Just because you found it at a health food store does not mean it’s healthy. In fact, one of the most unfortunate trends I’ve noticed through the years is that people will load up on many of the heavily processed vegan meal or dessert options out there as an alternative to their normal choices, thinking that they are now following a healthy diet. And while they are certainly better off eating these foods, there are still some major drawbacks to putting away these amounts of fat, sweeteners and sodium.
But still…most of these options are delicious! Whether it’s Purely Decadent Chocolate Obsession soy ice cream, organic blue corn tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole or Gardenburger Riblets, life wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t enjoy some of these treats on occasion, right? So how do we know how much or if we should indulge at all? There’s a thought process you can use to decide for yourself. I talk about it in the book, and I simply refer to the process as:
Know Thy Health, Know Thy Self
With the Know Thy Health part of the equation, you must critically evaluate your current state of health and see what kind of latitude you realistically have to include some of these rich foods. If you have any kind of history with a life-threatening illness like heart disease or cancer, then I would limit these kinds of foods to small amounts on very rare occasions or avoid them outright. Likewise, if you need to drop some weight, then you have to enjoy these foods very sparingly, as your daily total amount of calories, fat and sodium can mount up in a hurry. On the other hand, if you are in good health and are near your optimal weight, then you can enjoy some of these foods more often. Logical, right?
The Know Thy Self part of the equation has to do with understanding your own psychological/behavioral tendencies and making decisions accordingly. Do you eat when you’re stressed? Are you the all-or-nothing type where, once you have a little free rein to indulge in something, you go crazy with it? Does one type of indulgence lead to another, then another? Also, many of these foods represent the extreme end of sweetness, saltiness or richness. Are you going to be okay intermingling these special goodies with your usual fare? Or, will eating these treats regularly “taint” your taste buds so that your usual fare seems too bland?
These are all things to consider before going to the market!
So give this some thought and then make the best decision for you. Hopefully, you’ll have some room in your program for a few Uncle Eddie’s vegan chocolate chip cookies…