There are lots of vegetarian myths roaming around. Although I don’t know what the purpose of these myths is (maybe to discourage people from being vegetarian) I do know that most people don’t know the many health benefits of becoming a vegetarian. Here are some of the myths that we’ve debunked:
Myth #1: Vegetarians are Weird Animal Rights Activists
Most people think that vegetarians are weirdoes and animal rights activists. This is a typical vegetarian myth. But would you call the likes of Orlando Bloom or Shania Twain weirdoes or freaks? There are tens of millions of vegetarians worldwide.
The truth is, being a vegetarian is a choice to improve your way of life. While some people do it because of their religion, research and studies show that most people become vegetarians to improve their health.
Myth #2: Vegetarians are Deficient in Calcium, Protein and Vitamin B12
One popular vegetarian myth is that dairy products have the highest levels of calcium. But the truth is although cheese and milk are good sources of calcium, so are many green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.
The myth that meat protein is better than vegetable protein has no basis at all. Plants offer an abundant amount of protein and vegetarians get the right amount of protein but not an excessive amount. Protein rich nuts and legumes provide enough protein for the whole day.
Vegetables have around 20% of protein. Beans have 28% and grains have 13%. Based on these numbers, vegetables can provide adequate amount of protein for our daily needs. Just 1 cup of chickpeas can give you 1/3 of the daily recommended amount of protein already! If you just focus on eating the right foods, there’s no reason to be vitamin and nutrient deficient.
With the right balanced diet, a vegetarian will get all the vitamins and nutrients they need to function, just like meat eaters.
Myth #3: A Vegetarian Diet is Only for Adults – Children Need Meat to Grow Healthy
Vegetarian kids are not so new nowadays. Many studies have shown that kids who eat a vegetarian diet are healthier than average children. The essential amino acids are found in most veggies so vegetarian kids should have the right amount of nutrients as they grow. Also, by lessening the amount of animal fat you give to your child, you’re avoiding the risk of making your child obese.
Myth #4: Vegetarians Tend to be Weak and Sickly
Many athletes are vegetarians. With this fact alone this vegetarian myth is easily busted. Being a vegetarian will actually make your body stronger and healthier. It will also help you to reduce the risk of becoming obese, acquiring cancer, and many different types of heart ailments. A vegetarian diet is usually low in fat and high in fiber, helping to make sure that all the toxins in your body are flushed away.
MYTH #5: The Human Body is Designed to Eat Meat
The truth is our human anatomy proves otherwise. This vegetarian myth has been around for years but many specialists have explained that our body is designed to eat meat only at times. It has been found that the human digestive system is very similar to many animal plant eaters. And may of the major diseases such as diabetes, obedity and heart ailments are caused by eating too much animal fat.
MYTH #6: Vegetable Oils are Healthy
The truth is, even vegetable oils are not entirely healthy. All kinds of fats, may it be saturated or unsaturated, contribute to the formation of fat cells. So even if it’s vegetable oil you should only use it in moderate amounts.
MYTH #7: You Need Milk to Have Strong Bones
Like what was said earlier, milk is not the only source of calcium. Actually, many vegetables have greater amounts of calcium compared to milk. A study was conducted that milk contains adequate amounts of animal protein and that this kind of protein removes calcium from our body with the help of our kidneys. So instead of acquiring calcium we flush it out. But when we get calcium from vegetables, it stays in our bodies and is of greater use to strengthen our bones.
MYTH #8: Vegetarian Foods Have a lot of Carbs that Make You Fat
Yes, carbohydrates can be found in many fruits and vegetables. But these carbs are the kind that don’t make you fat. The refined carbohydrates that contribute to weight gain are the ones that are found in sugar and flour.
I hope that I’ve been able to debunk and clarify these myths for you. Being a vegetarian gives you many health benefits. Just like with any other diet plan, if you plan out your meals then you’ll get the right amount of nutrients your body needs every day.
And ditch the thought that being a vegetarian is hard to do. Every beginning is hard but the end is surely worth it. If being healthy means you have to give up on your traditional family turkey recipe and just go with the greens, then it’s a step worth taking. There are also many vegetarian recipes that are very delicious and easy to make; a quick search online will show you the endless possibilities.
Angelo is a blogger who is passionate about meditation, self-development and yoga, and blogs at Mediation Mango.