eating a well-balanced plant-based diet. All those veggies are so nutrient-rich that they will boost your immune system, heart function, general endurance and overall health. But as with all things health: in case of any concerns, please always consult your physician to be on the safe side.
A plant-based diet will not serve you with enough protein
A more detailed myth on the nutritious side of veganism is that eating a purely plant based diet will not give you enough protein to sustain your body and fuel you for all of your daily activity. The claim is that we can only get sufficient protein from animal products like red meat and dairy. But have you ever wondered how animals get their protein from? From eating a protein rich diet full of lentils, pulses, beans, broccoli, peanuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, etc. etc. So yes, you can consume all those great sources of protein through the animal, but you can also go directly to the source and eat those goodies yourself.
And now the opposite: eating vegan is inherently a healthy choice
Oh well, let's be real here… eating vegan also means for example to eat potatoes and tomatoes. But when you intend to only eat chips (or french fries for our American friends) with ketchup, then I can almost guarantee that this might not be your healthiest food choice ever. So again, it all depends :) But claiming that all vegan food is generally in all instances healthy might be a stretch of the word.
And just as a funny bonus myth: plants have feelings as well :)
Although we quite enjoy the thought of it, we know that plants do not have a central nervous system and thus are unable to have feelings. So there is that…
And? Are you joining the plant-based revolution? Try out Veganuary with us and be surprised by the many benefits for you as well as for your environment. Let us know what your experience is and tag us in your social media posts with #nezliving.