Or perhaps you’d say “Holy wow, you want me to become one of those crusading hippies that yell at people who eat meat? No thanks!” Another of your responses might even be, “Come on, I’m not Lisa Simpson and I will always eat things that cast a shadow.” You’ve heard all of these responses, especially if you practice veganism!!
Vegans have gotten a bad rep due to the fact that most people choose this lifestyle for ethical reasons and are not shy about sharing the stats with the rest of us carnivorous humans on how bad the factory farm industry has become (usually just as we’re taking a bite of that juicy hamburger!).
So friends, this article is for the vegan and non-vegan alike. I’m here to say that we have got to come together and accept that the choice to be vegan is just as worthy as the choice to eat animal products. What is most important for people on both sides of this aisle is that no matter what choice you make for yourself, be sure you’re getting the right balance of nutrients, sleep, exercise and love and laughter in your life, and respect other people’s choices if they are different than your own. This is the only way we’ll achieve world peace, people!!
The first step to respecting a choice that’s different than yours is to seek understanding about it.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! To be a vegan is to avoid the consumption of any product whose origin is, in any part, from an animal. The Vegan Society, formed in 1979 further defines this lifestyle on their website as…
“…a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude - as far as is possible and practical - all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free
alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
All Vegans Think That You Should be Jailed for Eating Meat
Historically, the vegan lifestyle was born out of the desire to avoid the cruelty to animals that rose dramatically with the advent of the industrialization of the food system. This system seems to overlook the animal as a living being and considers it only a commodity with profit-generating potential. Becoming a vegan was a way to take a political stand against these practices. (By the way, you should be even more concerned with this if you are a meat eater, and not just because you want to see animals treated better. The less stressed an animal is throughout its life, the better it tastes!).
Vegans generally view spending their dollars on animal products as a vote to continue the cruelty. The myth about vegans here is that they are all out to convince everyone to give up meat. The bust about this myth is that there are ways to eat meat in ethically responsible ways. Practicing abstinence from eating animal products is only one way of protesting the foul treatment of four legged creatures.
Vegans are Malnourished and eat nothing but processed meat replacers while it is definitely a bit more of a challenge to get the right amount of nutrients through a vegan diet, it is certainly not impossible. The Standard American Diet (SAD) places a lot of emphasis on the benefits of eating meat, so we know very well that we’re getting a lot of protein from meat. But foods that are not as popular are also not as well understood. There are many plant-based foods that have an even more perfect protein profile than meat.
More and more scientific research is being done on the effects of animal protein on our bodies. We’ve learned that the digestive tract works extremely hard to break down most animal proteins, which over the long term can increase your risk of heart disease, fat retention and even have crushing effects on your immune system.
It takes an enormous amount of time for meat to pass through your intestines and the longer it stays there the more likely it is to putrefy and cause major damage to the intestinal walls, which in turn weakens your immunity and your overall health.
Plant-based proteins are preferred by our digestive system because they contain more vitamins, minerals and good fiber that help keep things running smoothly. Really good edible plant products, like avocados, also contain healthy fats that are necessary for our overall health. So, yes, vegans may need to be a bit more creative to be sure they are getting enough of the nutrients they need, but they don’t have to eat only tofu and soy cheese to get there. Legumes, beans, nuts, seeds and other minimally processed plants are more than enough to gain optimal nutrition.
The greatest example of this is to look into the world of competitive mixed martial artists and other fighters. People like Nick and Nate Diaz, Jon Fitch and Mac Danzig are completely vegan and hold some lofty titles in the competitive fighting arena. These athletes are some of the most extreme with intense training regimens and huge caloric needs. Check out this website to find out how and why they do it; these are some of the most inspiring stories out there and pretty well dispels the myth that all vegans are malnourished or crusaders for the cause.
Beyond Soy: What Vegans Eat
Now that we’ve blown apart a couple of the most prevalent myths about vegans, let’s talk about some specific things vegans
eat that not a whole lot of people even know about. In the FKD kitchen, we’ve recently begun using one of the most amazing vegan foods: jackfruit!
