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Processed foods and Soybeans and Tofu– oh my!

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Lately, around the blogworld, many bloggers have been getting into the raw-food movement.  I don’t think anyone would question the fact that raw fruits and veggies are healthy.

However (and I really don’t mean to point fingers; I’m just venting, so please don’t take my opinions personally), some posts seem to have taken on a holier-than-thou tone, making it seem like this is the healthiest way to eat and that people who don’t eat this way are inferior.  I’ve actually been getting a few emails from girls who now feel badly about the way they eat thanks to these posts.  Bloggers, please remember that you have a responsibility as someone putting content up for public view!  Yes, you should be allowed to write what you want (freedom of the press, after all).  But remember that impressionable young girls and boys will be reading, so please try to think before you publish.

It’s sad to see people–who don’t have the credentials to give nutritional advice–telling others they are bad if they eat tofu, soy, or processed foods.  There is nothing wrong with enjoying processed foods now and then, sans guilt.  No, you will not live a shorter life than someone who is so strict with her diet that she’ll never allow herself even the occasional treat.  In fact, you may even be healthier than those who are 100% strict all the time.  Why?  The stress caused by ensuring one eats a “perfect” diet (and the amount of time it takes to plan this) could be more detrimental to one’s health than eating the occasional processed food.  My great grandma’s mantra (which is, coincidentally, the mantra of many other centenarians) was “everything in moderation.”  She enjoyed a cup of espresso every day (Gasp! Caffeine!  Evil!), ate sausage on occasion (not that I’m advocating this from an ethical standpoint), and quite enjoyed her cookies, thank you very much.  Oh, and she was a healthy, active lady into her nineties! (My grandma has a similar attitude, and she’s healthy and happy at 85.)

Many processed foods boast health benefits. For example, tempeh has probiotics and protein, frozen veggies actually contain more vitamins than fresh ones, and don’t forget the health benefits and endorphins one can get from enjoying the taste of a delicious food.

And for convenience sake, sometimes an energy bar or a packaged product is a great choice.  If you choose the right one, you can get a nice dose of necessary vitamins (such as Vitamin B12 for vegans), protein, a serving of whole grains, and fiber.  Plus, life should not be all about food, and having some of these convenience items on hand can give you more time to enjoy other aspects of life.  Amy and her Bistro Burgers have helped me out on many an occasion.

All that being said, I do believe it is important to eat mostly unprocessed foods.  Anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while knows that the bulk of the food I eat is unprocessed fruits, veggies, beans, and grains.  Maybe I don’t eat processed foods every day, but I sure enjoy them when I do indulge.  And I don’t think I’m any less healthy than someone who won’t ever allow herself to eat any of these things.  (Perfect past medical tests, through-the-roof energy levels, and strong hair and nails can attest to this.)

Now, on to the soy issue.  Soy is NOT the devil!  The problem is that manufacturers have started to put soy in almost every processed food, causing some people to get too much of it (in its most-processed form).  Too much of any food will be unhealthy.  Did you know that an excessive amount of broccoli can cause acid poisoning?  Yes, the results of a few studies show soy to be detrimental to one’s health. (If you shove an ungodly amount of any food down a rat’s throat and don’t give the rat any other foods for a varied diet, the rat is going to get sick!)  But the Japanese eat soy every day–mostly in unprocessed forms–and history (not a small study on any scale!) has proven these people to have some of the longest, healthiest life spans of anyone in the world.  What would you rather believe: a few small studies or the history of an entire population?

Finally, as I wrote on my FAQ page, one can eat a “perfect” diet, never allowing oneself any processed or so-called “unhealthy” foods, and then get hit by a bus.  Do you really want to look back on your life and say, “Gosh I wish I’d eaten more of my favorite foods and not been so restrictive with my diet”? Besides, with the volatility of science, who knows what “perfect” is anyway!

So my point with the above essay (Did I really just write an essay when I didn’t have to for school?) is that you completely deserve a life that is FREE from food guilt.

One more time, let me stress: Please don’t take offense to this post if you are a raw-foodist.  I have absolutely nothing against you or your lifestyle.  I simply wrote this to counter the people who say raw foodism is the only very healthy diet.  Live and let live. :)   .

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. Katharina says:

    I agree with you! It really bothers me when people beat themselves up about eating “unhealthy” foods once in awhile. For instance, when my friends talk about “fat this” “fat that” when it comes to ice cream or cookies, I’m like… okay this isn’t going to kill you. I know this is kind of another issue, but since I’m very thin a lot of my friends will feel badly about eating around me. I think that ties in with the whole… giving food too much power. There’s such a twisted view on food in our culture today. I think focusing too much on food can be a bad thing. Placing waaay too much importance on what you put in your mouth can lead to unhappiness and stress. I think if you have the basic ideas of healthy living instilled in your mind you can be mindful without being obsessed. However, I know that I eat mostly unprocessed foods since I like cooking and it’s cheaper. Life is too short to revolve around eating the perfect diet.

  2. brandi says:

    great post – I’m glad you wrote it and you are not out of line at all.

    There are so many “ways to eat” that there is NO PERFECT DIET FOR EVERYONE. Some people are allergic to things, so they can’t have them.

    does that make them less healthy or mean they’re not eating “right”? No. You just have to find what works for you, keeps you healthy AND makes you HAPPY.

    I know I was happy eating my slice of tart last night :) and I’ll be happy having my green smoothie later today.

  3. Sarah says:

    Great points! I especially enjoy the recognition of the role we have to be RESPECTFUL of other ideas and opinions when it comes to the “perfect” diet.

    I agree with you on the soy issue as well. Obviously those with allergies, sensitivities and/or a history of breast cancer may want to steer clear, but for the rest of us, I think it is a great alternative protein source.

    Thank you for RESPECTFULLY throwing your two cents in Katie!

  4. nicole says:

    yay i love the post! i actually have been very confued with why soy is bad. I love Tofu, since i try to be mainly vegitarian except seafood,its my weakspot. but with your post it doesnt make me scared of tofu anymore.

    you are not out of line at all it will be very helpful to peopl

  5. Sara says:

    Holler! Go CCV. I’m with you. I’ve been feeling the same way and it’s good to see you get gutsy and voice your opinion :)

  6. Krista says:

    I definitely agree here. I’m actually a little concerned with the 100% raw food movement but I won’t say too much.

    As for the tofu, I’ve heard bad things about soy and yada yada but I’m not worried about it. I’m certain that eating hamburgers is going to be far worse.

    And for eating what you like to eat, that is how I live, lol. I am definitely not the healthiest eater and I will never claim to be. I drink coffee everyday. I eat potato chips once in awhile at work. And I like baking sweets. An occasional indulgence isn’t a huge deal—I’m happy.

    Thanks for a great post!

  7. Vegan_Noodle says:

    I definitely eat my fair share of processed foods when I don’t have the time to cook. I agree that they aren’t bad. Unfortunately, there are so many people that blog and claim to know things about nutrition that don’t. I try to never make any health claims on my blog… just here’s what I eat, I liked it, and I feel good. It is too bad that some readers are more impressionable than others. We should all do what feels right for our own bodies! Thanks for reminding all your readers of this.

  8. Virginia says:

    i agree with you! eating raw foods is healthy, but that doesn’t make it healthier than someone that eats cooked foods that are good for you! i am glad you voiced your opinion on this!

  9. Janna says:

    Thanks for writing this. I am one of those people who started to feel bad about the way I eat based on a lot of the “raw food is the best” type posts.

    NO ONE really knows what the “perfect diet” is… there are so many studies that come out that say something is good one day and bad the next.

    We all know the general basis to healthy eating, fruits, veggies, whole grains etc and if we follow that and then once in a while we want to indulge in something, then why not!

    For me personally, I try and stay up to date with studies just to see what’s out there… and becuase of a thyroid condition I try to stay clear of soy. But otherwise, totally agreed, everything in moderation!

    We should eat foods that make us FEEL GOOD.

  10. Katherine says:

    Thank you so much for this post!! I appreciate your rant and I think it is incredibly insightful. I think the most important point is to eat WITHOUT GUILT. Women (and men!) today are made to feel guilty for their food choices from all sides – magazines, television, just walking down the street. I’ve found the blogging world to be a source of great inspiration to make some healthier choices and reevaluate my diet, but I’ve also chosen the blogs I read very carefully. I’ve definitely come across my share of judgemental blogs and I opt not to read them.

    That said, I also respect a blogger’s right to put their own feelings and beliefs up on their blog. If a writer feels very strongly that soy and processed foods are going to kill you, it’s their right to say so. However, it’s also my right not to continue visiting their blog and I have to be in tune with myself – does a blog triggered disordered thinking or behavior? Am I benefiting from reading this blog? Or does it make me stressed or feel guilty?

    One of the best raw blogs I’ve found is While Gena feels strongly about the benefits of a raw diet, her foremost concern is stressing that people should follow the diet that works best for them. She encourages experimentation with more raw foods, but she would NEVER judge a person or a diet choice, especially not on her blog.

    Sorry for the long-winded comment, but your post really got me thinking!

  11. fitforfree says:

    Hi Katie,

    Thanks for this post. It balances out many of the other posts I’ve read recently! And in my experience (with MY physiology!) I agree with your opinion—my body doesn’t protest when I eat moderate amounts of processed foods (being vegan, my lunch often needs a veggie burger protein kick!).

    That being said, I think that some people life a more physically + emotionally stable life when they adopt a more restrictive diet. My mom, for example, struggled with her weight and blood sugar (and concurrent body dysmorphia) her entire life—fifty years of yo-yo dieting and back pain from the extra weight—before adopting a low-carbohydrate diet, losing over fifty pounds (and with it, the back pain!), and learning not to FEAR food. She’s healthier now than I’ve ever seen her, and I think her “restrictive” diet has actually FREED her from a lot of stress!

    Many vegans/raw foodists I’ve met revel in their “restrictive” diet as well, because it frees them of physical problems and emotional attachment to certain foods. I may not stay vegan forever, but for now, it’s freed me of love/hate relationships with a lot of non-vegan foods (and reduced stress in my life!). I believe I am a MUCH healthier physically, mentally, and emotionally, since I cut out animal products from my diet.

    Sorry about THIS essay!!! I appreciate your opinion—never hesitate to share it!

  12. Leah says:

    I completely agree with you. I’m reading all of these blog posts every day about people who are cutting more and more out of their diets, and I’m thinking to myself, Wow I must really be unhealthy…then i look at what im eating…fresh fruit, vegetables, lean meats, yes some “processed soy milk, and tofu, protien bars, and “processed” ezekiel bread…and then i stop and think, wow i really couldn’t be much healthier than i am. I think it may be fun to try a raw diet for a week or so, but personally, as an athlete, i really don’t think its a healthy choice…but thats just my 2cents

  13. Kati says:

    Hi Katie with an e ;),

    I think you’re absolutely right. Dogma is dangerous. Flexibility leads to freedom. Good for you for endorsing moderation. It sounds like my great-grandma was the same way yours was (a cookie with her breakfast – gasp!) and she lived to be 93. Let’s all do the best we can and more importantly than anything else, enjoy our lives! Food is not everything…

    But as far as foods go, I think a whole foods approach lays a strong foundation for your body to be able to handle the occasional treats. To me it seems like the only healthy (and sane!) way to live.

  14. Lexi says:

    AMEN is all I have to say! I rarely comment on blogs, but after reading this post I couldn’t NOT post. I am SO HAPPY you wrote this and stood up for all of us out there who not only don’t adhere to a strictly raw diet, but eat the occassional processed food and feel fine, dandy and HEALTHY doing it. There are so many bloggers out there who are preaching raw food, raw food, raw food and are acting high and mighty doing it. I appreciate and value your view point, and I think it is spot-on. Thank you, Katie!

  15. Emily says:

    Hi Katie! I really liked your post! I think blogger definitely should be careful about the kind of diets they promote, especially ones that are extremely restrictive and contradict recommendations (although, I don’t always agree with all recommendations, they are there for a purpose). I haven’t completely eliminated processed food from my diet, and I don’t plan to do so. One of my goals this past year was to reduce the amount of processed foods I eat because (like you mentioned), eating mostly unprocessed foods is best. I definitely can’t and won’t give up eating cheese or ice cream or any of the bars I enjoy!

    As for the soy issue, as someone who has done some research on soy, I know that there are risks and benefits associated with consuming it, but there is not a cookie cutter recommendation for each person. However, I don’t think all studies conducted on soy are flawed. The conflicting studies just show that there is a lot of information we don’t know about soy. Personally, I try to avoid soy because it irritates my GI tract, but I don’t find anything wrong with consuming moderate dietary soy if it doesn’t bother you.

    Thanks for the great post!

  16. Eddie G says:

    I totally agree!

  17. Aimee says:

    Great post! I get so stressed that my diet isn’t perfect, but I don’t want to come to the end of my life and wished I would have enjoyed more birthday cake.

  18. Mary says:

    WOW! I have being feeling like I needed to change my diet…I’m not into the 100% raw food thing and felt like I should be a little more concerned with cooking my food. I have cut out most (not all) processed food and have been feeling great. Thanks for the post…makes me feel much better about my ‘healthy’ diet.

  19. Run Sarah says:

    I love you Katie! These thoughts have been ruminating in my mind for the past few weeks and I haven’t been able to put them into words yet. The 100% raw food movement worries me as does vegans & vegetarians cutting tofu & soy products completely out of their diet because many people don’t realize how much iron, calcium and protein are derived from it. None of the meta-analyses I could find showed a deterimental effect on soy consumption (except for those with allergies, obviously). I’m not sure what studies people are reading but it’s important to never base opinions on isolated studies but to look at the meta-analyses of all studies done on the topic to get an un-biased result.

  20. OH Katie, you said exactly what I’ve been thinking for weeks now. There is so much pressure (at least that I feel!) to “eat clean” and all this raw stuff… a) I like to cook. Meaning, hot pan, stove on, cooking things til they’re HOT. b) processed is not necessarily bad. Everything is processed in some way unless you pick it off a tree yourself! c) MODERATION (as you said) is key. Sure 9 diet Cokes in a day might not be the best choice. But, one or two won’t kill ya!

    Love ya girlie!!!

  21. kirsten says:

    Excellent post as always Katie ! :) I had been feeling bad about myself the past few weeks for not eating enough raw foods (aside from plain old salad, I don’t like raw vegetables much) and this made me feel so much better! I was starting to become so worried about what to eat that it was really stressing me out. I really appreciate this post and I am glad you decided to share you opinion.

  22. elise says:

    word CCV! everything in moderation. fads are fads, as others before it, this one will phase out eventually….at least raw is a better fad that atkins (maybe we are making progress?haha). i second your thoughts on soy.

  23. Tavolini says:

    Right on :)

    There are many facets of all diets, and ultimately it is up to the individual to decide what works best for him or her. One should always make room for their favorite foods, as well. Well put, Chocolate Covered Katie.

  24. JB says:

    thank you for writing this post! i completely agree with you! i could go on for a while about why i agree with you, but you’ve said it all! honestly, katie, you’re such a kind person. i can’t stand it when someone has a superiority complex. there are enough problems in the world. nobody should be made to feel bad about themselves over insignificant things.

    “everything in moderation” is one my mom’s mantras as well. we all know that keeping processed foods to a minimum is smart, but not everything that comes in a box or a wrapper is junk. i eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, etc. but that’s not to say that i don’t absolutely love my soy yogurt or some tasty tofu! i never judge people for not being vegan, or judge fellow vegans for indulging in vegan “junk food” just because i don’t prefer it myself. people should not be considered inferior or superior based on their diets. it’s sad that so many people view the world through competitive and scrutinizing eyes. we’re all equal.

    so thanks again for your essay, haha. and that’s incredible that your great grandmother lived to be 108! obviously an impeccable diet is not the only contributer to longevity. happiness is key. and while health is one of my main priorities and interests in life, i don’t want to stress myself to death over it or feel guilty for eating a tofu patty.

    now i’ve pretty much written a mini essay of my own! i just really appreciate that you took the time to write this. i don’t think you’re out of line at all.


  25. Kelsey says:

    dont worry i got into raw and left it … most raw foodists eat cooked food secretly..but also no one can live healthy on 100% raw in the long run. as a cleanse its cool but all long term raw foodists say cooekd vegan with lots of good raw foods is the healthiest. it bugs me too cuz it feels like people are forgetting all about the amazingness of a plain cooked whole food vegan diet and just skipping right to raw. uve got the right philosophy and its great to have u as a role model for upcoming veggies.

  26. Maria says:

    Hi Katie! You are not out of line–this is a fabulous post! (it seems like there are many thoughtfully written ones in the blogosphere today, including one from Miss Gliding Calm and Gena from Choosing Raw).

    I believe you shouldn’t restrict your joy (or in my case, my love of good tasting food) while trying to eat healthfully. It *might* be “ideal” to eat a raw vegan diet but to some people it is impossible to eat that way without being miserable. I have come to believe that psychological health is just as important (maybe more so) than physical health. If you are not happy and are extremely stressed, then it will take a toll on your body as well. In other words, it can be counterproductive to eat the “ideal” way.

    I also totally agree that there is a wide range of healthy foods, and there is not just one way to eat healthfully. As long as you incorporate healthy foods (which can be frozen veggies and tofu) into your diet, I think your body can be healthy.

    Hope you have a fabulous day!

  27. Shelby says:

    I totally agree CCV! I think some take their diet fads way out of control and just need to eat what they want and not stress.
    I stopped eating soy because of the bloat it caused me…does that means it causes the bloat in another girl? No! I did what was right for me and I feel that everyone should just listen to their own body and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing.
    I set goals for myself that no one else should follow unless they really feel it’s right for them.
    Great point CCV! Love this post!

  28. Meg says:

    I completely agree with you Katie, on everything. I’m absolutely speechless actually, because you’ve covered all of the basis (or should I say – “chocolate-covered all the bases?!”) :)

    There’s so much stress put on eating and dieting these days, it’s ridiculous, and most wonder why eating disorders become SO common in our society. Children under TEN YEARS OLD are developing unhealthy relationships with food. We really do need to watch what we say, what we portray, and our opinions. It’s important to eat the way to want to eat, yes, but it’s also important to remember that not EVERYONE eats this way, or CAN eat this way. Everyone is so different, and they shouldn’t be shunned for being that way! Variety is the spice of life. If all of us were the same, then yeah, maybe we’d all eat the same. But we’re simply not, at all, so no one should be ridiculed for eating the way they please.

    Thank you for this.

    Meg :)

  29. taleoftwovegans says:

    If school entailed writing essays like this one, I think I might have had more success in english! I totally agree with you, ESPECIALLY on the soy issue: I’ve even heard of people switching from soy milk back to dairy milk, they were so worried about soy consumption (whaaaaaat!?). How does that seem healthier? It boggles my mind! I love that you’re brave enough to post an opinionated rant – I’m sure it’ll echo what a lot of people already think!

  30. Meg says:

    p.s. I love me some tofu and microwaved Z Bars, too! 😉

  31. Sagan says:

    I haven’t come across many blogs where people have that holier-than-thou attitude… GOOD FOR YOU for doing this rant! We’re all different, we all do what suits our needs, and none of us really have any right to make others feel bad because we don’t like their food choices. That’s just ridiculous.

    Beautiful post.

  32. Hannah says:

    Very well said, Amen!

  33. jaymealreadyexists says:

    this post put a huge smile on my face!
    way to be, CCV.

  34. Kiersten says:

    I don’t think you are out of line at all. I applaud you for posting this actually. I’ll admit, some of the recent posts floating around blogland have made me question my eating habits too, when they really don’t need to be changed. I eat very healthy, eat little processed foods, and have been quite happy. Lately though after reading some things on blogs I’ve been watching my soy intake and feeling a little guilty every time I eat a piece of bread.

    Yes, a raw diet is healthy but it is not the ONLY way to eat. I’ll be damned if someone tries to tell me that eating a bowl of cooked oats is not healthy for me because it’s not (gasp) raw! I don’t eat a lot of processed foods, but I do on occasion. A boca burger may not be the healthiest thing for me to eat, but eating one every once in a while won’t kill me. It’s certainly a lot better than eating something like a greasy plate of french fries.

    I am glad someone brought this up, thank you Katie!

  35. Andrea says:

    I think you get an “A” for attitude. You really understand how important it is to not to judge people for what they eat or don’t eat. Most people I know believe they are eating a healthy diet, and I think there’s enough disagreement among “experts” about what a healthy diet is to give me pause about what I am willing to promote. I like to share ideas about what I consider healthy food (vegan, whole foods, organic) and provide information about what I consider cruel (eating animals) and bad for the environment (raising food animals). But, like you, I hate the idea of preaching or making people feel bad about their food choices.

    And you’re right that the “perfect diet” (whatever one’s definition of that is) can’t promise a perfect life with perfect health. There are environmental and genetic issues that may be beyond our control. (not to mention buses!)

    While we’re trying to be healthy, let’s not forget to be kind, accepting and tolerant of others beliefs.

  36. Great post! We should never feel guilty about food! I’m tired of hearing about the supposed evils of soy. You make an excellent point about small studies vs. the history of the Japanese!

  37. angieeatspeace says:

    Awesome post!
    Agree, 100%

  38. Krista says:

    Awesome post, Katie! Everything in moderation is definitely my mantra.

  39. Allie Katie says:

    Katie!! Well said my dear–I am so sick of people feeling that they should beat themselves up over their ‘mistakes’ in their diet. It is important to balance being healthy and being happy. Thank you for articulating this point so well!!

  40. carolinebee says:

    Love your post Katie…Bloggers have a LOT, if not too much, influence on readers and other bloggers= big responsibility to watch what we say/post. Side note, I don’t think it’s very mature or kind to put down specific bloggers- as I’ve seen many people do in comments above mine. I wish ppl, as you have done, would be more tactful with their words.

  41. liz says:

    interesting point- you are quite a writer! I am glad to hear you support any one’s diet while still advocating for humane and ethnical treatment- food is fuel , not something to be obsessive about. I’m not saying I think it’s wrong or right to be a foodie or a nutritionist, just not to offend anyone about their food choices. If someone wants to be a raw vegan and only eat dried fruits and nuts for desserts fine that’s their choice. Or those studies that proclaim soy is worse than animal flesh well they why isn’t Japan suffering obesity or cancer but the contrary. Well anyways thanks again, I’m sorry you feel like sweets make you energy drained but as long as you’re healthy and happy We’re all listening/admiring. :-)

  42. liz says:

    interesting point- you are quite a writer! I am glad to hear you support any one’s diet while still advocating for humane and ethnical treatment- food is fuel , not something to be obsessive about. I’m not saying I think it’s wrong or right to be a foodie or a nutritionist, just not to offend anyone about their food choices. If someone wants to be a raw vegan and only eat dried fruits and nuts for desserts fine that’s their choice. Or those studies that proclaim soy is worse than animal flesh well they why isn’t Japan suffering obesity or cancer but the contrary. Well anyways thanks again, I’m sorry you feel like sweets make you energy drained but as long as you’re healthy and happy We’re all listening/admiring. 😉

  43. Abby says:

    I could have written this post myself. I’m new to the blogging world and although I enjoy the new food ideas and shared concern for health and fitness as everyone else, I have started to feel a little left out due to the fact that (1) I love tofu (2) I don’t eat everything raw and (3) I don’t know this secret slang language that seems to be spoken on a majority of these blogs (okay, that’s not related).

    Anyway, I agree and was going to (still might) rant about this myself. Healthy is good. Obsessive and restrictive is not. There’s a right way to go about things and those that are uneducated about those ways will cause more harm than good.

    More power to those that know what they’re doing and are okay with it, but damn, if I never made a trip to Dairy Queen or went without my frozen Amy’s Kitchen meals I would go nuts (and then someone would find something wrong with nuts, and I would be screwed)>

    Okay, I’m rambling. Summary? Great post. I plan on lurking back to follow you a bit…

  44. Wow. I think it’s really too bad that people have responded to your thoughtful post, Katie, with negative comments about my blog, not to mention accusations about my health and unkind statements about my appearance. But this stuff aside, I did want to chime in and thank you for sharing your opinion of the raw diet and about “guilt” when it comes to food — which is something I make a big effort to discourage, too. In fact, I think my post today is pretty similar (in essence) to this one:

    I really enjoy your blog!

    Gena xo

    (Choosing Raw)

  45. Kiki says:

    Amazing post! I’m so glad you put it up. I wanted to say something about this but I wasn’t quite sure how to articulate it without offending anyone haha. You did a wonderful job though.
    Everyone should be allowed to eat what they want and not feel judged or looked down upon by anyone else. Thanks for this!

  46. Emily (Healthy Fit Mama) says:

    Great post! I have found myself questioning some of the foods I eat after reading several food blogs. But the fact is, processed foods like foritifed, whole grain cereals can be part of a very healthy diet!

  47. Marianne says:

    I think it’s fairly obvious from everything you see me post about on my own blog, that I’m all about including any and all of the foods you like to eat in your diet. Why exclude something if you enjoy it? Yes, food is about nourishing and fueling your body, but it’s also about enjoyment, socializing, taste, texture, etc, etc. I have no problems eating a cookie/pizza/ice cream/french fries without guilt – it’s just food. In the grand scheme of things, there are more important things to worry about than one little cookie.

    Some people choose to eat meat, some choose to be vegan, some eat raw. All can have healthy diets, but the more food items you exclude from your diet, the more you really need to understand how you can get the macro & micro nutrients you need to stay healthy. I’m not going to comment on whether I think Blogger X is healthy and Blogger Y is not, because I don’t know everything about them. But I feel that there may be alot of individuals out there who do not have enough nutrition knowledge to know whether they are getting adequate nutrients from the foods the consume – it’s not just about amount, but also about absorbtion rates (ex: plant sourced iron is much harder for the body to absorb than animal based iron – therefore, you need to consume more, and should do so with vitamin c rich foods to increase absorption – something SO IMPORTANT for females).

    As for the whole soy issue – minimally or unprocessed soy is healthy, unless you have allergies (which can be said for any food you have an allergy to). One need only look at Asian societies to see that. But you know, it seems like everything goes through a stage where it’s seen as bad – eggs (high in cholesterol! even though dietary cholesterol has mininmal impact on body cholesterol), potatoes (white starch – what about the vitamin c & fibre you can get from it), etc. I can’t stop people from deciding to eliminate soy from their diets for whatever reasons they want to, but I would urge them to truly get informed. Not just with studies that have come out in the last few years, but look at the history of cultures who developed and consumed this food for centuries.

  48. Y’all, I’m loving the comments here.

    Just to clarify:
    I said I was all for free press. So you can feel free to say anything you want against me or my post. I’m a big girl and I can take it LOL.

    But if you say malicious comments about any other blogger/person/whatever, please know that the comments will be deleted. The line needs to be drawn somewhere.

    Everyone else: comment away! :)

  49. I love you for this Katie! I’m over seeing raw food as the only road. Great if it works for certain people, and they have a healthy relationship with food without guilt, just not so great when it’s considered the only healthy way to eat. but we must all have caution with our posts and how it affects others. I may not agree with some of the harsh/immature comments being posted on here about certain people, but I know 100% that these hurtful comments on here in NO way reflect you.
    Keep up the awesome blog and inspiring eats and way of life!!!
    Thank you for being such a great role model girl!


  50. Ashley says:

    Such an articulate post Katie. It was truly a great read.

    It’s amazing how much influence the bloggers of the world have nowadays! There will always be trends in the food world and I think the blog world has just opened up an even bigger can of worms on that front.

    Everything in moderation is a great mantra and I believe that people need to do what works best for them. I commented similarly on Gena’s blog this morning because when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s, I turned to the blog world and started to research what other people were doing. I considered go vegan or high-raw or high-raw vegan but with the help of my naturopath, a book (unrelated to diet/Crohn’s) and a lovely blogging friend (Hi Coconut Girl!) I started to realize that I needed to do what is best for ME.

    You are one of the sweetest gals in the blog world and I’m really happy that you took the time (and guts) to post this.

  51. Lauren says:

    While I am very happy to see your speaking your mind, I don’t think it’s fair that many commenter’s are coming down on raw foodies. Most of the blogs that are being mistaken as “holier than thou” are trying to help people who are looking to transition to raw foods. If people are so offended by these blogs, then don’t read then and don’t comment. :) Everyone can have an opinion, but insulting people for their life choices are no ones business.

    Personally, soy bothers my crohn’s. I know a lot of people with allergies and womens issues who have problems with soy. It’s a highly mucas forming product. Some people can tolerate it, other can’t. I do what’s best for me. If someone wants to say that’s being “holier than thou” then that’s their problem!

    Sorry to rant, I just felt it’s unfair for others to pin this on the raw food community.

  52. VeganWoman says:

    Great post. I still eat 30% tofu and other processed vegan friendly foods. I don’t know how I would fill the gaps and provide some comfort food with out them :) Don’t feel bad about your rant :)

  53. Elisabeth says:

    Thank you for posting this. Like you, I eat mostly unprocessed, whole foods…but I don’t want to be criticized for having the occasional splurge! I certainly don’t want to feel like the raw food lifestyle is the only way to go, either.

    I use Ani Phyo’s cookbook almost every single day. I make my own nut milk and cheeses, and I’m having rawzania for dinner tonight…but, I also just had an ice cream sundae about 15 minutes ago. A guilt-free ice cream sundae, might I add.

    And, it was yummy.

    There is no perfect way of eating, and my “perfect” is probably not someone else’s “perfect” anyway. Everyone should stop judging each other.

  54. Tyler says:

    Amen! I’ve been tempted to rant about the silliness of the raw food blog trend — yes, raw fruits and veggies are healthy, but so are cooked ones! — but i didn’t know how to tactfully say it without offending those who are so proud of their raw meals. I think this post is very well worded. Thanks, Katie!

  55. AnAppleADay says:

    IU agree with you 100%! everything in moderation!

  56. elizabeth says:

    great post! I definitely agree! everyone has their own personal struggles with food and i really believe that moderation is key. obsessing over “good and bad” foods makes life miserable. everyone has different needs and responds differently to food-the most important thing is to find a way of eating that enhances your own life! Don’t worry be happy! :)

  57. jrsimon56 says:

    I appreciate your thoughts and agree. I think that everyone has their own optimal way of being healthy. For some that is all raw food, for others it can even include dairy or lean meats…it’s all about being in tune with what is important to the person and how they can feel at peace with the world around them. Thanks for putting it out there! :)

  58. You go, Katie! Wise words.

    Luckily, I haven’t read the “holier-than-thou” blogs, but I have been feeling sheepish about my processed foods intake recently in lieu of the raw foods popularity. Thanks for the morale boost.

    Everything in moderation–I agree.

  59. Katie, so nice that you brought this point up. I have no problem having a cookie or treat so as it’s moderation, like so many other people said. Also my husband just came home the other day and said there was another article on how bad soy is for men. He’s worried about our son eating to much and I told him again, it’s all in moderation. It’s not like any of us are eating soy all day long. Also how many of us are eating fresh fruit, smoothies, fresh juice and salads, right there you have alot of raw food.

  60. *Andrea* says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS POST!!!!!!!! as someone who has had an eating disorder/restrictive eating in the past, it’s hard for me to not question my current (healthy) diet which consists of a lot of “processed” foods like soy, tofu, veggie burgers, and frozen vegan treats 😉 thanks for helping me feel better about myself haha i’m corny i know.. i think finding a “perfect diet” is a little too extreme considering there is no such thing! soon enough people will only eat apples from a tree they grow in their dining room to avoid ‘chemicals’ and ‘processed ingredients’ 😉

  61. necesseaties says:

    (when I say you or your, I’m talking to people in general, no one in specific)
    It’s one thing to be insecure about a new “diet” (someone get rid of that gosh forsaken word) and express uneasiness towards the foods you can’t have anymore. But it’s another thing to start pontificating to others that your way is the only right way. It’s like the matter of religion, it all depends on perspective and personal inclination. Yes, raw foodism is great tasting, great for you etc. But TONS of people make cooked foodism work for their bodies, our earth, etc. Some people just start generalizing cooked foodies as junk foodies because we are allegedly the only ones able to oversaturate our foods in oil and kill off their benefical enzymes. When really, it is a fact, that cooking your carrots releases even MORE nutrients than eating them raw.


    Love ya lots 😀

  62. necesseaties says:

    ^And I really didn’t mean that ALL raw foodies are pretentious or should suck it

  63. Jane says:

    wow, GREAT POST. i felt like i was reading something that i’ve been thinking for awhile.

    my grandma keeps talking about how she can’t eat soy cause it’s soooo bad for you and i just cringe every time because these stupid isolated studies see what they want to see, and apply results to EVERYONE regardless of the fact that people are different, especially when it comes to their ideal diets. and you were right on when you mentioned how soy has snuck it’s way into all sorts of processed foods, which is why people are eating too much of it. and it’s also cause the forms of soy they are eating (soy protein isolate and soybean oil, for example) are highly processed.

    and i definitely agree with you about the raw foods thing. i think its GREAT if someone wants to have a raw foods diet, but it’s not for everyone and it makes me sad that people are worried that a balanced diet of cooked veggies, grains, fruits and legumes may not be enough cause it’s not raw. i seriously don’t know how raw food diets work for runners/highly active people/people with high metabolism. i struggle to maintain a normal weight and i eat a LOT (and i know you struggle with this too)- what would i do without “processed” soy yogurt and ice cream and bread or cooked grains? i couldn’t run anymore!

    i know that it’s possible to eat a raw diet, but it’s not for everyone. and i know Gena’s blog acknowledges that and I really appreciate it.

    look, i wrote an essay, too 😉
    anyway, thanks for the thoughtful post. you are way too cool and i wish i lived in texas so we could be real life friends and running buddies! oh, and so i could bake those crazy brownie ganache bombs and see if they out-chocolated you 😉

  64. Erin says:

    You are just the love of my life Katie! Eloquent, inspiring, sweet, and not afraid to tell us where you stand. I just love it so much and think you’re fabulous. High five honey!

  65. rhodeygirltests says:

    very interesting and thoughtful post Katie.

    While I do agree that different diets work for different people, I do disagree about the soy. As far as I have seen, soy is being thrown into so many foods and is grown out of control these days. My mom’s oncologist 10 years ago told her to stay away from 1. antiperspirants and 2. soy products (notice I didn’t say soy but soy PRODUCTS). I feel strongly that if her doctors were so adamant about her avoiding those things, than I should be too. At the same time, I will say that I do enjoy sushi once in a while with soy sauce and edamame, but like you said… everything in moderation.

    I don’t mind that some of the blogs are talking about raw as the only way because I know how I feel and that is what matters, but I could see how that could negatively influence some others. I would say that impressionable people should stick to blogs like Gena’s where many sides of each issue or topic are presented.

    thanks for the thought provoking post. you have left me wondering to which blogs you are referring.



  66. Jane says:

    p.s. i linked back to this post on my latest blog post. cause you are cool and insightful and started a great discussion!

  67. traveleatlove says:

    GREAT post. I think sometimes people, and especially women, can get caught up in competitive eating. . . I don’t eat that, well I don’t eat this PLUS that. We each need to find what gives us the most energy and makes us feel good individually. While its great to read tips and suggestions, it CAN get out of control and you addressed it VERY well.

  68. Diann says:

    First I apologize for getting so far behind on your posts – don’t know how that happened! Those panda dishes are the cutest things ever. Chase would go nuts over those!

    I read a comment somewhere today that ALL food bloggers should quit blogging because they all act like their food is the best and no one really cares what they have for dinner. I don’t agree of course. I mean that’s why we visit blogs – to see what others are eating. I haven’t really noticed an attitude recently, but raw food is certainly the *IT* food right now. I will say that I am so sad I can’t eat tofu and if I could it some barbecue baked tofu right out of a box I would! I also eat my fair share of bars.

  69. Vaala says:

    Oh thank god! Everything in moderation…including moderation. Life is too short to stress so much about what we eat.

  70. Erin says:

    Well said Katie. Eating with guilt is so bad for us gals. I suffer from it. It doesn’t keep me from eating, lol, but I do the guilt thing too often. Your post is a great reminder to just do everything in moderation (even moderation!).


  71. CurlyTop says:


    HECK yes! Coming from an ED past I can all too easily fall into a restrictive pattern. I start cutting out one thing after the other and before I know it I’m only eating 10 foods and I’ve eliminated macronutrients. Balance is key and you hit the nail on the head.

    Have a fantabulous humpday tomorrow!

    With Love,


  72. Brandi says:

    I would LOVE to eat raw foods galore and fresh food every day and never eat anything that’s processed. However, when you maintain the kind of insanely busy schedule my husband and I do – it’s impossible. We just don’t have the time to shop and prepare the way we’d like to. I hope once we’ve both graduated and have more ‘normal’ schedules, we’ll be able to incorporate a lot less processed foods into our diets. Right now we just do the best we can and thank goodness for the ‘healthier’ processed foods like the Amy’s organics and what not. We pay more but at least we’re not eating ramen. 😀

  73. broccolihut says:

    I totally agree with what you’re saying in this post. I, too, have been receiving e-mails about whether it is “OK” to eat soy. Clearly, I harbor a deep love of tofu dishes and soymilk smoothies, so I do not intend on eliminating them from my diet any time soon. Yes, soy is all too often used as an additive, but I choose to consume soy in a relatively natural state, in moderation–a principle that you rightly emphasized here.
    Regarding raw diets, I think they are a great way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake and perhaps try new foods that you might not otherwise. However, it is not a lifestyle I choose to follow routinely, only occasionally. Regardless, blog readers should NOT be made to feel inferior because of their eating habits (or anything else, really). Let’s keep blogging fun and judgment free:)

  74. Emmy says:

    Couldn’t have ranted better, CCV! It wasn’t even a rant it was like an optimistic address on the subject of processed foods.


  75. lena says:

    Thank you Katie!!!! Amen to that! great post! totally agree with you, life’s too short!!! everything in moderation is the keyword! thanks for putting things back into perspective and you are given the right and permission to “rant” about it!!! have a great day and am new to reading your blog, started a few weeks back but am loving it! :)

  76. ~Jessica~ says:

    Amen! This post made me want to do a happy dance. I don’t think it was ‘two sided’ at all: I think it was a beautiful, eloquently written piece that did not attack anyone whatsoever. The opinions presented were merely another viewpoint to the plethora of evangelical raw posts that I’ve been reading recently and if anyone chooses to take it personally then that’s their own problem. The tone of the piece was not ‘aimed at’ anyone, although I’m going to lower it by saying that if I ever have to read another holier than thou raw post I may scream.

    So some people want to live on a green juice and two salads a day? Well yay for them, but as someone with a deeply disordered relationship with food (struggled with multiple eating disorders and still am), seeing someone clearly not consuming anywhere near enough calories to sustain themselves is not conjusive to developing a positive attitude towards food.

    I worry about these fads that seem to sweep the blog world, I worry about vulnerable individuals who are clearly adopting a raw lifestyle as a means of calorie restriction and I worry about the guilt others suffer when their diets are seen to be less than ‘perfect.’ Raw lifestyles can be healthy, but the ones I have seen (with one or two exceptions), in my opinion, are not.

    Once again thank you so much for this refreshing, honest post and you are not out of line in the slightest ~ if we can’t have free speech and debate, then what are we as a community?


  77. ~Jessica~ says:

    Sorry to comment twice but I also strongly object to the comparison of blogging about a veggie / vegan diet with raw foodism. I am a vegan and, like Katie, my decision is ETHICAL ~ people who wish to criticise our decisions may do so, and I acknowledge that there are some who follow a vegan lifestyle for health reasons. The specific issue I take with this recent raw movement is the focus on PERFECTION ~ even within the sacred limits of raw food there are rules, like not eating too much FRUIT for gosh’s sake, or no nuts, or just greens. I find the comparison between such obsessive raw blogs and veganism insulting.

    Once again, many apologies for the double post.


  78. ~Jessica~ says:

    *and also apologies for the incorrect blog address / e-mail! *

  79. mihl says:

    There are definitely worse processed foods than tofu! I sometimes really wonder why the pour little tofu gets all that bad reputation. Well, it can still come to my house and to yours, right? Greetings from a fellow tofu lover.

  80. Sal says:

    Well said Katie! I try to avoid the processed stuff most of the time but I certainly don’t beat myself up for it when I do eat it, or for using white flour now & again in cakes!!

  81. Kaley says:

    One thing I think is interesting is how people do not consider just how privileged they are to be ABLE to be a “raw foodist.” I mean, think about it. For thousands of years, people have been cooking food, and they probably did NOT eat as much processed food (LOL, obviously), but they sure as hell were cooking it. Moreover, people in poor countries who have barely enough money to eat – do you think they’re worrying whether those grains they are eating are cooked or not? I’m guessing not. It just reeks of privilege sometimes, as do many food blogs, though, when they get snobbish. Oh well…it comes with the genre, maybe?!

    1. liz says:

      It’s more alarming to hear that a country like Africa is one of the largest exporters of good whole foods but their people do not enjoy it! Why are they forced to only eat bread and mush? Is it corrupt government and systematic destabilization? I believe man should be fruitful and that includes the food they eat. I would say anyone taking the initiative is doing the utmost good for themselves and society. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” -Ghandi

      1. Yes, I definitely think corrupt govt. has something to do with it. I remember how horrified I was when I was trying to raise $ for Ethiopia to build wells… I found out that their own people in charge were poisoning the wells and damaging the relief aid food. Or look at China– everything’s made in China! But it’s all exported because it can get a higher price overseas. I guess we can’t expect our world to be a perfect place, and we DO have some amazing systems. But big business, and the greed and power that come with it, take a heavy toll on the welfare of our earth’s people.

  82. beck says:

    I do agree that being too obsessed with eating perfectly is probably just as detrimental to our health. The only thing I’d argue is the whole “asian cultures eat soy everyday” argument. Being 1/2 japanese and growing up in Japan I can say first hand that our use of soy is definitely more condiment sized then dinner sized. In america we tend to create the bulk of our meal around soy based product. Also the use of edamame (WHOLE soybeans…not processed) and tofu in moderation are much different then drinking gallons of processed soy milk and soy cheese and soy patties etc. Again, moderation is key (love me a chick’n burger now and again) but relying on soy daily can really hurt us. Like anything else! Eat real foods and you’re good to go! And have a drink and some chocolate! :0)

  83. Jessica says:

    Well, I have been blogging about raw food a lot lately…though I never made any of the claims that you’re talking about. I certainly eat my share of soy chicken strips and chocolate! I agree that everything in moderation is the key. It does bug me when people get all high and mighty about themselves!

  84. Well spoken, err I mean written, CCV!

    It is funny, even as a slightly (I said slightly, lets not get into details here) older blogger, I have felt this strange irritation and guilt over the progressively restricted diets people are writing on as if they are the holy grail of health.

    As of a year ago, I pretty much cut out soy protein … but this was for my own personal health reasons – not for some overall mantra of “health.” I do think soy can be a healthy part of ones diet. Like most foods, you just don’t want to consume it in every meal and snack you eat! Also, the negative studies on soy are on soy protein isolates, not the whole bean. People with concerns should read into this.

    Thanks for bringing this up CCV, something we should all keep in mind when writing!

  85. I totally agree. I am pretty sick and tired of tofu being deemed damaging. Come on people.. get real.

    Orthorexia seems rapant in the raw food movement. I love raw food, but will NEVER be a part of this crazy restrictive fear based way of eating.

  86. Amanda says:

    Right on CCV! I love eating raw but find it to be a very hard lifestyle to maintain so I do the best I can. Living in a place with real seasons, I just find that raw in the winter doesn’t suit my body well (or maybe I’m just not doing it right?!!). Anyways, your great grandma lived to 108? Wow! You’ve got some good genes my friend! We are celebrating my Grandpa’s 93rd tomorrow..he’s hoping to outlive his dad who lived to 94. Nothing like a competitive family longevity bet, huh? he he he..Grandpa has always been everything in moderation too so there’s something to that. But that being said, the WW2 era diet was so poor..I can’t help but wonder good genes + vegan diet, how will we fare? Let’s check back in 70 years on that, okay? Keep it. And your writing? I must echo other posters…you have some serious skills my friend!

  87. Erin says:

    Good post, Katie dear! I think it’s soooo important for everyone to remember to respect our individual differences in diet. We are all different and in different places. I’d never be processed food free, but like reminding myself to cut down on certain foods I have issues with. But some people eat processed foods in perfect balance.

  88. Meredith says:

    I agree with you. Everything in moderation!

  89. jenna says:

    All I have to say is AMEN. I 150% agree with the everything in moderation standpoint. Thank you for writing this, my friend!

  90. ellie says:

    I haven’t seen any of the blogs you are referring to I don’t think, but I definitely agree with you. But at the same time as bloggers have a responsibility to their readers, readers ALSO have a responsibility to themselves. If something is triggering to them in some way, they need to stop reading the blog. There are NO shortage of food blogs out there and all of them have unique aspects to them- if someone’s lifestyle isn’t in line with your goals, turn a blind eye and do your own thing. I posted a while ago (as did Caitlin at healthyTippingPoint) about where the line is drawn between blogger’s responsibilites and readers responsibilities. I’ve been triggered in the past and often do feel guilty that my diet is unclean or not pure, but now I read more blogs about balance and moderation than ones that paint certain foods as damaging/toxic. I do believe in freedom of speech but that DOES come with a duty of responsibility to 1) state that what you are saying is your own opinion based on your own research and 2) not force your beliefs on other people.

    just my $0.02 :)

  91. Brittany says:

    Word, Katie, word, word, word. I completley agree. I have to admit I have doubted my own nutrition in the past after hearing someone bash soy/processed foods.

    Also, YES chocolate chip Z bars.

  92. Natalie says:

    Thank you so much for writing this Katie!!!

    I agree completely with everything you said, honestly reading this post and the comments has put my mind at ease over trying to have a “perfect diet”.

    Once again you have proven your awesomeness. :)

  93. Great post Katie. There is no perfect diet for anyone – you’re so right. People simply need to figure out what works best for themselves. Just because someone doesn’t eat this or that doesn’t mean we should all stop eating it. Do you think there will ever be an anti cooked grain movement? If so, that one will never be featured on HEAB. :)

  94. Hangry Pants says:

    I think a good rant is needed every once in awhile! I will say that when I did my own raw foods experiment a few months ago, I was a little surprised by how, I guess the positive way to say it, passionate many raw foodsists are about their way of eating. In other words, I kinda did feel like I was killing myself by eating anything else. I don’t think Gena is that way at all, by the way.

    I don’t understand how it’s ok to judge someone for not eating the way you do? It’s no one’s business. It’s the same as the person who doesn’t want to be judged by her co-workers as eating healthy when she brings her own lunch to work. Anyway, I think we should all be able to express our opinions without getting judged! I doubt there are any absolute truths in food science!!!!!

  95. Christine says:

    I think this is one of the best posts you’ve ever written! I completely agree with you. Obsessing over every little thing you put in your body, to the point where it is stressful and makes you feel guilty, is so harmful to your mental health. It’s unfortunate that food blogs can contribute to these guilty much as I love them, I think they can also negatively influence our intuitive eating habits. If we see someone eating an all veggie lunch and running 5 miles, I know I for one feel guilty for eating something less “healthy”. But eating a 100% healthy perfect diet won’t bring you happiness by itself – yes it’ll reduce your cholesterol and toxins in your body, but is that really the most important thing in life? We don’t win a prize for eating healthy and it’s not like if knowing I have very few chemicals in my body will make me die happy. I do eat a healthy vegan diet most of the time but there are times when a fried General Tso tofu dish or a Vegan Treats white flour, filled with oil, cinnamon roll really hits the spot. I like reading Gena’s blog, and dabble in raw foods time to time for fun, but I will never have the same diet as her, or others, because it doesn’t make me happy. Thanks for bringing up this thought provoking topic Katie!

  96. sweetkaroline says:

    “everything in moderation.”

    that’s my mantra and i stick to it:)

  97. I totally agree Katie! I always say moderation in everything- no certain food or drink is “evil”- if someone wants a slice of cake- let them eat cake!

    I’ve been a raw foodist on and off for a few years, but lately I’ve been eating foods like organic yogurt, veggie burgers, grains, raw cheeses and raw milk- I remember being on the raw sites and some people (not all) there do tend have a holier than thou stance- I don’t think that there is any perfect diet- everything God made is good! I just try to eat as natural and unprocessed as I can:D
    Great post btw!

  98. Anonymous says:

    Amen C-CK!

  99. Hey, girlie! Rock on – every single word of this post needed to be written. Thankfully, this is an exciting essay! Many essays I am forced to write (or read) are borrrring, but this is not one of those, so I will not call you a dork for writing an essay during the summer. :)

  100. Mark says:

    Good post. I think balance is the key to any diet. Being so dogmatic about food is definitely not a good thing. Granted I believe that everyone needs some raw foods in their diet. You just have to listen to your body and what it needs. For me personally I need about a 50/50 balance of raw and cooked to feel my best. Also about the Japanese and soy…. Most of the soy they consume is in FERMENTED form i.e. tempeh, shoyu, miso etc. Not exactly like the soy burgers, soy cheese, and everything else made from soy protein isolate.

  101. There are so many ways to eat that there is NO PERFECT DIET FOR EVERYONE , vegitable food as more good for health

  102. Adam says:

    I am really sorry i missed this post. Couldn’t agree more. “Processing” can take on so many different faces, and foods like tempeh, amy’s, and other locally produced products that undergo very little to no changes what so ever should not be feared as much as some of the tainted, highly-processed foods out there!

  103. Katie,

    I just discovered your blog today and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! You are so young and so smart! I agree with everything you’ve said about processed foods. BALANCE is the key. You have inspired me to finish a piece I started writing about raw vegan extremism that was inspired by a luntic that I met in a Whole Foods store. I’d been doing research on adding more raw vegan items to my diet (besides salads). I was being bashed left and right for not either going cold turkey with it or planning to eventually adopt a strict raw vegan lifestyle–and that is what it ends up being–a lifestyle. Thank you and keep up the great work.

  104. Jen says:

    I just found this post and I really wanted to comment. I would say that I started the raw food vegan lifestyle. I was headed down the wrong road and the more I was around others the more I felt I had to live this way and strictly. Unfortunately, even raw foodist say they don’t look down on others and they are flexible, I really don’t think they feel that way. At least that is my experience. I would say it took over my life and I felt so guilty and afraid of anything that was not raw food to even the temperature had to be below 115 degrees. I became obsessed. I finally said this enough, I felt isolated from society and being able to enjoy time out with others. I began to do more research on others lifestyle diets that people follow and what really is healthy and who lives longer. What I found was it really is the “flexitarian” type people who are mentally and physically healthy. You have to be careful of the deficiencies that raw food diets can cause in the long term. Even vegan diets, you have to make sure you get nutrients that are not in animal products.

    I guess my point is that I totally agree with you that leading a dogma type of lifestyle and diet is very harmful on the mind and body. Too many times we only look at the physical effects of the way we eat. It is not healthy to be black and white or extreme in area of life.
    I feel I have to spread this message, because I have been there with exercise and food and it kills me to see people feeling guilty and bad about themselves for ideas that are created by our society. People for centuries did not eat the perfect meals and lived and were probably happier because they focused on other areas of life instead of feeling guilt and stress about what they ate.

