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Vegan junk food becomes all the rage


LOS ANGELES: Vegan diets are considered by most as healthy and environmentally responsible, with celebrity poster children touting benefits like weight loss, clear skin and increased energy.

But even vegans who es-chew all animal products like meat, eggs and dairy — crave junk food. As the movement becomes more and more popular, temptations including donuts, pizza and mock ham-. burgers allow vegans to eat just as badly as everybody else.

“There are a lot of unhealthy options. It’s hard to resist at first,” Jessica McCully, 28, said at a vegan food festival in the Los Angeles area, a fake chick-en taco in her hand.

McCully is a new convert to “mock meat” thanks to her girl-friend, and says that in just two months of adopting a vegan diet, she feels happier and “more energetic.”

According to a Harris Inter-active study, between seven and eight million Americans identify as vegan, especially in the US .epicenter of clean eating, California.

BEYOND WHEATGRASSA woman holds a Cuppy Cake Kabob from Baby Sweetery Love at the 3rd annual Healthy Junk Vegan Faire in Anaheim, California. AFP

Today’s animal product-free diet goes beyond the stereotypical lentils and granola, with restaurants offering gourmet vegan dishes like watermelon salad with almond cheese and toasted pistachios, or zucchini flowers stuffed with macadamia ricotta.

Of course, the diet is not all haute cuisine — there are also plenty of restaurants serving “comfort” vegan food, including tofu or mock meat that has been breaded and fried.

Los Angeles even holds an annual “Vegan Oktoberfest” — imbibe allowing vegans to while sampling from an assortment of indulgent snacks.

At the vegan food fair in Anaheim, a suburb of LA, bowls of quinoa are hard to find.

Lori Whitaker, a longlimbed blonde with a golden complexion, stood in line at one stand to buy a pizza.

“I like my junk food; I , won’t lie,” the . 54-year-old said. Today, she said, “you can get a vegan pizza, a vegan taco — I think this is great because a lot of people think vegans ear only celery and carrots.”

In LA’s hipster Silver Lake neighbourhood, Donut Farm sells sugary, fried confections just like every other donut shop — but their treats in trendy flavours like green tea and salt-ed caramel are vegan.

“I think a vegan option is still going to be a bit more healthier,” said sales person Chris Boss, who said the bakery’s recipes call for organic flours and sugar, and ingredients like coconut milk.

The treats do have less cholesterol and no trans-fats, he added. But at the end of the a ball of fried dough MOCK MEAT Beyond Meat’s vegan burger which is prepared at Haven’s Kitchen in New York City. NYT day, “it’s with lots of calories,” Bosg said. Many converts to veganism cite health reasons, but support for animal rights remains a key motivation.

“Usually it’s with horror at how our factory farming works,” said Annie Jubb, a vegan lifestyle consultant. “It’s motivated by horror and com-passion.”

But Jubb admits that not all vegans are healthy. “They could be eating chips and fried food,” she said. “Eating soy burgers, soy bacon three times a day… soy is not a health food.”

The orthodox vegan, who counts Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio as one of her past clients, allows herself the occasional indulgence, ordering in a comfort food staple —vegan mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy.

“We’re in this business to provide people healthy, nourishing food,” said Ryland Engelhart, co-owner of Cafe Gratitude, a California chain of “plant-based” restaurants serving dishes like faux chorizo sandwiches and chocolate-pollen smoothies. “But you can’t expect people to jump overnight to a diet of kelp noodle salad with bean sprouts and sauteed tempeh,” he said. AFP

Source :Deccan Herald