Choosing a vegan burger, hot dog or plant-based meat breakfast sausage doesn’t make burgers, sausage or hot dogs healthy. It is a big win for the animals, of course. And arguably better for the environment. But plant based meat substitutes should not be the primary source of protein in a nutritionally sound, plant-based diet.
Plant Based Whole Foods
If you want to improve your health, reclaim your naturally balanced weight, increase energy and focus…all of this is possible with a whole food plant-based diet. Whole food being the important factor. This means buying and consuming foods that have five ingredients or less. Yes, you read right. Check your cupboard, your fridge, your desk drawer at work. How do your plant-based food choices stack up?
Eat More Plants
A healthier goal is to get off the meats and cheeses altogether and eat more plants, for real. Vegetables, fruits, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, nuts.
A food product can be labeled vegan, the ingredients all free of animal-derived components and yet be about the unhealthiest thing you could eat. Oreo cookies are a good example of vegan junk food. Oreos are plant-based!
The common argument for faux meats is that they are a “transitional” food for those new to meat-free eating. After conducting my own personal studies over the course of the past ten years, I have come to the conclusion that they do nothing to ease the transition to a healthy, whole foods diet.
What they actually may do is become an obstacle to healthier whole-food protein choices such as beans, legumes and potatoes. Because they taste so good! And as technology moves on, they just keep tasting better and better. These products are highly processed, high in fat and salt in most cases–manipulating our taste buds with artificially engineered flavors. Consequently, simple natural foods taste dull in comparison.
There are really no shortcuts to better health. Sustainable health is attained by a lifestyle balance between the foods we eat and the way we treat our bodies and minds every day.
Should we never eat plant based or vegan processed meats? Most dietitians and nutritionists agree that a ratio of 80% natural, whole foods to 20% “discretionary” foods is a good balance for sustainable health.
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