When you think of American food, you’ll probably be tempted to think of towering hamburgers, sticky wings and warm crispy bacon pancakes. But in fact veganism – where you abstain from food and drink that contains animal products – is one of the fastest growing food lifestyle choices on the planet – and America is no exception.
It is estimated that at least six percent of the US populations are now vegan, a five per cent increase on 2014. What’s more, this upward trend is set to continue. No longer the preserve of hippy do-gooders, more and more people are turning towards the lifestyle, with celebs such as Beyoncé, Tobey Maguire and Natalie Portman bringing it more and more to the public’s attention.
Despite the massive increase in the interest in vegan diet, it seems like just about everyone – no matter how ill-informed – has an opinion on them, which understandably, can be pretty annoying if you are actually vegan. But with November officially designated as World Vegan Month, it’s a better time than ever to get informed.
In a Twitter discussion started by HuffPost UK, vegans shared their own experiences and revealed the most annoying beliefs that other people have about their dietary choices.
1. That everyone is vegan for the same reasons
Of course, there are many different reasons for being vegan, and many people listed this as their number-one pet peeve when it came to people’s perception of veganism. In reality, there are lots of reasons people go vegan; everything from health benefits, animal rights to even the environmental benefits.
2. That vegans can’t possibly get enough protein
If you still believe this one is true, take a look at Brad Pitts’s impressive bod – he’s been vegan for years, and you don’t get muscles like that without a decent amount of protein.
3. That vegan food is boring
There’s a perception that veganism is all about salads and lentils, but in fact the truth is quite the opposite. So the next time someone wants to cook for you, let them. It might look like this delicious bowl of goodness. Droooooool.
4. That you just take away the non-vegan food
The vegan Twittersphere thinks it’s quite important that you know that vegans still eat gravy, thank you very much. But seriously, it’s not about taking away food, but about replacing it.
5. That it is “just a phase”
Admittedly, the figures don’t exactly help this one: it is estimated that almost 80 percent of vegans and vegetarians go back to eating meat at some point. But when that includes people that have been people that have been vegan for 20, 30, 40 years, it’s more difficult to make the “just a phase” argument.
6. That you must really miss meat
Apparently, that’s not quite the case.
At the end of the day, it’s fair to say that vegans and veganism itself still get quite a lot of flack – but hopefully, next time you’re about to make fun of a vegan friend or colleague, you’ll know exactly what not to say.