When you hear that a food is vegan, you probably feel relieved that it’s something you can eat. But the terms 'vegan' and 'healthy' don’t always go together. An item of food could be free of animal products but packed with unhealthy ingredients. Here are some examples and why you should avoid them.
- Vegan 'Meat'
If you loved the taste of meat when you weren’t vegan, you’ll rejoice at the vegan meat alternatives that almost taste like the real thing and make your meals feel more satisfying. But these are often processed - a big no-no when it comes to healthy living! The key is to look for products that don’t contain oil, sugar and additives. Anything on the ingredients list that you can’t pronounce should make you choose not to purchase it. Opt for vegan meat alternatives that have undergone less processing, such as tempeh or tofu, and that are as simple as possible with few ingredients.
- Soy Butter
When replacing your dairy-packed butter, you might reach for a soy product. Be careful here since most of the soy production in the world is genetically modified. If you must purchase butter substitutes that contain soybean oil, be sure that it is GMO-free - and it must clearly state this on the package. The same goes for canola oil, which also tends to be genetically modified.
- Coconut Oil
Although you use this to replace regular oil when cooking, you shouldn’t depend on it or use it daily. Coconut oil contains high amounts of saturated fat - even more than butter! This can boost your bad cholesterol levels. But, the good news is that coconut oil also raises your good cholesterol, so using it sparingly does have its health advantages.
Yes, it’s delicious and looks healthy but be sure that it’s not filled with calories. Granola is sadly often a calorie-rich food, with studies showing that a quarter-cup of it can contain more than 200 calories. Try not to eat too much of it, especially granola bars that are packed with sugar, as to prevent piling on weight.
*Image courtesy Igor Mojzes / Dollar Photo Club