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High Sodium in Fake Meats
I have recently shifted to a vegan diet but am wondering about some of the pre-packaged meat substitutes like Gardein and Morningstar Farms. They seem to be somewhat high in sodium compared to real meats like pork, chicken, etc. Are those type of products still healthier than real meat if I eat them on a daily basis?
First off, congratulations on shifting to a vegan diet! The first few months can be very difficult, so I am glad you are reaching out for help on some of the more confusing topics.
You are smart to start looking at the ingredients in the vegan processed foods. I personally recommend a whole foods diet based on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts/seeds.
At this point today, in May 2011, there is an absolute abundance of what I'd call "vegan junk food" on the market. Personally, I find it fascinating and enjoy tasting it, but I never eat it and think that I'm eating something healthy. And, I eat those products very rarely. My everyday diet is a whole foods, more macrobiotic diet.
However, vegan fake meats and excellent for those who eat tons of real meat and dairy products and are looking to transition over to a healthier diet in a slower way, rather than immediately shifting to eating whole foods. They are also excellent for times when a vegan is trying to fit in and not cause a fuss at someone else's party, picnic, or barbecue. And, they can be fun, every once in a while.
As for your question about whether they are healthier than the meat version... I would say yes. They still have no cholesterol, likely low saturated fat, much more fiber, and a reasonable amount of protein, which is the exact opposite of a real meat product. And, while there can be higher sodium in fake meats, you don't have to be involved in the suffering of another being in order to eat.