When it comes to Vegan food, many people don’t realise how much of our food is naturally Vegan 🙂 All vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, pulses and grain are Vegan. So in their organic form, most of our food is Vegan to start with. How we handle it, turn it into a meal, or the industry offers it ready made, is another story all together.
And no, just because people follow a Vegan diet does not mean that they are healthier. Any diet is only as healthy as you make it. I would like to think that the majority of people who decide to follow a Vegan diet though will have made this decision with nutrition in the background. Lots of Vegans are well educated on food groups, Fats, Vitamins and Protein for example. To some extend this comes as a “side effect” when you start looking into this plant-based diet.
And another no to: As a Vegan you automatically have a slim body. I know Vegans who are overweight as there are many food groups that contain many calories. For example: Chips eaten with Vegan mayo is “as bad” as the non-vegan counterpart. Vegan cakes are as calorie rich as non Vegan cakes. The same applies to chocolate or crisps. The only difference is that they are not made with any animal produce.
Too many calories are too many calories. The body does not decide whether they are good calories or not. So it is about the balance and boils down to: intake and how much you burn.
When I changed to a Vegan diet, I actually did loose 5 kg in the first 6-9 months. In my case it came down to sweets. I used to eat lots of chocolate and other sugary things. When cutting out those with dairy in them, I was left with only very few options. I also used to eat a lot of cheese which, again, is dense in calories.
The industry has changed since then and there are more options available when it comes to Vegan chocolate or other Vegan treats. This is how I handle them, as treats, not food that I need. Another change that I made once I followed the path of a plant-based diet.
Trying to find Vegan products these days is actually quite easy. Most supermarkets in the UK have a “free from” section where you find various things like Cereals, Bars, Pasta, Soups, Chocolate, Sweeteners, Flour, Bread and so on. Producers mark the products with one of the common Vegan logos. Others mark them “vegan friendly” or “suitable for Vegans”. If none of this is said, I usually check the ingredients. As with so many allergies around ingredients like dairy, wheat, soy etc. are normally printed in bold.
In the beginning it might seem a bit of a nuisance to having to check the lists, but I got used to them quickly and today it is a normal procedure for me as I still check for artificial sweeteners for example.
I believe that a Vegan diet is more healthy than any other diet and there must be a reason why cancer patients or cancer survivors are asked to follow a plant-based diet by their doctors. If any other diet is as healthy and good, why do they recommend a plant based one?
This is of course my personal view and I have no medical education to base my opinion on.
I love fruits and vegetables so for me the summer months are heaven. I eat a lot of water melon and strawberries, pineapple, raspberries and mangos! I admit that I also buy them in the winter which clashes with my view on seasonal eating. So you see, I am far from the perfect Vegan. Of course there is no such thing as a perfect Vegan. But I’ll talk about this another time :).
My next blog on food will be about alternatives to cow’s milk as this was one of the hardest parts for me as a coffee lover. Keep following and I’ll give you the options available.