When I hear the term vegan I automatically think of someone who chooses to eat produce that can only be grown from the earth; someone who refuses to consume or even wear anything that originates from an animal. The diet stays true to its intended purpose, however, the way a vegan eats has changed greatly over the years. It is seen as a popular trend for a much healthier lifestyle. Therefore, people have found ways of cooking these delectable dishes along with making almost every type of food into a vegan cuisine. By changing ingredients to non-animal products, what was once a cheeseburger can now be a veggie burger, what once was cheese is now an assortment of nuts and other ingredients made to taste like the beloved dairy product, and the list continues. Although this diet is healthy when you limit your food to the original vegan standards, it may not be as healthy now as it was before.
Before I explain how the vegan diet can be made unhealthy and how it has come to change, we should know how the regimen became so popular. Social media has played a key role in popularizing vegan foods. From sharing pictures of vegan cuisines to sharing the best vegan recipes, the internet has allowed individuals to have a taste of these delicious dishes. Through accessible information databases, learning how the diet works, cooking the dishes, and locating the best vegan restaurants have been easier to obtain. Therefore the diet has gained a lot of popularity amongst different social medias. Someone with a lot of respect, who is vegan or plans to be vegan, is more than likely to have an influence on their audience. Such characters find ways to make the diet fun and entertaining so that their followers will want to choose to eat the same way as well whether it be for a short period of time or for the rest of their life. Some may even see it as challenge worth trying.
The diet has also become so popular for other reasons as well. One reason being that people generally want to feel healthier. Cooking shows and tutorials are another way to exhibit just how delicious each dish can be without the need of dairy, meat, etc. And then there are those who see veganism as lifestyle that can help save animals from unnecessary death, therefore they promote the decrease in the amount of butchering done to domestic animals, along with protesting and sharing their beliefs on how choosing to not eat animal products is better for the body and the earth. Whether for personal gain, a good cause, or entertainment purposes, these reasons have made the vegan diet very well known.
Cooking is highly recommended, especially when having to cook a meal that usually requires animal products. However, there are many companies who have made it easier for vegans to eat foods they love without such products, but even though these premade cuisines may be less time consuming it is not as healthy as one may think. Just because the packaging states that the item is vegan, it does not mean that food will be helpful with your diet. As mentioned before, although the vegan diet is meant to be very healthy for those who choose to participate, it may not be as healthy for those who still have a taste for non-vegan foods. People then look into processed vegan products that have the same taste as their favorite dishes such as burgers, pizza, tacos, etc. Even if these foods were produced to help make the vegan diet less complicated, the food contains certain ingredients that the body should not be consuming a whole lot of, an example of these harmful ingredients would be salt and sugar.
A good majority of people, whether they eat animal products or not, can say they prefer a meal already made for them over having to make it for themselves. A vegan has to go the extra mile to make their own meals. In the article, An Unsavory Truth: Sugar, More than Salt, Predisposes to Hypertension and Chronic Disease, it is explained that all convenience foods have a high quantity of sodium as well as high levels of sugar (DiNicolantonio, et al.). A fast meal can help out with a last minute meal decision, but it will still be as unhealthy as a non-vegan option due to the high amounts of sugar and salt. Even if the participant does choose to cook their own meals, sometimes choosing to buy ingredients that were made to substitute an animal product may add more calories than if you had made the ingredient yourself. If the product was produced to taste like its animal counterpart, there might be more of these two ingredients used to make it taste a certain way or to make it tolerable. It can be hard to eat vegan, especially if you have to give up foods that once made up a lot of your previous diet, but having to resort to fast meals over cooking takes away the nutritional value that you are supposed to be receiving from choosing vegan options.
The vegan diet can have many unhealthy selections. Just because a participant cannot eat regular ice cream, it does not mean they cannot find vegan ice cream to replace it. Once again, companies have already made another item into a vegan cuisine. Now, a vegan may consume desserts such as ice cream, cake, cookies, and more, not to mention simple snack foods like chips and popcorn. With these types of culinary improvements the most unhealthiest food items can be made for vegan consumers. In the article, Investigation of Lifestyle Choices of Individuals Following a Vegan Diet for Health and Ethical Reasons, it states how the vegan diet includes many healthy options that have uncovered many health benefits, however, there are foods that contain high amounts of sodium and sweeteners that are allowed to be considered vegan (Radnitz, et al.). Adding more salt and sugar is what makes the products taste better than if you were to strictly stay by the vegan diet and not consider to use products that were made to taste like an animal product.
The vegan diet has so much potential in helping people feel healthier, but it is not the same as it once was. If an individual wants to participate in this diet and consider to consume pre made vegan meals or snacks, hopefully they will look at the nutrition facts to see what exactly they will be ingesting into their body to see if it is as healthy as they believe.