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It's Accidentally Vegan!

"Eating vegan? But I'd have to eat weird foods and it'd be hard!" We have a question for you--are you sure? REALLY sure?

It's true that in most parts of the world people seem to be obsessed with eating animals. You can't turn on the TV without an ad encouraging you to overindulge in unhealthy, cholesterol-laden products that are producd as a result of animal cruelty. Corporations know that we grew up with these items and that we can often be easily manipulated into eating more...more...MORE. After all, we have emotional and psychological attachments to those items and our brains are hardwired to encourage us to indulge. What do to when you want to make a change?

First of all, let's reframe the narrative: eating vegan does NOT mean eating weird foods. That's just a common refrain of people who are afraid to make any changes in their life or who are terrified that somehow--in enjoying eating things that they've eaten throughout their lives and were given to them by their parents--they are morally and ethically wrong. No one wants to be wrong. But no amount of silly, trite comments are going to make "vegan foods" weird.

"Vegan foods" are just foods! Foods you eat every single day like bread, many pastas, rice, beans, nuts, many cereals, vegetables, and fruits. In fact, there are many foods you buy at the grocery store that are vegan, too. You might be surprised to learn that:

  • Ritz crackers

  • Hershey's syrup

  • Tater Tots

  • Twizzlers

  • Potato chips

  • Frito's

  • Cracker Jacks

  • Pillsbury crescent rolls

  • Smarties

  • Biscoff cookies

  • Dum Dums

  • Many Marie Callendar pies

  • Thomas' bagels

  • Many canned frostings

  • Wheat Thins

  • Unfrosted Pop Tarts

  • Swedish Fish

  • Duncan Hines Chewy Brownie Mix

  • Stacy's Pita Chips

  • Cinnamon Life cereal

  • Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos

  • Bisquick

  • Nutter Butter cookies

are all "accidentally vegan", meaning that they contain no animal products whatsoever! And this is just a partial list of many other items!

OK, these foods might not be the healthiest, but there is nothing about eating vegan that requires the foods to be healthy. While some "plant based" eaters focus on health and nutrition, "vegan foods" have only one condition: they must not contain any animal ingredients. It is up to you to make decisions about your own health and nutrition.

However, it is extremely easy to be healthier while on a cruelty-free eating plan. For example, cholesterol is only found in animal products. Leaving animals off your plate means leaving dietary cholesterol behind. If you choose to focus on whole foods (meaning foods that are not processed), you'll be eating a nutrient-dense, low fat diet, which has been proven time and again to be superior for human nutrition.

The next question is often: but what about protein? Will I become deficient? According to numerous studies, the odds of becoming protein deficient are close to zero. That is because most foods contain some amount of protein or amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Your body combines its existing amino acids with those you gain through eating to create complete proteins utilized to maintain or grow muscle. If you eat enough calories and are not on an extremely restrictive diet and do not have a rare illness that causes deficiency, you'll likely get enough protein.

Here is a handy infographic from the American Heart Assocation that shows great sources of plant-based protein (if you click the image, you'll vist the AHA where you can download this graphic):

Some folks find it easier to transition to a vegan diet by keeping their diet as similar as possible to what they are already used to. If that sounds like you, well you're in luck! Because these days many vegan "replacement" foods are readily available in grocery stores. Items that are "easy swaps" include:

  • Butter (we like Country Crock Plant Based with Olive Oil)

  • Mayonnaise (Hellman's now have a vegan offering available at many stores)

  • Milk (you might have noticed the MANY vegan milks crowding out the cruelty-laden and environmentally unfriendly cow variety! We like oat milk for most purposes.)

  • Burgers (try Beyond Burger or Impossible Burger for the most "meat-like" taste and feel)

But there are many, many products to discover. It is important to keep in mind when trying new foods that they won't all be "winners" and that vegan products are not yet an identical replica of the items they are seeking to replace. This is especially true for vegan cheese. The key is to always bear in mind that you are eating "for the animals" and part of that process is to discover new favorites!

Start with creating dishes you already know like spaghetti and sauce, falafel and hummus with pita, bean chili, many Indian vegetable curries, bruschetta, and pad thai, which are either already vegan or easy to "veganize" and then ease your way into trying something different. In our previous vegan news article we shared some recipe websites that we like. When you are feeling adventurous, give one of them a try!

There are many, many entire books and websites written about the topics briefly covered here! We hope this brief introduction gives you some "vegan food for thought". Thank you for wanting to spare countless animals from a lifetime of suffering!

We share more reasons to live vegan at our dedicated website:


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