Why aren’t there more vegan men? A Vegan Society survey in 2018 indicated 63% of those identifying as vegan were female while only 37% were men. The Telegraph meanwhile reported on a study in 2018 that men fear social shame if ordering the vegetarian option in a restaurant. So, what’s it like being a plant-based male? For me, giving up meat and going plant-based has been an overwhelmingly positive experience but that’s not to say there weren’t challenges. Find out more about the key things I’ve noted as a man during my four years as a vegetarian in Why Aren’t More Men Vegan? – 3 Insights from a Male Perspective!
1. Vegan Social Curiosity: “Hey Mate, Why Don’t You Eat Meat?”
The stereotype of men eating steak not celery is just that; a stereotype. Should that But whereas I find women can order the tofu steak or buddha bowl and that goes unnoticed, you will be asked if you don’t eat meat as soon as you have one meat-free meal! Having said, that with the boom in veggie options, people are more enlightened and open-minded. Most of the time, people are asking out of curiosity and interest, not because they are challenging you.
Even if people do scorn your choice, I’ve always found it best to engage in a positive manner. Answer questions, don’t go on the defensive and don’t challenge others’ eating behaviour. Having the confidence to eat what you want will inevitably draw people in if it looks good.
When I made my lunches in the office, co-workers would always ask questions – but only because they were genuinely interested and liked the look of what I was eating. Make people delicious plant-based food or encourage them to try an oat milk latte and the misconceptions start to clear up.
2. No, You Won’t Lose Muscle!
One of the biggest barriers to men moving to plant-based diets is around not being able to get enough protein and lose those gym gains. (Check out our interview with vegan IFBB Pro Bodybuilder, Torre Washington.) I do a lot of running but have had no issues getting enough protein into my diet.
For those with active lifestyles, there are plenty of plant-based sources. Pulses like chickpeas and beans, tofu, tempeh, soya yogurts and soya milk, nuts and seeds and quinoa are all high in plant-based protein and that’s just a few of the vegan ones as milk and eggs also offer a non-meat source of protein.
3. My Diet is More Varied than it’s Ever Been
Before going plant-based, I ate a relatively repetitive diet. Having to find replacements for meat and dairy means you get to discover the sheer abundance of delicious, natural plant-based foods out there.
Nutritional yeast, almond milk, pea protein, smoothie bowls, lentil Bolognese, five-bean chilli, and energy balls are just some of the new foods that are now staples for me. With so many undiscovered fruits and veggies out there, why not try something new?