Monday 12 March 2018


are vegans unhealthy

There are so many reasons NOT to go vegan: it's unhealthy, it doesn't taste good, it's not ethical, it's un-environmental and, above all, being vegan is just plain annoying: you can't eat anything and you have to be annoying and tell everyone that you identify as vegan 24/7. Like, it's a full-time job, right? Some vegans like to tell you it's the healthiest diet out there, but they're probably wrong and also what about the long-term health effects? And even if it's okay, that's only for women and non-binary people right? Big ol' muscly cis-men can't be vegan, no sir. Plus, health aside, meat is just tasty. The end. 

This blog post is all about your reasons NOT to be vegan. I combined the usual stuff people tell me on the reg PLUS I asked you on Instagram why you're still not vegan, and this is what you said:

#1. Being Vegan Is Unhealthy

This was one of the main reasons I personally wasn't vegan (like, before I went vegan lol). I was all like "aren't vegans just scrawny losers with bad skin, lacklustre hair and bags under their eyes?" And aesthetics aside, there's a lot of talk that vegans are all missing special vitamins (like B12 and vitamin D3) and other fancy words which we don't really know where they come from (other than meat): calcium, the omegas, iron, zinc and omg don't get me started on protein...

vegan unhealthy

Enter Nimai Delgado who has never eaten meat. Fact: food companies lie to you. A lot. Another fact: Drinking milk actually promotes calcium loss from bones. (Hence why Western countries, which tend to have cuisines centred around dairy, have higher rates of osteoporosis.) More facts: cheese, butter and cream are all high in fat which can result in obesity.

Now, of course, you can be an unhealthy vegan if you want. I made up this term 'Oreo Vegan' for unhealthy vegans who live mainly off Oreos, peanut butter & toast, cereal with almond milk and a multitude of vegan junk food, aka vegan processed food instead of whole fruit and veg (fake vegan cheeses, fake vegan burgers, fake vegan yoghurts and creams, vegan ice cream, etc.). That's not a balanced diet. But neither are a lot of meat eater or vegetarian diets either. YES, you do have to make sure you're getting the right vitamins and enough protein, etc. ... just like you have to make sure you're doing this when you're a meat eater or vegetarian.

I'd even go as far as saying that vegans, on the whole, are healthier than non-vegans. We defo get enough fruit and veg, and we make sure we get enough protein – purely because we're stubborn and meat-eaters ask us about it all the time and we don't want to keel over dead and prove them right... so we cook our quinoa, eat our edame beans and stock up on chia seeds (all of these contain all 9 of the essential amino acids, that is, they are complete proteins). As my good old non-vegan pal Jamie Oliver says the average vegan diet is higher in vitamin C and fibre and lower in saturated fat than one containing meat.

vegans are unhealthy

He goes on to say that you have to be careful about missing out on certain things (like the Oreo Vegans), but with a little research and adjustments those can easily be found, for example:

  • Calcium: leafy greens (kale, collard greens, bok choy), broccoli, sesame seed paste (aka tahini and therefore hummus), almonds, pulses, vegan milks, figs, cocoa, etc. – and in the UK, bread is fortified with calcium for some reason (because we're weak-boned ;) )
  • Iron: spinach, sesame seed paste, white beans, cocoa powder
  • Vitamin D3: sunshine, fortified vegan milks/butters/cereals
  • Zinc: sesame seed paste, legumes, nuts, seeds, oatmeal.
  • Omega 3 (EPA and DHA)okay be careful for companies that say chia seeds do that job... the only thing I've actually found that does is algal oil - it comes from the sea :)
  • Proteinsoy bean productsquinoa; chia seeds are the best sources for essential amino acids and many types of nuts and seeds, beans, tofu, lentils, peas, leafy greens contain amino acids that can be combined to get enough of all types. In case you're still worried, you can just buy a plant-based complete protein supplement and you're done.

The only one that's kind of hard is B12. Luckily many vegan products, like soy milk, are fortified with B12 and, best of all MARMITE has B12 in it! And if you're travelling to a place that doesn't have those kinds of products, pack a pack of B12 or ten jars of Marmite like I do (or choose Natex if you'd rather support a smaller company instead of Unilever). Job done. Or just get a multivitamin like this one by the Vegan Society and you've got your minerals and vitamins covered.To make it more clear, the NHS – the National Health Service, the official healthcare institution of the UK – have a whole page about healthy eating as a vegan. So yepp, it's possible.

