Hopefully this page can clear up a few of the most common questions and misconceptions people have about veganism.
1.) If you aren’t eating meat, where do you get your protein?
America has been PROGRAMMED to associate meat with protein. While yes, meat is of course a great source of protein, it is by NO means the ONLY source out there. Beans, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy are excellent sources of protein!
Here are a few examples of common cuts of meat:
4 oz ground beef – 22 grams fat (8 grams saturated), 19 grams protein
4 oz pork roast – 16 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 30 grams protein
4 oz pork sausage – 30 grams fat (10 grams saturated), 16 grams protein
Let’s compare to common vegan sources of protein:
1 cup lima beans – 0.8 grams fat (0 saturated), 38 grams protein
1 cup black beans – 0.6 grams of fat (0 grams saturated), 14 grams protein
1 cup white beans – 0.7 gram fat (0 saturdated), 19 grams protein
1 slice lite firm silken tofu – 1 gram fat (0 saturated), 11 grams protein
By just those few examples you quickly see that vegans can easily consume an equal amount of protein while eliminating the unhealthy fat that comes along with eating meat.
Nuts and seeds are also excellent sources of protein:
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds – 16 grams protein
1/2 cup cashews – 10 grams protein
1/2 cup almonds – 15 grams protein
1/2 sunflower seeds – 13 grams protein
For more detailed information – http://veganhealth.org/articles/protein
2.) How do you get enough iron if you aren’t eating red meat?
Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine states ”The most healthful sources of iron are “greens and beans.” That is, green leafy vegetables and anything from the bean group. These foods also bring you calcium and other important minerals. Vegetables, beans and other foods provide all the iron you need. In fact, studies show that vegetarians and vegans tend to get more iron than meat eaters. Vitamin C increases iron absorption. Meanwhile, dairy products reduce iron absorption significantly.”
There are multiple sources of iron outside of red meat (lentils, cooked spinach, toasted pumpkin seeds, and soybeans just to name a few). Eating a balanced VEGAN DIET will easily supply you with a sufficient amount of iron!
3.) Where do you get your calcium if you aren’t consuming milk or dairy?
There are countless sources of calcium outside of milk or dairy – broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, and other common greens have highly absorbable calcium. A few more examples are:
1 cup cooked okra – 135mg calcium
1 glass soy milk – 300mg calcium
1 cup cooked turnip greens – 249mg calcium
1 cup cooked kale – 179mg calcium
1 cup cooked navy beans – 126mg calcium
2 tbsp almond butter – 111mg calcium
1 cup Tempeh – 184mg calcium
4.) Is it safe to raise your toddler vegan?
According to the AMERICAN DIETETIC Association:
“Well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Vegetarian diets offer a number of nutritional benefits including lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and phytochemicals. Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass index than non-vegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower rates of hypertension, TYPE 2 DIABETES ANDprostate and colon cancer.”
5.) “Healthy food is so expensive – I can’t afford it!”
This is one of the biggest myths of all, and one of my favorite to talk about because I once thought this was absolutely true. The truth is, you can save a significant amount of money if you shop vegan the right way.
Here are a few of my personal tips:
– Stock up on dried beans and grains. They are one of the most inexpensive items you can get in the grocery store! On top of that, they are the foundation of countless vegan recipes.
– Buy frozen fruits and vegetables, as well as fresh. Many of the more expensive fruits and vegetables are a fraction of the price in the frozen food section! Just carefully read the ingredient list on the package and make sure the only ingredient listed is the fruit or vegetable inside.
– Make homemade EVERYTHING! Crackers, soups, dips, spreads, nut butter, tortillas, ect. – all of these things can be made much cheaper if you do it yourself rather than buying them pre-packaged/canned. They also taste so much better when you make them yourself!
– Get a Sams card and buy in bulk! Items like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits are wonderful options for buying in larger quantities. You can get a bulk amount and store them in air-tight containers to use as you needs them. This way you aren’t constantly running to the store and paying the high price for brand names!
– Learn to love the taste of uncomplicated food. This is the best money saving tip I have! What I mean by this is, eat more SIMPLE DISHES and appreciate them for what they are. So many nights my dinner will consist of roasted broccoli and carrots. Most of the time they aren’t dressed up in a special sauce, served over quinoa, or chopped up and thrown into some elaborate dish – they are just a delcious plate of broccoli and carrots, and I love their simple flavors/textures. Every meal does NOT have to be some fancy recipe that took you 2 hours to prepare. Sometimes you have to just keep it simple.