It’s rare to find anyone – whatever their diet – who does not eat processed foods at some point. These items are created to make life easier and healthier for us all. That’s right – processed foods are not all bad!
Breakfast cereals, bread, yoghurt, baked beans, pasta and a host of other things that we eat on a regular basis are processed, but they also contain nutrients we need, and we shouldn’t be too snobby about them. It is a lot harder to live healthily only from what we create out of fresh, raw ingredients, not least because of the time it takes to prepare and cook them.
There is now a huge range of vegan convenience foods available, and while it is technically possible to eat only processed foods as a vegan, no one actually does that! Even junk-food junkies like some vegetables with their roast dinner or a glass of fruit juice with their breakfast. But for most of us, processed foods will make up a portion of our diet, and that is true for meat-eaters and vegetarians, too.
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 cleaner diet may well shun processed foods, and that is great. Others, who choose the vegan diet primarily out of a concern for animals, 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.
Interestingly, 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 seek out the wealth of healthy foods they may not have tried before. Those interested in including more wholesome wholefoods in their diet can take a look at our Recipes section – it’s packed with delicious meal ideas, with virtually no processed items in sight.
And one final question: why are meat substitutes considered less natural than bacon, ham and sausages? Both are processed but it is only the red meat items that cause bowel cancer.