For as long as I can remember, I have loved store-bought cookies, chips, granola, frozen dinners, and the list goes on. They are convenient and require little preparation to enjoy. When I initially went vegan, nothing changed. There are tons of boxed vegan options to indulge in which many consider better options. But are they? To argue whether processed vegan food is better than traditional processed food, we must dig deeper into the term processed.
The truth is that most processed food products (vegan and animal based) don’t even classify as food. If the entire process involves manipulating ingredients that have been stripped of their nutritious value, then there is no point of switching to a vegan diet in hopes of maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Most processed food items contain ingredients that are loaded with fat, sugar, and salt which easily leads to addiction. A major complaint from nutritional experts is that many forms of processing remove phytonutrients and fiber from foods. Now would you consider any vegan-based processed food to be healthy and gut-friendly without significant fiber content? Probably not.
One of the best ways to consume nutritious and healthy food is to consume vegetables in their raw and whole form. Whether you chop carrots to add to your salad bowl or eat a cup of steamed spinach as a power-packed snack, nothing beats the benefits you get from natural goodness.
A closer look at processed foods
Without a doubt, foods from animal sources are high in protein. They are also important sources of vitamin D and B12. Since these vitamins are not found in plant-based foods, it is natural to assume that an animal-based diet would be more nutritious.
However, things take an ugly turn when the word ‘processed’ comes into the picture. For starters, animal meat is already devoid of fiber and phytonutrients. When food brands add preservatives, additives, and artificial ingredients to enhance the taste, the entire packaging that you purchase is anything but food.
The additives incorporated while processing meat and deli products are said to blame for their cancer-causing effects. What’s more is a few plant-based processed meats also use sodium and other additives for flavoring that have the same effect.
What to do?
It is important to know that whether you stick to a plant or an animal-based diet, what really matters is that the food you are eating is not filled with processed fillers and preservatives.
Ever wondered why a veggie burger feels, looks and tastes exactly like a meat burger? Well, that’s because the restaurant adds quite a few ‘magic’ ingredients to make it look that way. Most faux or fake meats feature highly processed vegetable soy ingredients along with several cheap oils for flavor. Not just that, it also has an artificial food coloring, so it appears brown.
The only way to benefit from a healthy diet is to avoid heavily processed foods. If you’re a vegan who enjoys mock meats and soy as a source of protein, a goal would be to purchase products free of dangerous fillers or chemicals.
Are you thinking of switching to a plant-based diet this year? Let’s chat. I’d love to help your transition!