June 26, 2017 · Written by Foodtolive Team

Guide to a Healthy Vegan Life: Processed Products to Avoid

If you want to lead a healthy vegan life, you should avoid processed foods in general. However, it’s extremely difficult to do today as most of the products in stores are processed in some way. In fact, ‘processed’ is any kind of food, which has been changed in any way. This means that even a bag of fresh sliced vegetables is ‘processed’. In the meantime, snack foods and canned goods with lots of added salt, sugar, and fats are very bad for you. To keep your vegan diet clean, you need to learn which products aren’t safe to eat.

Lead a Healthy Vegan Life Avoiding These 5 Processed Products

Guide to a Healthy Vegan Life - Processed Products to Avoid

1. Pre-made meals
Never cut corners with your meals, and buying pre-cooked meals is exactly that. These products are most heavily processed and are packed with nasty synthetic chemicals. They often contain dyes, salt, trans fats, and a variety of artificial ingredients. They also have very little (if any) nutritional value. Even frozen vegan pizza isn’t safe.


Guide to a Healthy Vegan Life - Processed Products to Avoid
2. Pre-flavored products
These include anything with an artificial flavor, such as soy milk, cereals, soft drinks, etc. These foods usually include way more sugar than necessary. Bear in mind that a healthy vegan life should include the barest minimum of sweeteners.


Guide to a Healthy Vegan Life - Processed Products to Avoid
3.‘Imitation” products
Vegans, in particular, should be wary of those as many ‘vegan’ packaged foods are like this. For example, margarine and butter substitutes, imitation meat, ‘Imitation’ means they are heavily processed products and usually include lots of unpronounceable ingredients.


Guide to a Healthy Vegan Life - Processed Products to Avoid

4. Refined oils
Refined oils are ‘cleansed’ using chemicals. They can be made from GMO crops and are often hydrogenated. These types of processing obliterate nutritional benefits of oils and can make them toxic. Note if your main goal is to lead as healthy vegan life as possible, consider switching to an oil-free vegan diet.


Guide to a Healthy Vegan Life - Processed Products to Avoid

5. Refined sweeteners

One should cut down on eating sugar by default, as it’s extremely bad for you. Refined and artificial sweeteners are even worse as they have no nutritional value. They might also contain potentially dangerous chemicals. Always read the label to avoid foods with hidden sugar. Steer away from corn syrup in particular.

Guide to a Healthy Vegan Life - Processed Products to Avoid

Can You Eat Processed Foods When Leading a Healthy Vegan Life

You can consume processed foods and stay healthy, so long as they are the right kind of ‘processed’. Such products are even safe for babies and pregnant women.

Minimally processed foods include cut and bagged vegetables/fruits, roasted and shelled nuts/seeds, dried fruits, and unsweetened powders.

Canned goods are safe if they don’t have too many ‘extra’ ingredients, such as salt, fats, and especially sugars. Usually, the ingredients on the label are listed based on their amount. Therefore, you should avoid any that have sodium, fats, sugar, maltose, corn syrup, or fruit juice concentrate at the top.

Use these guidelines to determine if processed foods can be included in your healthy vegan life:

  • Total fat content higher than 17.5g/100g
  • Salt over 1.5g/100g
  • Sodium over 0.6g/100g
  • Total sugars content over 22.5g/100g

The ingredient proportions on a label are given per 100g of product.

Bear in mind that some manufacturers try to ‘throw off’ the consumer by listing many different types of ‘bad ingredients’. For example, you can have 15g sugar, 7g honey, and 10g fructose. To deal with such trickery, you’ll have to calculate the total yourself.