Eating a plant-based diet is a lot of fun. There is a whole new world of vegetable love at your disposal when you choose plants. They are the basis of the ecological food pyramid or biomass pyramid: they are the producers with the most energy available, but some adherents to a plant-based lifestyle shun these marvelous organisms. Others stave off their hunger with sweets or commercially manufactured food stuffs, essentially they are “junk food vegans.” This doesn’t have to be you though! Below are some tips to help you stay on a path of plant-based wellness throughout your life.
1. Overdoing it on the Refined Carbs
Yes, French fries and potato chips are vegan. Can you see Mr. Spock eating French fries? I don’t think so. I’m sorry, he’s Vulcan, but he was a plant-based eater which makes him a Vulcan vegetarian. I digress. Most bread, rice, and pasta are vegan too, but that doesn’t mean you can gorge yourself on them and still be healthy! That’s not logical. If you have heard of Dr. McDougall’s The Starch Solution, you probably think that he advocates for a carb heavy diet, no matter the carb, but that is not the case. He scrutinizes white rice and refined grains just as much as other plant-based, health food gurus; he is fine with white rice if you eat it as a replacement for meat, ice cream, and cheese (sorry vegetarians). Fiber is your friend, and it is glaringly absent from refined carbs and your favorite fried goodies. As in all things though, moderation is key. We don’t want to see you sprinting with your high fiber intake to the nearest restroom any time soon.
2. Consuming Plant-Based Fats with Gusto
Nut butter (not nutter butters), coconut oil, plant-based fats, oh my! Don’t eat a whole 16 oz. bag of raw almonds just because they are raw, and you think you’re hungry, while watching a movie with your brother. Don’t put coconut oil on everything just because the package says it’s scrumdiddlyumptious. Did you just grind your own almond butter at the store, thinking it was cool and fun? Don’t eat the whole container in one sitting. Your gut, and colon, will thank you later. Plant-based fats have their place but not in every meal. Nuts have led to heart problems, and oil is not a whole food. Put that coconut oil on your skin or oil pull with it, and satisfy your coconut craving with coconut water. Remember, you are what you eat. You don’t want people to call you a big nutjob.
3. Treating Natural Flavors, Artificial Flavors, and Preservatives as Friends
Stop buying things in packages, boxes, and bags! Leave them under your Christmas tree for Mr. Grinch instead. Foods contained in these types of packages tend to be chock full of nasty, possibly carcinogenic chemicals, that can lead to allergy-like hypersensitivity reactions and other reactions. Some commercial food additives aren’t even disclosed by manufacturers like “natural” flavors. What the heck are those? The whole world is natural from a scientific perspective; hence the phrase “the natural world.” If you don’t care about not knowing what’s in your food, though, you can continue to put your health at risk. What’s that television commercial song phrase? They’re naturally delicious…I don’t think so!
4. Seeing “Vegan” and Automatically Assuming “Healthy”
You go to Whole Foods, and you see their vast array of vegan products! Just gaze upon their shiny, pristine case of vegan cupcakes and muffins! Although there are a multitude of vegan treats and products on the market, they are not necessarily good for you. Many vegan products contain, among other things, palm oil which kills orangutans while evaporated cane sugar is just about as “healthy” as regular white sugar.
5. Buying Every Mock Vegan Meat Available
Shrimp Soup, Shrimp Stew, Shrimp Gumbo, Shrimp Sandwich…all vegan, of course. That’s great, Bubba, but do you know exactly what’s in these odd concoctions? I thought not. Soy is the common additive in these so-called meat impostors which is not as healthy as you might think. Soy has been known to cause your lower lip to expand and get caught on a trip wire (just kidding). No, seriously, the main isoflavone in soy, genistein, has been found to have hormone-disrupting properties; it mimics estrogen, causing premature puberty and reduced fertility, as well as disrupting fetal development. Most soy crops are genetically modified as well: 91 percent of the soy grown in the U.S. is GMO. Yikes! Still not convinced you should lay off the mock meats? Read this fellow Green Monster’s article and inform yourself!
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