When you go vegan, it is so normal to be overwhelmed by questions that people have.
I have heard numerous questions about veganism, and most of them are genuine curiosity, and others are made to make veganism look negative or hypocritical (see below).
I have decided to create a guide that will help people answer the common questions that vegans get. I realize that it would be so difficult to answer every single questions that vegans get, so let’s call this post a work in progress. I will begin with basic questions and dive in a little deeper over time. You are welcome to request questions that you receive as well, that would be super helpful!
My hope is that being vegan will be just a little bit easier for you since you will have all the answers to common questions (even the pretty dumb ones!). I also think that this would be useful for future vegans who are curious about the lifestyle, but are still hesitant.
The goal here is to show how easy and logical going vegan is.
Let us answer some common question:
Comebacks to Common Vegan Questions/Concerns:
If You Love Animals, Why do You Eat Their Food?
*Facepalm. I don’t think anyone genuinely wonders this…I think it’s actually a way to make vegans feel bad about their lifestyle. This question is intended to discredit the vegan lifestyle and is honestly usually asked by people who have no intention of going vegan and think the lifestyle is stupid. But hey, there is an answer:
We share food with animals. Believe it or not, if everyone went vegan, there would be more than enough plants in the world for humans and animals to share.
If We Didn’t Eat Animals, They’d Take Over the World
This might be true if one day everyone decided to be vegan. Billions of animals are slaughtered every year, and there certainly wouldn’t be room for them to live freely. Unfortunately, a vegan world would be a process. No vegan activist believes that everyone will go vegan overnight, this is very unrealistic. Over time, the supply for meat will go down, and less animals will be bred for food. This would mean that eventually, the animal’s population will naturally go down to a reasonable population. Herbivorous animals are still prey to carnivorous animals (the true carnivores), and that should be enough population control.
Everyone Going Vegan Would Lead to the Extinction of Animals
Isn’t it interesting how the questions differ so greatly? It is clear that so many people do not actually know if animals were free from slaughter, the natural food chain would still apply to them, and this does actually improve the population because it is natural and not manipulated by humans. It is true that we live in a way that makes it difficult for animals to survive, which is super sad. However, I think that we could all do our part to prioritize saving animal populations (and this applies to every animal out there, not just livestock).
If We Only Eat Plants, the World Would Run Out of Food
My goodness! This is so far from the truth! As a matter of fact, if the world was vegan, we could end world hunger! Did you know that the majority of the world’s food goes to feeding livestock? I like to describe by saying that we are taking other people’s food to feed our food. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? If we used the space that we are currently using to hold livestock, we could produce an insane (it really is an insane amount) amount of plants that would have very little issues feeding the world.
But Plants Feel Pain
Non-vegans, I need to give you some advice: If you are debating a vegan and your only real argument is that plants feel pain, you’ve already lost. Just throw in the towel.
Seriously though, there is absolutely no evidence that plants feel pain. They do react to stimuli, but plants lack a central nervous system. Even if plants could feel pain, veganism is still the most ethical lifestyle. Here’s why:
Humans eat animals, which causes suffering. Animals eat plants, which causes suffering.
In a vegan world, Humans would only eat plants, which would mean that plants are the only ones suffering. This still causes the minimal amount of harm since humans do need to eat living food to survive. It is better to only eat one group of foods than multiple since that would contribute to the least amount of suffering in the world. Make sense?
As of now, it is well-known that animals are sentient beings. That cannot be said for plants.
Our Canines are Intended to Help Us Chew Meat
Compare your teeth to a lion’s. Notice any differences? Yes, there is a difference. A lion’s teeth is sharp enough to bite into the flesh of a live animal. Human’s teeth are sharp enough for…plants. Yeah, we can chew into cooked meat, but our anatomy and our teeth are not meant to eat/digest meat. Canines are useful to chew anything, even plants. However, our canines in comparison to lions and other carnivorous animals are laughable to say the least.
What About Lions that Eat Zebras? Isn’t That a Problem?
No. Here’s why: Lions are carnivores. Human’s aren’t. Lions need meat to survive. Humans can not only live without it, they thrive without it. Humans eat meat because of pure convenience and enjoyment. It is not by a mean’s to survive. Also, let’s be real: a lion doesn’t trap its prey in a tiny cage, and torture and slaughter it slowly. It hunts and eats. Comparing lions to humans, like the canine comparison, is laughable.
Humans Have Been Eating Meat for Centuries
Humans have done very questionable things in the past, and as we as humans have learned over time, we have changed over time. Slavery used to exist in America. Should it still just because that’s what humans used to do? NO, I am not comparing eating animals to slavery, I am just making an analogy that just because humans used to do something, doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. I think that the attitude of “we’ve always done it this way” is pretty dangerous, honestly.
Back then, humans ate meat because they were limited in their food sources. The vast majority of Americans have full access to food through grocery stores, markets, etc. The hunting and gathering phase of the human race is as good as over thanks to industrialization.
Humans are Natural Omnivores
Are we? If humans were natural omnivores, we should be able to hunt down, and bite into a live animal with our teeth. We should also be able to eat all of an animal’s body. Does that sound possible or appealing?
