1. What DO you eat. Salad?
Well, yes, I do eat salad. And appetizers, and entree’s, and dessert. Occasionally I’ll even have a beverage. Truthfully, I think the average vegan has a more varied diet than the average american. We give up eating a few animals (cows, chickens, turkeys, pigs) and open our diets up to foods most people have never even heard of, much less tried. When was the last time the average american ate mung beans or hijiki? Quinoa or tempeh? Shitake mushrooms or arugula?
2. How do you get enough protein?
By eating. It’s actually difficult to eat a 2,500 calorie vegan diet without getting enough protein. Orange juice, broccoli, even 10% of the calories in potatoes come from protein. Add in some tree nuts and legumes, and you get all the protein you need.
3. I would get tired of eating the same thing all the time.
This is a problem for all of us, Vegans and omnivores alike. I have found that it helps to eat seasonally, whatever is freshest and cheapest in the produce section and at the farmers market. This is a natural way to vary your diet, and make sure you’re eating the ripest, freshest foods.
4. Do you have to take supplements?
Vegans don’t need to take supplements, though many do, as do large swaths of any group of people. There is no nutrient required by the body that is not available in a vegan diet. This includes B12, which is in nutritional yeast, and DHA, which can be taken as a supplement from algae, or produced naturally by the body, when one ingests healthy oils such as flax and olive oil, rather than saturated and trans fats.
5. Humans are natural omnivores. We’re supposed to eat meat.
Our closest relatives are the great apes, which range from vegan (gorillas) to largely vegetarian (orang-utans) to omnivores (chimps). The chimpanzee diet consists largely of vegetarian sources, supplemented by grubs, insects, and occasional meat from larger prey. Chimpanzees are much stronger and faster than humans, and have larger incisors, which makes them much better predators than pre-technology humans would have been. So the early human diet is probably closer to that of the more vegetarian apes.
Humans are slow, with no claws or teeth to speak of. Until the last few thousand years of tool making, we were lousy predators, with only a large brain as an asset, and that large brain required lots of glucose to keep running. Add up the need for sugars, and the lack of natural predator tools, and it seems fairly obvious that early humans probably ate a largely vegetarian diet. But more on that later…