These days it feels like trendy vegan food is taking over the world; smoothies bowls, matcha lattes, goji berries, avocado toast…you name it. So that means that vegan food is healthy right? Wrong.
I’ll be the first to admit that I did not go vegan for health reasons, but rather because I feel that killing animals or causing them to suffer is wrong. I also went vegan for environmental reasons realizing that the meat and dairy industry is one of the leading causes of global warming! But then I began to wonder…is a vegan diet even healthy for you?
Now this is quite a complicated question. I’m sure there are many people out there that think just because something is vegan it is full of nutrients. But you know what else is vegan? Oreos, Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, Soda, Potato Chips, Oil, French Fries…the list of vegan food encompasses more than you might think. With more people becoming vegan every day, brands have been releasing a plethora of vegan alternatives. You can now buy vegan meats, cheese, ice cream, whipped cream, candy, yogurt, and the list just keeps on growing. Now although I’m happy to see such an increase in vegan food. it’s important to realize that just because something is vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
In my opinion I do believe the healthiest diet is a whole plant foods vegan diet. This means eating fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, legumes, mushrooms, and less processed vegan junk food. I choose to eat this way because quite frankly that is when I feel my best. I am full on energy, don’t have digestive issues like I once did, and no animals have to die. But the way that I eat is not the only way one can be vegan.
When I first became vegan, I thought there was just one way of eating, something I gathered primarily from all the famous vegans I found through social media. Truth is there is no right or wrong way to eat vegan. Whether you want to be a raw vegan or a junk food vegan, at the end of the day no animals had to die in order for you to thrive. I believe that veganism isn’t simply about health. It is about using my voice to fight and protect those who don’t have one. Whether you choose to eat bananas or vegan ice cream, you are promoting a lifestyle that aligns with the belief that harming other beings is wrong.
Although I believe a plant-based diet to be the healthiest way of eating, that doesn’t necessarily mean that every single person who eats meat and/or diary is unhealthy. What is most important is having most of your diet come from whole plant foods. I don’t feel that having the occasional amount of meat or dairy is detrimental to one’s health. Do I wish everyone would go vegan? OF COURSE I DO, but I believe in meeting people where they are at (or should I say “meating” people where they are at). My simple advice for having a healthy diet: eat more plants, eat less processed food, eat less meat & dairy, and drink plenty of water. It’s really that simple. If you could live in a way where you ate delicious vegan food and felt your absolute best, why wouldn’t you?
As much as I love eating plants, I can’t help but enjoy vegan junk food. If fact I’m quite fond of all the trendy vegan alternatives. A lot of people don’t go vegan simply because they are worried about missing out on eating their favorite non-vegan food. So, whether it be mac & cheese, ice cream, or scrambled eggs, I guarantee there is a vegan substitute that tastes just as delicious.
Being vegan doesn’t inherently mean you are healthy just like eating meat doesn’t inherently mean you are unhealthy. Although my diet is primarily plants, I believe in creating damn delicious vegan food that shows others how easy going vegan truly is. So, why not try going vegan for a month, week, or day? Experiment with vegan alternatives or try to recreate your favorite non-vegan dish. After all, what do you have to lose?
My Favorite Vegan Alternatives:
Haagen Dazs (yes they have vegan flavors!)-https://www.haagendazs.us/products/non-dairy/
Ben & Jerry's (yes they too have vegan flavors!)-https://www.benjerry.com/flavors/non-dairy
Daiya (their blocks are better than the shredded cheese)- https://daiyafoods.com/
Kite Hill (amazing cream cheese)-http://www.kite-hill.com/