When it comes to any kind of eating pattern, there’s always a natural worry that it could be unhealthy for your son and daughter. With veganism, which is a big change from a “standard” diet for most, it’s only natural to worry if boys can be vegan. Especially with our current culture surrounding masculinity.
If you’re on the internet, even just Facebook comments, you’re probably one of many who’s seen the term “soy boy” and stopped to wonder what that meant. Here’s a helpful video in case you’ve never heard it before (just a warning, it’s rather long) .
Like other forms of toxic masculinity before it, “soy boy” is a derogatory term used to tear men down who are “feminine” by traditional standards. It refers to the nutritional content of soy being like estrogen, which is a hormone responsible for what’s deemed to be more “feminine” traits. (Breasts, high pitched voices, less body hair, etc).
The belief here is that these men eat a lot of soy, and thus are soft, feminine, weak (yeah, it’s not a kind term towards women, either), or any other derogatory statement about femininity you can dream of.
All this turns to the question if boys can really be vegans.
And the answer is yes.
But why is it yes?
Myths of Veganism
Veganism is different from plant based. Veganism is connected to animal welfare and avoidance of any animal product, including things tested on animals.
Since it’s rooted primarily in compassion, often veganism is stereotyped as “feminine”. Rather, we tend to see men as more rough and tough rather than crying or compassionate. And vegans are stereotypically the modern equivalent of tree-huggers, with most outspoken vegans being female.
The estrogen in soy does not cause femininity, either. The soy in tofu carries a plant-based, not animal based, form of estrogen that doesn’t affect one’s body the way taking an estrogen pill would. It completes a different purpose and doesn’t affect a teen boy’s development at all.
There are plenty of male vegans who are, pardon the colloquialism, “manly”, including:
And plenty more I didn’t include. This is just a short list to show that veganism doesn’t reverse puberty.
Meat, development, and other things
Other myths that stop guys from being vegan are that meat is needed for muscles- which is, again, not true. There are the guys I mentioned above, not to mention tons of vegan bodybuilders and lifters who are strong without needed to eat any animal products.
Live Kindly also has a list of 5 reasons guys might be scared to go vegan– if your son wants to be vegan and you have hesitations, this list might help, as would looking at Happy Herbivore’s interviews of a bunch of vegan men who live a regular life!
Like diets that contain animal products, a vegan diet can be equally healthy with proper planning and experimentation of different recipes and strategies.
There’s no need to worry if your son will suffer any adverse consequences from going vegan- they’ll be just as, if not more, healthy than their meat-eating buddies.
Any questions or anything you want to add? What are your tips for a first-time vegan?
As always, do your homework, eat a vegetable, and make sure to smile at someone today. See you soon!