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5 things you wish your non-vegan friends understood about veganism

Vegan living is perhaps one of the most misunderstood lifestyle choices. Even though many celebrities and media influencers follow a vegan lifestyle, there are still many myths and misinformation floating around about what being a vegan really is, why people choose it as a lifestyle and what vegans can eat.

Vegan living is perhaps one of the most misunderstood lifestyle choices. Even though many celebrities and media influencers follow a vegan lifestyle, there are still many myths and misinformation floating around about what being a vegan really is, why people choose it as a lifestyle and what vegans can eat.

Whether it’s the stereotype of the hippy vegan with long dreadlocks and tie dyed clothing, the pious vegan who will refuse to visit your house if you have animal products in it, or the unhealthy vegan, who is constantly hungry and not getting all the food they need - there are lots of unhelpful and untrue stereotypes of vegans.

What is a vegan like? Well, you and me. The truth is - anyone can choose a vegan lifestyle and vegan come from all walks of life. There are vegan entrepreneurs, vegan chefs, vegan celebrities, vegan moms and even vegan athletes! Here are 5 things us vegans wish our non-vegan friends and family understood about veganism. Maybe you should share it with yours!

1. You CAN get enough protein from plants! 

Protein is essential in your diet; it is a building block in your body for cells, bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. A common myth about vegan living is that vegans can’t get enough protein from their diet. This comes from the fact that we are told that foods such as chicken, eggs and dairy are full of protein, so the natural conclusion people come to is that without these foods, your diet cannot be rich in protein.

This absolutely isn’t true and there are plenty of plant-based foods that have high levels of protein. It’s about choosing the right balance of foods in your diet, as with any choice of diet. Which vegan foods are high in protein? Things like tofu, beans, lentils and chickpeas can form a part of many vegan meals and offer a high source of protein. You can also top up protein with milk alternatives, such as soya, and nuts such as peanuts.

2. Vegans are not all hippies

A vegan lifestyle has never been more mainstream than it is now. But there is a common myth still that choosing to be vegan is an ‘alternative’ lifestyle choice, favoured by people who are ‘hippies’. Whilst there are some people who follow a vegan lifestyle who could be described as hippies, choosing long hair and more basic living, there are also lots of people across all walks of life who are vegans.

There are people who are doctors, CEOs, accountants, musicians, athletes, parents, punks, goths, actors, scientists and everything in between… who are all vegan. You can’t tell if someone is a vegan just by looking at them! We’re everywhere nowadays!

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3. Vegans have a lot of food to choose from

Another common myth, and cause for concern for non-vegan friends and family of someone turning vegan, is that there aren't a lot of options for food. The idea of having a vegan around for tea can feel daunting for non-vegans; what will they eat?

The good news is that there are loads of foods for vegans to choose from. In fact, you can pretty much get alternatives for any animal-based foods nowadays. Most supermarkets now stock vegan ranges, from large brands to their own versions of vegan foods. It’s never been easier to be a vegan - or to have one round for tea!

4. Vegans don’t only talk about being vegan!

A common criticism of vegans is that we talk a lot about… being vegan! There is some truth to this… but remember when you started that new way of eating, or started a new way of exercising, and felt amazing? Didn’t you want to tell everyone? The other thing is that vegans are often asked questions by non-vegans who want to know more. So yes, we’re happy to chat about being vegan. But we are not here to judge your choices or just talk about being vegan, we also care about current affairs, the weather and traffic!

5. Vegans do have to consider taking supplements (but so should most of us!)

The main reason people don’t think a vegan diet is healthy is because those following a vegan lifestyle often take a supplement. This usually includes Vitamin B12, which is vital for energy and a healthy metabolism, and Vitamin D3, which is vital for healthy bones, a healthy heart and immune system. This can lead people to question - if you have to take supplements then surely you aren’t getting everything your body needs from your vegan diet?

The answer is yes… but the bigger answer is, nearly everyone doesn’t get everything they need from their diet, regardless of whether you are a vegan or not. Vitamin B12 isn’t present in plants, but even those following a meat-based diet, may not get enough depending on how balanced their diet is. None of us are getting enough Vitamin D3 all year round which is why the government advice suggests considering a supplement.

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So when those who follow a vegan diet take supplements, this is often because they have spent more time researching nutritional gaps and have taken action, rather than their diet being insufficient. Vegans also choose vitamins that are animal-free, which can be tricky. For example, many Vitamin D supplements are derived from lanolin in sheep’s wool, and so aren’t vegan, and those that are can contain Vitamin D2 rather than D3, a less effective form of Vitamin D.

Here at Vegetology we create vegan supplements that are suitable for everyone. We use a plant-based Vitamin D3, from a moss-like substance called lichen to make our vegan Vit D3.

The best way to get your non-vegan friends to understand veganism is to share your journey with them. This doesn’t have to feel preachy or as if all you talk about is being vegan, but sharing tips on recipes and even making vegan goodies for parties and gatherings can be a great starting point. Also if you do take supplements, like our Vit D3, why not get some to give to your friends to try? Slowly but surely we can change the way people view veganism as more and more of us go vegan.

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