You May Be A Junk Food Vegan If You’re Eating Any Of These 6 Foods
The transition to going vegan often comes with some pitfalls -- these include believing processed foods are "okay foods" because they don't contain animal products. This is a common mistake many new and transitioning vegans make in how to become vegan step by step, and it isn't helping their health or their environmental efforts.
How To Become Vegan Step By Step
Becoming vegan is about kindness to animals and the environment, as much as it is a movement toward eating more plant-based and nourishing foods and feeling healthy. But somewhere along the line, vegans have become some of the biggest eaters of junk food, using the excuse that these foods are okay to eat because they are not made with animal products. While it is understandably a common part of how to become vegan step by step, it should be a fast transition that leads to more healthful choices.
What is Being Vegan Really?
Being vegan is about being energetic, healthy and doing it while making little to no negative impact on the environment or its creatures. And while many vegans wish to live in this painless manner, eating junk vegan foods may actually be causing more pain at the end of the day, since these foods are processed, use precious resources and energy to produce, ship and get to your grocer, and they generally do nothing positive to add to your vibrancy or health.
Some of vegan junk foods to remove from your diet may include:
Pasta – Most pasta is vegan and everyone loves it, but at the end of the day, pasta is a processed food, which is why it’s known as a refined carbohydrate. It is de-natured and by all accounts, a dead filler used in the vegan diet, which has no nutritional significance. Sure, pasta is fine to eat occasionally, but junk food vegans eat way too much of it to fill up. This cheats them of some vital nutrition. A better alternative instead of pasta would be sweet potatoes or white potatoes.
Cereal – Thanks to J.H. Kellogg we have been sold on cereal as a breakfast food, when it is in fact one of the most unhealthy foods in many vegan diets. Perceived as a fast food, because there is no cooking involved, cereal has made its way into American lives as a staple food. That being said, virtually all boxed cereals are denatured and unhealthy. Like pasta, cereal is a processed food and a refined carbohydrate that requires work for the body to digest. A better and faster alternative to cereal in the morning is fruit, since it requires even less prep time than a bowl of cereal and is more nourishing and easier on the digestive tract. Bananas, apples, grapes and oranges make great on-the-go foods that can be eaten anytime and anywhere.
Oatmeal – While typically vegan, oatmeal is a bland grain turned junk food by the processed food industry by adding sugars and other flavorings, which generally makes it unhealthy. What is more, you can’t find a better way to slow your digestion than to eat oatmeal. The problem with oatmeal is how most people eat it, which makes it a gut-stopper. Oatmeal needs to be chewed to digest properly. Many oatmeal eaters bypass this simple step. Again, a better alternative to oatmeal in the morning, especially for the digestive tract, is to eat fruit.
Protein bars/powders – Many people think that their smoothie needs extra protein so they reach for a vegan pea powder or some other non-food synthetic protein thinking it will keep them feeling full. The problem is, it will keep their digestion system working harder than it should. The point of a vegetable or fruit smoothie is efficient digestion and assimilation. If you are putting banana or spinach into your smoothie you’re getting more than enough protein.
Coffee – If you are relying on coffee to get energy, you have a bigger problem than being junk vegan. Being vegan is about being vibrant and running on your own abundant energy. Coffee shouldn’t be invited to this party. A better alternative to coffee are healing herbal teas.
Yogurt – Yogurt is one of the biggest misconceptions of healthy food every created. It also one of the biggest sellers in the processed food industry. Recently, there has been a movement in the yogurt industry of almond, cashew and coconut yogurts that strive to give you that ‘dairy feeling’. Aside from being a processed food, yogurt has turned into this unhealthy, supplemented "thing" that resembles a cup of paste with some flavorings in it. Big corporations have tried to recreate non-dairy yogurts to taste and feel like dairy yogurts and this has been their biggest mistake. Many non-dairy yogurts are filled with more starch and gum products and more likely less of the heart-friendly and nourishing nuts you’re looking for.
Related: The One Vegan Beverage That Can Wreck Your Gums
Understandably going vegan is a transition and veganism is about dropping animal products. Undoubtedly eating the above-mentioned foods make that transition easier. While this is perfectly ok to do in the short-term, don’t stay in this place – these vegan junk foods aren't giving you the health benefit you deserve. Small refinements, such as replacing pasta for nourishing potatoes, or eating more beans for protein instead of using a powder in your smoothie and even adding more fruit to your diet, will help change any junk vegans ways. It will also be more cost efficient and beneficial to your overall health as well as the environment.