I have always been a plant-based eater; a vegetarian. Over the last year David and I decided to become vegans. It has been an incredible learning experience! Between now and the end of the years I will share some of the things I learned.
The decision to be vegan meant David gave up meat. And we gave up cheese and eggs. Meal planning became a challenge. I spent a couple of hundred dollars (all of it on used bookstores) and many hundreds of hours pouring over menu plans and recipes.
My biggest take is that many vegan recipes do not fit my definition of healthy food. Many of them contain ingredients that I wouldn’t eat on a bet:
- Soy products (Tofu, Soy Milk, Soy Cheese, Soy Yogurt, Soy Sauce) – Consider the fact that 90+% of all soybeans contain genetically modified organisms (gmo). And if that is not enough there is this: the process of making tofu creates free glutamic acids aka MSG. Add trypsin inhibitors, phytoestrogens and high volumes of aluminum and these foods are less than appealing!
- Processed Nut Milks, Cheeses and Yogurts (Almond, Coconut, Hazelnut etc) – these “milks” are full of chemicals used for color, flavor and preservation.; many of them unpronounceable and unrecognizable as food.
- Artificial Meats – soy and gluten meats are natively high is MSG content. Both soy and gluten are bland and flavorless and are highly seasoned and processed to make them seem more meat-like. Most have added HVP or Soy Isolates (think MSG) plus lots of weirdly named chemicals for color, taste and preservation. They are high in fat, low in fiber and very high in sodium
- Ener-G Egg Replacer – see the piece on eggs
- Braggs Amino Acids, G. Washington Broth and Nutritional Yeast – MSG in several forms all over again
- McKay’s artificial chicken or beef broth – the artificial word says it all. . . .
- Deserts – often the largest section of the recipe book and all recipes loaded with unbleached white flour, sugar and fats
- Sprouts – I am not wild about Salmonella poisoning, or even taking a chance!
- Iceberg Lettuce – why even bother? Too much chewing for the nutrition gained!
Those are just a few of the most egregious. But they do shed light on the reason for so many unhappy and unhealthy vegans. Most of the books were a big waste of time and money, but I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t made the investment. Finding good tasting, easy and healthy vegan recipes is a challenge! And believe me, it is even more of a challenge if you are eating sugar-free or gluten-free as well as vegan!
But you know me. . . I love a challenge; which is why I spent so many hours in the kitchen experimenting with menus and recipes. Turned out to be a great education and even greater fun!