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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Not all vegan food is created equal

That statement may seem obvious to some- it is true of any food genre, right? Yet many people become vegan thinking that by cutting out animal products, their work is done. Not so. Vegan does not always equal healthy.

Lots of candy and cookies are vegan, for example. gives an extensive list, broken down into categories like beverages, breakfast, snacks, etc. (source) Faux meat and the various products marketed to vegans and vegetarians as substitutes for their favorite meat dishes are often filled with GMO and highly processed corn, wheat, and soy. When it comes to your health, you're probably better off eating the meat than something developed in a lab.

In my opinion, for the sake of one's health, one would do better by declaring they are avoiding anything packaged or processed (where possible) in favor of food that is grown in the ground (plant-based) and altered (cooked) as little as possible. This would seem to have a higher success rate (in terms of health and sticking to a goal) than simply declaring veganism.

It would force you to expand your palette, for one. When I did this, I started trying foods I had never had before. For example, I had not always eaten a variety of leafy greens. I always loved broccoli rabe, sauteed/steamed with olive oil and garlic. But I never ate kale, collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, swiss chard, or beet greens. As it turns out, some of those have much more nutritional value than broccoli rabe, and I was missing out. Plus, they can be prepared in a multitude of delicious ways- sauteed, steamed, parboiled, braised or just plain raw. (Here is a nifty guide with some great ideas to get you started!) Also,I used to forgo salad, thinking it was boring, in favor of less healthy options. Now that I have had so many kinds of salad greens, I have salad at least once a day!

When I crave something sweet (and dark chocolate won't cut it) I I try to make my own baked goods. And now, when I do have something packaged (maybe candy or a cookie) I am turned off by it. I have little desire to have more.

Embracing foods in the way they were intended by nature is often vegan and raw by default. And it forces you to become skilled in the kitchen, arguably the most important life skill there is. We should all be able to feed ourselves and those we love nutritiously.

Comments? Any vegan readers out there, how do you approach food now that animal products are off the table?

And if any readers out there know of any like-minded individuals who might be interested, please mention this blog or my business website! I love exchanging ideas with others! :)


  1. I'm not a total purist when it comes to these things -- I definitely buy some packaged foods, including canned beans on occasion and almond milk when I don't have time to make any. But I do fundamentally really like to do things from scratch, too, and agree that there are healthier and less healthy vegan foods!

    1. Thanks for the comment! I buy almond milk myself- we just go through so much of it, I would have to make it every day! :)

  2. Wow I found this really interesting, thanks so much for sharing!