Vegan eating, like any dietary regimen, is intended to provide improved health by promoting a better human diet. Primarily, vegans believe that by eliminating animal products from the diet leads to a healthier life. A vegan lifestyle generally means eating freshly prepared foods and the virtual abandonment of fast foods and those convenience foods filled with artificial ingredients.
Why Are Artificial Ingredients Used?
A manufacturer can provide his product for less, sell more of it and make better profits by using chemicals. For example, the bread truck only needs to visit the market two or three times a week to make deliveries rather than every day when mold inhibitors, dough conditioners and anti-staling chemicals have been added to the baked goods. This reduces cost to both the manufacturer and consumer, but the introduction of the chemicals makes the food less healthy.
Artificial flavors also allow this cost saving, delivering you a strawberry milkshake with not a hint of strawberry actually in the ingredients list, the strawberry taste being mimicked by chemicals. People have become so accustomed to artificial flavors and chemical tastes that we’ve forgotten the subtle flavors of real food!
Dual income and single parent households are modern cultural changes that have helped promote the use of chemicals in our food supply by making fast and convenient foods “necessary” to our modern life.
What We Don’t Know About Artificial Ingredients
Half a century ago, vegetable shortening and margarine – hydrogenated oils, i.e. trans-fats – were hailed as the way to all-round health and were embraced by food manufacturers and consumers for their cheapness and ability to extend shelf life. The supposed miraculous health benefits of those products have now been clearly shown to be false. Now we also have artificial sweeteners, dyes, flavor enhancers and flavors, antioxidants, mold inhibitors, texturizers and other chemical preservatives – the list goes on and on. We’re of course told these thousands of unpronounceable chemicals are safe, but we were also once told that trans-fats were safe.
So many drugs and chemicals are fed to our livestock that meat and animal products have become potentially unsafe to eat. Even cooking from scratch fails to free meat from the risks inherent in the consumption of artificial ingredients and chemicals. Currently, only organic food offers anything approaching truly clean food.
Avoiding Artificial Ingredients
Read ingredient lists. If you can’t pronounce all the ingredients, don’t buy the product. If you don’t know what an ingredient is or what it’s for, don’t buy the product. If there seems to be “too many” ingredients, don’t buy the product. Bread is basically flour, water, yeast and salt with sometimes sugar or spice in it. Why should a simple loaf of sandwich bread have twenty ingredients?
While there is a learning curve to a vegan life without artificial ingredients, the rewards can be astounding. Think for just a moment about how much healthier you could be without artificial food additives.
Eat real food, eat fresh food, eat delicious food!