By Elizabeth Kahn, Dietitian and Wellness Educator
It is possible to survive off of – and even bake with – plant food alone. People who do not consume any animal products are called “vegan” or someone who eats a plant-based diet (the term vegan also refers to someone who lives strictly without any animal products). I have known a few incredible “vegan” cooks and have tasted, and now make myself, some of their delectable dishes. Vegan desserts can be especially delicious.
Why have a vegan diet or plant based diet? The majority of Americans consume too many animal products and not enough plant foods, and therefore, most people in this country should probably become more “vegan”.
Plant foods are extremely healthy. Plant foods have more vitamins and minerals and less saturated fat and cholesterol than animal products. Plant foods also have far fewer calories than animal products do, overall.
Eating a carnivorous diet may be purely due to habit and limited knowledge about vegan cooking. It may then help to know a few tricks of this healthier cooking trade.
In baking, one medium banana and a teaspoon of baking soda, or soy yogurt can be used to replace one egg. This can add moisture and improve taste. Plant milk (coconut, rice, almond, hemp) can be used in place of cow’s milk in recipes, and vegetable margarine can be used instead of butter.
Like most any skill, vegan cooking can be learned. Try these and other recipe substitutions and not only will you be eating more plant foods, which most of us need to do anyway, but you will also reduce your total caloric intake, have more energy and will look and feel healthier. Cheers to a happy holiday season and to good health! Happy baking.