View Full Version : Vegan health

09-06-2007, 08:37 PM
this issue has been bugging me for a while now. It's about health but also about food so feel free to move this thread if it fits better elsewhere.

A huge reason for me going vegan was to have better health. what I keep finding though is a bunch of food that is not good for me anyway.

For instance, all the cheese substitutes. I miss cheese, I used to eat it ALOT! but all the subs I find, particularly Toffuti, are full of preservatives and unnatural unpronounceable products that I don't want to put that into my body either! Same with all the pre-packaged vege burgers and the like, they are not full of veges, but full of crap!

Admittedly there are some products (like Vege Chips) which, when I do crave junk food, I can turn to as they are just veges and tapioca.

So health wise, how do you decide what is a decent alternative?

09-06-2007, 08:50 PM
I use the book Quick Fix Vegetarian (it's vegan, we vegans are the true vegetarians) by Robin Robertson. There are many other quick fix veggie books. I am new at this too, so that just happens to be the only book I know! Most quick fix recipes take a half hour or less to make, and have healthy tips and use fresh produce. Most serve four, I'm in a household of two, so there are leftovers which I take to work.

I think a lot of eating healthier is changing in your head what is tasty. I went through a sugar phase, now I pack fresh fruit when I go to work, get my sugar fix, and eat healthy at the same time. Also for snacks? I started making hummus, it is super cheap and easy to make.

I can't relate to the dairy thing though, I don't crave it. Think of it this way if dairy is fattening and bad for you, why would it's substitute be any different? There are reasons why I gave up dairy, and I remember those reasons when I see it. Dairy makes me sick and I don't want it, I don't want substitues that remind me of it either.

09-07-2007, 09:07 AM

Real cheese is mostly fat, the bad fat, saturated cardiovascular disease producing fat. Milk is one of the top hyperallergenic foods. It accelerates cancer growth. If you live in the US it is all sorts of nasty agricultural chemicals in it.

Yes, faux cheese is mostly oil and some food chemicals, but putting things into perspective real cheese isn't a health food either.

If you want to eat vegan and healthy, make the focus of your diet wholegrains ( the grains, not flour products ), legumes, fresh vegetables and fresh fruit.

That is what I have done since going vegan about 15 years ago and vegetarian about 28 years ago....................and it has worked.

09-07-2007, 01:33 PM
is this about health or about not eating junk food?

09-07-2007, 01:51 PM
Homemade cheese substitutes don't contain any preservatives. I recommend the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by our patron saint of cheeze, Joanne Stepaniak. It's awesome.

09-07-2007, 02:04 PM
So health wise, how do you decide what is a decent alternative?

Health wise, there are no decent alternatives. If you want to eat healthy eat natural, meaning don't buy processed foods- make your own food!! :)

If you want protein, eat beans! You don't have to get meat subs. Or eat tofu, Or make your own seitian. Heck you can make your own tofu-veggie burgers, soybean patties, falafel, tamales ... all from scratch!

If you want to avoid anything unpronounceable and preservative free the best thing you can do its make it yourself. You can make your own ravioli and stuff them with healthy stuff! And even lasagna. Sure you can buy vegan versions, but those sell as special treats. The majority of your food should be freshly made, you shouldn't be living off prepackaged food, that's stuff is hard to get healthy vegan or not.

Just my two cents

ETA: cow milk cheese isn't healthy for you anyways so why do you think that a vegan version would be? Mock products are used to simulate taste not the exact nutrients of the product they are mimicking.

09-07-2007, 02:21 PM
Agreed, Chijou. I think preparing our own food also makes us more mindful of what we're eating. Something I do that makes it easier is to cook big batches of whatever I'm making, then freeze the remainder in portion sizes. That way, I've always got a variety of homemade yummy stuff around. Homemade Lean Cuisine!

I am loving the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook so far - just brought it home a couple of weeks ago. But it doesn't fool the dog, who turns his nose up at the suggestion he take any type of not-cheese product :rolleyes:

09-07-2007, 10:44 PM
For most people, it takes a while to get over cravings for favorite nonvegan foods, and I think it's fine to "treat" yourself to yummy tasting processed vegan products when you need a fix. The thing is to make sure that these things aren't staples in your diet. And to explore different recipes and cuisines and discover new indulgence/comfort foods that are healthier than the processed stuff.

I was a big time junk food vegetarian for many years, but when I was transitioning to vegan, rather than getting into the fake meats and cheeses, I discovered this one brand of tahini that was soooo smooth and creamy that it satisfied most of my cheesy cravings. There's definitely a lot of trial and error, but if health is an important motivation, you'll find a way of eating that's healthy and satisfying.

This is one of my new favorite sites for food ideas:
"what the hell does a vegan eat anyway? (http://veganmenu.blogspot.com/)"
All the food looks mmmm tempting and they mostly use whole food ingredients.

Good luck melt86 !

09-08-2007, 06:32 AM
thanks for all the replies!

I didnt mean to imply that cheese and milk are healthy. just that before I turned vegan I used to eat it alot.

I do like cooking when I'm in the mood but i guess I will have to get used to spending more time in the kitchen. Any tips on training a man to want to aswell?? lol :)

09-08-2007, 06:45 AM
I do like cooking when I'm in the mood but i guess I will have to get used to spending more time in the kitchen. Any tips on training a man to want to aswell?? lol :)

That does not only apply to men. ;) I've been trying to figure that out for ages. :)

09-08-2007, 07:51 AM
I do like cooking when I'm in the mood but i guess I will have to get used to spending more time in the kitchen. Any tips on training a man to want to aswell?? lol :)

In all honesty kitchen time has become my alone time, my husband isn't even allowed into the kitchen when I'm cooking. He wants to help but I don't have the brainspace to micromanage him. I do give him small tasks that he can do in the dining room like peeling and cutting fruits and veggies.

Amy's, Moosewood, and Cedar-something, also make vegan instant meals that are reasonably healthy. You need to read the labels though, they're not all vegan. In a pinch I eat one of them.