7 Myths Dispelled: Part 2

P.Jenkins and M.S Jenkins (2017 May 22)

2) I heard that vegans don’t pass gas:

           Our poop doesn’t smell either. Just kidding. In reality the amount of fiber in our diet causes a lot of pipe rattling, if you get my meaning. I’m sure there are vegans nodding their head right now. Personally, I have some great stories, but that’ll have to wait for another time.

           The level of flatulence depends on exactly how much fiber you’ve consumed, among other factors. If you eat a high protein diet as a vegan, expect some explosions in your pants no matter what you do, and an over abundance of protein can cause your eruptions to be less than pleasant to the olfactory nerves. This is actually significantly hard to avoid since a lot of meat substitutes, even homemade desserts, creams and sauces use alternative proteins like soy. Not only that, but a lot of our vegetables have a higher content of protein than meat, such as spinach, kale, and broccoli. If you want to tame the “barking spiders” the solution is to eat more fruit. Proper balance and variety is key. Eating fruits, grains and nuts is probably the best method to keep the pipes from leaking too much. When adding legumes to your diet, remember to soak them overnight to help break down the enzymes and allows them to be easier to digest, and don’t use the water you soaked them in.

3) Vegans look sickly:

           I can’t tell you how often I hear people tell me this. Granted that there are some sick looking vegans, but there are also just as many sick looking carnivores. “Sickly looking” happens on both sides of the fence. There are quite a few contributing factors, such as:

           1) Hygiene – I don’t want to point people out, but seriously, this is one thing above all else that make people look sick. It’s pretty easy to cover the basics, like washing your hair, brushing your teeth, cleaning your face, or washing your hands. Basic cleanliness is essential to help you look fresh physically, but also reflects well on others perception of you. Like that old saying goes, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” There is a lot of truth in that statement, as much of our hand washing and nose blowing hygiene gets much of its origin from Levitical cleanliness rituals. Being well-groomed internally and externally keeps your mind at peace. When your mind is at peace, you’re more content and happy. Thus, happiness brings about a healthy constitution. As attentiveness to hygiene declines, chance for illness and infection increase. At the risk of beating a dead horse… radish. Horse-radish… right. This has obvious personal and professional implications. The Australian Government’s Department of Health put out a pretty awesome article on this exact topic. Here’s a link to the article. (1)

           2) Fair Weather Vegans – Consistency is extremely important to health. Life depends on habits. Even complaining requires consistency to master (2). let’s be honest, many vegans start off not really knowing how to be vegan and unless they educate themselves properly or have a community to support them it’s pretty hard to maintain. There is a kind of bell curve that happens when a person starts a plant based lifestyle. The body is used to the kind of food that has been the habit of the person for some time, and changing it throws the body into a bit of chaos. If you maintain the diet, the body will adapt to the new regiment, but if you’re an on-again off-again vegetarian or vegan, your body might have trouble with the ups and downs.

           3) Poor Nutritional Understanding – I’ve heard about some people who experiment with veganism, eating nothing but iceberg salads and undercooked brown rice because they thought that was all they could eat. Knowing how to use vegetables and fruit is as important as knowing their nutritional values. There are literally tons of resources on the internet about how to cook healthy vegetarian/vegan meals. This also means that just because you eat fried eggplant, oily stir fried vegetables, vegan chocolate cake, jelly beans, corn tortillas, French fries, and a soy latte, your insides are going to look like Seoul right after the Korean War. Just because the food is plant based, doesn’t mean it’s magically going to nullify unhealthy preparation. How the food is prepared matters just as much as what you prepare.

           So the next time you see a vegan that looks sick, remember that there are a lot of factors the person might be struggling through. There are plenty of vegan runners, body builders, wrestlers, and triathlete competitors who thrive with this plant-based lifestyle, and it took time for them to adjust and start to thrive. Be supportive, and encouraging, share resources and recipes, and don’t forget to veg about it!

"Being healthy and fit

isn't a trend

it is a lifestyle"

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