The choice to be a vegan stems from a desire for improved health. You want to feel better, exude vibrance and live longer.
A record number of people became vegans in 2019, and the vegan revolution is spilling over into 2020 as well. In response, the food industry has also increased its vegan food choices.
The question is, do these food choices help peoples’ quest to become healthier with a vegan diet?
Food companies and restaurants are all too happy to provide fast and convenient options for vegans on the go. But the label “vegan” does not always guarantee you will gain health from eating their products.
You determine your best outcome by seizing the reigns of your vegan food consumption. The main idea is for the vegan revolution to deliver vibrant health and be sustainable veganism for generations to come.
How Do We Achieve Sustainable Veganism?
#1. Don’t Be Fooled
Vegan processed foods are just as harmful as non-vegan processed foods. The affect on the body is the same, when they are highly processed with chemical preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, and have an abundance of oil, salt and sugar added to them,
They should not be the mainstay of your vegan intake.
Many vegans rely on soy as their main nutrition source.
There is a lot of processed soy out there. So how do you know what’s healthy and what’s not?
- According to Kathy McManus, MS, RD, LDN, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital,
“Soy is a great form of protein for people who don’t eat meat, because it contains all the essential amino acids, as well as important nutrients, Natural soy products such as tofu, edamame, tempeh, and soy milk can be a great replacement for animal protein. Technically these foods contain naturally-occurring isoflavones (for example, half a cup of soybeans contains 55 mg isoflavones), but they tend to have fewer than processed mock meat soy products.
When a food is made from solely “ soy protein isolates,” or contains “isoflavone supplements”, that’s typically a sign that it’s been processed and could contain additives. Usually, you’ll find “concentrated isoflavones” in textured vegetable proteins, protein powders, and protein bars, so it’s best to steer clear of those foods.”
- Even more concerning, is the Impossible Burger designed especially for non-meat eaters. Along with the dangers of being highly processed, more insidious dangers lurk within. The capable research doctors at GreenMedInfo reveal their findings:
“The Impossible Burger is a new genetically modified (GM) plant-based product that was prominently featured at the Natural Products Expo West. Burger King, White Castle, Hard Rock Cafe, Red Robin, Cheesecake Factory** and hundreds of other restaurants now carry the product where it does not have to be labeled or described as GM on the menu. The Impossible Burger is made of GMO soy, which has been shown to cause organ damage in animal studies and has been shown to be significantly different from non GMO soy. The GM ingredients of the Impossible Burger, which includes a genetically modified yeast and GM soy leghemoglobin proteins, 46 of which are undisclosed and untested, are even more concerning to many consumers than the long-term health effects from glyphosate because of the reported immediateallergic reaction potential, which is acknowledged by the manufacturer. The part of the genetically modified soy used in the Impossible Burger has never before been allowed in the human food supply and has not been properly safety tested.”
It’s important to understand that all processed foods, both meat-based and vegan, are no match for fresh food versions.
#2. Activate This Vegan Safety Net
Many people are vegan but still use refined grains and oils. Therefore, they are still being deprived of needed nutrients, and being exposed to harmful byproducts. Consuming unrefined foods provides a nutrient rich, safety net.
- All the important nutrients in grains are in the seed, in the bran, germ and endosperm. In whole, unrefined grains the seed is preserved and so are the B vitamins, iron, folate, selenium, potassium and magnesium that are so essential for health.
- Consuming unrefined oils rather than refined oils, elevates our health. Refined oils are taken through a high temperature and chemical process that strips the natural nutrients from the food source, injects solvents that cause inflammation and disease in your body, and causes the oil to oxidize more easily, which increases free radicals. Hydrogenation, that solidifies oils into margarine, damages essential fatty acids and creates unhealthy trans-fats.
Also, electrons are stripped from the oils in the refining process.
The electrons stripped from the oils are also meant to activate our cellular electrical charge, but instead, end up stealing the electrical charge from our cells.
With no electrical charge, the cell is either unable to divide and reproduce properly, or dies completely.
Because of this, the oil’s fats are inactivated and have problems flowing through our capillaries; thus,circulation is compromised.
“During cell division, the cell and the new daughter cell must contain enough electron rich fatty acids in the cell’s surface area to divide off completely from the old cell. When this process is interrupted, the body begins to die.”
“When you consider that every cell in your body is surrounded by a lipid (fat) layer that is just the right constituency to let all necessary nutrients in while allowing all the critical waste material to pass out, you can see that altering the composition of that cell membrane is risky business. Yet, that’s exactly what unhealthy fats do. They will “gunk up” your cell membranes and, what’s more, they initiate a domino effect that ends with a host of pro-inflammatory ecosinoids (molecules composed of fatty acids) running rampant.”
In comparison, unrefined oils maintain the essential fatty acids (i.e. Proper balance of Omega 3, Omega 6 and GLA), we need for our health. These fatty acids nourish our cells and DNA. Maintained in unrefined oils is the vitamin E from nuts and seeds; an antioxidant which staves off free radicals and disease.
