That’s right, I said it. We’re talking about vegan junk food and bless your heart if you think that’s an oxymoron. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t know how I would have survived my vegan infancy living deep in the red states if it weren’t for some of these things I’m about to rail on. I am grateful every morning that I wake up on this coast where farmer’s markets happen every day of the week and where Avo-Quinoa Wraps are popular among people over thirty-five.
Turning vegan tends to also turn one into a label reader. For me this was an awakening in consciousness; not only to the amount of animal products needlessly used in processed foods, but also awakening to the amount of carcinogenic and nutrient leaching additives often added to our foods. Finding a meal or a snack on the go that is free of refined sugars, animal products, preservatives, or hydrogenated oils can be like finding Atlantis. This search can also lead to an awkward grocery store situation where other shoppers are disturbed by one exclaiming something like this:
“AW, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP! JUICE IS ONLY SUPPOSED TO CONTAIN JUICE!!!”
Or at least it feels like I’m thinking it so loud everyone can hear my indignation.
These processed foods have made my top 5 LEAST wanted list:
Soda or Juice that contains refined sugars or high-fructose corn syrup. I like to drink juice spritzers. If you can’t find at juice spritzer, just make your own by mixing natural juice and mineral water.
Peanut Butter that contains hydrogenated oils and/or cottonseed oil. Hydrogenated oil is impossible for your body to break down and can lead to cancer. Cottonseed oil may be toxic in larger amounts. I always choose all natural nut and seed butters with no added oils or sugars.
Chips from mainstream brands can contain really high levels of salt, as well as hydrogenated oils and flavorings that contain MSG or preservatives. It’s not like I never eat chips, but now I try to choose a brand with a simple list of ingredients like just corn or potatoes, canola oil, and little salt.
Fake Meat Products that contain hydrolysed soy or corn. Some popular brands also contain cellulose, which is just wood. Processed cellulose adds fiber and texture to foods, but does not contain any of the nutrition you would get if you ate grains, fruits, or vegetables. Choose a fake meat that is primarily made from grain like seitan, or wheat gluten, for a safer choice.
Processed Soy Products are something I like to steer clear of. I’m not jumping on the “soy is bad for you” bandwagon, but anything that starts off being good for you, then gets treated heavily with chemicals, will turn out bad for you. Avoid soy protein isolates if possible and go straight for foods that contain Tofu, Tempeh, Miso, and Tamari. I often choose rice or almond milk over soy if possible, just because I feel like soy is the go-to for most vegan food and I don’t want to overdo it. I also prefer hemp or coconut milk ice cream to soy
There are some really great indulgent foods out there for vegans, so let’s all choose healthy foods. We will live long, be strong, and be happy!
Also, holla if you love the Curry Chik-un Salad, my favorite snack on the go!