Frequently Asked Questions
Where do you get your protein?
Protein is a vital nutrient made up of chains of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks for both plant and animal proteins. Our bodies require certain amino acids within the proteins not the proteins themselves. It takes 20 different amino acids to create protein, and only plants have the ability to synthesize all of them. Therefore, without plants no animal would be able to acquire all of the amino acids required to create protein. The amino acids that an animal cannot synthesize are called "essential" because they need to come from diet. The ONLY reason animals are considered a source of protein is because they've already acquired the essential amino acids from plants! If we skip the animals and go straight to the source, we avoid the hormones, antibiotics, IGF-1 growth factor, saturated fat and cholesterol (none of which exist in plants). The question shouldn't be "Where do you get your protein?" but rather "Where do you get your fiber?"
For more information watch these short videos:
The Great Protein Fiasco (5:35) - Dr. Michael Greger
Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein? (4:41) - Dr. Michael Greger
What about other nutrients, like calcium, iron, and omega 3s?
We have been taught that we need to consume animal products (milk, meat and fish) for these three nutrients. Minerals like calcium and iron come from the soil and are absorbed into the roots of plants. Like proteins omega-3 fatty acids are "essential", meaning they cannot be synthesized by animals and must be acquired from diet. Just like with protein, the ONLY reason animals are a considered a source for these nutrients is because they've already acquired them got them from plants. Again, skip the animals and go straight to the source.
For more information watch these short videos:
Getting Calcium Without Dairy (1:08) - Dr. Neal Barnard
Is Fish Oil Just Snake Oil? (2:50) - Dr. Michael Greger
Is it expensive to eat a vegan diet?
This question is relative to what you buy, and what you bought before you went vegan. A vegan diet most often costs less since bread, pasta, potatoes, beans, oats, legumes, rice, vegetables and fruits are typically less expensive than meat and dairy products. That is unless your diet consisted of cheap subsidized fast food meats. If that was the case, you will probably ended up spending more in health care costs.
How can I give that up, I love the taste?
Have you ever tried? Personal enjoyment is not enough to justify a harmful action. Some people have enjoyed doing things which are unethical, such as rape, murder or eating humans (just ask Jeffrey Dahmer). Their sensory pleasure does not make the consequence of their behavior acceptable and neither should yours. Thankfully there are a number of delicious vegan substitutes for most of the foods that you feel you might miss.
It’s only natural that we eat meat, aren't Humans at the top of the food chain?
There is nothing natural about buying pre-packed meat at the grocery store. To be at the top of the food chain we would have to eat other predatory animals, which we do not. We rent a position in the food chain by raising and consuming other animals, artificially pushing them down the food chain below us. Next time you come across a bear, lion, tiger, crocodile or shark in the wild (unarmed), remind me again where you are in the food chain.
What do you eat?
Have you ever heard of spaghetti, stir-fry, fajitas, soup, cereal, pizza, bread, pancakes, rice, baked beans, potatoes or peanut butter & Jelly? You probably already eat a lot of foods that are practically vegan. A wide variety of foods are naturally vegan, such as fruits, vegetables, grain, legumes, nuts and seeds. There are so many quality vegan alternatives for milk, cheese, mayo, ice cream and a variety of meats (burgers, hot dogs, fish, chicken and sausage). These are not fake chemical creations from some laboratory, they are made from healthy plant-based ingredients.
Don’t plants feel pain too?
Yes, plants can respond to stimuli (like turning toward the light), but they have a central nervous system and therefore can't experience pain. The difference between a sentient being and a non-sentient being is how it reacts to environmental changes. Plants don’t feel pain, they can only detect damage. A plant always responds objectively to stimuli with the same reaction. Unlike animals, they are incapable of subjectively interpreting their environment and exhibiting an emotional response. For example, a plant will not fear for it's life if you raise a blade to strike it down. Since the majority of crops are grown for animal production, meat eaters are responsible for more plant casualties then vegans. I'll make you a deal, If you promise to watch a slaughterhouse video, I promise to watch a harvest video.
What if you were on a desert island?
