There’s a common misconception about vegan diets. For many people, a vegan diet is synonymous with a whole-food, plant-based diet. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The main difference between a vegan diet–even an organic one–and a whole-food, plant-based diet is the nutritional value. Both are devoid of animal products and animal by-products. However, there’s a thin line between consuming vegan junk food versus vegan nutrient-rich food. I mean, you can eat french fries and drink beer all day–that’s a vegan diet.
When you’re consuming a vegan diet, there are plenty of cereals you can eat for breakfast. Many of the sugar-filled cereals you find on the shelves of grocery stores are technically vegan. If you add your choice of dairy-free milk, you can still stick to your principles. The same holds true for coffee drinks. Many people love to drink dairy-free lattes from their favorite coffeehouses. By replacing the milk, you can maintain the vegan integrity of the latte. However, it doesn’t matter if you’re drinking sugar-filled lattes or cereals. If they’re filled with processed sugars and ingredients, you’re not giving your body the nutrients it needs to thrive so keep a toothpaste tablet and charcoal toothbrush in your purse.
On a whole-food, plant-based diet, you might eat oatmeal with fruit and chia seeds for breakfast. If you add a ripe banana and cinnamon, you’ll start to get a banana-bread experience from your oatmeal that you’ll fall in love with. If you can’t imagine life without your lattes, switch the ingredients. Continue to use your favorite dairy-free milk. Add matcha powder, which is high in sugar-reducing antioxidants, for a nutrient-rich beverage.
Ever since the vegan movement exploded a few years ago, many restaurants, cookbooks, and experts have popped up. Since the demand is high, many retailers created vegan versions of various cheeses, meats, and more. It’s not difficult to find a restaurant in any major city with a vegan menu. As a result, it’s relatively easy to order a vegan burger that’s topped with vegan cheese and condiments. If you order a side of fries that’s topped with vegan cheese sauce, you can eat without worrying that you’re consuming a single animal product or by-product.
However, you can’t eat that type of meal each day. This is because these manufactured vegan burgers tend to be highly-processed. Unless you know that the chef is preparing the burger from scratch, the chances are high that you’re eating something made in a factory. When food is processed, it tends to carry a lot of unhealthy oils and high sodium content. You might be eating a vegan burger, but you’re running the risk of clogging your arteries. And worse, many vegan burgers contain isolated soy protein. While there’s nothing wrong with soy itself, as a whole food, isolated soy protein is cancer-promoting. Here’s a great article on the science of soy.
The whole-food, plant-based diet will still allow burgers. However, you’re better off making them from scratch. You can easily create veggie burgers from bases like quinoa, black beans, and lentils. Chop vegetables like celery, carrots, and onion to provide texture, nutrition, and flavor. Prepare a side of sweet potato fries to go on the side. When you’ve prepared the meal at home, you’ll know exactly what’s going in it. You’ll also be able to ensure that you’re sticking to a whole-food, plant-based diet.
Since dinner is the final meal of the day, it’s wise to focus on a lighter meal. Learn to love salads. A salad is the easiest way to fulfill the requirements for a plant-based meal. Jazz them up by choosing a variety of ingredients. Instead of using lettuce, try a different green like arugula, spinach, or kale. Greens are filled with vitamins, fiber, and more. Chop up a few slices of onions to add to the mix. While tomatoes are delicious, switch them out from time to time. In its place, combine peaches, grapefruit, or mangos. Most store-bought salad dressings are filled with preservatives and oils. That’s why they can sit on grocery shelves. Instead, make your own vinaigrettes with vinegar, citrus fruit, fresh herbs, and other seasonings. To add some crunchiness, add nuts or seeds. Create a blend of almonds and poppy seeds. Throw them in a blender with some nutritional yeast flakes and a bit of salt. Pulse the mixture a few times before sprinkling it on top.
During these times, it’s especially important to develop a strong immune system. If you contract a virus, a healthy immune system will truly help you fight. By consuming nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, herbs, and whole grains, you’ll be well on your way to optimal health. In addition to eating healthy, the stress of avoiding the virus and quarantining can be exceptionally overwhelming. If you are feeling overwhelmed due to the time and stay-at-home orders, here are some great tips for getting past social isolation.