Conclusion: You can be an unhealthy vegan, just like you can be an unhealthy non-vegan. In my experience, becoming vegan often leads to learning more about health and food in general and thus being healthier. (P.S.: I don't want to be a dick about it, but I can almost guarantee I'm fitter than you are. Purely based on the fact that I'm fitter, stronger and more flexible than the previous, non-vegan version me was (and it's a controlled experiment, I'm doing the same amount of exercise as I was before, etc).

#2. Veganism Is Unnecessary

Like okay, being vegetarian makes sense - you love animals and have heard about bowel cancer, but veganism? Allow me to paraphrase: "Cows and chicken don't actually care about being milked or laying eggs. And as for not eating honey... bees don't care!! Actually, by eating honey we're helping the bees!! You vegans want veg? You need bees for that. Buzz buzz buzz." So... reasons a vegetarian should go vegan:

  • All dairy cows become meat cows, if you're a vegetarian because you love animals, know that you're still contributing to the meat industry
  • Torture is worse than death personally, I'd rather be killed and eaten than milked to death first and then killed and eaten. That's just me though
  • Eating eggs kills male chicks male chicks are useless to the egg industry and are killed on day one (in horrible ways). Eating eggs directly contributes to that
  • Eggs and dairy just aren't good for your body one egg contains over 50% of your daily cholesterol needs.

And as for bees not caring, please watch this short video on why honey isn't vegan:

But wait, life isn't always that bad for cows and chickens right? Like, sure most people understand why battery farms are cruel but, and here I paraphrase every middle class Brit I know "I get my dairy /eggs/meat etc from this special place where the farmer is nice and they get lots of fresh air, like it's not always that bad, is it?" I hear this so often it gets it's own point:

#3. Organic, Free-range, Cruelty-free vs Veganism

But what about if you don't buy battery farmed chickens, or only purchase organic milk, or have honey from your neighbour's/friend's/grandpa's hive? Firstly, let me address the organic, free-range, cruelty-free stuff from the people you don't know - aka the stuff you buy in the supermarkets, then I'll move on to insulting your family and friends: so, I've been to an 'organic', 'free-range', 'cruelty-free' milk farm. Let me tell you, it was absolutely horrible: cows stood in their own faeces, cows with various degrees of injuries - including one with an eyeball that was popping out, and, worst of all, a dead calf on the floor in front of them. Ya, it's nature blah blah, but the mother cow was looking at it with such feeling, it was super sad.

Basically, my point is, if it says it's organic and free ranged and cruelty-free, I'm sure it is - to industry standards (the same industry that says it's okay for there to be pus in milk). I urge you to visit these farms yourself and see if 'industry standards' matches your own personal standards. Because they didn't match mine.

reasons not to be vegan

Now let's move on to the chickens that your mother-in-law rears, the eggs from your uncle's free-range hens and the honey from your grandpa. Naaa, I'm not going to say that they're psychopathic a-holes who torture chickens and pull the wings off queen bees because I really believe they don't. In fact, I used to say "I'm vegan, but in the future, I'd totally have my own chickens and goat - I'd look after them and have my own cruelty-free eggs and cheese".

So I started living a vegan life, with the promise I'd eat cruelty-free eggs and cheese when they came along. And they came along so rarely that I never ate them and soon I realised I was so much healthier without them. So whilst I believe cruelty-free non-vegan food is certainly just about possible, from people you know and love, I now don't think it's necessary.

#4. Being Vegan Is Hard, You Don't Have the Time

It's relatively easy to avoid meat, but dairy and eggs are sneaked in everrryyywhhereeere: certain types of bread, pasta, cakes, chocolate, pastries, cereals, crisps etc. You have to check everything! Who has time to do that? Furthermore, you could cook healthy vegan meals with lentils, beans, rice, vegetables etc, but who has the time to do that (on top of reading all those labels)? It's absolutely an adjustment, don't get me wrong, and every time you go to try out a new thing you do have to double check. But, it gets easier.

First things first, I recommend going as unprocessed and as raw as humanly possible - do they sneak dairy into apples? Black beans? Potatoes? Celery? Spinach? Porridge? Nope 

Next, check the foods you've always loved, they might surprise you by being accidentally vegan (like Oreos). Excellent, you can keep them in your basket, nothing new to learn there.

