A little over a decade ago, vegans were a rare things and it was almost impossible to come across vegan foods at the grocery store. Today, the vegetarian movement has grown considerably, and depending on which poll you consult, as high as 6 percent or more of the American population is vegan. It is no wonder then that big food brands have stepped in to benefit from the rising vegetarian demographic. Today, if you take a stroll in your local supermarket, you will see a wide variety of vegan processed foods. Things like vegan turkey, ham, sour cream, butter, and cheese were unheard of just a decade ago. Now they are in nearly every supermarket.
Healthy Vegan Snacks Vs Processed Foods
Going vegan is certainly a noble idea, but the decision doesn’t always come easy for many. Fortunately, vegan snack foods have made the transition to this lifestyle easier. Huge food brands have done an excellent job of changing the public’s negative perception on vegan protein sources such as soy. They have played up their mock meats as low-fat, great sources of proteins. They hail soy protein for its many benefits and recommend it for a variety of conditions from menopause to diabetes. While we cannot deny the few benefits of these foods, we are smart to realize that they do not necessarily make life healthier. The question many in the vegan movement have is if they are good or bad as a whole. While these processed vegan foods and snacks aren’t necessarily healthy they do make it a lot easier for the average person to go vegan. Where even a decade ago it seemed like a daunting task, today it can be done nearly painlessly for even the most weak willed person. Sure this is helping more people go vegan. And that is saving millions of animals. But what is it do to us?
Easy Vegan Snacks : The Consequences
Mock meats and other vegan snack foods have one thing in common with other processed foods – they are all PROCESSED. In fact, the same big brands that are behind the easy vegan snacks are usually the same brands associated with popular junk foods. Like all processed foods, most processed vegan offerings contain considerably high levels of sodium and are low in essential nutrients and fiber. Another downside of faux meats is that they are bad for the environment, and protecting our environment is one of the major reasons many people go vegan. According to recent studies on the environmental impact of packaged foods, researchers found that processing mock meat not only uses more energy than processing real meats, but also has worse side-effects.
Furthermore, faux meats remind vegetarians and vegans of what they are missing. Each slice of tofurkey or mock roast you bite is in essence saying, “haha, you wish you could be having the real thing but instead you have me!” Certainly, there are a couple of vegans and vegetarians out there who genuinely prefer the flavour of these mock meats over the real thing, but for most of us, it proves difficult to get accustomed to. Many in the vegan movement argue that it just simpler to go with organic whole foods from the beginning. It’s certainly healthier.
We got the opinion of three popular vegan voices on youtube to share their thoughts. Why did they say?
Watch the full length videos these clips came from at the links below
Vegan Snack Foods, good or bad?
In general, processed foods cannot be described as “healthy”. It is the overwhelming feeling among the vegetarian community that processed vegan foods are not as healthy as they claim. There are various great processed foods rich in proteins that vegans can enjoy such as tofu and tempeh. In fact, these foods are used around the globe in ancient cuisines. Vegans and Vegetarians really need to consider the quality of the food they eat. Your best bet when shopping around is buying organic whole foods. Even when vegan processed foods are not made with additives or harmful products, they can never compare to fresh, organic foods.
Take The Challenge
Take the 7 day challenge and don’t eat any processed foods. Make your meals from fresh organic fruits, vegetable and legumes. Eat nuts and seed in very limited quantities. I’m betting you will have more energy and clarity at the end of the seven days. It’s amazing what removing processed foods from our diets can do. Will you take the challenge? If you gave up processed vegan foods for fresh organic whole foods, please leave a comment and share your experience. Your story might be the one that inspires someone to change!
The Undeniable benefit
Anything that helps more people move to veganism is a win for the animals. Speaking from personal experience I relied a lot on some processed foods in the beginning. But as you get deeper into it you tend to progress towards healthier eating. That was my experience anyway. The diet/health purist will probably continue to push hard against such processed foods. The purely ethical vegans will praise anything that saves one more animal. I think that is probably where things will always stand. But it’s good to discuss, learn and work towards a common goal. Veganism for everyone!