Learn how to be a healthy vegan…
According to Google Trends, “vegan” continues to be an increasingly popular search term:
We will see more vegan options in restaurants and grocery stores as interest in the plant-based lifestyle continues to grow. This is great news, but it’s also a reason for caution. Think back to the low-fat craze in the 80s and 90s. Food companies touted numerous low-fat products as healthy alternatives. Meanwhile, these products were loaded with sugar and salt to make them more palatable. The truth is, when big food companies adopt a health trend, their focus is usually on profit rather than improved health. So we should always be skeptical of health claims found on packaging.
I see this with gluten-free products. While it’s wonderful that there are now more options for folks like my daughter who truly must avoid gluten, plastering “gluten-free” on a package doesn’t guarantee the contents are healthy. Processed gluten-free or processed vegan food items are still processed food.
How To Be A Healthy Vegan
Avoid Processed Foods
The best way to avoid the perils of packaging claims is to focus on whole foods. Folks run into trouble when their vegan diet resembles the Standard American Diet. They are likely to rely on highly processed meat and cheese ‘alternatives.’ Or perhaps their diet includes too many refined carbohydrates such as white flour, white rice, and sugar.
Rethink Your Plate
A healthy vegan lifestyle requires a shift in thinking. I was never a ‘meat and potatoes’ kind of girl so switching to a plant-based way of eating wasn’t terribly difficult. If you are accustomed to planning your meals around a big hunk of meat, the change may prove more challenging. The key is to enjoy foods close to their natural form and to let go of preconceived ideas. For example, the Standard American Diet views soup and salad as appetizers. I often enjoy a hearty soup and salad as a main meal.
For optimum nutrition, you want to be sure to eat a variety of whole foods. The graphic at the top of this post shows a rough breakdown of the ratio you should strive for each day. I aim to help you enjoy a range of delicious foods with simple gluten-free plant-based recipes that are easy to prepare.