10 common questions answered about veganism

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advice, support, guidance, help

In this blog post, we want to help answer 10 common questions that people from all backgrounds tend to ask when they learn about veganism for the first time.

1. Is a vegan diet healthy?

In short: yes, but only if you do it right.

The Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition conducted an umbrella review of the existing research on the health benefits of a vegan diet and found that a fully plant-based diet reduces weight, reduces risk of cancer, reduces risk for all-cause mortality, and may protect against diseases like heart disease, diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and stroke. 

A vegan diet, or plant-based diet, is one that does not include any animal products: no milk, no eggs, no honey, no butter, no ghee, no seafood, and no meat.

A lot of people who transition to a plant-based diet tend to find new routines and form new habits (however, it's not necessary.) Unfortunately for many people, they turn to processed foods low in nutrients and high in sugar and fat because they're fast and easy - and delicious.

While these products are super tasty and convenient, living off of them can hinder your health. This is why a plant-based diet doesn't automatically mean healthy. Oreos, fries, candies, soda, maggie, and other "accidentally vegan" processed foods are fully plant-based and easy to access.

A well balanced plant-based diet that includes a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, cereals & millets, pulses, nuts & seeds, and healthy fats will ensure you can live healthfully and sustainably - no matter what stage of life you're in.

2. How do vegans get enough protein?

Vegans eat a plant-based diet, so vegans get their protein from plants. In fact, all plants contain all nine amino acids. However, many are not considered "complete" if some essential amino acids are present in a negligible quantity. So don't stress out about protein, it's almost impossible to become deficient unless you are living in a place where famine and food insecurity is common.

Plant-based sources of protein aren't just quinoa and kale - there are plenty of other sources that are easy to access for Indians that can help you meet your daily requirements without having to eat meat or dairy products.

Here are 5 examples of plant-based protein:

  • Tofu - 14g of protein per 100g

  • Groundnuts - 26g of protein per 100g

  • Palak - 5g of protein per 1 cup

  • Urad dal (black gram) - 15g of protein per 1 cup (cooked)

  • Channa (chickpeas) - 8g of protein per 1 cup (cooked)

3. Will I lose weight on a vegan diet?

Vegans generally report losing weight, but it's not guaranteed. A lot of this depends on how much physical activity you do, how many fresh fruits & vegetables you eat, and so on.

If your diet as a vegan contains more refined sugars, refined grains, and saturated fat in place of whole ingredients, you will not lose weight.

While a whole foods plant-based diet or a low-fat plant-based diet can help people lose weight, we don't want to promote veganism as being purely a diet. The reason for that is because veganism then becomes about issues like weight loss, and quickly becomes a fad.

Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude the use of animals for food and other products, favoring an alternative lifestyle. When done properly, vegan eating can be healthy over the long-term - and help you lose weight if you wish!

4. What should I know about getting enough vitamins and minerals on a vegan diet?

The most important thing to know about getting enough vitamins and minerals on a vegan diet is that you need to eat a wide variety of foods - and a lot of it! This means fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, cereals & millets, pulses, nuts & seeds, and healthy fats.

Another way for vegans (and non-vegans) to get enough vitamins and minerals is to eat foods that are fortified. This can be energy drinks, breakfast cereals, and even plant-based foods like mylk.

If you would like to supplement, you can! However, it's not necessary, except for B12. For vegans, the only nutrient you can not reliably get from a plant-based diet is B12 - therefore it must be supplemented. This is because hygienic, modern agricultural practices (like washing produce and drinking filtered water) remove any B12 in our day-to-day lives.

check out our vegan multivitamin gummy!

For more information on vegan nutrition, check out some of our blog posts on important nutrients:

5. Do all vegans eat the same thing?

Vegans don't eat the same foods. Vegans can indulge in anything a non-vegan can. In fact, there are alternatives for just about everything these days - milk, chicken nuggets, eggs, butter, ghee, seafood, burger patties, mutton, and more.

Vegans are people from all religions, backgrounds, and walks of life. Thankfully here in India, we are blessed to have so many of our traditional Indian foods entirely plant-based (or easy to make plant-based.)

But veganism isn't just about what you eat, it's also how you live your life. There's really not a lot of rules when it comes to veganism. All you have to do is minimise suffering whenever and wherever possible.

6. Is it hard to be vegan?

It's much easier to be vegan than people make it out to be.

Vegan food is everywhere, and non-vegans eat vegan food all the time (whether they want to admit it or not is another thing.)

And now, healthy, delicious options are becoming more widely available at restaurants, grocery stores, and even on airlines.

If you grew up eating meat and dairy products on a daily basis, becoming fully vegan will take some getting used to, but it's nothing you can't overcome or take advantage of. Once your cravings disappear and/or you find alternatives you like, you won't even think too hard about how to be vegan.

Check out our blog post: 7 ways to take the stress out of going vegan

7. Is vegan food good?

Yes! Think about what makes food taste good: seasoning.

What seasonings and flavours come from animals? *crickets*

Now, think about all the things that make food delicious: tumeric, garam masala, chili powder, black pepper, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, mustard seeds, jeera, oregano, salt, green onions, parsley, coriander, basil, tamarind, lemon juice, hing, and so forth.

If you know what you're doing, you can cook delicious plant-based meals. But don't sweat it, you can easily learn how to make tasty & healthy vegan meals online, or just order it from an app! Being vegan has never be easier - or more delicious.

Vegan pav bhaji. Get our recipe here.

8. Why isn't dairy vegan?

A lot of us go vegetarian (or already are vegetarian) because we believe killing animals for food is unethical or cruel. But did you know that meat production hugely benefits from dairy production?

Milk can only come from a cow or buffalo who has given birth to a calf. If the calf is born a male, he will either be sent for slaughter, become abandoned, become used for breeding, or become used for work. Regardless of where he is taken, he will eventually be slaughtered for meat. If the calf is born a female, she will be kept alive like her mother for milk production. But once her milk production peaks, she will be slaughtered for meat. Dairy and meat industries are ancillary like pencils and erasers. They need each other! 

However, there isn’t a strong market for beef in India so it gets exported. This explains why India is one of the largest exporters of beef in the world. At the same time, India is one of the largest consumers of dairy in the world. See the connection?

This is why vegans do not eat dairy milk, cheese, butter, ghee, and so on.

9. Is veganism expensive?

Yes and no.

Veganism is expensive if you only eat out and buy expensive, imported ingredients. You don't need to shop at high-end natural food stores to be vegan.

Veganism is not expensive if you stick to a plant-based Indian diet. Dining on traditional foods like daal and chapatis are inexpensive, comforting, and delicious.

If you want to order food, choose a darshini/hotel/sagar. They're fast, vegetarian, and offer tons of vegan options.

Check out our blog: how to save money as a vegan.

10. what is the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan?

Vegetarianism is a diet that excludes meat, fish and poultry. People become vegetarian or are born vegetarian for cultural and religious reasons.

People become vegan for cultural and religious reasons as well, but the primary motivator is to reduce the suffering animals endure to become food products.

Vegetarians still consume dairy and even eggs (except in India), whereas vegans are 100% plant-based.

Check out our blog: what is the difference between vegetarianism and veganism?

If you enjoyed this information, let us know in the comments!


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