Vegan Myths

Over the past few years I’ve run into a few myths about vegan food, and I thought this Friday might be a nice time to dispel a few of them.

Myth 1: Vegans eat nothing but fruit and vegetables. While fruit and vegetables are part of a healthy vegan diet, there are many other foods not derived from animals. Vegans eat all sorts of unprocessed foods like grains, legumes, nuts, herbs, and spices, as well as processed things like breads, pastas, even vegan sausages and vegan donuts.

Myth 2: If it’s vegan, it’s healthy. This is certainly not true. Sure, animal based products like bacon and granulated sugar are unhealthy, but just because something is not animal based does not mean it is healthy. I like to joke that partially hydrogenated poisonate is vegan, but the truth is there are a number of vegan fats and vegan processed foods that are best eaten in moderation or not at all. Did you know that some flavors of Doritos and Pillsbury baked goods in a tube are vegan? Chances are they were not made vegan intentionally, but rather part of a large group of “accidentally vegan” processed foods.

Myth 3: Vegan food tastes like cardboard. While it’s true that vegan food can taste like cardboard, more often than not these days it’s absolutely amazing.  Vegans tend to take their food very seriously, and use the wide range of herbs, spices, and other flavorings to their advantage. There are also an increasing number of vegan products in supermarkets and natural  food stores that make cooking vegan easier than ever. What at one time were specialty foods are now commonplace, and it is easier than ever to make vegan food that is full of flavor.

Myth 4: Baking requires eggs. At one time the food scientist in me might have made some comments about egg proteins leading to structure in baked goods like cakes and cookies, but the truth is eggs simply are not required. It is easy to make rich, moist cakes with amazing crumb that are vegan, and you don’t have to mail order special ingredients to do so. I now believe that eggs are part of a number of recipes because they were developed on farms where chickens were laying eggs faster than the family could eat them.

I think that’s good for now. If you can think of  more myths, add them to the comments below.

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