How Healthy are Vegan Substitutes?
Are Vegan Meats and Other Substitutes Healthy?
Wow. Vegan food has come a LONG LONG way. I’ve been doing this gig for 30 years, and trust me, the black bean burger option back then was truly a frozen cardboard disc with some cumin. Cheese substitutes were non existent or expensive and gross. Ice cream wasn’t accessible, except for a weird frozen rice deal, and forget about extras like whipped cream, cream cheese, fried chicken, fish sticks and crab cakes. You were eating straight tofu, friend.
These days, there is an entire universe of magical and delicious vegan foods! Anything you can dream of comes in a vegan version at almost every corner grocery. It’s truly amazing, and we’ve made some progress!
But is Junk Food Healthy if it’s Vegan?
Or have we? There are food deserts that afflict impoverished areas and leave them with choices like vending machine snacks and sodas. There are subsidies (from our taxes, thanks government) that make it easy for fast food restaurants to sell their toxic meat and dairy at basement prices (for the poor.) Nations once deemed very healthy have been infiltrated by the modern western world to become covered in processed and fast foods, and their health has suffered equally with that shift.
Along with this movement, has gone the vegan accessibility to junk food movement. Yay! We have tons of easy and convenient comfort foods at our disposal. No longer do we have to prepare everything from scratch like we used to. The struggle was real, but it was also real healthy.
And so it is with delicious convenient vegan foods. But THAT is only HALF the story!
What Happened at the Drive Thru?
Let’s say you’re a meat eater. But you’re fit, and you think you eat healthy. So you watch what you eat and workout. Well, you, the meat eater, can have a cheat day and go get pepperoni pizza or hit the drive through for a burger, or dive into some Ben and Jerry’s. Do I need to remind you of the utter OUTRAGE that occurred when Burger King made a vegan burger available? I read countless opinion articles on how they weren’t even healthy, and people were MAD. About a drive thru burger not being healthy.
Guys…Do you think ANYONE, Vegan or otherwise, is hitting the drive through for a HEALTHY OPTION??? The answer is Heck to the No! We just want the same options as everyone else. We don’t want to spend two days in the kitchen making 15 ingredient delectable healthy veggie burger patties so that we can enjoy a burger. (At least not EVERY time.)
No, these processed vegan delicacies are not “healthy” in the grand scheme, but they also don’t contain a host of harmful ingredients that meat eaters refuse to admit exist. Like the high levels of arachidonic acid found in animal protein that wreaks absolute havoc on our mental and physical health. Although these meat free processed foods are far from ideal, they do actually contain some nutrients and nourishment. But yeah, spinach is better for you.
Junk Food Can End World Hunger?
Also, ALSO, these substitutes involve absolutely no murder of an animal. Guilt free junk food, YAY! They also use so fewer natural resources than raising and producing animal flesh does. Like, WAY WAY less. Please ignore anyone who tells you that growing plants uses up way more land space than growing animals. And gently and kindly remind them that 90% of the plants grown are for the feed of agricultural animals. And that if we used that food to feed people instead, we would instantly end world hunger.
Switching ideologies here. I love all that cool stuff about being vegan- save the environment, save the animals, save the world. I’m in it for all that. However, my primary reason is for optimal health. Watching someone you love die of cancer will do that to you. I am not alone here. Watching someone you love suffer from countless hospital visits due to obesity and allergies. People, your food matters to your health.
Can I Save the World, too?
The NUMBER ONE switch you can make for your health is to eliminate animal products, and add fiber. The end. If you ONLY do this, your entire life will change. BONUS- You will also join the world saving badass club.
Side note- I recently ran across some old notes and papers from my early twenties, and I had gone through a phase where I was creating a comic book character named “World Saving Badass.” He looked like a super muscular genie with airplane googles on his forehead and a cape, and that tough-guy-script tattoo font that read “W.S.B.A.” across his chest. Yep. World Saving Badass. (We will forget that we discussed this.)
Ok, back to reality. Yes. You can join the World Saving Bad Ass Club, and you can have a long healthy life, and when you want to have a cheat day, now you can! Yes, it will be processed, less ideal food, lacking in fresh nutrients. But it will have some fiber. And it will NOT have the menacing effects of animal protein creating destructive acidosis on your cells.
Relax, Got It.
So we all have to relax, and not see the world in black and white. Yes, Vegan junk food is JUNK FOOD. It is not as bad as Non-Vegan junk food. It is processed crap. Containing LESS poison. You reserve the right to cheat on your diet. Let’s not pile onto the guilt by doing it with food that harms our planet, our environment, our bodies, and cute baby bunnies. (Cows, chickens, pigs, etc.. I like using little cute adorable baby bunnies as their mascot.) Please don’t hurt the adorable, fuzzy, snuggly, little-baby, hoppy, pink-nosed bunnies.
So enjoy your vegan junk snacks, in moderation, with no regrets, put in an extra workout, live long and proser, tell Judgy McJudgenstein to look at their own plate and explain that. When they do, with righteous indignation, tell them to explain it to the behbeh bunnies!
Moderation is super key here, and I use these foods in my 6 week transformation course, Zero to Plant Based Hero. These substitutes are a great way to transition and get people immediately off of animal foods. They find out how good they are where to get them, and then, later when they want to cheat, they don’t fall too far.
If you want to hear about the course, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter by entering your name and email in that avocado under this post. I’ll send you a free food prep guide as a gift!
Once you go all the way WFPB Whole Food Plant Based (not to be confused with WSBA, above) You’ll need to find your own identity with where you want to live on the Plant based Spectrum, and I can help you do that, judgement free.
If you decide that one plant based meal a week is going to be your big change, and you’ll add more plants to every meal, I take that as a HUGE win, not a failure. Because that is one less meal a week in camp animal, and that is progress. If you have massive heart health and or weight loss goals, I’m going to help you stay more compliant. You will need that. I’m on the path to Save the World, and I want you to come with me, everyone is invited!
Check into our facebook community for support and inspiration! Kickin’ Vegan FB Page