A close relative of the fig and mulberry, jackfruit is a tropical tree-fruit that offers so many health benefits! It is
made up of simple sugars which replenish energy in a smooth and efficient way that is easy on your blood-sugar system. It is rich in dietary fiber which keeps your intestines in good shape. Jackfruit is also rich in many antioxidants like the A B & C vitamins,
minerals like potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid and flavonoid pigments like carotene and lutein that pack huge punch in supporting healthy vision, skin, hair, nails and more. Jackfruit is also quite culinarily versatile,
so you can make it in a number of dishes and it tastes different every time! Variety is the spice of life. Here’s a closer look at Jackfruit’s stats:
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 95 Kcal 5%
Carbohydrates 23.5 g 18%
Protein 1.72 g 3%
Total Fat 0.64 g 3%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.5 g 4%
Folates 24 µg 6%
Niacin 0.920 mg 6%
Pyridoxine 0.329 mg 25%
Riboflavin 0.055 mg 4%
Thiamin 0.105 mg 9%
Vitamin A 110 IU 3.5%
Vitamin C 13.7 mg 23%
Vitamin E 0.34 mg 2%
Sodium 3 mg 0%
Potassium 303 mg 6.5%
Calcium 34 mg 3.4%
Iron 0.60 mg 7.5%
Magnesium 37 mg 9%
Manganese 0.197 mg 8.5%
Phosphorus 36 mg 5%
Phosphorus 21 mg 3%
Selenium 0.6 mg 1%
Zinc 0.42 mg 4%
Carotene-ß 61 µg --
Crypto-xanthin-ß 5 µg --
Lutein-zeaxanthin 157 µg
Other favorite staples in the FKD kitchen for obtaining complete nutrition from plants include:
- Chia, Flax and Hemp Seeds
- Pumpkin, Sesame and Sunflower Seeds
- Legumes: this is a huge category and encompasses beans, lentils, peas and peanuts (that’s right, peanuts are more closely related to a black
- bean than an almond). Here are some of the top most beneficial legumes:
- Black Beans
- Miso (fermented soy paste)
- Mung Beans
- Tempeh (mycelium-cultured
For those of you who are familiar with the Paleo diet, you already know that there are also downsides to consuming large amounts of legumes and nuts. Phytic Acid is found only in plant based items and too much of it is not that great for your body; it exists in raw seeds and nuts because of its great stores of phosphorous which the plant uses to super boost the growth process. In our bodies, however, it binds to vital minerals like iron, zinc, calcium and prevents our ability to absorb and use them. Luckily, the right amount of it can be a powerful antioxidant, so it’s not something you want to cut out altogether.
You can get rid of most of the phytic acid in the things you eat by soaking, sprouting and fermenting (or buying sprouted and fermented seeds and nuts). This reduces the amount of phytic acid by up to 98%. Our ancestors (and most species of birds) inherently knew this, which is why fermenting and sprouting has been practiced for hundreds and maybe thousands of years.
Living a healthy lifestyle goes beyond eating well. It goes beyond the workout and even further than only filling up your spiritual cup. It is a combination of all of these elements and more. Understanding this is key to staying from fad diets that trend faster than a Kardashian tweet and can be even more detrimental to your health!
The choice to go vegan is a very personal lifestyle choice that has different meaning to different people and usually embodies
more than just the choice to eat well or to save the animals. As we should respect this choice and recognize that not all stereotypes are true, we must also respect omnivores for their choices.
Bottom line? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, always keep your options open and
most importantly KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! Do some of your own research, come to your own conclusions with an open mind and an informed brain! An excellent way to dip your toes in a vegan lifestyle pond is by trying our vegan meals - even for just one week. FKD is here to support all healthy lifestyle choices, especially whe it comes to food. We’ve been providing vegan alternatives to all of our meals for a few months now and we’re learning so much more about how to achieve perfectly balanced nutrition in really creative ways! N We guarantee you’ll find them to be just as gastronomically exciting as our mighty meaty meals!
Check out these great sources for more info: