Vegan Doesn't Mean Healthy

read between the lines on an ingredient label

There's a big misconception that anything vegan is healthy.  Truth is, when I first went vegetarian then vegan, I didn't understand how to read labels or properly eat in order to give my body the nutrition it really needs.  So many people face this problem that there's a thing called, "junk food vegans."  Today, I've mastered the art of eating vegan and as a Health Coach, am helping others do the same.  Since I have a real sweet tooth, I too, am enthused to hear that Ben & Jerry's launched a vegan option of Chunky Monkey (amongst other old school favorites), but it won't be my new go-to and you should be weary of it as well.  Here's why...


 In my early 20's I used to eat a pint of this stuff to my face without questioning the consequences.  Come on, you know you've done it, too!  Of course, if you have a dairy intolerance or choose to skip out on dairy for any reason, this announcement from Ben & Jerry's is a home run.  But before you dig in, be aware that just because it's vegan, doesn't mean it's a "healthy treat."

To put "healthy" into perspective, let's look at the ingredients in the new, vegan version of Chunky Monkey and compare them to the original beloved form.  

Vegan Chunky Monkey

260 calories per half cup serving

Almond Milk (Water, Almonds), Liquid Sugar (Sugar, Water), Coconut Oil, Sugar, Walnuts, Bananas, Corn Syrup Solids, Dried Cane Syrup, Cocoa, Pea Protein, Sunflower Lecithin, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract, Guar Gum, Natural Flavor (Coconut), Locust Bean Gum

Original Chunky Monkey

290 calories

Cream, Skim Milk, Liquid Sugar, Water, Sugar, Walnuts, Bananas, Egg Yolks, Coconut Oil, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Cocoa, Concentrated Lemon Juice, Guar Gum, Natural Flavors, Milkfat, Soya Lecithin, Carrageenan

While the vegan ingredient label seems to meet the stamp of approval, the added sugar content is insane.  Both versions of this ice cream contain 26 grams of sugar, which is equivalent to about 7 teaspoons (gulp), but the dairy free version is all added and not sourced from the lactose.  Remember, added sugar equals added pounds.

While this is just an example and warning about the new Ben & Jerry's ice cream, the idea of the vegan label equating to healthy spans across all kinds of food categories.  I'm not saying by any means not to enjoy the ice cream!  Please, you know I will, but just be aware that it's not necessarily a healthy choice and pay attention to your portion sizes.