When you hear the word vegan, what do you think? Do you envision hippy loving, tye dye wearing bohemians that live on nothing but nuts, berries and tofu? Or do you think of uptight yuppies that claim to be vegetarians because they get more attention from friends and strangers? Before I became a mostly vegan individual, these are some of the images I conjured up, but as I looked more into the idea of vegan cuisine, I realized it was much more complicated than I thought. The reasons why people choose to become vegans is very diverse, as are the types of food vegans like to eat. Here are 8 things I’ve discovered about vegans that I think you should know.
1. Vegans choose to become so for different reasons. Having a healthy diet, animal rights, environmental factors, lowering cholesterol, decreasing your carbon footprint, saving money, and fighting infectious disease are just some of the reasons people choose to become vegan.
2. Not all vegans eat tofu. Yes, tofu is one way vegans can get protein, but I usually only cook tofu about once a month. The rest of the time I drink almond milk and get protein from vegetables, nuts and grains.
3. We don’t eat cholesterol. I was shocked when I learned the only foods that contain cholesterol come from animals. Cholesterol doesn’t exist in any plant based food. When I stopped eating animal products, my cholesterol dropped dramatically.
4. Not all vegan food is healthy or natural. Several unhealthy items, like Oreos, Sour Patch Kids, and Fritos are all vegan. Just because you choose a vegan diet does not mean you’re healthy. A healthy vegan diet includes plenty of fruits and veggies, healthy grains and nuts.
5. Protein is easier to find than you think. I used to think you could only get protein through milk, cheese and meat. The truth is that you can find protein all over the place if you know where to look. Protein can be found in all plant based foods, so as long as you eat a variety of healthy fruits and vegetable, protein is never a problem.
6. Kids thrive on vegan diets. Kids on vegan diets are usually more healthy than their omnivore counterparts. By filling their bodies with fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and healthy grains, they will grow strong and healthy in no time at all.
7. We get plenty of calcium. Just like protein, calcium can be found all over the place in the plant based world. Getting calcium from plants is actually healthier than calcium you get from animal milk because it doesn’t contain the acidity that cow’s milk has, which can actually cause bone density loss.
8. Vegan diet is friendly to your bank account. Meat and cheese is much more expensive than raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts. Natural and unprocessed food always costs less than processed food, meat and cheese.