Why junk food should not be staple for vegans, how to prevent it


Fara Wiles

Though these sweet potato chips may seem healthy with traces of vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium, protein and fiber, they boast 10 grams of fat per ounce serving.

Consuming a family sized bag of potato chips, apple, french fries, a granola bar, a bag of popcorn, and snacking on the occasional Oreo throughout the day is obviously not considered a healthy way to eat. However, that is exactly the way many vegans eat.

Classified as “junk food vegans” by their plant based vegan counterparts, these are the people who take the easy route during their food journey. Junk food vegans are too often consuming highly processed foods to be considered vegan.

One of the main statements one is typically making by being vegan is that they adopt a more natural and plant based way of eating, and sometimes that expands into other areas of life as well. Constantly filling up on processed foods and still proclaiming to be “vegan” is completely deceptive, lazy, and not to mention no healthier than a modern diet.

They skip the strategic grocery shopping,  meal preparation and cooking, cutting directly to processed foods that just so happen to lack meat and dairy. These foods include knock off meats from brands like Garden that are very high in carbs, and cheeses composed of processed soy, tofu, and different nuts, or chips like veggie straws. In moderation none of those foods are detrimental to health, but when highly processed substitutes become the staple of one’s diet, it defeats the purpose of being vegan.

There is a reason why this happens, and there is a way to prevent it.

A vegan is an individual who consumes primarily whole plant based foods that lack meat. I use the word “primarily” because it’s unreasonable to cut out all processed and fast foods in a world of growing fast food industries and less emphasis on home cooked meals. I use the word “primarily” because it provides leeway for new vegans to transition into what is seen as a “strict” lifestyle without burning out and turning into a junk-food vegan.

It’s extremely easy to rush into a vegan lifestyle after taking a stroll through Whole Foods or scrolling through the Instagram glamorous vegan bloggers. It’s easy to cut out all meat and dairy for a week, but then life keeps moving on. And friends start going restaurants where you’re provided no options. You can’t find the time to cook, and you start to miss the convenience of junk food. It’s understandable. All of these things are the effects of not allowing time to transition.

Instead of diving into what seems like a colorful and fun way of eating, then burning out and relying on substitutes, new vegans should attempt the opposite. In the beginning try a combination of fruits, veggies and whole grains, alongside some of the substitute foods. While doing so, it will be easier to learn about the benefits of different plant based foods, what is easy to make, and what is delicious to eat. Hopefully by doing this, new vegans will be inspired, instead of burning out, and crave more of their new lifestyle, rather than crave vegan junk food.