The Truth about Veganism and why you’ve Underestimated it
Blog post by Roopa Suppiah, Co-founder of Water Well-ness Project – Get free updates of new blog posts here.
Dr. Julie Grondin, a Post-doctoral researcher at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and long-time friend of ours, shares with Asha her knowledge and personal experience around veganism. In case you aren’t familiar with the term, veganism means eating a diet that is free from animal products ( e.g. foods like meat, cheese, milk). Veganism has received a lot of flak in today’s society, sometimes eliciting eye rolls since many people incorrectly equate veganism with extremism. Often, at the root of the issue is a lack of understanding for why an individual would choose a vegan diet and the true benefits it brings. In our interview with Julie, she helps explain how a vegan diet holds enormous potential for creating the sustainable world we desire and is a tool for change. She shares her journey to becoming a vegan, uses science and reason to bust myths surrounding vegan diets, and provides fantastic suggestions for how you can make your diet align with both your taste buds and your principles simultaneously.
Asha’s first question gets Julie to take us through how and why she became a full-time vegan. At 03:45, Julie suggests a few of her favourite vegan cookbooks, helpful to anyone interested in trying out some delicious vegan recipes. For Julie, changing her diet to exclude meat helped clear her conscious and make her feel that she was finally able to live by her values. During this segment of the video, Julie makes some recommendations for documentaries to check out if you want to learn more about the food industry, animal raising practices, and the environmental impact of meat-eating, all reasons behind Julie decision to go vegan.
At 13:05, Julie busts the myth that when you’re on a vegan diet, meeting your daily protein requirements is a challenge. She explains where protein comes from and how most of us have likely been thinking about protein wrong.
Julie gives examples, starting at 17:45, of protein-packed foods that are standard in her diet: tofu, tempeh, beans, seitan (wheat gluten), whey powder, hemp harts and more. Part of being a vegetarian or vegan is to re-program your brain to what protein means to you. At 20:42, Asha gets Julie to take us through what a typical day for meals looks like for her. Julie gives us a recipe for a vegan breakfast smoothie and tells us how to make Overnight Oats for a mid-morning snack.
Vegan diets are not only delicious, but they adequately provide the daily macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) if a person eats a variety of foods (just like any other diet!). Asha asks Julie at 28:35 about the value of nutritional supplements in a vegan diet. We also go into depth about Vitamin B12, the only vitamin that a vegan diet has low amounts of inherently, and although one would need to supplement it if eating a vegan diet, most people likely don’t know that a meat-eater only gets enough in their diet because farmers supplement Vitamin B12 to animals as they are being raised. Listen to learn where Vitamin B12 actually comes from!
Asha and Julie get to talk about the value (and fun) of farmers markets at 33:35. You’ll definitely be inspired to check out your local market after listening to this!
Eating a completely vegetarian or vegan diet can seem daunting and difficult to maintain for many people, especially when faced by pressures from others around you or even by today’s society in general. Julie shares at 35:50 her answer to “Is it hard to be a vegan?” and she reveals how her perspective about food has changed because of her diet, possibly for the better.
At 53:50, Julie dispels several common myths, including the common argument against vegan diets: humans evolutionarily have eaten meat so therefore it is the “natural” thing to do. Did you know your teeth can tell you a lot about your evolutionary history?!
Finally, at 1:02:10 we start wrapping up the interview with touching on the link between what foods we buy and what message that sends to the world. Asha talks about speaking with our money and how society must start shifting to new industries in order to create the sustainable world we want. Just before signing off, Julie and Asha both leave us with inspiring messages for how we can be the change we want to see in the world. Now that you know the truth about the power of eating vegan, you no longer need to fear or discount the oh-so-famous vegan diet! And on your next meal, why not give something vegan a try?