by Naaz Sekhon, SFU Student
I remember when my sister surprised my entire family with the news that she was going vegan. As is typical for a Punjabi family, the majority of our diet included dairy, so it was no shock that my sister received tremendous backlash. Despite my parents’ adverse reactions, my sister persevered and managed to convince us all that the vegan lifestyle really is worth the change. Her journey in becoming vegan inspired me to do further research on the topic, leading me to realize that there are many misconceptions that surround it that should be dispelled.
People who follow a vegan diet are surely asked if they get enough protein more times than they can count. The common thought is that we gain protein from animal products, which is entirely untrue as protein is found in all plant foods. Not to mention, animals consumed as a source of protein are fed plant-based diets. Being vegan just means consuming protein directly from the source instead of consuming excess injected hormones that come with animal protein. This idea that vegans don’t consume enough protein is especially misplaced because, according to HealthLink BC, vegan diets containing soy products, grains, nuts, and seeds are more than sufficient in fulfilling your body’s protein needs.
There is no denying that protein is an essential nutrient in the way our bodies function; however, we do not need high quantities. Research even suggests that having a high animal-based protein diet can actually have dangerous effects. Adults who consume animal-based products in very high amounts are “four times more likely to die of cancer and 75 percent more likely to die from any cause.” This just proves that animal-based protein isn’t entirely healthy and shouldn’t be favored over a vegan diet.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that veganism is unhealthy, and use it as a reason for why they won’t go vegan, when it’s completely the opposite. Not only are you less likely to suffer from heart disease and have lower cholesterol levels, being vegan also helps improve your immune system and can improve your skin. Another common myth is that being vegan leads to malnutrition. As long as your diet is well balanced and you are consuming enough nutrients, the benefits of being vegan are endless!
Veganism is widely associated with solely food, and this may be the case for some, but it doesn’t stop there. People who generally follow veganism make it a whole lifestyle to only purchase cruelty free products, along with making conscious efforts to be sustainable and environmental friendly. This lifestyle is inspiring and should be taken into consideration as it’s no secret that we are currently in a crisis when it comes to our planet. Since we are utilizing Earth’s natural resources far faster than they are replenishing, it is causing the planet to go through serious changes. Embracing veganism helps the environment far beyond we can comprehend and improves your health as well.
Although it may seem like a drastic change, what I have learned from my sister’s journey into veganism is that becoming vegan is completely worth it. Many people believe the myths about veganism easily, but not only is it healthier, it is also good for our planet. Being vegan means you are living a cruelty free life, and what could be better than that?