We like to keep our recipes and products as whole foods based as possible. Lately, the products that we have launched, and recipes that we have been creating, have been vegan, using whole food ingredients. However, with veganism rising, so is vegan convenience foods. This has been one of the factors that drive us to experiment with creating vegan recipe alternatives with whole foods.
There are many vegan ingredients and foods that are highly processed. People consume them because they are convenient (and tasty). With that being said, there are a couple of ingredients and other vegan foodstuffs that we avoid.
Aquafaba is the new egg white replacer. It is ‘famous’ for its ability to whip up like egg whites. It is the liquid part found in the chickpea can – even though we are instructed to ‘rinse well’, we still think that this product is good to use? But what is the problem with Aquafaba? It is an anti-nutrient, which means that it actually leaches nutrients from the body and can affect the gut lining. This article explains this in more detail. It is also very low in protein and nutrients.
We try and avoid recipes that use Aquafaba. Personally, we would rather use egg whites from our neighbour’s pasture-reared chickens than use aquafaba. For vegans, try and avoid this and consume recipes containing this as a treat.
2.) Boxed vegan nut and seed milk
Boxed milks can be super convenient, and we don’t frown upon having some in the pantry for those ‘in case’ moments, but making it yourself is a healthier and cheaper option, plus you get the pulp to use as a nut flour, so it is definitely a money saver.
This blog post will give you the secrets to making perfect nut milk and even creamer ‘barista blends’. Another win in making your own plant milk is that there is less packaging and processing when you make your own.
3.) Gluten and processed meat alternatives
Gluten is not a favourable food for most people. Aside from the rise in gluten intolerance and celiac disease, gluten
consumption can cause increased acidity and inflammation in the body. We wouldn’t say don’t consume foods containing gluten, but these days we tend to consume too much gluten. When you consume a gluten-based patty on a wheat (gluten) roll, it becomes a bit of an overload.
Seitan is one of the vegan fake meats, its main ingredient is vital gluten / wheat protein. It is a flour made from isolated gluten (removing the bran and starch from the grain), found in wheat or other grains that contain gluten (e.g. – rye, barley, spelt). We avoid this product for two reasons. 1. The high gluten content, 2. This is not a whole food. If you really want to eat seitan, we recommend making your own.
Unless you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, consuming wheat products in moderation is okay.
4.) Processed vegan cheeses
Processed vegan cheeses are something that we avoid. We use them on occasion, but frankly, we prefer to use dairy / goats cheese instead of processed vegan cheeses, that are usually imported here (South Africa).
We recommend finding a local supplier that used whole foods to make their cheeses or make your own vegan cheese – there are many recipes available. Vegan cheese can be made from coconut oil, cashew nuts and even brown rice flour – check the ingredients!
5.) Vegan junk foods
These days fast food outlets and ready-made meal sections are offering vegan burgers, vegan pies, vegan nuggets, vegan hot dogs and many other items, but they are really not much healthier than the meaty alternatives. They may be even more processed. It is best to avoid fast foods altogether.
We look at the consumption of food as a whole – what are the health benefits, not only for ourselves, but also for the planet. We can debate whether vegan processed foods are any better than the less processed animal products. We try to promote eating whole foods that are sustainable for the environment. The majority of the foods you eat should be whole foods. They are easier to digest and more nutrient-dense. The preparation of foods is also very important, and we will be covering that in a later blog post.