Disclaimer: I’m not a real vegan, nor am I even a strict weekday vegetarian. But there is this stigma surrounding lessening your meat intake that really irks me. I feel like I’m surrounded by ignorant people who refuse to look into what they eat, and it’s always for selfish reasons. When is the last time you heard, “Oh, no, I’m not interested in being Vegetarian; it’s bad for the environment”? So let’s stop thinking with our guts for just two seconds and consider the following myths surrounding Veganism and Vegetarianism:
- Vegetarians spend all their time searching for a decent meat substitute.
This one kills me. In what backwards society do people stop eating meat by eating fake meat? That’s like ex-smokers going around with fake, nicotine-infused cigarettes for the rest of their lives. I am not a full-time vegan or vegetarian, but I love a well-prepared, delicious vegan meal, and I make several. Favorites of mine include Ginger-Peanut Soup and Summertime Curry.
- Vegan diets lack necessary proteins/You never feel full after a vegan meal.
This one is almost as bad! Vegan diets do not consist entirely of salads and rice and beans! Are you still starving after a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Brace yourself; that’s a vegetarian sandwich! Great plant proteins, including peanuts, soy products, beans, chickpeas, grains, nuts, and seeds are extremely filling and can be prepared in a wide variety of ways.
- Tofu is a flavorless meat substitute that is almost unpalatable.
There are a couple billion in people in China who would disagree with you. In fact, tofu is eaten throughout east Asia, not as a meat substitute, but as an important staple beside meat and vegetables. Because tofu has an absorbent, sponge-like quality, it adopts the stronger flavors around it and is, I think, one of the most versatile ingredients I’ve ever had the pleasure of preparing. It can be marinated or dressed for a salad, deep fried, pan fried, tossed in coconut milk curries, stir-fried with rice or rice noodles, or put in dark or clear broth soups.
Check the Vegan and Vegetarian sections of this blog for recipe ideas, and watch this four-minute TED Talk by Graham Hill on being a Weekday Vegetarian to get you started.
“About a year ago, I asked myself a question: ‘Knowing what I know, why am I not a vegetarian?'”