Hopefully you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the reaction of most people to you going vegan
People will naturally be interested and will ask questions, and most have no desire to ‘catch you out’ or embarrass you. However, you may feel as though you’re suddenly expected to be an expert in all things nutrition, the environment and health, and that can be a little overwhelming… Especially when you’re still learning about all of this for yourself.
Many of the questions you may be asked stem from the common misconceptions, or myths, that surround being vegan. Well, the team at Veganuary have been asked most of these collectively, so we’ve compiled a list of answers to these ‘FAQs’.
Please feel free to comment and leave your feedback below.
One person makes a very real difference! In a lifetime, each of us will eat more than 7,000 animals so by choosing to stop today, a lot of lives are spared. It won’t save the animals who are in farms and slaughterhouses today,...
Whatever country we live in, we are assured that ours are among the highest animal welfare standards in the world. Of course, standards do vary but the production of meat, milk and eggs in every country involves suffering at every...4
It is highly unlikely that the entire world is going to go vegan overnight, and so we won’t have the ‘problem’ of what to do with all the animals in farms. (Although if that did happen, we would have a duty to care for those...
We’ve all seen the dramatic hunting footage on nature programmes, but it takes quite a leap for humans to identify with the eating habits of wild animals. While many species of animal are capable of showing empathy, the reality...
Well, since most animals we eat are bred for that purpose, in the longer term there would simply be less of them because we would stop producing them. The modern day breeds we are so used to seeing now only exist for us to use....8
Maybe more interesting is the question ‘Why are some animals seen as okay to eat and others aren’t?’ After all, by this definition dogs and cats are also made of meat but most people wouldn’t eat the family pet. This is...
Leather is not just a by-product of the meat industry, it’s a profitable trade in itself, and is worth billions. In some cases, notably in ostrich farming where the skin is worth four times the value of the meat, it is leather...
Absolutely not. As long as you know how to meet your nutritional requirements, and are prepared to get creative in the kitchen, there’s really no reason for you to suffer. In fact, in many countries, a broader and more exotic...
Hunting has been a major discussion topic in the UK recently (July 2015), so for the purposes of this myth we are focusing mainly on fox hunting. We would like to expand this section to include information about hunting common in...
The problem isn’t soya itself. It is the amount of soya that is grown to feed farmed animals that is driving the environmental damage. Yes, that’s right – farmed animals, and by extension the people who eat them – consume...
Ok, so it might not be ideal but surely it’s better the hens get rescued and some of their eggs taken than be sent to slaughter?
When it comes to rescuing hens, we should be quite troubled by the idea of doing so just to get eggs from them. People happily adopt and rescue cats, dogs, and other animals without wanting to get food or labour from them. So...18
But what if they’re rescue hens? Surely by giving them a home in exchange for a few eggs, it’s beneficial for the hens?
There are a few reasons why, even if we keep rescue hens, we should still not take their eggs. Most modern breeds of laying hen now have been selectively bred to lay many more eggs than they would have done traditionally; and this...
There are many wonderful people who share their gardens with survivors of the egg trade. These hens are often exhausted and traumatised, ill and featherless when they arrive at their new homes, and it is beyond wonderful to see...
This myth’s foundations probably lie in ‘But where do you get your protein?, so in answering that we have already gone some way to debunking this. What you may not be aware of, however, is just how many great and successful...
No. It is perfectly possible to obtain adequate protein as a vegan. The vegan athletic, sports and bodybuilding movement is growing, for both men and women, demonstrating that being fit and muscular doesn’t have to involve the...28
Soya has no known effect on testosterone levels in men. Soya beans contain isoflavones, which are members of a group of compounds called phytoestrogens. Because isoflavones bind to the same receptors in the body as oestrogen, a...
Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver, where there can be up to three years’ worth of vitamin B12 requirements stored. If you don’t take a B12 supplement, or eat vitamin B12 fortified foods regularly, you will eventually start to...30
Many studies have shown that, on average, vegans have a lower weight of obesity compared to omnivores. However, this is no guarantee that any one individual will lose weight. Please see our Health section for more advice on...
No. The only supplement that vegans, and many non-vegans, are recommended to always take is Vitamin B12 (or regularly eat B12 fortified foods). Please see Nutrition for more details.
