Going green – facts and half-truths about veganism

Going green – facts and half-truths about veganism

by Pamela Ng 05 Jan 2020

We’ve all heard how vegan diets can be greatly beneficial to our health. However, there are aspects of veganism that tend to be exaggerated as well. Many people think that just because someone is a vegan, he or she is the epitome of health. As wonderful the benefits of a plant-based diet may be, things could be further from the truth. 


Myth: You won’t get any disease if you adopt veganism

There are many studies to show that there is a lower rate of chronic diseases among people who follow veganism. However, there are also some vegans who developed heart conditions such as coronary heart disease. This is because prior to a vegan diet, the person might have been eating unhealthily, thus giving rise to the heart condition later on in the vegan diet. Furthermore, many new vegans may not have the full knowledge on how to create a healthy vegan diet, and they eat foods that, while are not animal-based, are ladled with trans-fat, sugar and salt.


A plant-based diet can be horrendous in its own way if you don’t pay any attention to (i.e. fries and corn chips). If you practice poor eating habits, you’re just as likely to fall ill as your meat-eating counterpart. Know your foods and opt for natural whole foods instead of processed one. Pay attention to the way its prepared as well. Also, don’t neglect your regular medical check-up so that you stay up to date with the state of your health.


Myth: You only need to be a vegan to be healthy and fit

Nutrition is an essential part of of fitness, but that is only part of the puzzle. Exercising and staying active in general works hand in hand with what you eat in maintaining your health and fitness. Even if you eat the cleanest greens in the world, there will still be consequences to be had if you remain sedentary.


Besides exercising and moving regularly, other lifestyle habits also play a big role in ensuring better health, such as having sufficient sleep and not smoking. Combining these healthy habits with exercising and a vegan diet can benefit your health more as opposed to just focusing on what you eat alone.


Myth: A vegan diet will fulfil all your nutritional requirements

While a vegan diet can provide you with lots of nutrients, it also lacks some nutrients such as vitamin B12, omega-3 and iodine. Thus, if you are practising veganism, you should also be mindful to consume specific foods that are high in those nutrients. Ground flaxseeds and chia seeds are some great vegan choices for extra omega-3, while kelp and nori seaweed can increase your iodine intake. Health supplements and multivitamins can also give you an extra boost of nutrients should you need it.


Protein is also an obvious concern when it comes to veganism. While there are numerous plant-based options for protein intake, very few can match up to animal alternatives gram for gram. There’s also the amino acid profile and protein digestibility score to consider. Having some vegan-friendly protein supplements like pea or hemp protein powder can make hitting your macros less of a headache.


While vegan diets are generally healthy, you should always make sure that your research is thorough before jumping on the bandwagon. There’s no point in starting it, only to drop out by the second week. Lay the groundwork to ensure that your foray into veganism is a sustainable one, but don’t be afraid to reconsider your options if things start to look unfavourable in the long run. Veganism simply presents an alternative choice – it was never meant to be the perfect diet, and it certainly isn’t one.