Humans are able to eat meat if it is cooked. If humans were natural omnivores, we would be able to eat raw meat without any risks. We would also be in no risk of clogged arteries…do you think a lion can have clogged arteries? Of course not. Their anatomy is created to digest meat. Humans are not meant to eat meat. That’s why heart disease, high cholesterol, and so many other heart-related diseases exist. Animal flesh is difficult to digest, and animal protein is too acidic for the human body. If our standard diet was working, I don’t think we would be in such a big health crisis. Yes, sugar isn’t helping either, but meat, dairy, and eggs are the core issue.
Cow’s Milk is the Only Source of Calcium
False. In fact, milk depletes calcium.
We’ve been told our entire life that milk is the only source of calcium, so I understand why so many people are misinformed. The truth is that cow’s milk is not intended for humans. It’s meant for…you guessed it: baby cows.
Not only will cow’s milk deplete calcium in your bones, it is also filled with hormones, cholesterol, saturated fat, and empty calories. Dairy has zero health benefits. Plain and simple.
Don’t believe me? Well, which country consumes the highest amount of milk? America. Which country has the highest rates of osteoporosis? Yup, America.
Clearly our perfect source of calcium isn’t so perfect after all.
Where Do You Get Protein?
This is another question that I understand. We’re always told that meat is a complete source of protein, which is true. However, it’s not a good source of healthy protein. Animal protein is highly acidic, making it very dangerous and can add lots of stress to the liver and kidneys. That’s not good long term, obviously. Luckily, plants have protein! That’s right. Some are complete sources, some are partial. Eat the right types of food, and you will have no problem meeting your protein needs! Here are some excellent protein sources:
- beans and lentils
- tofu and tempeh
- grains such as quinoa, oats, and buckwheat
- avocado and veggies like broccoli and kale
- nuts and seeds
Those are only several of many protein sources. Every food has protein. The real answer to the question is, “Where don’t I get protein?”.
It’s a big misconception that vegans can’t get iron. There are a bunch of excellent iron sources. Here’s some examples:
- tofu and tempeh
- lentils and chickpeas
- pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews
- vegetables like chard and collard
I have never once had an issue meeting my iron needs. Don’t assume that you need a supplement (Iron supplements are very harmful for even those who truly need it).
B12 is a tough one because it is true that it comes from soil. If you eat from a ground (like an animal would), you would be consuming B12. The reason why animal products usually contain B12 is because animals usually eat from the dirt. Plant foods do contain B12, but our food is so well washed and cleaned these days that the B12 is usually taken away from plants. For that reason, it can be difficult for vegans to meet their B12 needs….but this isn’t just a vegan problem.
Less animals are eating from the ground these days, so it is even difficult for meat eaters to guarantee that they are not deficient. I have seen some cases where a vegan is not deficient in B12, but a meat eater is. Weird, right? I think everyone should be tested every year or so for B12 deficiency because nobody is completely safe from it. However, there are luckily some vegan sources of B12. Many non-dairy milks are B12-fortified, and nutritional yeast (a product used to make very convincing vegan cheese sauces!) contains B12 as well. However, if you are worried about being deficient, consider taking a bi-weekly supplement, but only after speaking to your physician. I personally take a small dosage twice per week, but I would not automatically recommend this to everyone.
Vitamin D comes from sunlight. If you spend 20 minutes in the sun, you’ll meet your Vitamin D needs. I understand that in certain climates, this is difficult to come by, but you still have some options: Vitamin D fortified milks. Many non-dairy milks contain Vitamin D, and just check the label if this is something you are looking for. If you feel worried, you can consider taking a Vitamin D supplement during colder climates, but only if you have a history of Vitamin D deficiency or are recommended one by your physician.
All Vegans Can Eat is Fruits and Vegetables, Which Isn’t Healthy
False. Very few vegans only eat fruits and vegetables. Vegans also eat legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. All of those food groups contain numerous options, making the vegan lifestyle not only unrestrictive, but also filled with opportunities to meet all your nutritional needs for the day. I agree that humans should not eat fruits and vegetables only (but everyone should eat them everyday!), I feel like this comment comes from people who do not really understand which foods and vegan and which ones aren’t, which is normal. I used to think that vegans could only eat fruits, vegetables, rice, and beans, and boy was I wrong! On top of that, more and more vegan products are on the market every year! If you don’t just want to eat whole foods, there are plenty of junk food and processed options for you. I wouldn’t recommend eating these all the time for optimal health, but are excellent choices to enjoy in moderation (or all the time if you want….if you’re eating vegan, I won’t complain!).
I hope that this can help answer some questions and provide some logical explanations as to why veganism is a great lifestyle that is worth trying.
If I am missing anything, or if there are any questions you are wondering or get asked often, please let me know and I will update this!
Keep in mind that I am not trying to talk down to anyone, be rude, or act superior in any of my answers. Honestly, some of these questions just get a little bit frustrating and repetitive, so I just had to clear the air on a few. For the most part, though, I think many of these questions are very good and legitimate, considering what we have been taught is right and wrong our entire lies (it’s a bit weird to think way differently than you have your whole life, I totally get that).
With all that said, have an awesome day, and you should totally go eat a vegan meal right now!