How to NOT be a “Junk Food” Vegan

I have the biggest sweet tooth of any vegan I know. I really do. I will drive miles and miles for good vegan soft~serve ice cream, and I could eat vegan cupcakes all day long if I had them! I LOVE SWEETS!

But I often get emails from people asking me for help because they are new to being vegan and suddenly find themselves eating lots and lots of sugar and processed foods. They thought they were going from being a lazy carnivore to a vibrant and vivacious vegan when all of a sudden… they feel like a big blob.

“I’m dedicated to being healthy! But I’ve found myself right in the predicament that I swore I never would be: a junk food, processed food vegan. It’s killing me. Help!” (writes a MVJ “fan”)

Well, here’s the scoop! What I’ve learned is that if I don’t have highly processed & sugary sweet vegan foods in the house, I don’t eat them. And If I make the time to prepare yummy & healthy foods, I eat them. And enjoy them! It’s that simple.

Don’t buy the junk. Or at least not too much of it. Violence begins with your fork and junk food veganism begins with the shopping cart.

Once you have good food in your home, take a 30 minute chunk of your day to make the time to chop fresh veggies and cook lentils or some black beans for dinner. Or throw lots of yummy veggies in a big pot or slow cooker to make a stew! And did you know you can bake beets just like you bake potatoes? Wrap in a bit of foil (or simply place in an oven safe glass dish) and throw a few in the oven – so easy! Get up an extra 10 minutes early to prepare a few snacks for your day. Chopped or dried fruit maybe? Carrots & celery? Nuts? Maybe an avocado & tomato sandwich? Mmm! Or make some quick and easy chia pudding or soak oats in almond milk the night before… or make a fruit & kale smoothie for breakfast! You don’t need a fancy blender! I could go on and on…

The point is: MAKE the time to be healthy. You know you have it. Meander on facebook a little less… pin a few less “pins” on pinterest… watch 30 minutes less TV. We really DO have the time to make good food. And if you don’t, you’ll get sick and you’ll spend all that time you “didn’t have” in bed… because your body will make the time to heal you. I’d rather spend that time eating yummy food.

As for me, it felt like I pinched a nerve or something in my right upper leg yesterday…and it made it difficult to walk. I feel fine now, but for a few hours I thought “WOW, I have totally taken for granted the health of my legs!” They’re just always there, and I never think about what it would be like without them. So I decided to make more time for hiking and riding my bicycle. I’ve been putting off healthy outdoorsy activities lately thinking I didn’t have enough time. Well, I’m going to make time. And you can too! We’ll make time to be healthy together.

Here’s to being vegan AND healthy!


Have a beautiful day everyone!


Jackie Day, Author of the new book The Vegan Way: 21 Days to a Happier, Healthier Plant-Based Lifestyle That Will Transform Your Home, Your Diet, and You (St. Martin’s Press / Macmillan) Check it out! It’s getting GREAT reviews!

  4 comments for “How to NOT be a “Junk Food” Vegan

  1. Vickie
    May 8, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    What a lovely and inspiring post !

    I am so happy I have signed up via RSS to your blog.

    We are twin sisters at the moment, my 51 year old legs are screaming Uncle right now, as I did 99 minutes on my elliptical this afternoon.

    Ouchie ouchie ouch for the both of us !

    Vickie xx

  2. Rachel Allen
    October 23, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Great post that addresses a problem that many vegans have–I know it’s one that I have had and am now trying to mend. Just because Lays and Oreos are vegan does not mean they are good for me to eat. I’ve cut the junk out, and for the past two months I’ve started a combination of cardio and weight/resistance workouts in the gym 3x per week.

  3. Randi
    April 5, 2013 at 6:15 am

    Love the post. This isn’t so easy for me at all. I am not a cook. I spend alot of time looking at recipies and just feel lost in the end, because I don’t know what to do…and theres so many ingedients..I can’t even afford that. Thats what my problem is.

  4. Nicole
    June 25, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    I thought I had the biggest sweet tooth (still do!). And for me, I crave sweets the most in the morning for breakfast! It’s horrible! When I became a vegan, literally like two weeks ago, the first thing I started experimenting with were vegan desserts. I stocked up on all the goodies I needed so that when the moment strikes (and it did), I’d be able to address it, properly and kindly. There are SO many exotic foods out there I had no idea even existed up until about a month ago (when I started following MVJ on FB). I am in love with chia seeds, OMG. Brown rice syrup, coconut milk whipped cream (magic!), and banana ice cream. These things have saved my life and enriched my life all at the same time!! You just have to PLAN AHEAD or fail. I’m pretty sure the most sinful thing in my cabinet right now is crunchy vegan almond butter! LOL

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