For the foods that you love that do sneak the odd bit of dairy powder in, find out if they have a vegan version, and if they don't write to them and ask them to do it! With veganism becoming more and more popular, more and more companies are succumbing to the pressure - Dominos, Ben and Jerrys, even McDonalds are starting to offer a vegan version and Macsween's vegan haggis sells better than the meat ones. This is a BIG DEAL (considering haggis is literally sheep's stomach). As for finding the time, make the time!!! If someone owned a slave and told you:

'I know it's cruel, but I just don't have the time to make a few adjustments'

Would you be down with that? Furthermore, I personally don't have the time to cook - or rather, I do, I just don't want to spend time cooking. None of the (healthy) vegan meals I make take longer than 30 minutes. Mainly because I no longer have to cook the shit out of my food to avoid getting salmonella.

#5. Our Ancestors Weren't Vegan

This is the number one reason people shouldn't be vegan according to this idiot who is currently occupying spot number 1 on google for 'reasons not to be vegan'. In her/his post they say we can't be vegan because our ancestors weren't vegan and we wouldn't have survived without meat.

reasons not vegan

I don't know about you, but I'm no cavewoman. I like to think we're moving on from banging each other over the head with clubs, not having wi-fi, burning witches at the stake, owning slaves, etc... anyway, back to their post, this anti-vegan says that vegans cherry picking facts, but negates this statement by immediately using bad science themselves: quoting a 'dentist' who "has a passion for nutrition" sounds very impressive, but if you really get down to it what does that even mean? Nothing. You can quote me as a 'first class mathematician' with a "passion for numbers" still doesn't mean I can divide a cheque by three...

What it does mean, is that I'm good at separating facts from fluff, and there are no facts in their post. But here are some. Fact: our ancestors ate meat. Fact: our ancestors were bigots. It's time to move on.

#6. You Can't Be Vegan Because of Your Disease

Certain disease/illness/disorder like PCOS, thyroid problems and diabetes can worsen if you're eating the wrong types of foods. I don't pretend to be an expert on this, or a dietician or a doctor, but I do urge you to seek a second or third opinion when it comes to what you should or shouldn't be eating in regards to your illness/disorder/disease. I do know though that you can get all of the nutrients and things you need from plants, and if you do have to avoid soy, it doesn't mean you can't be vegan - I generally don't eat much soy myself - soy milk tastes rank, and although I love soy sauce and tofu I try to avoid it most of the time because it's processed and high in salt.

#7. You Don't Care About the Environment

It's an indisputable fact that a vegan diet is the only diet for the environment - animal agriculture causes more greenhouse gases than all cars, planes, buses, trains and boats combined. But maybe you're not an environmentalist.

vegan environment reasons

#8. You'll Miss Out on Stuff Whilst Travelling

Eating other people's food is how you learn about culture right? It's just not real travelling if you don't go to the Philippines and eat Balut (duck embryo), or guinea pig in Peru or shark fin soup in China... And never-mind the logistics of it, it's easy to be vegan at home where you can cook for yourself and speak the language, but what if you go to Japan or Italy or Malaysia. Take it from me, last year I travelled vegan to 18 countries across three different continents, being vegan is definitely more than possible abroad. Thanks to super app and website Happy Cow you can find vegan restaurants on almost every single corner of the globe (or at the very least, in the capitals). You're way less likely to get food poisoning too so that's a plus.

As for missing out on the culture, or not travelling properly... there's more to travel than eating guinea pig or riding an ostrich. Like a lot more. Try it. Also: is it rude when you go to people's houses and they offer you meat and you say no? I mean, if those people think that's rude, maybe you don't want to be friends with them.

#9. But Cheese/Bacon Though!

Bacon tastes so good though right! And cheese!! How can you live without cheese? Before I became vegetarian, bacon was my favourite food, and I always thought if I became vegetarian it would be what I missed most... I was wrong. I love pigs, and once I'd made that connection between pigs and bacon it was impossible to eat it again. Nowadays I think bacon looks like human flesh (smells like burning human flesh too btw).

vegan bacon

As for cheese, that was definitely a harder habit to break, and I'm working on a whole post about that (watch this space). Basically, though, cheese is addictive, and I don't want to be controlled by it.

#10. Vegan Food Just Doesn't Taste Good

Tofu? More like tofuckoff. Celery? Celer-wee. Avocado? Avocadon't. Hummus? Hummusn't. Some vegan food tastes bad, just like some meaty food tastes bad. It's just about okay to be a vegan who doesn't like avocados (though I beg you to try one that's the right amount of ripeness, with a bit of salt and a lot of lime). As for tofu, I used to hate tofu. Turns out you have to cook it, or better yet get someone who knows how to cook it to cook it for you. I really recommend trying out some vegan restaurants and revisiting foods you 'know' you hate. Plz.

