Go to the supermarket and you will be overwhelmed with all the vegan alternatives in the aisle. There are vegan milks, vegan meats, vegan butters, vegan yogurts, vegan snacks and the list is endless. For those that have been vegan or those that are trying to live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, it seems like there is a plethora of food options for you now. Are all these options healthy for you? Have you read the labels on some of these vegan foods? The list of ingredients is very important and it’s prudent to read all labels. Many of these items have added sugar, some bad fats and other chemicals that may not be particularly healthy.
Vegan is not synonymous with Healthy!
One example of a meatless entrée seen at the local health food store had jackfruit listed in the ingredients. This fruit is similar to fig but it does not contain much protein. Jackfruit is mostly carbohydrates so it’s probably not the best substitute for meat if you are seeking protein. Another issue is that some vegan foods are highly processed. They may have some veggies listed as an ingredient but recognize that they may not be the whole foods you need for your diet. Generally, if you want to have a vegan diet, it’s best to consume whole foods – the actual fruit, vegetable, nut, etc.
Again, just because it is vegan does not mean that it is great for you. Did you know that Oreos, gummi bears, Wheat Thins, even some pop tarts are vegan?
It’s very important to read labels and a good rule of thumb is that if the food has lots of packaging it probably has lots of processing. Opt for foods that have very little packaging because it is more likely they are whole foods that have better nutritional value.