When people think of veganism, they think a diet including lots of fruits and greens – this is true for the most part. However, there are many vegans who don’t consume a diet of health – they are almost entirely junk food vegans!
Junk food vegans, though consume no animal products, consume a lot of processed foods such as vegan cakes, hot dogs, sausages, hamburgers, pizzas, sodas, potato chips, crisps and foods of this nature. The diet is often devoid of fresh fruits and vegetables or these foods are consumed in very limited quantities.
Why Junk Foods?
1. Transitioning stage – some vegans in the transitioning stage, trying to work out their diet get stuck eating junk foods for a while.
2. Time constraints – people sometimes get busy with their jobs, families and other concerns and often don’t put emphasis on their diet.
3. Addiction – the addiction to salt, sugar and fats. When one is coming from a diet where one is used to consuming a lot of meats, dairy and processed foods, it is often difficult to break away from the taste or the desire for such taste and this desire is often filled by consuming junk foods.
What to do?
1. There are many short, quick and easy vegan recipes that could take you 5 – 15 minutes to prepare. You will find them online and on Youtube. There are also many vegan recipe books available in book stores. Use one or more of these sources for recipes.
2. Plan your meals beforehand. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to 1 hour each week to do this, it doesn’t have to be a concrete plan just have and idea of what you could have each day and jot it down.
3. Make a grocery list; your list should contain wholesome foods in the form of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
4. Understand that it is likely that you are simply addicted to salt, sugar and fat, and as such, have to treat your desire for junk foods as an addiction. This means that you may have to decide that you will consume certain portions of fruits and vegetables everyday as a ways of developing a new habit and introducing your taste buds to the taste of new foods.
5. Sample different fruits and kinds of vegetables everyday or maybe 3 to 5 times for the week. The more you try different foods, the more your taste bud becomes acquainted with different tastes.
6. Make it fun for yourself, write down the names of all the fruits you would like to try and put them in a bag – pull one from the bag everyday and try that fruit for the day (or do it weekly and let that be your fruit of the week). Put back in the bag the names of fruits that you like and ones you would like to give another try. When you remove any you definitely don’t like, replace with another fruit or two. To keep it even more interesting keep adding fruit names.
7. Get some small handy containers for fruits or salads. Before you leave home, cut some fruits and put in a container, it could be one type of fruit, such as apple or a combination of 2 or 3 fruits. Take this container of fruit in your bag and whenever you feel like nibbling on something eat your fruits or your salad, if you have prepared that instead. This will make it less tempting for you to reach for a crisp or some other junk food.
8. Many supermarkets now also sell fresh fruits already cut and ready to eat choose of these options instead of heading to the crisp aisle. It is healthier and definitely will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
9. Join vegan communities, online or offline to get support and advice from other vegans. Many people have fought the same battles and may have some valuable information to share. Sometimes the people around us who don’t understand veganism or view it negatively, this attitude can serve to dampen the spirit and make us second guess our choices, so it really does help to have a community to get information and support from.
10. As I mentioned, often times our desire for junk foods is because we are addicted, in which case you have to ‘force’ yourself to make the habit by trying new foods. Start with at least 1 meal per day in which you only have wholesome foods and re-enforce that by snacking on only fruits, nuts and seeds (more fruits than nuts and seeds).
11. There are a number of healthy vegan diet lifestyle options available such as a plant-based, raw, alkaline, 80/10/10 and more. Look at these approaches and see if any resonate with you, and maybe try one of these approaches. The value of doing this is that it gives you a definite diet lifestyle approach to follow, which could make it easier to stay on track.
12. Feeding your body the right foods can keep you healthy, strong and disease free and improve your mental clarity, make the most of it – be good to you – eat right!
How to view this
Deciding to become vegan can be a big transition for anyone, especially if your are coming from a ‘standard diet’ involving a lot of meats, dairy and processed foods. Take it a bit further. It’s not enough for your health to just be vegan, it is more important to be a healthy vegan.
Whatever your reason for becoming vegan – whether it’s concern for animals, the environment, not wanting the old diet anymore or to be healthy. You can serve all those concerns but it starts with that you put in your body!
Become a happy, healthy vegan…starting today 🙂