#11. Your Significant Other or Family or Whoever You Live With Won't Do It

I fully appreciate that it must be hard to live with someone who isn't vegan. I even wrote a whole post addressing: can a vegan stay with a partner who isn't vegan? And the other day I even met someone whose rent includes all her meals cooked for her. I know it's hard to turn away free food, but really, it's not an excuse.

#12. Does That Mean Lions, Tigers and Bears Should Be Vegan?

Newsflash. We are not lions or tiger or bears (oh my), and no vegan will ever say that actual lions or tigers or bears should give up meat. Yes in nature animals kill animals, no we (sadly) don't live in nature anymore. I don't really get this argument. It's stupid.

#13. Crops Kill mice, Vegans Eat More Crops, Ergo Vegans Kill More Mice

Luckily, no one has ever told me that plants feel pain because I am lucky enough not to know many idiots. But a similar argument (almost as stupid), is that vegans eat crops, field mice are killed to make those crop fields, ergo vegans kill mice.... bro. This is so dumb. Consider this: the cows that you're eating also eat crops, so you're not saving any mice by eating cows - those crop mice are still dying. In fact, if you're that into mice consider this: more crops need to be grown if we eat cows than if we don't eat cows. Vegans actually consume one-tenth of the plant matter consumed either directly or indirectly by meat dairy and egg eaters.

mice vegans excuse

#14. No Diet Is Ethical

Like almonds use too much water and are killing California, avocados are the new cocaine, lots of vegan products contain palm oil/are covered in plastic and don't get me started on the Banana mafia. Okay, you've won, no diet is 100% ethical. Might as well give up right now then right?! Thinking that you can never be fully ethical and might as well not even try to be vegan is not a real reason. All we can ever do is our best.

#15. Being Vegan Is More Expensive

This is really hard, because on the one hand vegan defo isn't more expensive - if you go to a restaurant that serves both carnists and vegans, the vegan option will always be a quid or two cheaper. Plus, the good old potato, bean, rice and vegetable diet is almost always cheaper than the meat, fish and dairy diet anywhere on the planet. But, on the other hand, solely vegan restaurants do have the annoying habit of being more expensive than 'normal' restaurants because they're trendy (and/or because they actually source their food ethically and that costs more). Vegan meats and cheeses are generally more expensive than animal meats and cheeses (though again, you could argue those animal meats and cheeses are priced criminally low in the first place, milk should never be cheaper than water).

Once you become vegan, you may find yourself on the path of eating organically, paying extra to avoid buying plastic or avoid supporting palm oil (see above). So yea, being vegan can be more expensive, personally, I think you can't put a price on your own health and the safety of animals, but that's just me.

#16. Soy Turns You Into a Woman

First of all, bummer. Secondly, it doesn't. Thirdly, if you're really worried - don't eat soy! There are plenty of other vegan options.

#17. If Everyone Went Vegan Overnight It Would Be an Absolute Disaster

True, good point, shit, better make sure no one goes vegan ever then... (P.S.: everyone not being vegan is already an absolute disaster.)

#18. If I Was On a Desert Island....

And there was nothing else to eat apart from pork for some reason... Dw, you can still be a vegan who occasionally eats meat when you get stuck on those desert islands which only serve pork, we'll forgive you. (For the record, I've been to many a deserted island - they also serve vegan food.)

reason vegan desertisland

But yeah, sure, you may one day find yourself on those weird islands where you can't be vegan. It could happen. But first think about this: like what if you were in say a supermarket, one just around the corner from where you live, where you had an abundance of cruelty-free foods to choose from, would you still go for the pork?

Please keep throwing your reasons for not being vegan at me, they're getting more and more repetitive and I'm getting better at comebacks. And as always, if you're considering becoming vegan, hit me with your questions, I'm more than happy to help. And finally, if you're interested in some real reasons why you can't be vegan check out my pros and cons of veganism. Also, here is our reaction video to Earthlings - the docu that made us both go vegan:

P.S.: If you're interested in an app designed for vegans & wanna support the vegan movement and us, veganvstravel as well, use this link plz to download Abillionveg. When registering, please use our referral code: TRAVELLINGWEASELS. If you wanna know why we think this is a great app, read here.

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