Vegetarianism isn’t just about eating ‘bunny food’ and pounds of tofu everyday. There are a lot of myths surrounding vegetarianism; everything from how healthy going vegetarian really is for the human body all the way down to how to make proper meatless nutrient substitutions. We have compiled a list of the most prevalent vegetarian myths out there and are here to set the record straight.
MYTH: Vegetarians don’t get enough protein.
FACT: Protein doesn’t only come from animal sources. Protein can be found in veg-head-friendly foods like beans, whole grains, and vegetables. Some great sources of protein for vegetarians are tempeh, quinoa, almonds, brown rice, and pinto beans. In addition, most people, vegetarian or not, get more protein than they need in a day, so extra effort to add protein to your diet is usually unnecessary.
MYTH: Meat protein is healthier than plant protein.
FACT: Protein is protein. It was a popular theory for a while that plants are incomplete proteins, which means they need to be combined with other foods to make the protein chain complete. This theory, however, has recently come under scrutiny, with many vegetarians claiming that they are, indeed, complete proteins already. Additionally, when you consume meat for protein, you are also consuming excess saturated fat. While there is room for saturated fat in your diet, eliminating sources that contain large amounts of the artery clogger is encouraged.
MYTH: A vegetarian diet is a low calorie diet.
FACT: Many people go veggie as a way to drop weight or cut calories. Perhaps it’s the term ‘diet’ that makes them think of it as a weight loss gimmick, but in reality, the word ‘diet’ is what you eat. If you ate string, that would be your diet. This is further perpetuated by the thought that vegetarians only eat low-calorie, water-rich fruits and vegetables. While fresh produce is a big part of the vegetarian diet (and should be for everyone’s diet) eating any type of food in excess can cause weight gain. A calorie is a calorie in terms of your weight, so even vegetarians must watch their caloric intake.
MYTH: All vegetarians are animal-rights activists.
FACT: While some people choose to give up meat because they disagree with the way animals are treated and refuse to support animal cruelty, some vegetarians go meatless because they don’t trust the meat industry to supply them with safe meat, believe that a vegetarian diet is healthier for long term health, and some simply don’t like the taste of meat.
What other vegetarian myths have you heard? Are you a vegetarian? What made you adopt the diet?
September 30th, 2010