In addition, the anti-inflammatory effects of unrefined oils can prevent painful diseases fed by inflammation, like arthritis and rheumatism.
The change to unrefined oils and grains fortifies your system and upgrades your health. Without them, any diet still comes up short.
Both unrefined oils and grains should be refrigerated to prevent rancidity.
#3. Vegans Can Suffer Just Like Non Vegans From This Unhealthy Habit
You can eat vegan all day long, but if it consists of excessive sugar intake,(especially unrefined sugar) you will still experience:
- Inflammation and resultant joint pain.
- Erratic insulin production that raises blood sugar, and causes diabetes, which leads to kidney problems.
- Oral bacteria that cause cavities. These thrive on sugar.
- Thickened artery walls.
- Liver damage from fructose processed by the liver
- Creation of harmful molecules called “AGEs,” or advanced glycation end products in your bloodstream. These molecules do exactly what they sound like they do: age your skin. They have been shown to damage collagen and elastin in your skin — protein fibers that keep your skin firm and youthful. The result? Wrinkles and saggy skin.
- U nhealthy weight gain
Learn to replace sugar, especially refined white sugar with healthier alternatives like maple syrup, stevia, and fruit sweeteners like coconut sugar, agave and xylitol.
#4 The Game Changer
A scientific study of organic foods conducted by the French Ministry of Health and published in the prestigious journal JAMA, found a dramatic reduction of 86% in the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, among people who eat the most organic foods compared to those who eat regular food.
Dr. Eli Stern, chairman of the International Cancer Association’s Environmental Cancer Committee and director of the Risk Assessment Center at the Gertner Institute, is convinced that this data requires serious consideration. He explains
“The link between exposure to certain pesticides and the possibility of increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma is well known, and these facts require special attention, because these are far-reaching health implications,”.
In August 2019, in the United States against Monsanto court case, Monsanto, a major manufacturer of pesticides, was required to pay huge compensation of 289 million dollars to a California school gardener who contracted non-Hodgkin lymphoma at the age of 44, from exposure to these pesticides. This began a flood of other similar incidences and court cases that Bayer/Monsanto are working to arrange settlements for, while postponing trials and denying guilt.
Just like the school gardener, many people use pesticides to tend to their yards and gardens. Children play in some of these yards and eat food from these gardens.
Glyphosphate is only one of many chemicals being sprayed on our foods, into our fields, and onto our yards.
Any effort to adopt a healthy vegan diet is greatly improved by the consumption of organic foods.
#5 Where An Abundance of Nutrients Thrive
- F resh fruits and veggies offer high nutrient levels of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
When fruits and vegetables are raw and slightly cooked, they provide all important enzymes that facilitate ease of digestion.
They also create a diversity of gut bacteria for improved digestion and assimilation. (As opposed to processed, fast foods that create bad bacteria)
- Fresh seeds and nuts provide fiber, fats, vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, essential oils, and antioxidants.
“Most nuts, including almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, pecans, and pistachios contain omega 6, omega 3, polyunsaturated, and mono-unsaturated fats with a slight amount of saturated fats.
E ating nuts helps to improve the blood sugar level as well as lower the risk of certain kinds of cancers. Almonds are essential for lowering the LDL cholesterol, which is considered to be a bad cholesterol.
Eating seeds and nuts fresh, not rancid is crucial to prevent digestive problems and oxidation that creates free radicals. Keep nuts and seeds in air tight containers, preferably in the refrigerator.
Achieving Health As A Vegan
Veganism is not a magic bullet. It requires a conscious effort to implement these health forward practices.
The up-tick of veganism in recent years has prompted the onslaught of vegan convenience foods; many of which are far too processed to deliver any promise of health. So, don’t be fooled.
The evidence certainly confirms the potential for improved and sustainable health when you consume a vegan diet.
- A global move to a vegan diet would avert 8.1 million premature deaths per year.
- A 2019 study, totaling over 300,000 participants, by Harvard scientists discovered that eating a vegan diet can cut your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by almost a quarter (23%)
- A 2019 study of more than 12,000 people found those who ate mostly plant-based foods were 32% less likely to die from heart disease.
- Eating a vegan diet may help people who are overweight reduce body fat and promote weight loss without restricting calories.
An adjusted outlook on convenience and fast foods will go a long way.
Did you know:
- It only takes 15 – 30 minutes to steam and sauté veggies and to boil pasta and grains.
- Creating a homemade veggie grain burger is quick, easy and healthy. You can make a big batch of burgers and freeze them. Then it’s just heat, grab and go.
- Salads have the potential to be new and different each time you prepare them, as you alternate ingredients. You can add beans one day, avocados another, sprinkle in nuts or accent with artichoke hearts. You enjoy a quick, delicious and nutritious meal.
- Fruits and nuts make delicious snacks. Dried apricots, dates and raisins are like “gummie bears” on steroids!
Investing time and energy into preparing fresh, vegan meals and snacks pays off tremendously. Choosing fresh, unrefined and organic foods assures your switch to a vegan diet will yield vibrant, sustainable health.