Population studies show that, on average, vegans are less likely to have high blood pressure, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol (see Health for more details). Within these groups that doesn’t mean that all meat...
It is true that animals will be harmed – or even killed – in the cultivation of crops. But it is important to bear in mind is that significantly less animals are harmed in the cultivation and harvesting of crops for human...38
Many animals are treated so cruelly during their brief lives that no, we are not doing them a favour by giving them a life. A short life filled with misery is no real life at all. However, what about animals that live longer,...
It is impossible to be perfect in this imperfect world of ours. In fact, The Vegan Society states that being vegan is: A way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of,...44
What is ‘natural’? The chicken who cannot live more than six weeks, the turkey who can’t even breed without human help or the cow selectively bred to produce far more milk than is good for her health? Farmed animals are...
We are not carnivores as we cannot survive on a carnivorous diet. We can, however, survive as vegans and, in many cases, more healthily than omnivores (more on this can be found within our Health section). Also the presence of...
What about all the problems facing humans in the world? Shouldn’t we worry about those first before we worry about animals?
Millions of human beings are suffering and being exploited throughout the world – but the idea that vegans don’t care about this is completely false. We still all need to eat, use cosmetics and wear clothes regardless of the...50
Not really. Giving thanks implies that the animal voluntarily sacrificed his or her life so that humans might eat – and nothing could be further from the truth. Non-human animals value their lives in much the same way that...
When considering what to eat, it’s important to make sure you get all your nutrients, and if you don’t then deficiencies can occur – this applies to anyone, not just vegans. It is straightforward to get all the right...52
Vegans would answer that firstly by saying their conscience requires them to be vegan despite what anyone else may be doing, as it is a matter of choosing not to participate in industries that rely on animal suffering and...
Bees do make honey naturally, but they make it because they need it, not because they are worried about what humans are going to have on their toast. Bees have to work extraordinarily hard to produce that honey, finding and...54
Maybe if you were going out to eat in the 1940s 😉 Eating out as a vegan is entirely possible, in fact it’s extremely easy in towns and cities right across the world, and the choice is growing all the time. Unsurprisingly,...
The majority of vegans were brought up eating meat and viewed eating animal products as normal for at least their early childhood. However, at some point they decided to make a change. We often do things differently to our parents...
Vegans believe that there is no such thing as ‘humane meat’. Regardless of the conditions in which the animal is kept, the fact is that if they are intended to be consumed as meat they will be killed when they have only lived...58
The term ‘free range’ applies to the conditions hens live in while they produce eggs for human consumption, and it is intended as a more compassionate alternative to battery farming. However, the term ‘free range’ is a...
The chances are that in fact you do care about animals. The overwhelming majority of people in our society do, it’s just that this consideration only extends to certain species. Millions of households are home to companion...
Yes and no. It’s true that in our society we have a vast range of animal and plant based foods available for us to buy, and in theory there is nothing to stop us choosing whatever we want from these. However, vegans don’t see...62
Surely not everybody can be vegan? What about people who have allergies or who dislike foods such as beans, nuts or tofu?
Everyone can be vegan but if you have allergies it will, of course, take a little more planning to ensure you get what you need, and not the things you really mustn’t have. Let’s start with gluten… One in a hundred...
How can I go vegan when my partner, friends or family aren’t vegan? They’ll think I’m weird and it’ll damage our relationship.
The overwhelming majority of vegans have close relationships with non-vegan people – it’s inevitable considering using animal products is still very much the norm. Food especially has an important role in our social lives and...64
Didn’t human beings evolve to need meat? Vegans have to take supplements such as vitamin B12, so veganism can’t be natural.
It’s true that human beings evolved the ability to digest a wide range of foods including meat, but this isn’t the same as needing meat for survival. Rather than worrying about what our ancestors ate, the more important...
In short, no. The stereotype of the smug vegan perpetually looking down his or her nose at ‘normal people’ is just that – a stereotype. It’s no more true than any of the other harmful generalisations we encounter about...66
(Also known as ‘I could never give up cheese!’) Believe it or not, this isn’t really an issue. It’s easy to feel convinced that if you really enjoy a particular food, then without it the pleasure of eating will be ruined...