    I am now fighting back against these messages and I still choose to eat mostly vegetarian/vegan, fresh vegetables, fruit, grains, legumes, and unprocessed foods. However, life is hectic and I can’t spend it in the kitchen making things from scratch, so I will eat processed foods. I also will not feel guilty about eating something that has a trace of something that is not vegetarian/vegan and I try to eat some sort of dessert everyday. If I have dairy or meat once in awhile, I will survive. Life is short and have and many others are wasting it obsessed about controlling their lives through diet and exercise. Once we accept ourselves,lives, and our bodies for what it was intended, you won’t have to obsess and worry and that is freedom!
    I think we also have to remember that many diets are compared to the SAD, and new diet where you eat more whole foods is going to be healthier. So that is my rant.. Just needed to get it out.

    1. Wow, Jen, I agree 110% with everything you wrote! Stress is the unhealthiest thing of all… except for the media, which is the devil!
      We need to listen to our bodies, and if they say “I want a treat,” we should indulge in exactly what they are asking us for!

  105. liz says:

    Yes the media is horrible but I believe its the power behind it that is the true devil! Soy in Asian countries is usually consumed like you said in an unprocessed and actually its usually fermented. Which in turn helps build intestinal flora. They also only have about 2 teaspoons a day… Unlike the SAD diet and unfortunately most vegan/vegetarian diets. I can avidly say this since I reside in Austin Tx with an extremely large vegetarian population where dozens of restaurants serve imitation meat in every other dish! The problem with soy is in the processing… And of course the round up ready soy beans that are 85% of the soy grown in this country. Thanks to Monsanto! The study I believe your referring to is the mice fed only soy and their testicles literally fell off… I do agree that anything in excess is detrimental but comparing us to a country that only eats two tsp of fermented soy is just not the same. Also the alarming increase in reproductive cancers are in my opinion questionable links to over consumption of soy products. Soy isn’t the enemy but Monsanto definitely is!

  106. Marybeth Salem says:

    Katie! You are the most amazing blogger I have ever had the privilege to encounter!! You are so wise, down to earth, and interesting! I stumbled on your blog because a lot of vegan blogs I follow on tumblr reblog your wonderful dessert recipes! I think I have seen almost every single dessert recipe you have posted on tumblr lol. Yet, I never took the time to read further into your blog until today! I’ve read so much so far and still have numerous tabs open on firefox that I plan on reading! I am now addicted to your blog and generally for everything you promote and stand for which from what I get is that you promote veganism to a degree but most importantly HEALTH! I love that you are a fellow vegan but promotes more about being healthy than preaching about how the vegan diet is the best diet.I also love that you are promoting such a positive view on eating healthy and just eating in general (other health blogs I follow tend to make me feel guilty if i eat dessert one day even though I eat dessert in moderation). I also just love that you have a link for everything you answer (which explains the numerous unread tabs on my firefox -_-). Thank you for creating this blog and thank you for existing (actually personally thank your parents for me lol)! I love desserts and discovered I love them even more when they’re actually not bad for me! Your recipes are wonderful and so helpful! After becoming vegan, I always wanted to experiment in baking since I have such a sweet tooth but even when I stumbled on simple dessert recipes like the ones you provide, I somehow discourage myself from trying to make it myself! However, from all the things I read on your blog today, you have inspired me to finally try baking/making vegan desserts for myself :] Thank you so much! I hope you continue this blog forever!

    1. Aww wow, thank you SO SO MUCH, Marybeth!
      When I first became a vegan, I think I was probably way too preachy… it definitely turned people off. I find that so many more people are interested in veganism when you present it in a POSITIVE light. After all, who can resist a good dose of vegan chocolate, right? 😉

  107. Anonymous says:

    While I think this was a great post, and I totally agree with looking to traditional culture for nutritional guidance, I just wanted to say that the Japanese actually don’t eat very much soy, certainly not nearly as much as vegetarians/vegans in North America. They use soy as more of a condiment, and pretty much only eat it in its fermented form. Fermenting soybeans gets rid of most of the phytic acid, and fermented, organic soy foods (like natto) can be really healthy. Most soy is just overly processed and is made from genetically modified soy, which is not only dangerous for one’s health, but also for the environment and the health of others.

  108. Lulu says:

    Hi Katie,

    This post is amazing!! Yes, I admit that I am flirting with the ideas of several radical diets, NOT because I think they will truly benefit my body, but because the people online that advocate these diets make me feel guilty and unhealthy for not following their ways. Your post really set aside a lot of my doubts. Thank you so much! And Keep up the your awesome work too!

  109. Anonymous says:

    Just to play devil’s advocate a little here…I think that the problem with processed foods is that they become addictive and your body craves the extra sodium and sugar going into them. I am not speaking about “bars” in this instance, I believe that there are some really great brans that are 100% whole foods, and organic just in a really convenient bar. But the majority of processed “foods” are just food-like products. I don’t think it can be considered restrictive when someone’s diet is 100% planet-based and all natural because they really aren’t restricting anything. You can literally “indulge” in fruits, medjool dates, cashew cream…you name it. It isn’t restrictive because you lose the cravings for highly processed sugars and fats. Just sayin- if at the end of my life I think back and say “I wish I had eaten more processed cookies” I will be shocked. The homemade all natural raw cookies on the market are to die for- and I wouldn’t choose a processed alternative any day.

  110. Trajayjay says:

    We’re learning about nutrition in my culinary class, and the teacher likes to go on about how coconut oil is “horrible for you” becuase it is a saturated fat. She says it like we should run away screaming. When she says that I want to jump up on the table and say why it is actually a good fat, but the reason behind why coconut oil isn’t death in a jar is complicated and has to do with the chemical structure of the fatty acids in coconut oil. The kids in my class aren’t very bright in my opinion and I really don’t want to sound pretentious.

    I think her aversion to coconut oil is caused by the fact that coconut oil is used in many processed cookies and snacks and crackers. I like how you said “The problem is that manufacturers have started to put soy in almost every processed food, causing some people to get too much of it (in its most processed form). ” Because my culinary class made me think of that. Coconut oil in those snacks is usually hydrogenated crap, extracted from coconuts by using toxic solvents, and highly processed. That causes people to get coconut oil in a processed form, which is “horrible for you”.

    That being said, I’m a big proponent of coconut oil’s unique properties. A saturated fat that is actually good for you, and even saturated fat as a whole now seems to nutritionists as something you don’t have to avoid like the plague. And I definitely see nothing wrong with virgin coconut oil, except that it is expensive as hell. If coconut were bad, the Pacific Islanders would have died out centuries ago, and they’d have heart disease at rates sixfold of the United States.

  111. Emily says:

    I’m age 14 and have been a vegetarian for about a year and a half now.
    As a child, living in England, I also was one and the amount of grief my parents received was astonishing. And even now so, I still receive all comments about how I eat e.t.c. I’ve always had body issues (as I’m sure EVERYONE has/does)
    But I recently found your website and have created as many recipes as possible in the short time of my school and home life. I’ve loved every single one and felt no guilt indulging one and a while on them! Thank you.
    I agree with a lot of what you’ve posted here, some people do not understand healthy meals and what it means to carry out a healthy lifestyle.
    However, I have heard at school nutrition classes and other nutrition experts that soy in forms like tofu may cause problems for growing children and teens.
    I still love tofu (and not to mention tempei) and eat it quite happily. Especially in stir fries, sandwiches and salads.
    Thank you again for you’re great recipes and insight. :)

  112. shanainka says:

    Uggh, you should come onto yahoo answer’s vegetarian and vegan section. Some of the crap there that is posted is ridiculous. You have your meat eating trolls, and your stuck up vegans. There’s this one raw food poster, who’s like 16, and he types lyk this all the time with no periods or capitalization or anything like that all his sentences are run on and its really hard to read because he cant type at all and he needs his keeboard taken away ahahahaha whatadumb idiot. He’s one of the raw foodists you describe.