If confronted with this hypothetical situation it would be advised to do what it takes to survive. The philosophy of veganism extends to what is ‘possible and practical’. It would be entirely justifiable to eat another animal if it was required to stay alive. We live in a time where food is widely accessible and we have an abundance of alternative options. We simply do not need to kill animals to survive anymore. Lucky for us, this is not a situation that many of us will ever experience.
Isn’t it my personal choice?
A personal choice is something that would only affect you, personally. When your choice causes harm to another person, being, or our planet, it is no longer personal. If personal choice it is not an acceptable justification for inflicting harm on a pet or another human being, why would it be acceptable for animals. Animal lover or not, given the choice most people would not choose to unnecessarily cause intentional harm to another living being.
If it is so wrong why do wild animals eat meat?
It is essential for survival that predatory animals kill to eat. We are not in the same situation, this behavior is not essential for our own survival. Wild animals do not get sick if the raw flesh they consume is not cooked. We selectively choose only to replicate their consumption of animals as justification for our own animal consumption. The only behavior of wild animals we selectively choose to replicate is their consumption of animals. Ignoring all their other behaviors to justify our own consumption of animals.
Weren't we meant to eat animals?
Humans have soft fingernails and dull teeth. Without the help of a fork and knife, we would have a hard time tearing into animal hide and flesh. Our teeth are more like that of an herbivore, then that of a carnivore. The structure of our jaws allow for a side-to-side motion, perfect for grinding down plant foods. The jaw structure of a carnivore only move up and down. Intestinal tracts of carnivores are short, allowing meat to pass quickly through their digestive system. Our longer intestinal tract is designed to give the body more time to break down fiber and absorb the nutrients from plant-based foods. Carnivores have strong stomach acids designed to break it down and kill the dangerous bacteria in the raw chunks of flesh they consume. We need to cook our meat first because our weaker stomach acids are unable to break down and kill these dangerous bacteria.
What would we do with all the animals?
It’s the simple law of demand. The more vegans there are the less animals will be farmed. If the world turned vegan overnight, we would theoretically have an issue with an over population of farmed animals, but this would likely never happen.
What about all of the farmers?
As more and more people adopt a vegan lifestyle, many dairy farmers, slaughterhouse workers and others employed by animal industries will be out of employment. However new opportunities will be created at the same time. Some dairy farmers have successfully turned their business toward plant-based alternatives. Parts of the world which currently support livestock would be able to support crops instead. Government subsides currently going toward animal agriculture could be reallocated to assist farmers in transitioning to plant-based farming.
What about organic, grass-fed, free range and humane slaughter?
Most often these are just marketing tools used to mislead consumers. Let’s get one thing straight, all animals bred for agriculture go to slaughter houses…PERIOD. Regardless of what kind of farm they lived on prior to being killed. Often animals raised under humane labels end up at the same slaughterhouses as factory-farmed animals. There is no such thing has humane slaughter. A life unwillingly taken contradicts the act of performing something humanely. Humane slaughter does not mean that the animals do not suffer. Prior to being “humanely slaughtered” animals clearly exhibit signs of panic, fear, and often look for an escape before being prodded into the killing stall. Farming is an industry and the goal every industry is to make a profit. The animals become the commodity in this industry. When their purpose has been served or they are considered un-profitable, their lives are taken. Humans feel that intentionally breeding animals somehow gives us the right to decide how they live and when die.
Why do vegans seem extreme?
Vegans are considered extreme because they challenge the dominant majority. There is a disconnect between the animal products we consume and our perception of the industries that supply them. Vegans attempt to encourage us to reconnect to the compassion we all have for animals. To make the connection, we need to be taken from our comfort zone and shown what these industries have been hiding from us our entire lives.We fight to keep what has become normal to us and deny that our actions have supported the unnecessary suffering and violence to animals. We all believe in our hearts how animals should be treated, and we all know THIS is wrong.
What can one person do?
As a vegan you have the power to have a direct impact multiple times a day on your health, the environment and the animals. One person may not be able to make a huge difference, but one person does have the ability to influence other people. This is the way changes in social behavior have occurred throughout history. Veganism is growing exponentially in many countries, which indicates a change in public perception and demands.