Even though I'm not vegan, I love vegan desserts. Are they healthier than regular ones?
-- Bethany Atwood Long Beach, CA
For those of you not familiar with the term vegan, it refers to people who do not consume any animal products. This includes meat, dairy, eggs, honey, and any other byproducts (i.e.: gelatin, which is made with cattle skin and bones).
Thirty years ago, vegans were out of luck when it came to eating out and grocery shopping. Mock meat was practically nonexistent (a far cry from today's booming market), and whatever was available wasn't very pleasing to the tastebuds.
Soy milk, a staple in many omnivores' diets today, was not available at conventional supermarkets, much less in the variety of flavors available today.
In the past fifteen years, vegan desserts have taken center stage as delicious treats, often described as tastier than conventional recipes -- even by non-vegans!
While vegan cuisine can definitely be nutritious -- low in saturated fat, high in fiber -- its desserts should be enjoyed for what they are (sweet treats), not consumed for health reasons.
Since vegan desserts lack butter, they are lower in saturated fat than conventional ones.
However, they still use fat (in the form of oil), sugar, and flour so the calories add up. For example, a slice of this peanut butter chocolate tofu pie provides 340 calories, 14 grams of fat, and 400 milligrams of sodium. Tasty? Yes. Diet friendly? Not necessarily.