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Is your vegan diet healthy?
Is the vegan diet healthy? When people hear vegan diet, many thoughts come to mind. Some consider vegans to be skinny undernourished people with an anemic appearance. Others envision a 60’s hippie eating tofu and rice. While those might be valid in some cases, a plant-based diet involves so much more.
Eating only plant-based foods offers many health benefits. However, it is possible to be vegan and unhealthy.
Healthy vegans balance their food choices to ensure they receive a proper balance of nutrients. While a meal of steamed mixed vegetables contains many important vitamins and minerals, eating only that for each meal every day might lead to major nutrient deficiencies.
White sugar and some brown sugars raise other concerns. Many companies use bone char to create white sugar. They coat white sugar with molasses to create brown sugar. Unless it is processed without bone char or other non-vegan ingredients, we cannot consider sugar to be truly vegan. If you are unsure, contact the manufacturer.
In addition, many ingredients, though plant-based, negatively affect your health. Consider sugar. While about half of white sugar, sourced from beets, is truly plant-based, it often creates health problems, rather than nourishment.
Soy has long been used as a plant-based protein. Indeed, it offers a good protein source. However, overly processed or non-organic, it offers less benefit and may be considered harmful.
Choose healthy plant-based foods
With so many food options, differentiating healthy from not healthy challenges many. Some are obvious, of course. Potato chips and donuts cannot realistically be considered a health food. White flour bread offers little nutritional value. Sugary desserts entice many but offer little value beyond flavor.
Even those convenience foods such as vegan burgers and tofu ice cream may prove to be detrimental to your health. Many contain added sugars, vegetable oils, modified starch, and other unhealthy additives. Also, look for preservatives and food colorings. While one serving a month may not devastate your health, a steady diet of such foods often creates problems.
Ensuring your food choices create good health is not that difficult, however. In general, look for organic ingredients, with little to no processing. Raw or lightly cooked vegetables, fruit, and grains retain the most nutrients. Avoid fried foods.
Most organic vegan foods in their natural state are quite healthy and nutritious. Eating them as close to their natural state helps ensure they remain that way.
Consider each of your food choices. Look for healthy alternatives. Substitute vegan foods for non-vegan always or often. Encourage your family with healthy vegan options. The health benefits will amaze you!