Vegans come in all shapes and sizes, and we all have different motivations. Those who choose to be vegan because they want to eat a healthier diet may shun processed foods, and that is great. Others, who choose the vegan diet primarily out of a concern for animals or the environment may delve into the world of vegan salami, sausages and sour cream. Great for them, too. It is wonderful that these foods exist for vegans, and that we can choose which of them, if any, are for us.
Breakfast cereals, bread, cheese, yogurt, pasta and a host of other things that we eat on a regular basis are processed, but they also contain nutrients we need, and if we had to cook three meals a day from scratch using only raw ingredients, we would probably struggle, and so would our health.
It’s rare to find anyone – whether meat-eater, vegetarian or vegan – who does not eat processed foods at some point. These items are created to make life easier for us all and they can actually help us achieve a balanced diet. It is also rare to find a vegan that does not also eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. No one lives on junk food alone!
What is surprisingly common, though, is that people who relied heavily on processed foods before becoming vegan often find they are more interested in nutrition after they stop eating meat, eggs and dairy, and they start to seek out the wealth of healthy foods they may not have tried before. Take a look at our recipes and see for yourself how easy it is to make delicious plant-based foods from scratch.
Clearly, processed foods should be consumed in moderation but there is only one type of processed food that is named as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization: processed meats. Hot dogs, ham, sausages, bacon, corned beef, and biltong or beef jerky as well as canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces are all classified as Group 1 carcinogens, and are in the same category as asbestos and smoking.1 There is no such concern over their vegan versions.
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