Choosing Between Fresh or Processed Foods

Choosing Between Fresh or Processed Foods
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Part of what makes a vegan diet so beneficial to your health is that it encourages clean eating. Even though some processed foods are vegan, eating them often is discouraged. 

Processed Foods Lack Nutrients

Because a vegan diet does not allow for meat or cheese, those nutrients, as well as others, must be found in other foods. Beans and nuts are excellent sources of protein and calcium can be easily found in greens. The problem with eating too many processed foods is that they fill you up without having any nutritional value. If you eat processed foods too often, you are most likely neglecting to consume enough of the essential vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain your health. Having healthy levels of vitamins and minerals in your system can also increase energy and promote weight loss. 

Processed Foods are High in Calories

You may be able to regularly consume processed foods and still eat enough healthy food to ensure an adequate level of nutrients, but the calories in that processed food can really add up. Most whole fruits and veggies (with some exceptions such as certain squash, avocados, and cherries) contain less than 100 calories each. Because of this, it is easy to stay full and lose weight on a vegan diet. You can eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, supplemented with whole grains and vegan protein options, and not feel deprived. 

The Benefits of a Vegan Diet

The health benefits of a vegan diet lie in eating plenty of whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains are key to a successful vegan diet. If you choose to replace these with processed foods, which are often full of fat and high in sodium, you will miss out on the complete benefits of a vegan diet. You may find that your energy levels decrease and your weight loss is not as significant as you had hoped. In addition, healthy vegan options are often high in fiber and water, keeping you full longer and aiding in your overall hydration levels. 

If you find that you are not losing as much weight as you would like since going vegan, or that you aren’t feeling well, take stock of your food choices. Make sure that you are eating plenty of whole foods and not filling up processed ones. 

Remember that a vegan diet should be good for your body, but also good for the environment. Processed food often comes in plastic packaging, individually wrapped, and then boxed or wrapped again. A vegan diet can be utilized to shrink your waistline, and also your carbon footprint.

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