I thought it might be apposite to look at, and list, a few of the many historical and modern myths concerning the adoption of a vegetable diet or, indeed; the actual ingredients found within the vegetables themselves.
Exploring these myths will decide if they are true or not based on today’s research.[comments as necessary].
Let’s begin by exploring the pioneering vegetarian movement in England (during Queen Victoria’s reign) then move on to include some modern vegetable myths currently promoted as scientific fact.
Here is the list:
Strawberries, cucumbers and tomatoes are poison foods because they sometimes produce skin issues, diarrhea and other forms of elimination.
Superb example of Victorian contrary attitudes to fruit and veg, on the one hand they are “wholesome and good for the bowels”, yet, on the other hand they promote diarrhea and redness of the skin.
Apart from some evidence that strawberries and berries in general causing mild food poisoning, mainly through unhygienic farm processing or, if not washed before consumption, I cannot really see a problem with eating these types of fruit and veg if proper hygiene rules are followed.
Tomatoes cause cancer
Victorians had a real thing about tomatoes [see above] even though they did not even take the trouble to consider researching the medical results in Victorian Italy: the home of the tomato.
It is probably safe to say that tomatoes do not cause cancer but do help enourmously to satisfy food cravings in cancer patients. There are many studies out there that confirm the benefits of tomatoes for cancer patients.
Lettuce contains opium
Wild Lettuce is mainly grown in France, Scotland and Germany.
It has hypnotic effects which is probably responsible for its reputation as a sedative and painkiller.
This wild lettuce is completely different to the ordinary lettuce, which is sold in supermarkets today, however one can easily see the connection in the old days.
Peaches contain prussic acid (cyanide)
Peaches do contain minute quantities of this poison in the actual seeds of the fruit (though not enough to be harmful), the flesh of the peach contains no trace.
Possibly true (in theory) however it would be best to avoid eating the pips or blending them to be consumed later.
Watermelons cause malaria
As we are aware, these days, malaria is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes.
However, in the old days in Southern parts of America it was widely thought that these refreshing fruits were the main cause of the disease.
it was proven through modern science that the watermelons were, in fact, a cure for malaria and not vice versa
Vegetables must be boiled twice
Over boiling vegetables was common in Victorian times and pre and post war Europe. This way of cooking vegetables only really disappeared as we entered the 1970s, and in some countries in Europe it is still practised.
Boiling vegetables twice is only good for the natural nutrients found in the vegetable water once boiled.
As we are aware these days, vegetable water is a highly nutritious and healthy way of consuming vegetables and should be used as a delicious and healthy drink
Too much Soya feminises men (man boobs)
A few years ago, it used to be drinking too much Pale ale which, apparently, caused man boobs nowadays it is Soya which is in the frame.
Numerous academic studies have proved this feminising link is absolute humbug.
On the other hand, it is Soya and its proven scientific link, with certain cancers and Alzheimer’s, which should be a far greater cause of concern.
A vegetable diet is out of the question when undertaking “brain work”
This old Victorian myth was probably based on the fact that Victorian meat meals were quite heavy in starch; and other bulky ingredients and vegetables were not seen as anything more than lightweight accompaniments to the main dishes.
This is a strange myth since if one were a labourer in heavy industry then, perhaps, a large starchy meal with meat etc. may provide the necessary physical energy to continue working in this muscular field., yet on the other hand if one were a white collar worker(working in an office), the reasoning is false: since the brain thrives on the vitamins contained in vegetables per se.
Animal protein is essential for life
Easiest myth to debunk since, as I have mentioned previously, in at least a couple of blogs, Humankind only started to eat meat because of the scarcity of beans, nuts, leaves and plants on the earth.
Therefore, animal protein never sustained human life in the beginning and was never anything more than a replacement for healthy plants and vegetation.
That is the end of this quite short list.
Some were based in truth some not, however I am absolutely sure that more myths will emerge (as we speak) in order to try and put people off becoming meat free.