It’s 2019 and you can find vegan versions of everything from doughnuts, fizzy sweets and cakes to nachos, burgers and pizzas. Despite the old stereotype, it is relatively hard to find vegans eating mung beans nowadays!
But it’s vegan… so it’s healthy right?
Food manufacturers as well as restaurants often use the word “vegan” to market and sell products, as ethical, nutritious, healthier and wholesome. However, while these items are often better than their animal-product containing counterparts (no cholesterol, heme iron, Neu5Gc etc), they are far from health foods. Vegan convenience foods are usually packed with salt, sugar and fat – Oreos and crisps are both vegan! As a whole foods plant-based nutritionist, I advise people to predominantly base their meals around whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, minimally processed soy and nuts and seeds 🌱
So do vegan transition foods have a place in the diet?
From an ethical perspective, these foods potentially reduce our reliance on animal products and can make veganism much more accessible (for those who don’t know how to cook etc.). It is also hard for most people to switch overnight from a Standard American or British diet to a whole foods plant-based one. I know that 20 years ago, when I made the switch to vegetarianism, veggie sausages and veggie bacon helped me stop eating meat. It is hugely helpful to be able to join in with BBQs, parties and social events with Linda McCartney patties, vegan cheeses and oat milk hot chocolates 🙌🏽
At restaurants, having great vegan options on the menu can encourage meat-eaters to try something new and normalise vegan diets. Encourage your family and friends to come with you to vegan-friendly restaurants to see how delicious the food is.
But I love pizza!
So do it! I took my husband to Purezza for his 30th birthday (discovered through @thelittlelondonvegan). The truffle mushroom pizza there is my absolute favourite! Having vegan-versions of foods we grew up with such as pizza or hotdogs can provide familiarity and comfort and are great for special celebrations such as these.