The verdict is in. A plant based diet is your best (natural) weapon against heart disease, cancer and diabetes. With many wonderful books and cookbooks currently on the best seller list that promote a health inspired, vegan diet, Oprah doing an entire show on veganism, “Meatless Mondays” becoming a theme everywhere you look, people are finally waking up to the importance of plant based foods in your diet.
Here is my gripe and my warning. Yes, you are going to be a lot further ahead if you get rid of those steaks, eggs, dairy, etc. And there are healthy, plant based substitutions that we can use. Nuts make wonderful flours, milks and cheeses. Coconut oil covers butter. And trust me, as you slowly eliminate meat, pork, chicken and fish from your diet, you get to a point where you don’t miss it at all. But just because we have eliminated animal products, are we necessarily eating a healthy diet?
I often hear people who are new to raw foods, exclaim in excitement, “Wow! I can eat a ‘cheesecake’ for breakfast!” Well, guess what. Even though that raw ‘cheesecake’ is healthier than traditional cheesecake, it is not a good choice for breakfast. Lets take a look at an interesting little comparison. For this comparison, I used a recipe form The Cheesecake Factory, Rawmazing’s Cranberry Apple Cheesecake and my typical breakfast, a green drink.
Ingredients: Calories per serving: 977
- Pecans No fiber, high in Fat, chlosterol and sugar
- Almonds Very low in vitamins, nutrient.
- Vanilla Wafer
- Cream Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Vanilla Extract
- Lemon Juice
Ingredients: *Calories per serving: 496
- Apples Full of fiber, high in fat, no cholesterol
- Cranberries Vitamins, minerals, nutrients and
- Almonds phytonutrients.
- Coconut Butter
- Agave Nectar
*Serving size is much smaller as it is a lot more filling than the traditional recipe.
Ingredients: Calories per serving: 158
- Grapes Very low in fat (-1gm), very high in manganese,
- Blueberries vitamin C, potassium, vitamin A, phytonutrients
You can look at the comparison. Raw cheesecake is certainly healthier than traditional. It has fiber, nutrients and no cholesterol. But it is still high in calories and fats and missing the large quantities of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that you get from starting the day with a green drink. The raw cheesecake is a great alternative to cheesecake as a dessert, consumed occasionally. Not everyday, not consuming a whole raw cheesecake in one sitting and certainly not for breakfast.
There are also many processed vegan products on the shelves these days. Many contain “frankensoy”, an industrial form of highly processed soy found in many meat replacement products that is not healthy. The key word for me is processed. If it comes in a box, you could be taking a nutritional risk eating it. Check the label, always.
What I would like you to take with you today. Just because it is classified as raw, or vegan, it doesn’t mean it is a green light for an eating-free-for-all. You still need to evaluate what you are eating. Greens, veggies, fruit, some nuts and seeds should be the majority of your diet. Raw treats are wonderful but should be thought as such, treats. Be careful when you buy anything boxed or processed. And make the level of nutrients that the food contains be your main focus.