Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Is a vegan diet really healthy?


I have an issue with vegetables masquerading as meat. Now, I’m not a vegetarian, although I only eat meat infrequently. I have however, decided to become quasi-vegan for Lent. My reasons for doing this? 1. For the environment, animal products are far more detrimental to the environment than are plants, 2. For my health, plants are a lot better for my body than animals and their by-products, 3. Because my original avowal to take-up a vegetarian diet didn’t seem like enough of a challenge. I say “quasi” because I plan to allow myself to continue to eat fish and won’t be a huge stickler if I inadvertently consume a piece of bread or something that might have a little dairy or honey in it. I’m not quite sure why honey is a bad thing to consume. Anyway… I digress…

I’m fully supportive of primarily plant-based diets. What drives me nuts are all the processed foods that are now being marketed to vegetarians and vegans. Just check out the ingredient list for a popular veggie ground round: “Water, soy protein product, wheat protein product, onions, spices, canola oil, salt, evaporated cane juice, natural flavour, malt extract, torula yeast, lemon juice powder, guar gum, tapioca starch, vitamins and minerals (thiamine hydrochloride, riboflavin, niacinamide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, cyanocobalamin, calcium pantothenate, reduced iron, zinc oxide, wheat starch). Contains soy and wheat.  May contain eggs.” For me, eating a plant-based diet is all about returning to a simpler way of eating and getting nutrients from whole foods. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that eating all these faux-meats defeats the whole point of going vegetarian or vegan. The more processing your food undergoes the fewer nutrients that are going to be left intact in it. There’s really very little difference between this sort of food and any other highly processed convenience food. Let vegetables and grains be proud to be themselves, don’t try to force them to be something that they’re not.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

3 thoughts on “Is a vegan diet really healthy?

  1. Great point! A vegan diet can be healthy if done properly, but so many people jump into an extreme lifestyle without doing proper research and fully understanding the risks. One vegan friend tried to tell me he can get all of the protein he needs from carrots…


    • Wow! That’s both funny and frightening. Good point, people definitely need to do research and put effort into meal planning if they decide to adopt a vegan diet.


  2. I think a lot of people go vegan for the ethics – so they don’t really care what’s in their food, as long as it’s vegan.

    I’ve been vegan for about 5 years, and I’m trying to really think about what I’m eating now – just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s something I want to put in my body!


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