Just Because It’s Vegan, Doesn’t Mean It’s Healthy

I can’t tell you how many times I have said something like “I need to cut back on [X]” or “I don’t need to eat any [X]” or “I shouldn’t eat one more [X]” only to have somebody reply “well, it’s vegan so it’s not like it’s bad for you…who cares.”

And here is a little lesson: Just Because It’s Vegan, Doesn’t Mean It’s Healthy!!!

Here are some examples of this in action. The below foods are all technically vegan (source):

  • Cap’n Crunch
  • Froot Loops
  • Reeses Peanut Butter Puffs
  • Monster Energy Drinks
  • An assortment of 7-11 “snack pies”
  • Airheads
  • Fritos
  • Fruit by the Foot
  • Krispie Kreme Fruit Pie
  • A variety of potato chips
  • Oreos (nope, no real cream in those bad boys)
  • Sour Patch Kids

None of these items is something you want to consume often, much less on a regular basis. So when I say, “dang I need to cool it on the oreos” it means…I really need to put the cookies down and back away slowly. There is a BIG misconception that anything vegetarian or vegan is automatically healthy. These two eating styles seem to have a “healthy halo” around them, but truth is that both diets, if mismanaged, can lead a person to become extremely unhealthy and even overweight. It’s what people in the vegan world call “junk food vegans.” Don’t think that just because there isn’t cow or eggs on your plate, that you are automatically exempt from the traditional nutrition rules.

A junk food vegan could technically spend a day like this:

  • Breakfast – vegan blueberry muffin and vanilla soy latte with sugar
  • Snack – bag of fritos
  • Lunch – sandwhich with soy-based deli meat, vegan “cheese” product, and vegan mayo. side of potato chips and oreos for dessert
  • Dinner – soy burger patty with french fries
  • Dessert – non-dairy ice cream
It doesn’t take a degree in nutrition to know that this ain’t a healthy day of eating.
If I were to “healthily veganize” this day I would make it look more like this:
  • Breakfast – oatmeal with almond milk, cinnamon, walnuts, and blueberries.
  • Snack – green smoothie
  • Lunch – sandwhich with veggies, avocado, and hummus spread, apple
  • Dinner – black bean veggie burger (all bean and veggies, no preservatives or soy fillers) with roasted or steamed potatoes and side salad
  • Dessert – banana soft serve
With the second meal plan, you are having a somewhat similar day (meals-wise) but at a much more nutritionally dense rate. Being a healthy vegan (or a healthy eater in general) means loading up on veggies, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or follow the traditional American diet, take a step back today and look at your meals. Are you eating too much processed foods and added sugars? Are you getting the recommended 5 servings of veggies? Taking a quick moment to tweak your meals can go a long way in making them healthier.
Happy Monday All! Here is to a healthy week ahead.
My Best,
Shelley
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8 thoughts on “Just Because It’s Vegan, Doesn’t Mean It’s Healthy

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