Natural Plant Based Foods vs. Processed: Why Does a Vegan Even Have to Think About This?

Natural Plant Based Foods vs. Processed: Why Does a Vegan Even Have to Think About This?

I’ve been a junk food vegan for far too long.  My cholesterol, always on the high side, shot up another 30 points.  I gained weight and couldn’t lose one pound on my 5’2” frame.  Meanwhile my diet consisted of prepared analog meats, cheeses and other processed vegan merchandise (like vegan donuts, plant-based oily “mayonnaise”, packaged entrees, coconut oil products and ice cream) crammed with salt, oil, and sugar.  SOS is the typical starter diet for new vegans. It lets us feel that we don’t have to make too many sacrifices giving up animal products nor are we straying too far from our former non-vegan favorites.  It’s a comfort zone and far too many of us reside there.  

There comes a time when trying to support the plant-based processed food industry no longer pays off.  I didn’t feel healthy and certainly didn’t look it.  Seven years of eating processed SOS infused “foods” took its toll. I had to do something – and quickly.  Another motivator forced me to spend more time in the produce aisle. Our local vegan community had just lost one of its leaders, a decades-long vegan, to breast cancer.  Cancer killing a VEGAN???  My God, are we all vulnerable?  Until then I felt smugly immune from such health calamities. Why would an uncontrolled lifestyle filled with sugar and processed vegan offerings threaten my ever-widening, vegan ass?  


Changing Gears


A move to Utah saved my bacon, so to speak.  I was very fortunate to learn about and attend the annual Health, Healing and Happiness conference in Las Vegas.  The primary message from the top-notch speaker lineup was: eating a natural, plant-based diet without SOS is good; dining on processed plant-based meat/dairy alternatives and all animal products will undermine your health.  A multitude of medical cases presented to us bore this out.  The health of people suffering from diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity and other chronic infirmities, who changed to a strict diet of whole food, got better – a lot better.  Evidently, the nutrients and micronutrients populating these whole foods have the ability to let our bodies heal naturally.


I bought all the speakers’ books from The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall to Eat to Live and The End of Heart Disease by Dr. Joel Fuhrman to Unprocessed by Chef A.J.  John Pierre, one of the speakers and a nationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach, had been hovering around our community in Colorado for years gently trying to preach this message.  For the greater part it fell on deaf years, unless chronic disease was actually threatening someone’s life.


Armed with recipes featuring legumes, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, vegetables, and whole grains, I set off on this new culinary adventure.  I cooked a lot more, of course, eating at home and controlling exactly what went into my meals.  After a week I noticed a nice side effect.  I was losing weight without really trying.  Week after week the weight fell off and my energy came back.  I discovered new favorite dishes that are now part of my routine.  I’m even creating my own recipes that are quick, wholesome and delicious.  What was I thinking for the past seven years???  


Dear Vegans, you owe yourselves a reprieve from fake crab cakes, greasy vegan diner food, oily vegan Chinese buffets and raw cheesecake packed with sugar and coconut oil.  Eat real.  Get healthy. Live longer.  SOS never again. Keep on veggin’


Yvonne Lynott

Other Resources:

How Not To Die, Dr. Michael Greger

Dr. McDougall Health and Medical Center

find hundreds of recipes under the “Education” link

Dr. Joel Fuhrman

True North Health Center

Bravo! By Chef Ramses

Chef A.J.

The Pillars of Health

Whole Food Goodness and Whole Food American Favorites by April Ashcroft

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