October was Vegetarian Awareness Month and Conspiracy is available on Netflix. Check it out, and reconsider these common misconceptions you may have about vegans and vegetarians.
Number Ten: They’re always pushing their beliefs on you. Think of how many times a day you see an advertisement for the latest hamburger at [insert fast food store], or the “got milk?” advertisements paid for by the government-subsidized dairy industry. Now consider how many times a day you see an advertisement promoting vegan or vegetarian eating habits. Hmm…
Number Nine: They think animals have feelings. Well, animals do have feelings. Don’t you think your dog has feelings? In fact, pigs are more emotionally intelligent than domestic animals, and even outperform 3-year-old human children on cognition tests. Mother and baby cows cry for hours when they’re torn apart for dairy, and even fish develop socio-cultural traditions.
Number Eight: Their diets are unhealthy. Vegan and vegetarian diets are actually the most effective when striving for optimal health. 4/5 Americans suffering from heart disease that became vegetarian reversed their symptoms completely, and the World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to officially classify meat as a carcinogen this month.
Number Seven: “My friend went vegetarian and her doctor said she was low in [iron, B vitamins, etc.] so she had to start eating meat again.” Plant-based diets exceed all nutritional requirements, but many people that go vegan/vegetarian simply substitute meats with carbohydrates. In many cases, meeting these vitamin requirements are not vegan issues. Vegans and meat-eaters alike are easily deficient, but we often mistakenly associate these deficiencies with animal products.
Number Six: There’s nothing tasty to eat. Think about how you cook your meat before you eat it. Do you season it? Poultry seasonings and steak seasonings are actually vegan. Toss them with some veggies and rice, and you evoke the same taste.
Number Five: They’re so extreme. Take it away, Dean Ornish, M.D.: “I don’t understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic while it is medically conservative to cut people open or put them on powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs.”
Number Four: Their grocery bills are higher. Have you looked at the price of meat lately? Imagine if you stopped buying meat, eggs, milk, cheese, ice cream… and ate more grains and veggies. Make your grocery bills even smaller by shopping for your produce seasonally, or even start growing your own veggies. Buy grains in bulk… and consider how you’ll save money in the long run on medical bills.
Number Three: They’re deficient in protein (or any other nutrient). Did you know 97% of Americans are deficient in one nutrient? Do you know what that one nutrient is? Fiber. All fiber comes from plants. None of it comes from animal foods.
Number Two: They think they’re changing the world. Ah, but they are. Becoming vegan is the single biggest thing you can do to combat climate change… and the difference one person can make is not insignificant.
Number One: Vegans are emotional and oversensitive granola heads. Did the Yulin dog meat festival upset you? Were you enraged by the slaughter of Cecil the lion? I’ll leave you with this… There is no shame in loving. Never let someone make you feel embarrassed for caring about animal welfare, caring about the environment, or for trying to do a good thing. Act as if what you do makes a difference, because it does.
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” – Iain Thomas