These Three Myths About Meat and Dairy Products Must be Explained
Myth 1: You will not get enough protein.
Let ’s take it from the top. The protein used to be called the “building blocks” of the body because it is used to repair and build new body cells and tissue. Protein is made up of eight essential amino acids (nine in children), which need to be acquired through diet.
Animal protein contains all the essential amino acids and is therefore called a complete protein, compared to the protein found in plants, which do not have all essential amino acids.
This doesn’t mean you can’t get complete protein because you’re a vegan; you just need to be more mindful to combine different sources of vegetarian protein and eat larger amounts of it (because the body has an easier time using up animal protein than vegetable protein). You don’t have to worry about not getting enough protein if you eat a large salad that includes lots of leafy greens, nuts, buckwheat, and legumes.
Examples of vegetarian protein sources:
Grains, legumes, leafy greens, sorghum, brewer ’s yeast, seeds, and buckwheat.
Myth 2: You will not get enough iron.
Iron deficiency affects more than one-quarter of the world’s population
(and it can affect you, whether you’re vegan or not). It ’s true that vegans and vegetarians tend to suffer from iron deficiency in larger numbers than omnivores, but if you’re aware of this it ’s easy to fulfill your requirement for iron even with a vegan diet .
It ’s fortunate that many protein-rich vegetables are also rich in iron.
Iron is a bit difficult for the body to absorb, but many vegetables and fruits contain vitamin C, which facilitates bioavailability. If you include fermented foods in your meal, your body will have an easier time taking in iron and other minerals.
Examples of iron-rich food:
Broccoli, beans, chia seeds, wheat germ, sesame seeds, nuts, spinach, nettles, and chickpeas.
Myth 3: You will not get enough calcium.
Uh—hello? Did you grow up in a country where milk is sacrosanct? Milk lobbies in many Western countries like America and Sweden, where we grew up, are very strong, and that ’s why studies listing the health-giving
properties of milk are given more airtime than those suggesting that a high intake of milk might not be all that great for us. It ’s been drilled into us since childhood that milk gives us strong bones, but in all honesty, it ’s been a long time since milk was the best source of calcium available to us. Even though Americans and Swedes are one of the greatest consumers of milk in the world, they also suffer some of the highest rates of bone fractures in the world. Recent scientific research even links higher risk of fractures to drinking milk.
Last year, the Swedish Food Agency lowered the recommended intake of milk because many studies now show that large quantities of milk contribute to ill health. As for our intestinal flora, it doesn’t exactly crave milk, either. On the contrary, consuming large quantities of dairy-rich products and saturated fat contributes to an increase of inflammation in the body.
Examples of calcium-rich food:
Kale, parsley, rosehip, sesame seeds, almonds, brown beans/bush beans, white beans, arugula, spinach, Brazil nuts, nettles, and garlic.
Go ahead and buy frozen spices and herbs. It’s very economical, and they’re just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts.