A while back we took some friends and family to a local specialty donut shop. I don’t typically go out for donuts, but this place was unique because they have donut flavors named after punk and alternative bands, which is totally my jam. Anyway…
I remember squealing with excitement after noticing that the Nutellavision donut could be made vegan. Confused, my dad turned to me and said “But that’s not healthy.”
His comment was indicative of a common misconception that “vegan” always means “healthy.”
Don’t get me wrong. Being vegan is generally a very healthy choice. Statistically, there are SO many health benefits to living a vegan lifestyle such as:
- lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels
- lower risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancers, type-2 diabetes
- lower body weight
- longer life expectancy
- clearer skin
- the list goes on…
Eating a vegan diet also means that you will be consuming way less saturated fats than a SAD diet(Standard American Diet), which includes meat, dairy and eggs. And get this – you will be consuming ZERO dietary cholesterol, since it’s only found in animal products. Great news, huh?
One of the main reasons eating vegan is so great for your health is because of the incredible amount of nutrients that are packed into plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. It’s super important make sure we’re getting a decent amount, as well as a good variety of these foods into our diet.
If you’ve been eating a vegan diet for more than a day, you’ve probably already discovered that contrary to popular belief, we eat more than just twigs and leaves! There are endless possibilities when it comes to preparing delicious and creative vegan dishes.
We’re also very fortunate to have so many amazing vegan products on the market these days such as vegan dairy and meat alternatives, candy, frozen foods, etc. (Check out the Vegan Cuts Marketplace for some amazing stuff!)
Vegan pizza-flavored mac n cheese? Check!
Vegan Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? Check!
Vegan nutella donut? Check!
You get the picture…if you want it, chances are there is a vegan version of it out there somewhere! And while I think that it’s super awesome that they exist, these products are not exactly filled with as many nutrients as say…kale. You could probably go so far as to call some of them junk food. Delicious, wonderful, amazing vegan junk food…
Needless to say, it’s kinda easy to become a “junk food vegan” if you’re not careful.
In the beginning, I encourage you to explore. Try a bunch of these vegan products! They are great for satisfying cravings for familiar foods and for feeling like you’re still “joining in” on social occasions like family BBQs – veggie hot dogs anyone? See what you like best and ditch the rest. There may be a few things that you keep around as treats. I always – ALWAYS – have vegan chocolate chips in the pantry for emergencies 🙂 I like some Daiya mozzarella shreds in a burrito from time to time.
Just please don’t forget to eat your vegetables. I don’t want to sound like your mom but please please PLEASE eat your broccoli!
Unpackaged, unprocessed plant foods are where the nutrients are at. Focus on eating plant foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Most of the recipes on Vegan Yoga Life are made with mostly whole foods so feel free to browse for inspiration.
So, to answer the question I posed at the beginning, “vegan” may not always be synonymous with “healthy.” But with a little bit of consideration, it’s really easy to enjoy a delicious – and healthy – vegan lifestyle.
Questions, comments, concerns? Please let me know in the comments below or contact me here. I’d love to hear from you!