How Vegans Indulge

There seems to be this misconception that vegans don’t indulge.

Most people think that just because vegans chose to not eat meat or dairy products, their only remaining food options are carrot sticks and broccoli.

But I assure you that this isn’t true.

Not only is this statement false, but I don’t know one vegan that doesn’t enjoy a good burger and fries accompanied by a decedent dessert.

Being healthy does not mean that you have to give up all of your favorite foods. In actuality, being healthy consists of being aware of what ingredients are making up your favorite treats.

Whether you are looking to have a healthier lifestyle or you are making the decision to pull the plug and go vegan, here are everyone’s favorite foods, completely “veganized.”

Food #1: Ice Cream

Let’s be real. If you are making an effort to go vegan or do not want to expose your body to the harmful side effects of drinking cow’s milk  (added hormones, high levels of fat, pus/bacteria), then have no fear! You can still have amazing ice cream without all the side effects.

Vegan ice cream can be made with coconut milk, which is full of vitamins and has a rich and creamy taste. In addition, ice cream can also be made from almond milk, which contains vitamins E, B and D. Almond milk also helps to aid in the digestion process and has extremely low levels of fat (unlike cow’s milk). Both coconut and almond milk ice cream are made by the SO Delicious dairy free line, which can found at Whole Foods. They have virtually every flavor known to man such as chocolate peanut butter, mint chip and cookies and cream.

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Food #2: Burgers.

As previously stated, just because someone decides to become a vegan, it does not mean that they all of a sudden lose the urge to sit down at the dinner table with a nice juicy burger.

In restaurants, the most popular vegan burger seems to be the black bean burger, which is absolutely delicious! The black beans can be mixed with vegetables or even breadcrumbs for a full texture like a traditional burger. This type of burger can even be made with an American flare by adding vegan cheese, lettuce and tomato, or it could easily be made into a Mexican dish by adding flavorful spices and topping it with sliced avocado.

However, if you’re just looking to eat a veggie burger in the quiet of your own home and aren’t up for attempting a homemade one just yet, the brand Dr. Praeger’s carries veggie burgers with pure and healthy ingredients. My favorite flavor is the kale burger because of the kale’s natural salty taste and crunchy texture (not to mention its health benefits). But the brand Dr. Praeger’s also carries California, Asian and Italian burgers and can be picked up at most grocery stores.

2Food #3: Butter

Although everyone loves butter, we definitely should not be using it on a daily basis, or even using it at all. With its high fat and sodium content, spreading butter onto all of our favorite treats is boosting our calorie intake astronomically. But if you love the taste of butter (like myself), then the perfect substitute for you would be Earth Balance’s butter spreads.

Not only are Earth Balance’s butters lactose-free, but they are also gluten-free, casein-free, and some are even soy-free. They also contain healthy expeller-pressed oils and come in the original, omega-3, soy-garden, soy-free, olive oil and organic whipped flavors. With all of these great tasting options, there is just no need to go back to traditional butter and its harsh side effects.

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Food #4: Chocolate

If you are a chocoholic like myself, the idea of giving up chocolate is just overwhelming. Vegans chose not to purchase chocolate bars from grocery stores due to their milk content (not to mention the added sugar and fat content).

However, I can assure you that vegans still eat chocolate, and to be honest, they eat it for breakfast.

When vegans eat chocolate, it comes from the real source called the cacao bean. When chocolate is consumed in its most raw form, it has endless health benefits. For example, it contains essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron. In addition, it works as a great anti-depressant, antioxidant, and is a great natural energy booster. Raw cacao powder can be incorporated into any breakfast smoothie recipe along with its “chocolate-chip” version, the cacao nib.

get-attachment-1.aspxFood #5: Chips/ Popcorn

When we are in a rush and need a quick snack, we often grab whatever prepared foods are readily available to us. Instead of sticking our hand into a bag of potato chips, which have virtually no natural ingredients that our bodies can use, there are much healthier options that taste just as good.

One of my favorite vegan popcorn snacks is called Pirates Booty (veggie flavor). While this snack has the same crunchy taste as traditional popcorn, it is made with ingredients such as broccoli powder, kale powder, and carrot powder to offer our bodies more nutrients than any other bag of popcorn would.

If you are looking for a snack that tastes more like a potato chip, then Eat Smart’s sea salt garden veggie chips are your answer. With ingredients such as a turmeric, sunflower oil and spinach powder, this chip is clearly a much better choice than a bag of Lay’s potato chips. Both of these items can be purchased at Whole Foods.

However, if you’re looking for the ultimate healthy version of chips, kale and sweet potatoes can be sliced up and placed in the oven to mimic chips in the most healthy and pure way possible.

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If you are looking to make a healthy lifestyle change, are interested in becoming vegan, or if you are already vegan and are looking for more snack ideas, these items are the ultimate healthy versions of the foods that we crave.

All of the items mentioned above are still snack foods and therefore should be consumed in moderation. However, they make great substitutions for the top foods that are causing our generation’s obesity epidemic.

Bon Appétit!

Illuminating Inspirations does not own the rights to these photos except for the featured image*

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