Often considered extremists, vegans are regularly confronted with comments that must be taken as jokes. Indeed, due to a lack of knowledge on the subject, many people have a very strong opinion on the movement. So we decided to explain to you what veganism really is discussing vegan clichés that many vegans hear regularly. Without being moralistic, this article is simply informative and educational.
So here are the 20 vegan clichés don’t want to hear anymore and why these claims are wrong.
1 – You must eat everything to be in good health, you must be full of deficiencies.
No, it’s nice to worry, but being vegan doesn’t mean being deficient. Indeed, many vegetables, cereals and other seeds are full of iron, protein and calcium. By educating yourself and adopting a balanced diet, it is entirely possible to be vegan without suffering from any nutritional deficiency.
2 – Have you ever heard of plants suffering ?
For those to who have never heard about “plant suffering”, it is a theory according to which plants would suffer when they are torn from the ground to be cooked and eaten. Plants don’t have a nervous system. Thus, this theory is quite unlikely to be true. It aims above all to try to ridicule the commitment of vegans and vegetarians. Besides this reality, it takes a lot of vegetables to raise animals intended for consumption. We are talking about 5 to 10g of vegetale based protein for 1g of animal protein… That’s quite an important number of vegetables sacrificed, don’t you think ?
3 – It’s natural to eat meat. Don’t you see how lions do ?
So yes, it is certainly natural for a carnivore who has a physical need to ingest meat, like the lion. However, men are omnivorous. We may be able to digest both vegetables and meat, but our body does not need meat to be well. The only imperative is that we get what our body needs to function and these things are found in ample amounts in vegetables, fruits, seeds and cereals.
4 – What you’re doing is useless. There will always be people eating meat.
To answer this, it is enough to quote the Amerindian legend of the hummingbird.
One day, says the legend, there was a huge forest fire. All terrified animals, aghast, watched helplessly the disaster happen. Only the little hummingbird was bustling about it, fetching a few drops with its beak to throw them on the fire. After a while, the armadillo, annoyed by the derisory agitation, said to him :
“Hummingbird ! Are you crazy ? It’s not with these little drops of water that you will stop taht fire !”
And the hummingbird replied, “I know it, but I’m doing my part.”
5 – There are more important causes, right?
Being vegan obviously does not mean being insensitive to all other important causes. It is not because we choose to no longer consume animal products that the fate of the planet and humans does not interest us.
6 – How are you going to react if I start eating a rare burger in front of you?
It is a difficult question because it depends on the sensitivity of each one. For my part, I won’t say anything, because I know it’s counterproductive, but I couldn’t help but think about what this piece of meat involves.
7 – Oh well, don’t invite me to eat at your place, I don’t like salad or tofu …
Another vegan cliché about food. When you are interested in it, you quickly realize that there are a multitude of vegan recipes. From burgers to pizzas to many other more sophisticated dishes and desserts, the majority of dishes containing animal products are adaptable in a vegan version. You can also add to that a large number of dishes which are vegan creations. You will realize that a vegan diet can be very rich and diversified.
8 – And what about your children ? It’s mistreatement !
It is a vegan cliché following the scandal of the infant who died because he was fed with a classic vegetable milk. There are several infant formula milks specially designed to meet the nutritional needs of babies, and which are without risk on their growth.
Children have always eaten what their parents feed them. If children turn out to be vegans after several years of omnivorous diets, the same goes for children who grew up on a vegan diet and chose to switch to an omnivorous diet while growing up. Everyone starts life with the ideas of their parents and, as they mature, decides to break free of it or to continue on this path.
Many criticize vegan parents for imposing their diet on their child, but this is also the case for omnivorous parents who impose meat for example. Abuse would be to not give food to your child, here the question is only to give him to eat differently from the majority of people.
9 – I’m not rich enought to eat vegetarian !
Considering the average price of a prime rib of beef, or any other piece of meat, it turns out that eating vegan or vegetarian really doesn’t cost more than eating meat. Vegans are not necessarily better off than others, they divide their money into other products and pay attention, like everyone else, to the price of their basket. It’s probable one of the most popular vegan cliché !
10 – It’s a Western luxury! If you were hungry you would eat everything!
Being able to choose what to eat is a luxury. But in the end it is a valid notion no matter your diet. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, omnivore or convinced carnist, in developed countries, everyone decides what is on their plate.
This is not always the case for people with limited income or for people in developing countries. But choosing what to eat is definitely not a luxury reserved for vegan people.
