For health, environment and other reasons, more and more people turned vegetarian. For a moderate switch, some would start with several days of vegetarian meals in a week before adopting a true vegetarian diet. Vegan can be described as the strictest vegetarian version which excludes eggs and milk. One of the reasons being these products involve butchery. But do you know vegans won’t eat honey and gummy as well?
To many, honey is a nutritious substitute for granulated sugar and can simply be collected from honeycombs. Well, things aren’t as simple as it seems. A great amount of honey production is now industrialized where the production costs, especially the costs of keeping the bees, are lowered by killing all bees in winter and bringing in new ones in spring. Even if the bees are kept throughout the year, they would only be fed with sugar water - depriving them of the nutrients and antibodies in the food they could consume from nature, and so greatly reduce the health value of honey.
Besides, these ‘factory’ bees are under unfavourable conditions like the frequent relocation of honeycombs that interferes with their daily routine. All these explain why the number of bees is plunging dramatically worldwide. To address this problem, many vegans or responsible consumer groups call for using less or no honey. In fact, various plant-based sweeteners are more nutritious than granulated sugar, including maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut sugar, maltase and molasses. Among all, molasses is a healthier choice as it is a by-product of sugar cane or sugar beets refining where the refining process retains a large amount of vitamins and minerals.
No gummy and marshmallow
These sweet treats don’t contain egg or milk so why are they excluded from a vegan diet? The answer is gelatin, one of their ingredients. For years, gelatin has been a key component in creating the chewy texture of gummies, jellies and other sweet treats. But it is acquired through decocting the tendons, skin and bones of cows, pigs or alike, so it’s neither vegan nor vegetarian. Some ice-creams and yogurts also contain gelatin! So when vegans find a ready-made sweet treat that has ‘gelatin powder’ in its content table, they would just skip it.
However, there are also vegan substitutes for gelatin - agar agar and carrageenan. They are seaweed extracts that provide firm and chewy textures respectively. Another sub is konjac, a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Since it belongs to the same family as taro, it’s also a vegan’s favourite.
Source: Yahoo Hong Kong x AXA LIVE/LIFE website