Top Vegetarian Myths Busted: Part 1
I am so happy to see that there are many more vegetarians in the world nowadays. Thirty years ago, when I became a vegetarian, it was a completely different story. When people found out that I was a vegetarian, I got a lot of questions. Is your family vegetarian? Do you eat chicken? Do you eat fish? Why? And my personal favorite: What do you eat?, as if not eating animal protein meant I was now in a perpetual state of starvation. As the popularity of the vegetarian lifestyle has grown, the number of questions has decreased, but the myths surrounding this lifestyle seem to persist.
MYTH #1: All vegetarians are healthier than omnivores
Vegetarian and/or cheese pizza, cake, ice cream, pie, pancakes, waffles, refried beans, cheese lasagna, French fries, onion rings, chips, etc. What do these have in common? They’re all vegetarian foods! If your diet consisted of foods like the ones above, sure, you can say you’re a vegetarian, but you’d be anything but healthy!
MYTH #2: All vegetarians are skinny
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here I am about 20 years into my vegetarian journey and 50 pounds heavier than I am today.
That right there is proof that it’s not so much what you don’t eat, but rather what you do eat that makes a huge difference. I’m vegetarian in both pictures but eating smarter and in the correct ratio of macronutrients in the second picture. The me in the first picture was gorging on complex carbs (beans, legumes, grains, etc.) thinking I was doing a good thing for myself. I was a bloated, unhappy mess! The me in the current picture learned about nutrition and how to fuel my body for lasting weight loss while still living the vegetarian lifestyle.
MYTH #3: Vegetarians eat chicken and fish
This one really gets under my skin for some reason. I finally reached the point of just describing my lifestyle as “If it once had a face, then I don’t eat it!” Yes, that includes chicken and fish. If you include fish in your nutrition but exclude other animal proteins, you are a pescatarian, not a vegetarian. If you omit red meat but eat chicken and other animal protein, you are NOT a vegetarian. Period.
MYTH #4: We want to convert you
Mutual respect makes for peaceful living in my opinion. You don’t have to follow my way of eating, but I do ask that you respect it. By the same token and in the spirit of reciprocity, I will do the same for your food choices. Go ahead and eat carcass… I mean meat (sorry, I just couldn’t resist). I will not berate or judge you for eating animals. It’s YOUR choice to make. If you’re curious as to my way of eating, feel free to ask me questions without the fear of me trying to get you to come to the “grass-loving, sandal-wearing” side of the spectrum (read with sarcasm). It’s not a cult people!
MYTH #5: We are card-carrying members of PETA
Nope. I own a leather jacket and plenty of leather shoes and accessories! While I love animals and would never hurt one, I merely choose to not eat them. It’s a personal choice I have made for my health. So, no, I do not live in burlap outfits and spend my weekends demonstrating on street corners with PETA activists. To each his own. We each have personal reasons why become vegetarian. You may want to read my blog on this topic called Vegetarianism for Beginners Part 1.
These are just a few of the multitude of myths about the vegetarian lifestyle that are thrown around out there. Next time, I’ll be discussing the ones having to do with nutrition, so check back in! Until then, remember to #FuelUpforaFitLife!