11 – You’ll get over it? It’s just a trend !
When you become vegan for your health, there may be a turning back. But when we vegan for the love for animals, that is to say for ethical values, it is impossible. You cannot question your values overnight. It is not a trend !
The phenomenon has indeed grown in recent years thanks to a collective awareness but that does not mean that in a few months, everyone will go back a classic diet.
12 – You know, they will be killed anyway, so you should as well eat them.
If vegans don’t want to eat anything made from animals, it’s in an attempt to put an end to animal abuse. And we can not help but say that if everyone put themselves on this diet, or at least reduced their consumption of meat and other animal products, it is obvious that the number of animals killed or suffering for human consumption would be smaller and smaller. Thus, if everyone puts their stone to the building, it is possible to envision a safer world for animals.
For those who are interested, it is possible to calculate the number of animals that you have saved by becoming vegetarian or vegan, check the Vegan Calculator.
13 – But cows must be milked, otherwise it hurts them !
This is probably the most common misconception regarding veganism. And for good a reason. It is true that milking a cow relieves her of her milk. The fact is that female mammals only produce milk during pregnancy, to feed their young during the first months of his life, until his weaning (like humans finally).
To make sure that the cow, the sheep or whatever, produces milk, the females are inseminated every year. Then their young ones are taken from them to be fattened or to enrich the herd. During this time, the milk that the females produce is drawn and sold for human consumption, while it is intended for the young. So yes, milking relieves them but it would be even better for them not to be inseminated every year and separated from their young.
14 – Man are omnivorous by nature. We have always eaten meat, it is also thanks to meat that our brain has developed.
Our ancestors did eat meat, but do we really do just like our ancestors ? If we had decided to live like them we would not have Internet, no cars, no smartphones …. Our ancestors did a lot of things that we don’t do, and we do a lot of things that they never did.
It is up to us to make our contribution to evolution like our ancestors did before us ! And no their brains did not develop thanks to the meat. Other activities such as gathering, cooking food, etc. have enabled them to develop the intellectual and cognitive capacities which we have inherited.
© Les Echos
15 – You don’t know what you’re missing ! .
Most vegans have experienced an omnivorous diet before switching to a becoming vegan. Therefore, they know perfectly the taste of the steak you are eating. Whether it is a choice made out of taste or conviction, the fact of not eating animal products is an matured choice.
It is also true that really delicious vegan alternatives exist today, so vegans know what they are “missing” but they especially know what they gain from it.
16 – If you were alone on a desert island you would eat animals.
If the animals are present on this famous desert island, it is probably that they feed themselves. So, in theory, I would also find something to eat. And you ? On a desert island would you manage to adopt a vegan diet or would you let yourself starve if if there are no animals to eat ?
17- I canunderstand vegetarians but being vegan is too extreme !
Even if the vegan diet may seem complicated to adopt at first, when you look at the possible options you quickly realize that many recipes and alternatives exist to eat vegan simply. In addition it is simply a question of consistency.
Indeed, when we decide to be vegetarian it is, in general, to get out of the animal suffering system, veganism therefore simply consists in pushing the process to the end to be in total harmony with your values.
18 – But I’m green, meat is more ecological than all industrial vegan imitations.
Indeed, industrial vegan imitations are not all very good for the environment. It’s very easy to make, very good for your health, for the environment and it’s delicious. In addition, meat is not an ecological product either, between greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation and the consumption of water necessary for a herd, breeding has disastrous consequences for the planet.
19 – Vegans will make hunger worse in the world because they eat too much cereals.
There is enough agricultural area to feed everyone. If everyone became vegan, world hunger would not get worse, on the contrary ! Indeed, it takes more cereals to produce 1kg of steak than it takes to feed a human.
Consequently, if the cereals intended for breeding returned to human consumption, hunger would not increase.
20- All vegans are extremists, aggressive.
This is one of the worst misconceptions about veganism. Some vegans are extreme it’s a fact. But we must not put all vegans in the same boat. Note that, extremists are often minorities who undertake actions, sometimes violent ones, which make people talk about them. But not all vegans are extremists, ready to ransack the butchers’ shops and get deleted from their list of friends if you eat meat.
In fact, it is even the opposite. Basically, veganism is about taking care of animals, respecting the world around us and all living things in it. So stop with preconceived ideas. We can live together in harmony if everyone respects their neighbor’s choices !
We hope this article has helped you see more clearly and understand veganism a little better !