I began my plant-based (or vegan) journey over two years ago. In that time, so many alternative products have hit the markets and now you can buy vegan ice cream, pizza and even cheese at most grocery stores. Since changing my diet, I have actually gained about 20 pounds by eating the wrong kind of plant-based foods.
The term plant-based is thrown around a lot these days and some people assume that if something is plant-based, then it’s healthy. But just because something is derived from plants, doesn’t automatically make it good for your body.
The two most talked about vegan companies right now are Beyond Meat and Impossible. Beyond burgers, for example, are made 100% with plant-based ingredients (mostly fats and oils). Impossible burgers are made with modified soy and a special ingredient that is derived from a genetically modified plant. Technically, both are plant-based and neither are even close to being healthy.
There are a lot of misconceptions about veganism in general and the plant based trend has only caused further confusion. Now that all these new alternative products have hit the shelves, we need to redefine labels such as ‘plant-based’ so that people can make educated choices regarding their diets.
Foods that are processed are rarely healthy, even if they are plant-based. It is obviously healthier to eat whole foods, especially vegetables. This is something that we are taught early on, but we have to be especially careful with the new vegan products.
Since all these new foods haven’t been around for enough time for us to fully understand the long-term health effects of consuming them, we are the guinea pigs. It can take years and development in our technology and medical understanding for us to discover if something is slowly killing us. This is something that the alternative meat and dairy industries have been criticized for.
While I hope to keep trying all the fun vegan products, I will and have been trying to limit the amount that I consume. These alternative foods may be delicious and great once in a while but they cause more health problems than just weight gain. Processed foods in general have been linked to cancer so they should be avoided as much as possible by everyone, vegan or not.
To get tips on eating more whole foods and improving your diet, read this: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/plant-based-diet-guide
Featured image created by Lenka, find her on Instagram: @moikind_design